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After Pandemic, Shrinking Need for Office Space Could Crush Landlords

Roughly 17.3 percent of office space in Manhattan is available for lease, the most in at least three decades. Asking rents have dropped to just over $74 a square foot, from nearly $82 at the beginning of 2020, according to the real estate services company Newmark. Elsewhere, asking rents are largely flat from a year ago, including in Boston and Houston, but have climbed slightly in Chicago.The Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo, whose United States headquarters are in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood, recently relocated to another building nearby, an open layout with tables designed for 130 people who will come into the office only a …

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He Built a $10 Billion Investment Firm. It Fell Apart in Days.

Until recently, Bill Hwang sat atop one of the biggest — and perhaps least known — fortunes on Wall Street. Then his luck ran out.Mr. Hwang, a 57-year-old veteran investor, managed $10 billion through his private investment firm, Archegos Capital Management. He borrowed billions of dollars from Wall Street banks to build enormous positions in a few American and Chinese stocks. By mid-March, Mr. Hwang was the financial force behind $20 billion in shares of ViacomCBS, effectively making him the media company’s single largest institutional shareholder. But few knew about his total exposure, since the shares were mostly held through complex financial …

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How to Fix SPACs

Lynn E. Turner, a former chief accountant for the Securities and Exchange Commission, called the proposed fix “an excellent idea.” Because sponsors are the ones advertising “here’s what we’re going to do in this time period,” he said, “they should be locked into that.”Mr. Palihapitiya was less enthusiastic.“This isn’t a very good idea,” he told me. “Why would a sponsor agree to a five-year lockup when management wouldn’t, nor would other investors including PIPE investors?” (At the time of the deal, institutional investors are often invited to buy shares with favorable terms through what’ …

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Banks Face Billions in Losses as a Bet on ViacomCBS and Other Stocks Goes Awry

Mr. Hwang had worked under the billionaire hedge fund titan Julian Robertson at Tiger Management, making him one of the firm’s famous alumni, or “cubs,” when he started his own fund, Tiger Asia. But in 2012, he faced an insider-trading investigation; securities regulators said Tiger Asia had used confidential information to bet against the shares of Chinese stocks, and had manipulated other shares.Mr. Hwang entered a guilty plea to wire fraud on behalf of Tiger Asia and paid millions of dollars in fines while also accepting a five-year ban on managing public money as a result of the settlement …

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Fear of Inflation Finds a Foothold in the Bond Market

The so-called bond vigilantes may be back, 30 years after they led a sell-off in Treasury securities over the prospect of higher government spending by a new Democratic administration.The Federal Reserve has downplayed the risk of inflation, and many experts discount the danger of a sustained rise in prices. But there is an intense debate underway on Wall Street about the prospects for higher inflation and rising interest rates.Yields on 10-year Treasury notes have risen sharply in recent weeks, a sign that traders are taking the inflation threat more seriously. If the trend continues, it will put bond investors …

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WeWork Will Go Public in a Merger With a SPAC

After a failed initial public offering and the near implosion of its business in 2019, WeWork said Friday that it had agreed to a deal that would take the beleaguered co-working company onto the stock market.Instead of a traditional I.P.O., WeWork is merging with BowX Acquisition, a special purpose acquisition company, in a type of deal that has become hugely popular in recent months.BowX is backed by Bow Capital, an investment firm that counts the National Basketball Association star Shaquille O’Neal as an adviser.WeWork leases office space and then effectively sublets it to its members, …

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How Stimulus Checks Are Driving a Stock Buying Spree

The current crisis started this way, too. In February and March last year, the S&P 500 plunged nearly 34 percent as panicked investors sold shares. The market began reversing course in late March after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates to near zero and restarted programs that pumped money into financial markets.Big Wall Street investors, comforted by the Fed’s moves, barreled right back into the stock market. But alongside the whales were minnows.Frequently Asked Questions About the New Stimulus PackageHow big are the stimulus payments in the bill, and who is eligible?The stimulus payments would be $1,400 for …

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‘The Market Seems Crazy’: Start-Ups Wrestle With Flood of Offers

The frenzy has already led to trouble. The stock of Nikola, an electric car start-up that went public via a SPAC in June, has plunged more than 80 percent after Hindenburg Research, an investment fund, accused the company in September of lying about its technology, overstating business deals and deceptively rolling a truck down a hill in a product video. Trevor Milton, Nikola’s founder and chairman, resigned, and the Securities and Exchange Commission and Justice Department have started investigating the company.The S.E.C. has also opened inquiries into Clover Health, a health insurance start-up, and Lordstown Motors, an …

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Penny Stocks Are Booming, Which Is Good News for Swindlers

“It’s all just a pool filled with sharks,” said Urska Velikonja, a law professor who studies securities regulation at Georgetown University Law Center. “It’s where the unwary go to get eaten.”Penny stock booms tend to occur during raging bull markets, when greed abounds. They were hot in the 1980s, when the arrival of cheap, long-distance telephone service gave rise to brokerage firms that specialized in high-pressure, cold-call pitches of worthless stocks.That was the specialty of Blinder, Robinson & Company, which was led by Meyer Blinder, a New York broker with a flamboyant reputation. In the mid-80s, …

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The Financial Crisis the World Forgot

By the middle of March 2020 a sense of anxiety pervaded the Federal Reserve. The fast-unfolding coronavirus pandemic was rippling through global markets in dangerous ways.Trading in Treasurys — the government securities that are considered among the safest assets in the world, and the bedrock of the entire bond market — had become disjointed as panicked investors tried to sell everything they owned to raise cash. Buyers were scarce. The Treasury market had never broken down so badly, even in the depths of the 2008 financial crisis.The Fed called an emergency meeting on March 15, a Sunday. Lorie Logan, who oversees the Federal …

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