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FirstFT: The FTC is flexing its muscles on the Microsoft-Activision deal

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The US Federal Trade Commission will file a lawsuit to block Microsoft $75 billion acquisition of video game maker Activision Blizzard Because of concerns that the deal could hurt competitors to the Xbox consoles and cloud gaming business.

Deal, which was announced in JanuaryIt will be Microsoft’s largest acquisition ever and will make it the third largest game company by revenue, after China’s Tencent and Japan’s Sony.

But the Federal Trade Commission said yesterday that the deal would harm competition in the gaming sector, highlighting the fact that Activision is one of the few video game developers that produces and publishes the best video games for many devices such as PCs, consoles and mobile phones.

Microsoft moved to head off a regulatory backlash this week By signing a contract for 10 years To bring Call of dutythe blockbuster that brought in $30 billion in lifetime sales for Activision, has moved to Nintendo platforms instead of turning it into an Xbox exclusive.

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The measure is one of the biggest tests yet for Lena Khan, the chair of the Federal Trade Commission appointed by President Joe Biden, who has He vowed to crack down on Big Tech’s market power.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella hoped the deal would give the US software company a head start in the race to build the next version of the Internet and saw no reason for competition concerns when He spoke to the Financial Times in February.

“Even after this acquisition, we’ll be in third place with kind of a lower teen share[of the video games market]. . . “We’re going to be a bit of a player in a place that’s going to be very fragmented,” he said.

1. Pro-left appointed as Brazilian Finance Minister Luis Inacio Lula da Silva Fernando is expected to name HaddadThree well-informed sources reported that a loyalist from the left-wing Labor Party as Finance Minister today. The decision is likely to disappoint financial markets and reignite investor fears that the Lula administration, which takes office on January 1, will pursue a looser fiscal policy.

2. The US House of Representatives passes a defense bill worth $858 billion in financing weapons for Taiwan passed by the US House of Representatives A comprehensive defense spending bill of $858 billion That provides $10 billion in funding to provide arms to Taiwan as the country comes under increasing pressure from China. It is the first time that the US government has funded weapons for Taiwan.

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3. The United Kingdom, Japan and Italy agree to jointly build advanced combat aircraft The three countries will joint construction One of the most advanced combat aircraft in the world by 2035, to expand its defense capabilities to counter the growing threats from China and Russia. They will share development costs estimated at tens of billions of dollars.

A mock-up of the Tempest jet at the 2018 Farnborough Airshow
The UK and Italy’s Tempest fighter program will be integrated with Japan’s FX project © Peter Nicholls / Reuters

4. Airlines are feeling the pressure as charter groups raise rents Airlines return to profitability, but one cloud looms: Sharp increases in rental costs. More than half of the world’s commercial aircraft are owned or operated by leasing companies, and their fees are rising, which is another consequence of rising interest rates.

5. The Faustian agreement between Joe Biden and Russia to secure the release of Brittney Greener Brittney Griner’s release was greeted with joy from the basketball star’s family and supporters. But the exchange with Viktor Bout, a notorious arms dealer, drew criticism and raised questions about how America’s adversaries would deal with them. It may benefit from the arrest of its own citizens in the future.

How good is it to keep up with the news this week? Take our test.

Coming days

Economic data The US Department of Labor will update the Producer Price Index. The producer price index is expected to have risen 0.2 percent in November from the previous month, but the annual pace of wholesale inflation is expected to have eased to 7.2 percent, from 8 percent in October. The University of Michigan preliminary reading on consumer confidence is expected to have risen to 56.9 in December from 56.8 last month.

UK to launch financial services reforms Chancellor Jeremy Hunt would Unveil changeswhich include raising the ceiling on bankers’ bonuses and removing the requirement to separate risky investment banks from retail operations, in a speech in Edinburgh later in the day.

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Putin in Kyrgyzstan Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, to participate in the Eurasian Economic Union summit. The leaders are expected to discuss the establishment of a joint gas market and the establishment of an intergovernmental council in the field of energy. According to the Russian news agency TASS.

world Cup The quarter-final matches kick off in Qatar today, with Croatia playing Brazil in the first match, followed by the Netherlands and Argentina. Tomorrow, the surprising Moroccan team will meet Portugal at the start of the match, and England will meet France at a later time.

  • Read more: Simon Cooper, who grew up in the Netherlands, explains how the Dutch do it They abandon tradition under their coach Louis van Gaal in a bid to win the World Cup.

What else do we read?

Light needs to illuminate the black hole on dollar swaps An ordinary person might assume the dollar swap market It is a transparent angle of financing, given that the US currency underpins much of the global industry and these contracts are used by most of the major corporations and investment groups. Not so, writes Gillian Tate, as a recent report from the Bank for International Settlements shows.

Has inflation peaked? Central banks in the developed world have cautiously raised interest rates to curb demand and crush inflation this year, but, says the Financial Times editorial board, Now is not the time to hold back or cut back borrowing costs.

