Best cities for vegans and vegetarians in 2022

October 1 is World Vegetarian Day, and the ideal places to live if you practice a plant-based diet may be on the west coast.

Wallethub’s Best Cities for Vegans and Vegetarians in 2022 ranked 100 of the largest U.S. cities based on three qualifying categories of equal weight:

  • Affordability
  • Diversity, accessibility and quality
  • Vegetarian lifestyle

The survey considered factors like the average vegetable and fruit consumption and the city’s ranking on GrubHub’s list of cities most likely to order vegetarian or vegan.

For diversity, accessibility and quality, WalletHub examined the share of restaurants serving vegan and vegetarian options, access to fresh vegetarian food and even vegetarian cooking classes per capita.

No. 1 best city for vegans and vegetarians: Portland, Oregon

Though Portland didn’t rank in the top 20 for affordability or vegetarian lifestyle, its diversity, accessibility and quality is what helped “The City of Roses” secure the overall top spot. 

The west coast city was among the top five places with the highest farmers markets, vegetable nurseries and community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs per capita.

The 10 best cities for vegans and vegetarians

  1. Portland, Oregon
  2. Orlando, Florida
  3. Los Angeles, California
  4. Phoenix, Arizona
  5. Austin, Texas
  6. Seattle, Washington 
  7. San Francisco, California
  8. Tampa, Florida
  9. San Diego, California
  10. Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky

Orlando’s diversity, accessibility and quality propelled the city to second place on the list.

The city’s high number of salad shops and juice and smoothie bars upped its vegetarian offerings for people on a plant-based diet.

But most cities in California, including L.A. which came in third place, ranked high because they have great options for a vegetarian lifestyle including vegan and vegetarian festivals or meetups.

When ranking for affordability, the report reviewed the cost of groceries for vegetarians, the average meal cost and the availability of affordable but highly rated restaurants that serve vegan and vegetarian options. 

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Dodge tries to convert its muscle car fans from V-8 engine to EV

Will Dodge's electric muscle car satisfy its die-hard fans?

Since the Dodge Charger was reintroduced in 2006, Dodge has been building a reputation for making muscle cars with big engines and bold and bright paint jobs.

But it plans to discontinue the gas-powered Challenger and Charger and the V-8 hemi engines that power some of the most popular versions.

Dodge’s recently debuted fully electric Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept is its attempt to retain the muscle car identity in an era when it’s becoming ever more challenging to sell a gas-guzzling sports car.

In fact, it’s becoming more challenging to sell a car at all. SUVs and trucks are taking over the American vehicle market. RBC Capital estimates that Dodge’s sister brands Jeep and Ram account for 50% of parent company Stellantis’ profits.

Meanwhile the many fans of Dodge’s powerful but fuel-thirsty muscle cars are making peace with the apparent end of an era.

Watch the video to learn more.

Underperformance is ‘abysmal’ in the long run for active fund managers

ETF Edge, September 26, 2022

The S&P 500 may be trading around 2022 lows, but a new report finds active managers are having their best year since 2009. The numbers suggest they still have a long way to go, though.

S&P Global recently published its Mid-Year 2022 SPIVA U.S. Scorecard, which measures how well U.S. actively managed funds perform against certain benchmarks. The study found that 51% of large-cap domestic equity funds performed worse than the S&P 500 in the first half of 2022, on track for its best rate in 13 years — down from an 85% underperformance rate last year.

This is partially due to the declining market, said Anu Ganti, senior director of index investment strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices. Ganti told CNBC’s Bob Pisani on “ETF Edge” this week that losses across stocks and fixed income, as well as rising risks and inflation, have made active management skills more valuable this year.

Despite the promising numbers, long-term underperformance remains, as Pisani noted, “abysmal.” After five years, the percentage of large caps underperforming benchmarks is 84%, and this grows to 90% and 95% after 10 and 20 years respectively.

The first half of the year was also disappointing for growth managers, as 79%, 84% and 89% of large-, small- and mid-cap growth categories, respectively, underperformed.

Underperformance rates

Ganti said underperformance rates remain high because active managers historically have had higher costs than passive managers. Because stocks are not normally distributed, active portfolios are often hindered by the dominant winners in equity markets.

