Stocks fell for a fourth day in a row on Friday, adding to a stretch of losses that has come as investors worried about corporate profits and rising interest rates and pushing the S&P 500 to its worst week since the early days of the pandemic.
The S&P 500 fell 1.9 percent on Friday, and 5.7 percent for the week — its sharpest weekly drop since March 2020, when markets plunged as countries started to impose lockdowns and businesses closed down.
Since the start of the year, investors have been concerned that fast rising interest rates might hurt corporate profits and dampen demand for risky investments like stocks. A string of disappointing earnings reports recently from companies as varied as Netflix, American Airlines and Goldman Sachs only made matters worse.
“The sell-off appears to be driven by the earnings stories that are coming out,” said Anu Gaggar, global investment strategist for Commonwealth Financial Network. “The guidance seems to be less upbeat. When they start looking into 2022, they talk about growth slowing.”
Late Thursday, for example, the streaming giant Netflix delivered a less-than-optimistic forecast, saying it expected subscriber growth to slow in the opening months of 2022. Its shares slid 21.8 percent on Friday.
Netflix was a favorite of investors early in the pandemic, rising 67 percent in 2020 as lockdowns prompted a surge of subscriptions. Its growth is slowing as the world reopens and people head outdoors again, and as it faces a number of strong streaming competitors from Disney+ to HBO Max.
Shares of pandemic-era darlings, including Peloton, Zoom and Etsy, have also suffered sharp declines. Peloton said on Thursday that it was considering layoffs and changes to its production as demand slowed. Its shares rose 11.7 percent on Friday but were still down 13.6 percent this week.
Zoom was down more than 7 percent this week and Etsy dropped about 9 percent.
Wall Street’s big banks have warned that rising wages for their workers could affect profits, while airlines earnings were hammered by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Separately, concerns over higher interest rate have hit technology stocks particularly hard, pulling the Nasdaq composite down 7.6 percent for the week, and about 12 percent since the start of the year. The index fell 2.7 percent on Friday.
The decline began early in the month as the Federal Reserve began to signal that it would move aggressively to raise interest rates this year as it tries to control rising prices. Higher rates can discourage investment in riskier assets and raise the cost of borrowing for fast-growing companies, both of which can hurt technology stocks.
The central bank will meet next week, its first meeting of the year, giving officials a chance to offer more guidance on their thinking about rate increases to come in 2022.
“The key question for the markets is: Will the Fed give them a breather or keep moving?” Ethan S. Harris, an economist at Bank of America Global Research, wrote in a note on Friday. “We tend to lean toward the latter. The Fed was clearly caught wrong footed in the second half of last year and rather than do a 180 degree policy turn in one go, we see them moving in stages.”
Cryptocurrencies are also getting pummeled this week. Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, is hovering slightly above $38,000, according to CoinDesk, and down more than 10 percent from Thursday. The cryptoasset has faced a huge sell-off since it reached its high of $68,000 in November.
The digital currency is also facing headwinds overseas. Russia’s central bank proposed on Thursday a ban on the use of cryptocurrencies in the country, pointing to its volatility and ties to illegal activities. Also, in early January, violent protests against the government in Kazakhstan led to intermittent internet shutdowns, disrupting large cryptocurrency mining operations in the country.
Shares of Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange platform, fell 13.4 percent on Friday. Shares of the electric vehicle maker Tesla, which purchased $1.5 billion in Bitcoin last year, were down 5.3 percent.
Morgan Stanley awarded its chief executive, James Gorman, a 6 percent raise, maintaining his position as the highest-paid head of a U.S. bank — for now.
Mr. Gorman’s 2021 compensation was $35 million, up $2 million from a year earlier, the bank said in a filing on Friday. The pay bump came after the investment bank reported $15 billion in profit last year, the highest in its history.
In raising his pay, Morgan Stanley’s board cited Mr. Gorman’s “outstanding individual performance,” that steered the firm to record earnings and helped it meet or exceed two-year targets. His pay package comprised a base salary of $1.5 million, a cash bonus of $8.4 million and the rest in deferred or performance-linked stock.
That puts Mr. Gorman just ahead of JPMorgan Chase’s chief, Jamie Dimon, who on Thursday received a raise of almost 10 percent, taking his compensation to $34.5 million. JPMorgan’s board similarly cited Mr. Dimon’s performance after a year of record profit.
