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New York judge strikes down state mask mandate [NBC News]
Judge Thomas Rademaker of New York State Supreme Court on Long Island found that the state legislature last year curbed any governor's ability to issue decrees, such as a mask mandate, amid a declared state of emergency…. Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, vowed to fight back, saying in a statement, "We strongly disagree with this ruling, and we are pursuing every option to reverse this immediately."

IMF cuts 2022 global growth forecast as U.S., China recovery wanes [CNBC]
“The global economy enters 2022 in a weaker position than previously expected,” the report noted, highlighting “downside surprises” such as the emergence of the omicron Covid variant, and subsequent market volatility, since its October forecast…. The U.S. is expected to grow 4.0% in 2022, 1.2 percentage points lower than previously forecast as the Federal Reserve moves to withdraw its monetary stimulus, even as supply chain disruptions weigh on the economy. The updated outlook also removed President Biden’s signature Build Back Better fiscal policy package from its baseline projection after failure to pass the original bill.

Credit Suisse issues fourth-quarter profit warning as legal costs rise [CNBC]
The Swiss bank said a charge of roughly 500 million Swiss francs ($545 million) is expected to push its earnings to breakeven…. “These litigation provisions have been incurred in respect of a number of cases where the Group has more proactively pursued settlements and primarily relate to legacy litigation matters from our investment banking business….”
Switzerland’s second-largest lender also on Tuesday flagged a decline in trading revenues at its investment bank and wealth management businesses. It attributed this to both a seasonal slowdown and a “reversion to more normal trading conditions” after the unusually high volumes seen through 2020 and 2021.

‘Crypto Winter’ Fears Chill the Battered Bitcoin Faithful [Bloomberg]
Memories of 2018 are sparking fears that a repeat is playing out now after the world’s largest cryptocurrency plummeted 50% from its most recent high of almost $69,000 in November…. The pullback has hit all corners of the crypto ecosystem, from Bitcoin to memecoins and publicly listed crypto exchanges. While the collapse has been rattling enough on its own, it has spawned an even bigger concern that the pain may persist for many months, according to UBS….
Mentions of “crypto winter” and “crypto ice age” have flooded social media amid the latest drop.

Lee Enterprises asks investors to help fight off hedge fund [AP via Fox 42]
“A ‘Vulture Hedge Fund’ is seeking to acquire Lee at a steep discount. Don’t let it take value that belongs to you,” Lee said in its letter to shareholders…. Two other hedge funds that each hold more Lee stock than Alden — Cannell Capital and Praetorian Capital — have said they believe the company is worth much more than Alden is offering. Cannell holds 8.2% of Lee’s stock and Praetorian owns 7.3%.

Allianz Doubles Down on Alternatives After Hedge Fund Blowup [Bloomberg]
“Flirting with passive strategies wouldn’t be the first thing I would do,” Wimmer said in a wide-ranging interview last week. “But you don’t have to categorically rule out anything for the future….”
The potential fallout from the implosion of the Structured Alpha Funds notwithstanding, Allianz remains one of the potential consolidators as the asset management industry is forced to reduce costs to compete with cheaper, passive funds. Wimmer said while his priority is to grow Allianz’s asset management business organically, he wouldn’t rule out a deal.

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Wharton: Strangely silent on the whole matter. By WestCoastivieS (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

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