Business briefing

The daily business briefing: December 23, 2022

Bankman-Fried released on record $250 million bond, the Senate passes a $1.7 trillion spending deal, and more

1

Bankman-Fried released under house arrest on record $250 million bond

New York City Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein on Thursday approved the release of disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried on a $250 million bond signed by his parents, who agreed to keep him at their California home pending his trial for fraud and other charges related to his collapsed cryptocurrency platform. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicolas Roos said Bankman-Fried, 30, swindled investors and looted customer accounts in "a fraud of epic proportions." The $250 million bond is "believed to be the largest federal pretrial bond ever," The Associated Press reported. Bankman-Fried also must observe strict terms during the house arrest at his parents' Palo Alto, California, home.

2

Senate passes massive $1.7 trillion spending bill

The Senate on Thursday approved the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending deal ahead of a weekend deadline to avert a partial government shutdown. The Senate passed the bill, which will keep federal agencies funded through the 2023 fiscal year ending Sept. 30, in a 68-29 vote after a delay by Republican senators who tried to include a provision preserving the Trump-era Title 42 immigration policy. The House is expected to provide final approval on Friday. The deal includes an increase in defense spending, an increase in domestic spending, which Democrats wanted, and $45 billion in aid for Ukraine. "The range of people it helps is large indeed," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.

3

Stock futures rise after Thursday's selloff

U.S. stock futures rebounded somewhat early Friday after Thursday's plunge. The S&P 500 and the Dow were up 0.4 percent at 6:30 a.m. ET. The Nasdaq was up 0.5 percent. Stocks fell sharply on Thursday after economic data showed that the labor market and economic growth were stronger than expected, intensifying concerns that the Federal Reserve won't succeed in cooling the economy without raising interest rates high enough to trigger a recession. The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.5 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively, on Thursday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq plunged 2.2 percent. Wall Street had rallied a day earlier on signs that consumers were gaining confidence.

4

Winter storm forces airlines to cancel thousands of flights

Airlines canceled more than 2,400 flights to, from, or within the United States on Thursday as a severe winter storm threatened much of the country with freezing temperatures, strong winds, and heavy snow through the Christmas weekend. Airlines then canceled another 2,300-plus flights scheduled for Friday, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware. The disruptions came during one of the year's busiest travel weeks. United Airlines said it expected to carry an average of 440,000 passengers daily from Dec. 22 to Jan. 9, beating its Thanksgiving numbers. More than 2.4 million people passed through U.S. airports on Wednesday, an increase over the same weekday in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing Transportation Security Administration statistics.

5

Target recalls weighted blankets after 2 children suffocate

Target stores are recalling more than 200,000 weighted children's blankets after reports that two girls, ages 4 and 6, died while entrapped in the blanket's cover in April 2022 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Target has also received reports of two other children getting stuck inside the same cover. The recall affects Pillowfort brand blankets sold by Target from December 2018 through September 2022. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Target say customers should stop using the recalled blankets immediately and return them for a refund because children can unzip the covers and enter the blankets, potentially trapping themselves inside and suffocating.

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