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Russia’s Rating Cut by Fitch, Seeing ‘Imminent’ Bond Default [Bloomberg Quint]
The company cut Russia’s rating by six notches to C, just one step above borrowers who have already been driven into default, it said in a statement Tuesday.
“The ‘C’ rating reflects Fitch’s view that a sovereign default is imminent,” it said. “The further ratcheting up of sanctions, and proposals that could limit trade in energy, increase the probability of a policy response by Russia that includes at least selective non-payment of its sovereign debt obligations.”

A Two-Year, 50-Million-Person Experiment in Changing How We Work [NYT]
“The only thing holding back flexible work arrangements was a failure of imagination,” said Joan Williams, director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings. “That failure was remedied in three weeks’ time in March 2020….”
“There’s not much point in returning to the office if we’re just going back to the old boys’ club,” said Keren Gifford, 37, an information technology worker in Pittsburgh who has not yet been required to return to her office. “What a relief not to have to go in day after day, week after week, and fail at making friends and having fun.”

Employers are still scrambling to fill vacancies, a new U.S. report shows. [NYT]
The prevailing environment is likely to increase the price of labor — a welcome development for workers who have dealt with stagnant wages and a lack of power for decades, and an unsettling one for employers as high inflation increases the cost of doing business…. Fed data shows that median annual pay increases in the American labor market have been well within the range — 3 to 7 percent — that prevailed from the 1980s until the 2007-9 recession.

Aravt Global Shutting Down as Hedge Funds Get Hit by Unraveling of ‘Growth Trade’ [WSJ]
Aravt’s hedge fund lost 8.5% in 2021 and was down by double digits this year through February—in line with the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite’s 12% loss including dividends for the period…. “When we launched in 2014, I made a promise to return capital if I ever lost conviction in our ability to deliver superior absolute returns sustainably. I believe our flagship long/short equity strategy has reached that point,” [founder Yen] Liow, 50, wrote in a letter to investors dated Feb. 28 that was viewed by The Wall Street Journal. He wrote that “structural shifts in the market” would require Aravt to change how it manages its portfolio in ways he wasn’t sure would position the fund for strong performance. He didn’t say what the market shifts were.

Amazon announces 20-for-1 stock split, $10 billion buyback [CNBC]
Andy Jassy, Amazon’s CEO, has faced a rough start to his tenure, which began in July. The stock was the worst performer among Big Tech companies last year and has dropped 16% so far in 2022, joining a decline across the sector. Amazon just reported its slowest rate of growth for any quarter since 2001 and, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report, billionaire activist investor Dan Loeb, who’s been adding to his Amazon holdings, told investors on a private call that he sees about $1 trillion in untapped value at the company.

Bank of New York Mellon Chief Executive Todd Gibbons to Step Down [WSJ]
[Robin] Vince, one of Mr. Gibbons’s key hires following his promotion to CEO, joined BNY Mellon in October 2020 as vice chair and head of the bank’s market-infrastructure businesses. The 50-year-old executive had retired from Goldman in 2019 as the firm’s chief risk officer…. The Wall Street veteran, who worked his way up from money-market trader at Goldman, has the intellect and temperament to succeed in running what regulators consider one of the eight U.S.-based systemically important financial institutions, said Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman’s former chairman and chief executive.

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