Other Wall Street firms are expected to provide updates on their leaders’ compensation later this month. Top bankers have said their firms are having to increase pay because of intense competition for talent.
The Biden administration said on Friday that it would suspend 44 flights from the United States to China operated by Chinese airlines in retaliation for China’s imposing similar restrictions on American companies in recent weeks.
The Chinese government has canceled the flights, operated by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, after passengers on their planes tested positive for the virus after arriving in China. The passengers had tested negative before getting on their planes.
In the order on Friday, the U.S. Transportation Department described the suspensions by China, which run through early March, as punitive and unfair.
China’s aviation authority canceled the flights using a “circuit breaker” provision intended to allow the country to limit the spread of the virus. According to the U.S. order, China’s policies allow airlines that deliver passengers who later test positive for the virus to choose either a two-week suspension of the offending flight or a four-week limit on the number of passengers on that flight. The U.S. companies were never given that choice, and were denied the four-week notice promised under Chinese policy, the Transportation Department said.
“The Chinese government individually clears each and every potential traveler for travel to China prior to their departure from the United States, after verifying predeparture test results and other required documentation,” Carol A. Petsonk, a top aviation official in the department, wrote in the order. “U.S. carriers, who are following all relevant Chinese regulations with respect to predeparture and in-flight protocols, should not be penalized if passengers, postarrival, later test positive for Covid-19.”
The order suspends 44 flights from the United States to China scheduled from Jan. 30 to March 29. The affected flights are operated by Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines. Most were scheduled to depart from Los Angeles, with the others departing from New York. France and Germany have taken similar actions in response to China’s use of the circuit breaker policy.
Early in the pandemic, Chinese officials barred U.S. airlines from operating passenger flights into their country, prompting the Trump administration to retaliate. The dispute eventually subsided, and limited flights between the countries resumed more than a year ago.
Delta and United did not immediately respond to requests for comment. American deferred to Airlines for America, a trade group, which said in a statement that it was “supportive of the actions taken by the Department of Transportation to ensure the fair treatment of U.S. airlines in the Chinese market.” The Civil Aviation Administration of China, the country’s aviation authority, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Google asked a federal court on Friday to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit led by the State of Texas, the first time it has sought to have one of the government competition cases against it thrown out in the United States.
In a filing, Google said the state had failed to show that it engaged in anticompetitive behavior and hadn’t proved that an agreement between Facebook and Google, a core part of the case, violated the law.
“We’re confident that this case is wrong on the facts and the law, and should be dismissed,” said Adam Cohen, the company’s director of economic policy.
The Texas lawsuit argues that Google has obtained and abused a monopoly over the labyrinthine set of systems that allow publishers to auction off ad space to marketers. The states argue that Google misled publishers and advertisers about the nature of the ad auctions, allowing it to pocket more of the money flowing through its ad systems. And they say the company used a deal with Facebook to maintain its dominance when the publishers tried to develop an alternative system.
“Despite amassing a lengthy collection of grievances, each one comes down to a plea for Google to share its data or to design its products in ways that would help its rivals,” Google said in its filing.
A spokesman for Texas’ attorney general, Ken Paxton, did not respond to a request for comment.
Google faces pressure from governments around the world. In addition to the lawsuit from Texas and more than a dozen other states, the federal government and a different group of states have sued the company, arguing it has abused a monopoly over online search. On Thursday, a Senate committee endorsed an antitrust law meant to crack down on some of its practices — along with Amazon’s and Apple’s — and European lawmakers in Brussels are considering their own new digital antitrust rules.
Google is also not the first tech giant to try to get a recent government antitrust case dismissed. Last year, Facebook asked a federal court to throw out lawsuits filed against it by the Federal Trade Commission and a collection of states. The judge in the case initially agreed. But the F.T.C. refiled its lawsuit, and the judge said this month that it could move forward. The states have appealed.
The national network of Social Security customer service offices, which were closed nearly two years ago at the start of the pandemic, is on track to reopen on March 30.
The Social Security Administration and unions representing the agency’s work force agreed this week to reopen more than 1,200 offices, contingent on changes in pandemic conditions and further negotiations. Bargaining is set to conclude by March 1, which would allow 30 days to plan for the office re-entry.