‘Hell. Hell: The War of Attrition on Bakhmut With Russia desperate for victory, wave after wave of infantry began Thrown in the city of Bakhmut on the front line In the Donetsk province, only to be cut down by the Ukrainian defenders. “They are just meat for Putin, and Bakhmut is a meat grinder,” said Kostyantyn, an exhausted Ukrainian machine gunner.

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Maps show that there was relatively little movement on the front line around Bakhmut

Why the price of oil has fallen despite new restrictions on Russian supply This week saw a pivotal moment in global geopolitics, as the European embargo and G7 cap on Russian crude oil prices came into effect. Within hours, supply disruptions set in as the piling up oil tankers queued up in the Bosphorus Strait. All of this would normally lead to a sharp rise in oil prices. However, yesterday they reached a new low of 2022. What is going on? Our energy editors explain.

It’s time to hunt down the dragons of the Asia Corporation I learned the hard way during years of managing Japanese equity portfolios, writes the Financial Times’ new investment columnist Stuart Kirk, the country’s corporate bosses were obsessed with market share, quality, innovation, culture and hard work. But did they sleep at night dreaming of my equity returns, Stewart asks, no they did not. That’s changing, he says, but local conditions are still very important.

the television

There are explosive royal TV shows out there, writes lead writer Henry Mance. But so far the new Netflix series Harry and Megan Not them. He argues that the Sussexes are both an ambitious couple and a cautionary tale about ambition.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex
Harry & Meghan is produced by the couple’s company Archewell © Courtesy Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex

Thank you for reading and remember that you can Add FirstFT to myFT. You can also choose to receive a FirstFT push notification every morning on the app. Send your recommendations and feedback to firstft@ft.com

Climate chart: an explanation – Learn about the most important weather data for the week. Participation over here

Long story short – The biggest and best-read stories in one smart email. Participation over here


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Economic

We need to pay more attention to skewed economic signals

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The writer is chair of Queen’s College, Cambridge and advisor to Allianz and Gramercy

Inflation was the dominant economic and financial issue of 2022 for most countries around the world, especially for advanced economies that have a consequential impact on the global economy and markets.

The effects have been seen in declining living standards, increasing inequality, increasing borrowing costs, stock and bond market losses, and occasional financial mishaps (fortunately small and so far contained).

In this new year, recession, both actual and feared, has joined inflation in the driving seat of the global economy and is likely to replace it. It’s a development that makes the global economy and investment portfolios subject to a wide range of possible outcomes — something that a growing number of bond investors seem to be aware of more than their equity counterparts.

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International Monetary Fund iYou will likely review soon Her economic growth forecasts again, predicting that “a third of the world will be hit by recession this year”. What is particularly notable to me about these worsening global prospects is not only that the world’s three major economic regions – China, the European Union and the United States – are slowing down together, but also that this is happening for different reasons.

In China, a chaotic exit from the wrong Covid-19 policy is undermining demand and causing more supply disruptions. Such headwinds to domestic and global economic well-being will continue as long as China fails to improve the coverage and effectiveness of its vaccination efforts. The strength and sustainability of the subsequent recovery will also require that the country more vigorously renew a growth model that can no longer rely on greater globalization.

The European Union continues to deal with energy supply disruptions as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues. Strengthening inventory management and reorientation of energy supplies is well advanced in many countries. However, it is not yet sufficient to lift immediate constraints on growth, let alone resolve long-term structural headwinds.

The United States has the least problematic view. The headwinds to growth are due to the Fed’s struggle to contain inflation after mischaracterizing rate increases as fleeting and then initially being too timid to adjust monetary policy.

The Fed’s shift to an aggressive front-load of interest rate hikes came too late to prevent the spread of inflation in the services sector and wages. As such, inflation is likely to remain stubborn at around 4 percent, be less sensitive to interest rate policies and expose the economy to greater risk for accidents from additional policy errors that undermine growth.

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The uncertainties facing each of these three economic areas suggest that analysts should be more careful in reassuring us that recessionary pressures will be “short and shallow”. They need to be open, if only to avoid repeating the mistake of prematurely dismissing inflation as transient.

This is especially important because these diverse drivers of recessionary risk make financial fragility more threatening and policy shifts more difficult, including potentially Japan. Get out of interest rate control Policy. The range of possible outcomes is extraordinarily large.

On the one hand, a better policy response, including improving the supply response and protecting the most vulnerable populations, can counteract the global economic slowdown and, in the case of the United States, avert a recession.

On the other hand, additional policy errors and market turmoil can lead to self-reinforcing vicious cycles with rising inflation and rising interest rates, weakening credit and compressed earnings, and stressing market performance.

Judging by market prices, more bond investors are better understanding this, including by refusing to follow the Fed’s interest rate guidance this year. Instead of a sustainable path to higher rates for 2023, they believe recessionary pressures will lead to cuts later this year. If true, government bonds would provide the yield and potential for badly missed portfolio risk mitigation in 2022.