Additionally, managers compete against each other, which makes it much harder to generate alpha — in the 1960s, active managers had an information edge since the market was dominated by retail investors, but today, active managers primarily compete against professional managers. Other factors include the sheer frequency of trades and the unpredictability of the future.

“When we talk about fees, that can work against performance, but it sure helps by putting feet on the ground and putting up a bunch of ads all over the place where you may not see that as much in ETFs,” said Tom Lydon, vice chairman of VettaFi.

Lydon added that there are not enough ETFs in 401(k) plans, which is where a lot of active managers are — 75 cents of every dollar going into Fidelity funds goes in via 401(k) plans. The 401(k) business is dominated by people who make money from large trades, in contrast to low-cost ETFs that don’t make much. With $400 billion in new assets coming into ETFs this year and $120 billion coming out of mutual funds, it may take a long time until those lines cross.

“We’re going to have one of those years where equity markets may be down, fixed income markets may be down, and active managers may have to go into low cost basis stock to sell them to meet redemptions, which is going to create year-end capital gains distributions,” Lydon said. “You don’t want, in a year where you’ve been the one to hang out, to get a year-end present that’s unexpected and unwanted.”

‘Survivorship bias’

Another component of the study is the “survivorship bias,” in which losing funds that are merged or liquidated don’t show up in indexes, and thus the rate of survivorship is skewed. The study accounted for the entire opportunity set, including these failed funds, to account for this bias.

Thus, Lydon said, amid periods of market pullback, investors should adopt a longer-term outlook and try not to be a “stock jockey,” since the best manager today may not be the best in the long run.

8 new movies and shows hitting Netflix, HBO and more this October

Movie theaters are exiting their late-summer doldrums and ‘House of the Dragon’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ are dominating the pop culture landscape, but there’s still plenty of great new content coming to streaming this October.

Netflix, HBO and other streamers have lined up a diverse slate of movies and shows for the month, with many saving their spookiest content for the Halloween season.

If you’re looking to fill up your October viewing schedule or just need a break from Middle-Earth and Westeros, here are 8 new movies and shows coming out this month.

‘Interview with the Vampire’ (Oct. 2, AMC+)

The TV remake of the 1994 Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise vehicle stars “Game of Thrones” actor Jacob Anderson as the titular vampire. The series has already been renewed for a season 2.

‘Werewolf By Night’ (Oct. 7, Disney+)

‘Catherine, Called Birdy’ (Oct. 7, Prime Video)

Set in medieval England, the Lena Dunham-written-and-directed film follows “Game of Thrones” alumna Bella Ramsey as the daughter of a lord trying to foil his plans to marry her off.

‘Avenue 5’ Season 2 (Oct. 10, HBO Max)

The space-set comedy series from “Veep” creator Armando Iannucci is back for a second season, promising more interstellar hijinks from the passengers of the interplanetary cruise ship that saw its voyage knocked off course and its return to Earth pushed years into the future.

‘Halloween Ends’ (Oct. 14, In theaters and on Peacock)

Jamie Lee Curtis returns for the finale of the rebooted “Halloween” trilogy, which will see Laurie Strode confront the evil Michael Myers once and for all.

‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ (Oct. 28, Netflix)

Netflix’s remake of the 1930 classic follows a young soldier as he confronts the horrors of battle during World War I.

‘Big Mouth’ Season 6 (Oct. 28, Netflix)

The long-running raunchy animated series returns for its 6th season at the end of the month, with teaser trailers promising to continue storylines first explored in the spinoff series “Human Resources”.

‘The White Lotus’ Season 2 (Oct. 30, HBO Max)

How a 26-year-old graduate student making $32,000/year spends his money

Recession could be big obstacle for Starbucks, Amazon unions

American businesses see push to unionize in light of recession fears

The union movement that kicked off across the country more than a year ago has continued its momentum in 2022, with workers in warehouses, coffee shops, grocery stores and airlines pushing for representation.

Working conditions during the pandemic pushed many of these frontline workers to organize, but fears about the economy and a potential recession could stand to curb the union boom if the job market shifts.

Unions can help workers secure better pay, schedules and job security through contract agreements, but some organizers claim their employers retaliate against them and endanger their livelihoods.