“This agreement will allow all the parties to wait and see what happens with the latest wave of the pandemic,” said Rich Couture, chief negotiator for the American Federation of Government Employees, one of three unions representing the agency work force involved in the talks. “Hopefully it subsides, but if it doesn’t, we can take further action to postpone the reopening if necessary.”
Social Security field offices handle benefit claims for retirement and Medicare. But they also assist with applications for Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income, the benefit program for low-income, disabled or older people. Since the pandemic began, nearly all public service has been available only online, and by phone and mail, and the agency work force of nearly 60,000 has operated virtually. Office visits are available only by appointment and only for a limited number of critical issues.
Processing of Social Security retirement benefits and Medicare claims has not been impaired during the office shutdown, agency records show. But there were sharp drops in 2020 in benefit awards for Supplemental Security Income and disability insurance.
Social Security had earlier announced a tentative plan for employees to return to the offices on Jan. 3. But that date was postponed because of disagreements between the agency and unions over specifics of the plan.
The new agreement calls for all employees and visitors to wear masks while at Social Security facilities, regardless of their vaccination status. Under the agency’s original plan, visitors who stated that they were vaccinated would have been permitted to forgo masks. The agreement also calls for negotiations between the agency and various segments of the work force over the specifics of each group’s reopening plan.
“Our main concern is to keep employees and the visiting public safe and healthy,” Mr. Couture said.
The details on office reopenings, including hours of operation, are still being negotiated, but are expected to be announced in March. The agency also plans to continue to allow telework to varying degrees for different jobs.
During the transition, the agency advises people to use its website wherever possible or to call its national toll-free number, 800-772-1213, as a starting point to receive assistance.
A group of workers at Raven Software, a studio owned by Activision Blizzard, said Friday that they were forming a union and wanted the prominent video game company to voluntarily recognize it.
The new union, the Game Workers Alliance, says it includes more than 80 percent of the 34 people in the quality assurance division of Raven, the Wisconsin studio that helps create Activision’s popular Call of Duty game. More than 60 Raven employees walked out in early December, protesting the company’s ending of the contracts of a dozen temporary Raven quality assurance workers, which they said felt abrupt and unfair. Some have been on strike since then.
“This is just the best thing for us and our company going forward, for us to have a voice,” said Erin Hall, a Raven quality assurance worker who helped organize the union. She said she hoped that unionizing would lead to better job security, and that the Game Workers Alliance would be just “the first domino at Activision.”
“I think a lot of us are motivated a lot by the fact that unionization in the games industry hasn’t really happened yet,” Ms. Hall said.
Now, Activision executives will have to decide whether to recognize the union voluntarily or force a vote among employees, which the National Labor Relations Board would oversee. Activision said in a statement that it was “carefully reviewing” the request.
“While we believe that a direct relationship between the company and its team members delivers the strongest work force opportunities, we deeply respect the rights of all employees under the law to make their own decisions about whether or not to join a union,” the company said in the statement. Activision added that it had increased pay, time off and medical benefits for the unionizing workers in recent years.
Activision, which Microsoft on Tuesday said it would buy for nearly $70 billion, has been dealing with months of employee unrest. Before the company incited anger by not keeping the Raven workers in December, employees had been pushing for labor organizing and better treatment since July, when a California employment agency sued Activision, accusing it of fostering a culture where women were routinely sexually harassed and discriminated against.
Jessica Gonzalez, a former Activision worker and one of the organizers of ABetterABK, a group of activists that formed in the wake of the lawsuit to improve conditions at Activision and its Blizzard and King units, said she hoped the Raven union, though small, would galvanize more labor efforts at the company — which has about 10,000 employees — and at other gaming publishers.
“I think it’ll have a ripple effect across the industry,” Ms. Gonzalez said. “I’m hoping the rest of ABK will join our mission and help push this movement forward.”
In contrast to Europe, unions are rare in the North American gaming industry. American employees are often subjected to unexpected layoffs and brutal “crunch,” in which they are required to work long hours and weekends for weeks at a time to ensure games do not miss deadlines.
Interest in unionization has picked up in recent years, with groups like Game Workers Unite, Game Workers of Southern California and the Campaign to Organize Digital Employees, a project from the Communications Workers of America, all working to mobilize gaming employees.