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However, parts of the stock market is still weakly bearish pricing. Reconciling these different scenarios is more important than investors. Without better alignment within markets and with policy signals, the positive economic and financial outcomes we all desire will be no less likely. They will also be challenged by the risk of more unpleasant outcomes at a time of less economic and human resilience.

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Macro hedge funds end 2022 higher, investors say, while many others take big losses By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, US, January 5, 2023. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

By Svea Herbst Baylis

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Some hedge funds betting on macroeconomic trends have boasted of double and even triple-digit gains for 2022, while other high-profile companies that have long been on technology stocks have suffered heavy losses in volatile markets, investors said.

Rokos Capital, run by Chris Rokos and one of a handful of so-called global macro companies, gained 51% last year. Fund investors this week, who asked not to be identified, said Brevan Howard Asset Management, the company where Rokos once worked, posted a gain of 20.14% and Caxton Associates returned 16.73%.

Haider Capital Management’s Haider Jupiter Fund rose 193%, an investor said.

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Data from hedge fund research showed that many macro managers have avoided crumbling stock markets that have been rocked by rapid interest rate increases and geopolitical turmoil, including the war in Ukraine, to rank among the best performers in the hedge fund industry. The company’s macro index rose 14.2% while the general index of hedge funds fell 4.25%, its first loss since 2018.

Equity hedge funds, where the bulk of the industry’s roughly $3.7 trillion in assets are invested, fared worse with a loss of 10.4%, according to HFR data. And while that beat the broader stock market’s loss of 19.4%, some high-profile funds posted even bigger losses.

Tiger Global Management lost 56% while Whale Rock Capital Management ended the year with a 43% loss and Maverick Capital lost 23%. Coatue Management ended 2022 with a loss of 19%.

But not all companies that bet on technology stocks suffered. John Thaler JAT Capital finished the year with a 3.7% gain after fees after a 33% increase in 2021 and a 46% gain in 2020.

Sculptor Capital Management (NYSE::), where founder Dan Och is fighting the company’s current CEO in court over his salary increase, posted a 13% drop.

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David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital, which bet that Elon Musk would be forced to buy Twitter, ended the year up 37% while Rick Sandler’s Eminence Capital rose 7%.

A number of so-called multi-manager companies where teams of portfolio managers bet on a variety of sectors also boast positive returns and have been able to deliver on their promise that hedge funds can deliver better returns in distressed markets.

Balyasny’s Atlas Fund (NYSE: Enhanced) gained 9.7%, while Point72 Asset Management gained 10%. Millennium Management gained 12% while Carlson Capital ended the year with a 7% gain.

Representatives for the companies either did not respond to requests for comment or declined to comment.

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German automakers point to easing supply chain problems

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Sales at BMW and Mercedes-Benz jumped in the final months of 2022 as the German premium auto brands indicated supply chain problems plaguing the industry were abating.

Automakers around the world have experienced parts shortages since the pandemic, especially semiconductors, leaving many of them with large fleets of incomplete vehicles that can’t be delivered to customers.

BMW and Mercedes each said their full-year vehicle deliveries fell last year by 4.8 percent and 1 percent, respectively, due to Suppliers Bottlenecks as well as lockdowns in China and the war in Ukraine.

But supply pressures eased in the last quarter of the year, as BMW recorded a 10.6 percent jump in sales, with 651,798 vehicles delivered, and Mercedes fulfilling 540,800 orders, up 17 percent from the same period in 2022.

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BMW He said the main effects of supply chain bottlenecks and continued lockdowns were felt in the first six months of the year, adding that “sales were steadily picking up in the second half.”

Mercedes boss Ula Kallenius told the Financial Times last week that the list of problems in the auto supply chain was declining, but added that long waits for cars would continue into 2023.

“One chip is enough to be vital [ . . .] Missing, and then you can’t finish the car, even if you have everything else.

Both brands recorded strong sales growth electric car. Mercedes, which last week announced a plan to build 10,000 charging docks, said EV shipments grew 124 percent to 117,800 last year compared with its predecessor.

Similarly, BMW reported strong growth in electric vehicle sales, with deliveries of fully electric vehicles doubling last year to 215,755.

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Analysts at Bank of America said that sales of electric vehicles, including hybrid cars, reached a historic peak last November, with 1.1 million units sold. They attributed this largely to the upcoming phase-out of customer subsidies in Germany.

Participate in Mercedes BMW and BMW prices held steady Tuesday morning as investors priced in an image of an improving showing.

Rolls-Royce, a subsidiary of BMW, announced Monday that sales have hit a 119-year record, driven by strong demand in the United States, its largest market.

The luxury brand has been largely unaffected by the semiconductor pressure, mainly because it makes relatively few compounds and therefore needs fewer chips.

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