Workers like Robert “Rab” Bradlea, 32, are willing to take on this risk, despite recession talk. Bradlea scaled back his hours at Trader Joe’s Wine Store in New York City and picked up a second job as he and some of his coworkers sought to unionize.

Bradlea said the move to organize under the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union had the support of most of his coworkers. Some opposed joining a union, either because of previous experience or fear of losing their jobs. But Bradley thought only he and his fellow organizers were putting themselves at risk.

“I thought they would look for ‘bad apples’ and weed out organizers specifically, rather than torch an entire store,” Bradlea said.

Instead, before the beloved wine store could even file a petition for a union election, Trader Joe’s abruptly closed the location on Aug. 11, telling employees that same day. Trader Joe’s spokesperson Nakia Rohde said in a statement to CNBC that the grocer opted to close the “underperforming” store to support its Union Square grocery store using the wine shop’s space ahead of the holiday season.

2022’s union boom

“Right now in the retail space, we have so many more jobs than we do workers, and that puts disproportionate power in our hands right now because the company needs them almost as much as we need them,” said Hannah Smith, an employee at the recently unionized REI store in Berkeley, California.

REI did not respond to a request for comment from CNBC.

The shift in the balance of power has led some employers to hike pay and enhance other benefits. For example, Amazon said on Wednesday that it’s hiking average hourly pay from $18 to more than $19 for warehouse and delivery workers. The announcement comes ahead of its annual Prime Day promotion and a busy holiday season, as well as a union election in Albany next month.

As the Federal Reserve continues to aggressively raise interest rates to fight inflation and cool down the economy, market watchers, economists and executives are warning of a potential recession in 2023. If the economy cools off, the union movement may follow suit, according to Catherine Creighton, director of Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relations branch in Buffalo. But it seems unlikely in the short term.

“I think it will certainly make it more difficult if we do have a recession, where it’s harder for employees to find other employment, they [may] be less likely to take the risk of unionization,” Creighton said. “I don’t see that we are in that position at this point, because employers are still having a really hard time filling jobs, the baby boomers have retired and all evidence points to the fact that the labor market is going to be favorable to employees in the near future.”

For now, advocates believe the momentum will be hard to slow down. Whether it’s petitions or other wins, like a California law that creates a council to govern the fast-food industry labor conditions, 2022 has been a banner year for organizing.

“I think it’s the collective action that you’re seeing that isn’t going to get stopped by whatever the recessionary forces are, because working people have walked through fire during this pandemic, showed up every day to work, in many cases risk their lives,” said Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union. “And they’re ready to expect more in their work life and demand dignity and respect on the job.”

Starbucks petitions slow down

Since interim CEO Howard Schultz returned to the company in April, Starbucks has adopted a more aggressive strategy to oppose the union push and invest in its workers.

In May, the company announced enhanced pay hikes for non-unionized stores and extra training for baristas that went into effect in August after holding feedback sessions with its employees. The union has said the coffee giant is illegally withholding the benefits from cafes, but Starbucks maintains it cannot offer new benefits without negotiations for union shops. Legal experts predict the benefits battle will wind up before the NLRB.

“Our focus is on working directly with our partners to reimagine the future of Starbucks. We respect our partners rights to organize but believe that working directly together – without a 3rd party – is the best way to elevate the partner experience at Starbucks,” Starbucks spokesperson Reggie Borges told CNBC.

Tyler Keeling works as barista trainer at a Starbucks in Lakewood, California, which has voted to unionize, and also is organizing other stores with Starbucks Workers United. He said the additional benefits not being offered to unionized stores has both intimidated and motivated people, and that better pay is important in this economic climate.

“People are seeing that Starbucks is willing to kind of mess with their livelihood to prevent this union, and that scares people. But at the end of the day, as far as it is driving people to not organize, it’s also driving people to organize,” Keeling said.

He added that he believes once the union makes continued progress on having fired workers reinstated and is successful in having benefits extended to union stores, there will be more headway made on petitions.

And stores are still pushing for more despite the threat of a looming recession. Billie Adeosun, Starbucks barista and organizer in Olympia, Washington, said unionizing is a “big risk,” claiming losing your job is a “real possibility,” but the prospect of successful contract negotiations with better pay and benefits is a motivator.