In December, workers at the independent game developer Vodeo Games, which has about a dozen employees, became the first video game studio union in North America.
The Raven employees’ organizing effort was shepherded by C.W.A., a prominent tech, media and communications union.
“A collective bargaining agreement will give Raven QA employees a voice at work, improving the games they produce and making the company stronger,” Sara Steffens, C.W.A.’s secretary-treasurer, said in a statement. “Voluntary recognition is the rational way forward.”
In a news release announcing the union, C.W.A. and the Game Workers Alliance accused Activision of using “surveillance and intimidation tactics, including hiring notorious union busters, to silence workers.”
Ms. Hall and C.W.A. both said the timing, given Microsoft’s blockbuster acquisition of Activision, was coincidental. Microsoft declined to comment on the union organizing.
Some workers view Microsoft’s purchase of the company, which could take a year or more to close, as a path for Activision to improve its workplace culture.
Others see it as an easy out for the company’s embattled chief executive, Bobby Kotick, who has been under fire since last summer and is expected to step down as chief executive once the deal is complete, two people with knowledge of his plans have said.
During a company livestream on Thursday with Julie Hodges, Activision’s chief people officer, Mr. Kotick told employees that he had promised Microsoft that he would “stay as long as is necessary to ensure that we have a great integration and a great transition,” according to a transcript of the conversation viewed by The New York Times.
Mr. Kotick also addressed Activision’s culture problems, saying the Microsoft deal “reinforces” his commitment to reforming the workplace, “and we’ve certainly recognized that we have opportunities for improvement.”
He added that Microsoft “has been on its own journey to improve its workplace, and I think that it’s a shared journey.”
WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen described the Biden administration’s approach to managing the United States economy as “modern supply side economics” on Friday, putting a liberal twist on the Reagan-era economic philosophy of tax cuts and deregulation as the White House looks to curb rising prices and drive productivity.
The comments came as President Biden’s economic agenda is at a crossroads, with inflation at its highest level in decades and Democrats’ social safety net and climate spending package stalled in Congress. Ms. Yellen argued that Democrats are not merely calling for traditional policies of taxing and spending, but introducing a new model to create enduring economic growth.
“Our new approach is far more promising than the old supply side economics, which I see as having been a failed strategy for increasing growth,” Ms. Yellen said. “Significant tax cuts on capital have not achieved their promised gains.”
Ms. Yellen cast in a new light many policies the Biden administration has already been promoting: infrastructure investment, more money to combat climate change and spending on early childhood education to let more parents join the labor force. She said this version of supply side economics, rather than spurring growth by cutting taxes and loosening regulation, will make the economy more productive while reducing inequality.
“The lagging labor force participation rate is driven in large part by a combination of factors that disincentivize work, such as inadequate paid leave and high child care costs,” Ms. Yellen said.
The path forward for Mr. Biden’s agenda in Congress remains uncertain. The president acknowledged this week that he would need to scale back his proposals to pass something this year.
Ms. Yellen expressed optimism that inflation would “substantially” abate later this year and insisted that the Biden administration is working to alleviate supply chain congestion. Nevertheless, she acknowledged that the pandemic continues to bring significant uncertainty.
“Even as policymakers continue to address rising prices, our economic recovery will face significant risks until we have moved more decisively past the pandemic,” Ms. Yellen said.
TotalEnergies, the French oil giant, and Chevron said Friday that they would begin taking steps to withdraw from an offshore natural gas field in Myanmar that is a critical source of energy for both the host country and neighboring Thailand.
TotalEnergies said it was responding to a deterioration of the human rights situation and the “rule of law” in Myanmar since the military coup in February.
The situation had reached a point, the company said, where it could no longer “make a sufficiently positive contribution in the country.” Since the coup, the military regime has waged a brutal crackdown on protests. Soldiers and the police have killed at least 1,488 civilians, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
Chevron and TotalEnergies argued in the past that their presence was beneficial to the people of Myanmar and that shutting off the flow of gas would increase hardship. Chevron says the gas from the Yadana field generates electric power for roughly half the population of Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, as well as supplying Thailand.
