Business briefing

The daily business briefing: December 19, 2022

Majority says in Twitter poll that Musk should step down, insurers limit coverage for firms with FTX exposure, and more

1

Users say in Twitter poll that Musk should step down

Twitter CEO Elon Musk tweeted Sunday that he was asking users in a poll whether he should continue as head of the social media platform, which he bought in October in a $44 billion deal. "Should I step down as head of Twitter? I will abide by the results of this poll," Musk tweeted. In a follow-up tweet, he added, "As the saying goes, be careful what you wish, as you might get it." As the poll closed Monday morning, 57.5 percent of participants had voted "yes," telling Musk to go. In the comments below his tweet, some users speculated that Musk decided to make the poll because Twitter investors from Saudi Arabia and Qatar told him to step down. 

2

Insurers limit coverage for crypto firms linked to FTX

Insurers have started withholding coverage from cryptocurrency companies with exposure to bankrupt crypto exchange FTX, Reuters reported Monday, citing several market participants. The insurers' efforts to protect themselves from fallout from FTX's implosion is leaving digital currency traders and exchanges without insurance for losses from hacks, theft, and lawsuits, Reuters' sources said. Specialists in the Lloyd's of London and Bermuda insurance markets are demanding more transparency about crypto firms' ties to FTX. The lack of cryptocurrency market regulation, along with the volatility of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, is adding to insurers' longstanding reluctance to issue policies protecting crypto assets, and directors and officers of crypto firms.

3

Stock futures rise after 2nd straight negative week

U.S. stock futures rose Monday after two straight weeks of losses fueled by concerns that the Federal Reserve's aggressive inflation-fighting interest rate hikes would trigger a recession. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up 0.3 percent at 6:30 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were up 0.4 percent. Last week's losses came after the Federal Reserve hiked its benchmark short-term interest rate by 50 basis points, a slowdown following four straight 75-basis-point increases. But the central bank also said it expects to push rates up to 5.1 percent next year, higher than economists previously predicted. Many investors fear with borrowing costs rising so high, the economy is bound to slip into a recession.

4

'Avatar: The Way of Water' leads the box office

Avatar: The Way of Water led the domestic box office with $134 million in North American ticket sales over its debut weekend, according to studio estimates released Sunday. It also brought in $300.5 million internationally. The film by director James Cameron tied The Batman for the fourth-biggest debut of 2022. Only Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ($187.4 million in May), Black Panther: Wakanda Forever ($181 million in November), and Thor: Love and Thunder ($144.2 million in July) did better this year. Avatar's opening weekend, the third-biggest global debut during the coronavirus pandemic, gave a boost to movie theaters but analysts had expected it to do even better, with some predicting a domestic haul of $150 million or more.

5

Twitter (briefly) bans links to rival social media sites

Twitter announced Sunday that it would bar users from directly posting links to rival social media websites, calling that "free promotion." Twitter said it would eliminate accounts created to promote rival sites, including Facebook, Instagram, Truth Social, Mastodon, Tribel, Post, and Nostr, but later deleted the blog post and tweets announcing the policy. Twitter also launched a poll asking whether it should impose such restrictions. The apparently short-lived ban covered tweets urging people to follow an account on one of these sites, or tweeting a direct link to one of these sites' accounts. Some Twitter users who left the platform or were kicked off after Elon Musk bought it in October have urged people to follow them on alternative platforms, such as Mastodon.

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