“Most of us make $15 to $18 an hour and none of us are working 40 hours a week, and that’s just not a living wage,” Adeosun said. “A lot of us have to get a second job or rely on government assistance to pay our bills, so yeah, we are terrified to be doing this work in spite of the economy and the fact that it is just falling apart right in front of us.”

About 240 locations out of its 9,000 company-owned cafes have voted to unionize as of Sept. 22, according to the National Labor Relations Board. But contract negotiations could help or hinder the push to unionize the nation’s largest coffee chain.

Hannah Whitbeck (C) of Ann Arbor, Michigan, speaks as Alydia Claypool (L) of Overland Park, Kansas, and Michael Vestigo (R) of Kansas City, Kansas, all of whom say they were fired by Starbucks, listen during the “Fight Starbucks’ Union Busting” rally and march in Seattle, Washington, on April 23, 2022.

Jason Redmond | AFP | Getty Images

BTIG analyst Peter Saleh said signs of progress on a contract between the union and Starbucks could be one catalyst to reaccelerate organizing. On the other hand, if they don’t reach an agreement, workers can vote to decertify the union after a year.

So far, Starbucks has only begun negotiating with three stores, two in New York and one in Arizona. But the company said Monday that it sent letters to 238 cafes offering a three-week window in October to start negotiations.

And despite the petition slowdown at Starbucks, organizers’ success has inspired workers elsewhere, like Bradlea, the Trader Joe’s employee.

“Their stores are about the same number people as the Trader Joe’s wine store. This is doable, and they’re succeeding at it,” he said.

Power in the balance

Monkeypox unlikely to be eliminated in the U.S., CDC says

The monkeypox virus is unlikely to be eliminated from the U.S. in the near future, according to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week.

The CDC, in a technical brief, said the outbreak is slowing as the availability of vaccines has increased, people have become more aware of how to avoid infection, and immunity has likely increased among gay and bisexual men, the group most impacted by the virus.

But low-level transmission of the virus could continue indefinitely among men who have sex with other men, according to the report. The CDC said it does not have a projection of how many total people might get infected by the virus.

The Biden administration declared a public health emergency in August in an effort to ramp up vaccines, testing, treatment and community outreach in an effort to eradicate the virus from the U.S.

The U.S. is trying to contain the largest monkeypox outbreak in the world, with nearly 26,000 cases reported across all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico, according to CDC data. At least two people have died from the disease in the U.S., according to the data.

The global monkeypox outbreak, the largest in history, is highly unusual because the virus is circulating widely in countries where it is not normally found. Historically, monkeypox has circulated in remote parts of West and Central Africa. In that context, people normally caught the virus from animals. There was little spread between people.

Monkeypox is now spreading widely between people, mostly through close contact during sex among gay and bisexual men. The disease is rarely fatal, but patients develop lesions resembling blisters in sensitive areas that are extremely painful. In some cases, the pain is so great people require hospitalization and in rare instances people with weak immune systems have died.

The CDC, in its report, said the virus is still spreading primarily among men who have sex with men. But anyone can catch the virus through close contact with someone who is infected or with contaminated materials. Health authorities have confirmed 29 cases of children catching the virus to date, and 78 total pediatric cases are under investigation as of late September.

Though 96% of patients are men, 408 women have caught the virus to date in the U.S. Four pregnant women and one who was breastfeeding have caught monkeypox.

The CDC said the percentage of patients who identify as gay or bisexual men has declined over time, with 75% of people who provided recent sexual history reporting male-to-male contact.

But a large number of cases are missing data on sexual history and more than 90% of infections are among males, according to CDC. The decline in the percentage of cases reporting male-to-male sexual contact is likely due to missing data rather than a change in how the virus is spreading, according to the public health agency.

The CDC said the outbreak will likely remain concentrated among men who have sex with men over the long term, with infections continuing to decline over the coming weeks and dropping significantly over the next several months.

More than 684,000 people have received the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine so far. Earlier this week, the CDC reported preliminary data indicating that the vaccine is providing at least some protection against infection. The vaccination campaign is primarily focused on gay and bisexual men.

The outbreak could start accelerating again if the virus starts spreading widely among the U.S. population through heterosexual networks or contact that doesn’t involve sex, according to CDC. But there is no country in the current global outbreak that has found clear evidence of sustained spread of the virus outside sexual networks of gay and bisexual men, according to the CDC.