“Effectively turning off the power to half of Yangon’s homes, schools and hospitals — in the middle of a state of emergency and a pandemic — risks creating even more hardship,” Chevron said in a briefing note published in May on the company’s website.
Last year, Chevron waged a vigorous lobbying campaign in Washington to prevent the White House from imposing sanctions in Myanmar that could disrupt the gas operations at the Yadana field and worsen the crisis for people who rely on the power.
The companies, though, have evidently decided that they have no choice but to yield to pressure from human rights groups and others to prepare to abandon a project that provides financial sustenance for Myanmar’s military.
Total, which is the operator or manager of Yadana, said it would withdraw after six months without compensation. Chevron said it was reviewing its interest in the project to “enable a planned and orderly transition that will lead to an exit from the country.”
The departures are not likely to be a major financial hit for either company. Chevron obtains only about 1.5 percent of its global gas output from Myanmar. TotalEnergies owns about 31 percent of the project, which dates to the 1990s, while the rest is owned by Chevron (28 percent); a subsidiary of Thailand’s energy company, PTT (26 percent); and the Myanmar national oil company (15 percent).
On the other hand, a stoppage of gas exports to Thailand, a major consumer, could have an impact on the already heated market for the fuel.
“Any disruption would further tighten an international gas market where there is already considerable supply anxiety,” said Neil Beveridge, an analyst at Bernstein, a research firm.
Still, it is not clear that the exit of Total and Chevron would lead to an end to the flows of gas or of funds to the military regime. Thailand’s PTT could take over operating the project. And TotalEnergies said in its news release that stopping revenue going to the Myanmar government from Yadana was “materially impossible” because the Thai company made most of the payments from gas sales from the project.
IBM is selling its Watson Health data and analytics business, the final step in the company’s retreat from what it once called a “moonshot” venture to improve health care, helping save lives and trim medical costs.
The business is being sold for an undisclosed price to Francisco Partners, a private investment firm, the companies announced on Friday.
Watson Health was set up as a separate business in 2015. IBM then spent more than $4 billion to acquire companies with medical data, billing records and diagnostic images on hundreds of millions of patients.
IBM has been trying to find buyers for the Watson Health business for more than a year. And it was seeking a sale price of about $1 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported last year.
IBM had been winding down the business. In 2020, the company discontinued two products designed for cancer diagnosis — Watson for Genomics and Watson for Oncology, developed with another early collaborator, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Since Arvind Krishna became chief executive in 2020, IBM has been tightening the focus of its business and shedding operations.
Last November, IBM spun out its big back-office technology support and services business, which has yearly revenue of $19 billion. That business, called Kyndryl, has had lower profit margins and growth prospects than areas that are IBM’s current focus, cloud computing and artificial intelligence. IBM retained a stake of just under 20 percent in Kyndryl.
IBM executives described the sale of the Watson Health assets as part of that broader strategy. Tom Rosamilia, senior vice president in charge of IBM’s software business, said the move was “a clear next step as IBM becomes even more focused on our platform-based hybrid cloud and AI strategy.”
An earlier version of this article misstated the year that IBM discontinued Watson for Genomics and Watson for Oncology and that Arvind Krishna became chief executive. It was 2020, not 2000.
The path of the pandemic is uncertain, but investors may have already made up their minds about the prospects for companies that had prospered months earlier. Netflix and Peloton plunged late in the day on Friday on signs that “stay at home” stocks, which were already under pressure, could take a turn for the worse as people begin to venture out again.
Netflix reported its fourth-quarter earnings after the market closed, and warned that subscriber growth was about to slow. This sent the streaming giant’s stock down 20 percent, erasing more than $40 billion in market cap. The report suggests that the company is more vulnerable to competition than its investors are comfortable with.
Rivals are eating into Netflix’s business. The company, which now has 222 million subscribers, forecast that it would gain only 2.5 million customers in the current quarter, far from analysts’ average estimate of just over six million. Competition from the likes of Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max and others “has only intensified over the last 24 months,” Netflix said.
Other streamers have some advantages. Those services are attached to big studios, so they already own a ton of content. (Amazon is about to own a studio, if regulators approve its deal to buy MGM.) That gives them license to market their streaming efforts outside the United States, where all the growth is. Netflix can’t do the same as easily. In order to compensate, Netflix last week announced a price increase for U.S. subscribers.
