Week InReview
Friday | Nov 6, 2020
Room at the inn.
When cabin fever strikes, try a hotel. Hotel chains are renting rooms at day rates to at-home workers who seek privacy and quiet. Instead of a coffee break, take a lunchtime dip in the pool.

— The Wall Street Journal
let's recap...
Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell on Thursday said the pace of the economic recovery has moderated over the past few months and cautioned that the recent rise in coronavirus cases in the United States and around the world is “particularly concerning.” The Fed signaled that policymakers would stick to their current economic response, keeping interest rates near zero. Meanwhile, the nation waits for final election results, is gripped by a pandemic, and stares down an uncertain recovery. (The Washington Post | Nov 5)

The Treasury Department said Wednesday it will continue to shift government financing to longer-dated maturities over the coming quarter, but at a more moderate pace than earlier this year, as the government faces uncertain and potentially sizable borrowing needs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. (The Wall Street Journal | Nov 4)

Giant banks have racked up more than $4 billion in U.S. penalties in a wave of settlements weeks before the presidential election. That says a lot about an industry that once vowed to behave after the 2008 financial crisis — and about the regulatory risks it sees ahead. (Bloomberg Business | Nov 3)

The Securities and Exchange Commission adopted a rule to help companies raise capital without going public, the latest in a series of measures likely to further bolster private markets. Commissioners voted 3-2 to expand several exemptions to federal securities laws that require issuers to register with the SEC and publish financial statements and other key information before accepting investors’ money. (The Wall Street Journal | Nov 2)

As workers stay home and office buildings sit vacant, some see a new role for New York City’s business district — as a site for affordable housing. Similar scenes of silenced streets are playing out in downtown business districts across the U.S. and beyond as the fall pandemic inches towards record infection levels. (Bloomberg CityLaw | Nov 2)
FOMC rate decision, Powell news conference
(Nov 5) — Here are five key takeaways from the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee rate decision and Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s press conference:

  • The Fed didn’t break any new ground with regard to policy, leaving it as-is and making only minimal changes to their post-meeting statement. When the U.S. elections came up during the press conference, Powell said he didn’t want to comment.
  • Powell’s tone on the economy definitely sounded a bit more cautious than last time, however. He talked about the resurgence of coronavirus cases in the U.S. and the return of lockdowns in Europe, suggesting this wave may pose a bigger risk to the economy than the last one — in part because it’s coming as the weather gets colder and there will be fewer opportunities to socially distance while engaging in leisure-related spending.
  • The Fed chair said officials at today’s meeting had an extensive discussion about options for modifying their asset-purchase program. That’s potentially indicative of a coming shift at their next meeting in December.
  • Powell also said the Fed is “just now” turning to the question of whether the central bank’s emergency lending programs should be extended. Most of them are set to expire Dec. 31. He certainly had high praise for the work the facilities have done so far in keeping financial markets calm. Coupled with his comments on the virus, that could indicate the Fed sees value in extending them.
  • Powell also reiterated the need for more fiscal relief to combat the economic fallout from the pandemic, though he said it was up to Congress to determine the size and timing of additional action, and that it would be inappropriate for him to weigh in on those issues further.

Source: Matthew Boesler, Fed Reporter/Bloomberg Government
the cyber cafe
RegretLocker ransom note
Source: BleepingComputer
New RegretLocker ransomware targets Windows virtual machines
A new ransomware called RegretLocker uses a variety of advanced features that allows it to encrypt virtual hard drives and close open files for encryption. RegretLocker was discovered in October and is a simple ransomware in terms of appearance as it does not contain a long-winded ransom note and uses email for communication rather than a Tor payment site.

SEC chair emphasizes growing cyber risks
Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Jay Clayton said cyber incidents are increasing and that there have been denial-of-service attacks on the financial industry. Mr. Clayton said during an interview on CNBC’s Power Lunch that information sharing between financial firms and the government has prevented those attacks from spreading.

6 cybersecurity lessons from 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic and the newly distributed workforce that it engendered upended security strategies and forced a rethink of approaches to securing remote workers and supply chains at many companies. Here, according to a half-dozen security experts, are the six main takeaways from 2020 for cybersecurity practitioners.
binge reading disorder
A room, a bar and a school. Graphics show how the coronavirus spreads.
The risk of contagion is highest in indoor spaces but can be reduced by applying all available measures to combat infection via aerosols. Here is an overview of the likelihood of infection in three everyday scenarios, based on the safety measures used and the length of exposure.
— El Pais

Who owns the stock market?
Have you ever wondered who actually owns the stock market? Now we know, thanks to a new piece from the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

Why social media is so good at polarizing us
Mathematicians are teaming up with political scientists to create models of how social media divides us, and results suggest at least one popular solution might actually make the problem worse.
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