The public health agency also warned that the virus could start spreading faster again among people if it becomes established in an animal population in the U.S. The CDC said it is unknown which animals in North America are most susceptible to infection.

In Africa, the virus mostly spread from animals to people. If monkeypox becomes established in animals in the U.S., it would be very difficult to eradicate.

The 10 least popular U.S. states to move to in 2022

A recently released report, moveBuddha, a relocation tech company, ranked the least popular states to move to in 2022.

The 2022 Mid-Year Migration Report used data collected from January 1 to July 5, 2022, via the company’s moving cost calculator.

moveBuddha compared the inflow to the outflow of people state to state to see which places are gaining new residents and which are losing their current population.

No. 1 least popular state to move to in 2022: New Jersey

The 10 least popular states to move to in 2022:

Canned cocktails get more popular as hard seltzer fizzles

Boxes of Cutwater Tiki Rum Mai Tai canned cocktails in a retail store in Pleasant Hill, California, February 11, 2022.

Gado | Archive Photos | Getty Images

Hard seltzer has lost its fizz. Now canned cocktails are all the buzz.

Also known as ready-to-drink, or RTD, cocktails, the canned drinks were the fastest-growing spirits category last year, with $1.6 billion in revenue. That’s a 42% percent increase from the year before, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. To compare, sales of hard seltzer declined 5.5% in the past year, according to data from NielsenIQ, a market research firm.

More beer companies are getting in on the canned-cocktail craze, too, churning out premixed versions of margaritas, pina coladas and daiquiris.

On Thursday, Molson Coors — the brewer of Coors Light, Miller Lite and Blue Moon — announced it’s developing Topo Chico Spirited, a new line of canned cocktails made with spirits like tequila and vodka. The company hasn’t revealed what three flavors will be hitting shelves next year in markets across the U.S., but said the beverages will be modeled after “familiar cocktails” already found in “bar and restaurant menus.”

In a recent report, DISCUS shed light on why so many companies, especially legacy beer manufacturers, are entering the space. The report found 94% of consumers choose RTDs because they offer their preferred flavor choice, and 92% said it was because they were convenient. Eighty-two percent said, simply, it’s because they taste better than beer.

“American consumers are increasingly prioritizing convenience, taste, variety and quality in their choice of beverages,” said Robert Blizzard, a partner at the research firm Public Opinion Strategies, which collaborated with DISCUS on the report.

Though the market for canned cocktails still accounts for a relatively small percentage of total liquor sales in the U.S.— just 4.6% in 2021, the report found — the category’s expected to see more growth as beer companies continue to enter the space and offer consumers even more variety in full-flavor cocktails they can drink at home or on-the-go, without mixing and measuring. (Beer sales haven’t declined, according to DISCUS, but the drink is losing market share.)

Over the summer, Heineken along with tequila maker Dos Equis, debuted a classic-style margarita canned cocktail made with Blanco Tequila and lime juice.

“Bringing a big brand into a fast-growing category where not all the brands are immediately recognizable is a big opportunity,” said Heineken Chief Marketing Officer Jonnie Cahill.

Cahill said the cocktail is a hit.

“The rate of sale per store is beating our expectations. It’s almost double what we expected,” Cahill said, adding that the company hopes to expand to more states and introduce more flavors following this “promising start.”

The world’s largest brewer, Budweiser owner Anheuser-Busch Inbev, is also enjoying success with its foray into the space. The beer maker — also known for its Stella Artois and Michelob Ultra brands — announced in March it would be expanding its “beyond beer” portfolio through its acquisition of Cutwater Spirits. Its three new cocktails include ranch water, rum-based mojito and vodka soda.

Fabricio Zonzini, the president of Anheuser-Busch’s beyond beer unit, said that while the company hasn’t given up on hard seltzer “fast-growing RTD spirits continue to become a bigger focus area for us, with Cutwater being our top priority.” 

Hard times for hard seltzer

Beer companies have their sights set on spirits as sales for hard seltzers, which typically contain malt-based alcohol, taper off.

Chris Swonger, the CEO of DISCUS, said more beer companies “recognize that beverage alcohol consumers are gravitating toward spirits and choosing convenient ready-to-drink products made with premium spirits.”

