Your Daily Dose of Financial News

Demolition of an old house

In what can only be classified as a second major “Oh yeah? Try this on for size” moment from Jeff Bezos in as many weeks, Amazon has announced that it’s canceling its planned HQ2 project in Queens, NY. Some local activists and politicians had raised questions (and noise) about the scope of the project and its impact on the community, and Amazon decided to take its toys and go homeNYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and Marketplace and Law360

A government-shutdown-delayed retail sales report for December hit Wall Street hard yesterday, as “U.S. retailers registered a far worse December selling season than many analysts had realized.” Sales fell a seasonally adjusted 1.2%, the largest decrease since September 2009, and did so during the prime holiday shopping season, leading some to go so far as to question the data’s validity – WSJ

Facebook and the Federal Trade Commission are reportedly in talks to resolve a spate of privacy violations in what “could amount to a record, multibillion-dollar fine” stemming from acts that violated a 2011 privacy consent decree with the agency – NYTimes and MarketWatch and Mashable

Despite hints of an extension and alleged progress, high-level trade talks between the U.S. and China have wrapped today in Beijing without much to show for them, though “[b]oth sides have an incentive to strike a deal” – Bloomberg

So, it seems that JPMorgan’s living by a certain “do as we do, not what we say” code when it comes to cryptos. Despite years of CEO Jamie Dimon questioning bitcoin and others as fraudulent, JPMorgan is officially the first major US bank to “introduce its own digital token for real-world use, the latest step in Wall Street’s evolving approach to the blockchain technology that underpins cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether” – NYTimes

While we’re on the topic, a California federal judge has added to the uncertainty in the cryptos-as-securities question after reversing himself and now siding with the SEC’s argument that “an allegedly fraudulent initial coin offering involved securities” – Law360

The UK House of Commons has voted down PM May’s plan to renegotiate a Brexit deal, effectively stripping May “of her political mandate to demand changes to the withdrawal agreement in Brussels” and increasing the odds that she’ll be unable to “fend[] off an attempt by Parliament to take control of the process on Feb. 27” – Bloomberg

Not exactly the Valentine’s Day exposure that dating app Coffee Meets Bagel was going for – Law360

Activist investor Carl Icahn holds 10% of Caesars Entertainment Corp. and is using that weight to push the casino-owner to “consider selling itself” in the wake of two overtures in the past year that didn’t go anywhere – WSJ

Results of an Education Department audit released yesterday shows that the department has done an abysmal job of overseeing the army of companies charged with servicing the billions of dollars of outstanding federal student loans – NYTimes and NPR

Fed officials are closing in on a final plan to end the wind-down of the central bank’s massive $4 trillion asset portfolio as soon as this year—“earlier than they had once anticipated” – WSJ

Because those of us with little ones need a new round of songs to play on an endless loop, I rather reluctantly present you with the first official trailer for Frozen 2, which is set to hit theaters by Thanksgiving – Disney

Have a great weekend.  We’ll see you back here next Wednesday morning.