Investors may reconsider the heady valuation of Netflix’s stock. Until the expected decline in growth announced on Thursday, investors were essentially paying double for each dollar of expected profit at Netflix, versus tech giants like Meta and Alphabet. But are Netflix’s growth prospects really that good? The answer, at least for now, is no.
Peloton is similarly struggling, as the at-home exercise equipment maker grapples with waning demand for its bikes and treadmills. Its shares closed 24 percent lower Thursday — and are down some 80 percent over the past six months.
The company said it was weighing layoffs. “We now need to evaluate our organization structure and size of our team,” John Foley, Peloton’s chief executive, wrote in an open letter to customers and employees.
Peloton expects to have lost as much as $270 million last quarter, it said ahead of its scheduled earnings report next month.
The company denied that it would temporarily halt all production because of a glut in inventory, pushing back on a CNBC report that had sent its shares plunging. That said, Mr. Foley wrote that “we are resetting our production levels for sustainable growth.
BERLIN — Employees at Tesla’s new assembly plant outside Berlin will elect a works council next month, the latest indication that the factory could soon begin operation after months of setbacks and delays.
Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, had hoped the facility, the company’s first assembly plant in Europe, would have been completed by the end of last year. But Germany’s cumbersome bureaucracy, combined with a flurry of lawsuits from local environmental groups, has pushed back the opening by several months.
Birgit Dietze, the regional leader for the IG Metall union, which represents autoworkers in Germany, said on Thursday that a vote for 19 representatives to serve on the works council had been scheduled for Feb. 28.
Works councils, committees that represent employees in helping to set factory policies, are standard in German companies. Although union members can serve on the councils, the bodies are not organized by or directly affiliated with the unions.
Members of the state government in Brandenburg, which has not yet granted final approval for the $7 billion plant, said this month that all of the necessary paperwork had been received in late December and that the process was in its final stages. They also indicated that settlement of a pending lawsuit over water use would not affect the timeline.
“We are on what we hope are the last steps as far as the whole issue of permits for the factory,” Jörg Steinbach, Brandenburg’s minister for the economy, said last week. But he declined to speculate exactly when the plant would receive its final approval to begin production.
IG Metall said it was concerned that the works council vote had been scheduled even though roughly only one in six of the estimated 12,000 people who are expected to work at the plant had been hired so far. Most companies hire managers and engineers first, before filling in the lower ranks of blue-collar workers, who will make up the majority of the workers, Ms. Dietze said. That raises the prospect that a works council vote in February may not represent the work force when full production begins.
“With a works council, the work force is given a voice and can bring in and assert its interests,” Ms. Dietze said on Thursday. “In order to play this role, however, it is a prerequisite that a works council actually represents the work force, and that’s where it’s important to look closely at Tesla.”
Although Tesla has opposed unions at its plants in the United States, Germany has a strong tradition of unionization, and IG Metall recently opened an office near the plant and has been answering questions from workers and those applying for jobs. Ms. Dietze declined to say how many union members were already working at the facility, or whether they were among those running for positions on the works council.
In Germany, individual workers join unions and, if enough of them do so, use their leverage to get employers to agree to a union contract, which is negotiated between workers and management for entire industries.
The plant, where Tesla expects to eventually produce 500,000 Model Y sport utility vehicles a year, has begun turning out cars, but they are prototypes that cannot be sold. Pending approval of the final steps, the Brandenburg authorities granted the company the right to produce an additional 2,000 prototypes of its Model Y cars, after Tesla said its initial run of 250 of the electric vehicles revealed points in the production that needed additional fine-tuning.
Still, speculation in Germany about a possible opening date has been fueled by reports of the prototype vehicles, optimism from government officials that a final approval is nearing and word from Mr. Musk that he would be making his way to Germany.
Mr. Musk told his followers on social media this week that he will be headed to Berlin in “mid Feb.”
An earlier version of this article mistated the cost of a Tesla plant being built outside of Berlin. It is $7 billion, not $7 million.
SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter shook up the top ranks of its security team this week with the termination of the head of security and the exit of the chief information security officer, the company told employees on Wednesday, as its new chief executive reorganizes the social media service.
Peiter Zatko, the head of security, who is better known within the security community as Mudge, is no longer at the company, Twitter confirmed. Rinki Sethi, the chief information security officer, will depart in the coming weeks.