The DISCUS report found that for the 12th consecutive year, these spirits and others gained market share over beer and wine, rising 1.7 points to 41.3% of the total beverage alcohol market.

Boston Beer Chair Jim Koch said in an interview on CNBC’s “Closing Bell” last year that the boom for hard seltzer “wasn’t going to grow forever.”

Boston Beer CEO: Hard seltzer wasn't gonna grow forever and frankly, we overbought

At the time, Boston Beer, which is known for Sam Adams, was forced to throw away millions of cases of excess supply of its Truly hard seltzer, the biggest competitor of Mark Anthony Group’s White Claw, citing slowing sales across the industry. The company, which also makes Angry Orchard, said it “overbought” materials for its Truly hard seltzer.

“Hard seltzer’s lost its novelty as consumers have been distracted by many new beyond-beer products entering a hyper crowded marketplace,” Boston Beer CEO Dave Burwick said in a July conference call with investors.

Still, some companies think there’s hope for hard seltzer. While Molson Coors is ramping up its efforts in the canned cocktails space, there’s room for both its Topo Chico hard seltzers and its Topo Chico Spirited line, according to executive David Coors.

“I think [hard seltzer’s] proven to have staying power. I think it’s proven that it’s a large, sizable and stable category,” he said.

‘The Fed is breaking things’ – Here’s what has Wall Street on edge as risks rise around the world

Jerome Powell, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, during a Fed Listens event in Washington, D.C., US, on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022.

Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

As the Federal Reserve ramps up efforts to tame inflation, sending the dollar surging and bonds and stocks into a tailspin, concern is rising that the central bank’s campaign will have unintended and potentially dire consequences.

Markets entered a perilous new phase in the past week, one in which statistically unusual moves across asset classes are becoming commonplace. The stock selloff gets most of the headlines, but it is in the gyrations and interplay of the far bigger global markets for currencies and bonds where trouble is brewing, according to Wall Street veterans.

After being criticized for being slow to recognize inflation, the Fed has embarked on its most aggressive series of rate hikes since the 1980s. From near-zero in March, the Fed has pushed its benchmark rate to a target of at least 3%. At the same time, the plan to unwind its $8.8 trillion balance sheet in a process called “quantitative tightening,” or QT — allowing proceeds from securities the Fed has on its books to roll off each month instead of being reinvested — has removed the largest buyer of Treasurys and mortgage securities from the marketplace.  

“The Fed is breaking things,” said Benjamin Dunn, a former hedge fund chief risk officer who now runs consultancy Alpha Theory Advisors. “There’s really nothing historical you can point to for what’s going on in markets today; we are seeing multiple standard deviation moves in things like the Swedish krona, in Treasurys, in oil, in silver, like every other day. These aren’t healthy moves.”

Dollar’s warning

For now, it is the once-in-a-generation rise in the dollar that has captivated market observers. Global investors are flocking to higher-yielding U.S. assets thanks to the Fed’s actions, and the dollar has gained in strength while rival currencies wilt, pushing the ICE Dollar Index to the best year since its inception in 1985.

“Such U.S. dollar strength has historically led to some kind of financial or economic crisis,” Morgan Stanley chief equity strategist Michael Wilson said Monday in a note. Past peaks in the dollar have coincided with the the Mexican debt crisis of the early 1990s, the U.S. tech stock bubble of the late 90s, the housing mania that preceded the 2008 financial crisis and the 2012 sovereign debt crisis, according to the investment bank.

The dollar is helping to destabilize overseas economies because it increases inflationary pressures outside the U.S., Barclays global head of FX and emerging markets strategy Themistoklis Fiotakis said Thursday in a note.

The “Fed is now in overdrive and this is supercharging the dollar in a way which, to us at least, was hard to envisage” earlier, he wrote. “Markets may be underestimating the inflationary effect of a rising dollar on the rest of the world.”

It is against that strong dollar backdrop that the Bank of England was forced to prop up the market for its sovereign debt on Wednesday. Investors had been dumping U.K. assets in force starting last week after the government unveiled plans to stimulate its economy, moves that run counter to fighting inflation.

The U.K. episode, which made the Bank of England the buyer of last resort for its own debt, could be just the first intervention a central bank is forced to take in coming months.

