U.S. stocks enter a bear market
Wall Street stocks tumbled yesterday, with the S&P 500 falling 3.9 percent to close the day nearly 22 percent below its Jan. 3 peak. The steep decline — the seventh bear market in the past 50 years — is a rare and grim marker of investors’ concerns as a crucial report showed inflation accelerating and the World Bank issued a dire warning on global growth.
Together, the data undercut optimism that the Federal Reserve, as it raises interest rates, can keep price gains under control without damaging the American economy and sending ripples throughout the globe. This week, the Fed is likely to discuss making its biggest interest rate increase since 1994. It would be the third increase this year, making borrowing of all kinds more expensive.
Large stock declines like this one usually accompany a tectonic shift in the outlook for the economy and batter people’s retirement accounts. While one does not cause the other, recessions have historically followed bear markets.
Worrisome forecasts: Stocks could fall further as evidence of the economic trouble appears in corporate earnings, consumer spending and other data that show the worst expectations for the economy are being realized. The new wave of selling may not happen until closer to the end of the year.
Cryptocurrencies: Celsius Network on Sunday became the latest crypto venture to spiral into a crisis, announcing that it was freezing withdrawals “due to extreme market conditions.” Bitcoin is now at its lowest level since 2020.
Europe’s competing aims in Russia
As the leaders of France, Germany and Italy prepare to visit Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, for the first time since the war began, they and other Western politicians must decide whether to respond to Ukraine’s calls for more arms or to press harder for negotiations with Moscow to end the war. Follow the latest updates from the war.
The tactics that served Ukraine well early in the war have been less effective in the Donbas region in the east, where Russian forces are relying on their immense advantage in long-range artillery. They are poised to take the blasted city of Sievierodonetsk, the easternmost Ukrainian outpost, and are closing in on nearby Lysychansk.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, is insisting that his country regain every scrap of lost territory. But Ukrainian forces are running out of ammunition for their Soviet-era artillery, and Ukrainian officials contend that Russian artillery in the east is outfiring their own, 10 to 1. Western officials fear that a long war could bring in NATO countries and lead Russia to escalate its campaign.
Analysis: The divisions in Europe are a struggle between the eastern “justice party” that wants Russian forces pushed back and punished, and the western “peace party” that wants the war to end quickly, minimizing short-term damage, said Ivan Krastev, who leads the Center for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria.
In other news:
In the Ukrainian village of Husarivka, a Russian soldier’s burned corpse has drawn crowds. The Times reporter Thomas Gibbons-Neff, a former Marine, wrote about the urge to stare at war’s destruction.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed Taiwan to rethink its own military strategy against China and has served as a stark warning that the island may be inadequately prepared for a full-scale attack.
At home, Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, is fighting for his political survival. In Ukraine, he has been immortalized as a croissant.
Britain to fly refugees to Rwanda
The British government plans to proceed today with flying thousands of asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing and resettlement, after a court blocked two appeals to the contentious plan yesterday. The policy would apply to those who have arrived since January.
The ruling, which was decided by a three-judge panel on the appeals court, came after the High Court failed to pass an injunction against the proposed plan last week. Lord Justice Rabinder Singh of the Court of Appeal said in a statement that “applications for interim relief” would need to be considered case by case.
Care4Calais, one of the aid groups involved in the appeal, said that 23 people who were scheduled to leave on the first flight today had their tickets canceled. After the ruling, eight were still scheduled to leave, though a spokeswoman for the group hoped that appeals by individual passengers to have their tickets canceled would be successful.
Details: In 2021, over 28,500 people arrived in Britain in small boats crossing the English Channel, up from 8,466 in 2020, according to data published by the British Home Office.
Response: International rights experts and groups representing asylum seekers say that the hard-line policy violates Britain’s commitment to U.N.’s 1951 Refugee Convention, which requires that asylum seekers not be forcibly sent to unsafe areas. The U.N. has also denounced the policy.
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