The changes followed “an assessment of how the organization was being led and the impact on top priority work,” according to a memo from Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s chief executive, that was sent to employees on Wednesday and obtained by The New York Times. Mr. Agrawal said the “nature of this situation” limited what he was allowed to share with employees.
Ms. Sethi and Mr. Zatko did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Mr. Agrawal, who was appointed Twitter’s chief executive in November, has shuffled the company’s executives since taking over from Jack Dorsey, a founder. In December, Mr. Agrawal reorganized the leadership team and dismissed Dantley Davis, the chief design officer, and Michael Montano, the head of engineering.
Mr. Zatko joined Twitter in late 2020. He is a well-known hacker and has had a long career in government and private industry. Before taking on his role at Twitter, he held roles at DARPA, Google and Stripe. He began his cybersecurity career in the 1990s, when he was a member of the hacking group Cult of the Dead Cow. Twitter recruited him after teenagers compromised the company’s systems in July 2020 and took over the accounts of prominent users.
Ms. Sethi also joined Twitter after the hack and, alongside Mr. Zatko, was charged with improving the company’s security and protecting its user data. She was previously a vice president of information security at IBM and had worked in security at Intuit and Walmart.
Lea Kissner, Twitter’s head of privacy engineering, will become the company’s interim chief information security officer, according to current and former employees. They previously held security and privacy leadership roles at Google and Apple.
Two years into the pandemic, rundown bungalows command bidding wars, buyers keep snatching up places they’ve never seen, and homebuilders can’t find enough hardware. The median price for an American home is up nearly 20 percent in a year. The for-sale inventory is at a new low. And the hopeful buyers left on the sidelines have helped drive up rents instead.
There’s probably no quick reprieve coming, no rollback in stratospheric home prices if you can just wait a little longer to jump in, Emily Badger reports for The New York Times.
“It’s not a bubble, it really is about the fundamentals,” said Jenny Schuetz, a housing researcher at the Brookings Institution. “It really is about supply and demand — not enough houses, and huge numbers of people wanting homes.”
Today, first-time home buyers in once-affordable markets have competition that didn’t exist a generation ago: global capital, all-cash “iBuyers” that size up homes by algorithm, institutional investors renting single-family homes and smaller-scale investors running Airbnbs.
“It’s really hard for an owner-occupier to compete with the amount of money that’s flowing into this region,” said Dan Immergluck, a professor at Georgia State in Atlanta.
None of this is rooted in the kind of risky borrowing that inflated the housing bubble. Instead, new forces are at play:
Home buyers flush with pandemic savings and strong credit have been taking out conventional loans (if they’re taking out loans at all).
The rental market has experienced a rise in higher-income households, too, at a time when new household formation has also surged with young adults who began the pandemic by moving back home.
Local governments have further stymied new housing supply with zoning and building restrictions that will remain a problem even when home-building supply chain kinks resolve
Intel has will build a new $20 billion chip manufacturing complex in Ohio, ramping up an effort to increase U.S. production of computer chips as users grapple with a lingering shortage of the vital components. Intel said Friday that the new site near Columbus would initially have two chip factories and would directly employ 3,000 people while creating additional jobs in construction and at nearby businesses
Netflix said it had added 8.3 million subscribers in the fourth quarter, but was expecting growth to slow this year, prompting its stock to drop in after-hours trading on Thursday. The streaming giant now has 222 million subscribers worldwide. Netflix said that one reason for its depressed first-quarter forecast was that many new releases were scheduled for the end of the period.
Mustafa Suleyman, a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence, is leaving Google after a rocky tenure to join the venture capital firm Greylock Partners. Mr. Suleyman, who was Google’s vice president of product management and policy for artificial intelligence, joined Google in 2014 when the search giant acquired DeepMind, a cutting-edge artificial intelligence research lab.
JPMorgan Chase gave its chief executive, Jamie Dimon, a raise of almost 10 percent days after he said the bank had to spend more to retain top performers. Mr. Dimon’s 2021 compensation was $34.5 million, the company said in a filing on Thursday. That’s $3 million more than a year earlier, when he received no raise — but did get a midyear bonus in the form of stock options he can exercise in 2026.