Repo fears

`Expect a tsunami’

The second worry is that whipsawing markets will expose weak hands among asset managers, hedge funds or other players who may have been overleveraged or took unwise risks. While a blow-up could be contained, it’s possible that margin calls and forced liquidations could further roil markets.

“When you have the dollar spike, expect a tsunami,” Connors said. “Money floods one area and leaves other assets; there’s a knock-on effect there.”

The rising correlation among assets in recent weeks reminds Dunn, the ex-risk officer, of the period right before the 2008 financial crisis, when currency bets imploded, he said. Carry trades, which involve borrowing at low rates and reinvesting in higher-yielding instruments, often with the help of leverage, have a history of blow ups.

“The Fed and all the central bank actions are creating the backdrop for a pretty sizable carry unwind right now,” Dunn said.

The stronger dollar also has other impacts: It makes wide swaths of dollar-denominated bonds issued by non-U.S. players harder to repay, which could pressure emerging markets already struggling with inflation. And other nations could offload U.S. securities in a bid to defend their currencies, exacerbating moves in Treasurys.

So-called zombie companies that have managed to stay afloat because of the low interest rate environment of the past 15 years will likely face a “reckoning” of defaults as they struggle to tap more expensive debt, according to Deutsche Bank strategist Tim Wessel.

Wessel, a former New York Fed employee, said that he also believes it’s likely that the Fed will need to halt its QT program. That could happen if funding rates spike, but also if the banking industry’s reserves decline too much for the regulator’s comfort, he said.

Fear of the unknown

Still, just as no one anticipated that an obscure pension fund trade would ignite a cascade of selling that cratered British bonds, it is the unknowns that are most concerning, says Wessel. The Fed is “learning in real time” how markets will react as it attempts to rein in the support its given since the 2008 crisis, he said.

“The real worry is that you don’t know where to look for these risks,” Wessel said. “That’s one of the points of tightening financial conditions; it’s that people that got over-extended ultimately pay the price.”

Ironically, it is the reforms that came out of the last global crisis that have made markets more fragile. Trading across asset classes is thinner and easier to disrupt after U.S. regulators forced banks to pull back from proprietary trading activities, a dynamic that JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has repeatedly warned about.

Regulators did that because banks took on excessive risk before the 2008 crisis, assuming that ultimately they’d be bailed out. While the reforms pushed risk out of banks, which are far safer today, it has made central banks take on much more of the burden of keeping markets afloat.

With the possible exception of troubled European firms like Credit Suisse, investors and analysts said there is confidence that most banks will be able to withstand market turmoil ahead.

What is becoming more apparent, however, is that it will be difficult for the U.S. — and other major economies — to wean themselves off the extraordinary support the Fed has given it in the past 15 years. It’s a world that Allianz economic advisor Mohamed El-Erian derisively referred to as a “la-la land” of central bank influence.

“The problem with all this is that it’s their own policies that created the fragility, their own policies that created the dislocations and now we’re relying on their policies to address the dislocations,” Peter Boockvar of Bleakley Financial Group said. “It’s all quite a messed-up world.”

Correction: An earlier version misstated the process of quantitative tightening.

How to perfectly time your new omicron-specific Covid booster

If you’re not one of the 7.6 million Americans who have already gotten the updated omicron-specific Covid booster, you might still be debating one key question: When should I get it?

Experts say most people should get the new booster as soon as possible — particularly ahead of the late fall and winter months, when cases are expected to surge. Last year, cases began to rise in November as cold, dry weather made it easier for the virus to spread. They soared through the end of the year, reaching a peak around mid-January.

Vaccine protection slowly ramps up over two or three weeks post-injection: If you get your shot on October 1, you can probably expect its defenses to be fully kicked in by mid- or late-month. That protection typically lasts about three or four months before beginning to wane.

That’s useful knowledge — but even so, there’s no perfect singular date for booking your booster appointment. It depends on when you last got a Covid vaccine, how recently you were infected with Covid and whether you’re at high risk of severe illness from the virus.

Here’s what you need to know:

If you haven’t gotten a Covid infection or vaccine in recent months

If you’ve had Covid within the last three months

If you’ve gotten a Covid vaccine within the past two months

If you’re elderly, immunocompromised or otherwise at high risk of severe Covid

Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness, Accenture exec says