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Markets Remain Unsettled Ahead of US (and Canada) Employment Reports

Overview: The sharp sell-off of US equities yesterday weighed on global equities today.  The Asia Pacific bourses were a sea of read with many of the…



Overview: The sharp sell-off of US equities yesterday weighed on global equities today.  The Asia Pacific bourses were a sea of read with many of the large markets off 2%-3%.  Japan, which returned from a three-day holiday was the exception and it managed to eke out a small gain.  Europe's Stoxx 600 gapped lower after yesterday's outside down session and US futures are trading around 0.3%-0.5% lower.  Meanwhile, the US 10-year yield is ending further above the 3% threshold, while European benchmarks are mostly 3-4 bp higher.  Here UK Gilts are an exception with the 10-year yield a couple of basis points lower.  The dollar is mixed.  The Scandis and euro are firm, while the Australian dollar, Japanese yen, and sterling are heaviest.  Among emerging market currencies, most central European currencies are higher as is the peso.  Asian currencies and the Turkish lira are sporting modest losses.  Gold is closing in on its third weekly loss and is trading around $1882.  June WTI is flirting with $110.  It has not closed above it since March 25. US natgas is extending its advance for a sixth session.  It is up about 23.5% this week after rising nearly 11% last week.  Europe's natgas benchmark is off 5.6% today to halt a four-day advance.  It is up 6.6% this week and was up almost 3.2% last week.  Iron ore slumped 4.7% today and is off nearly 5.9% on the week, its third consecutive weekly loss.  Copper is a little heavier after reversing lower yesterday to lose 1%.  It is off 2.7% this week after having fallen in the past two weeks.  July wheat has come back lower after rallying around 5.8% in the past two sessions.  It is up nearly 4% net this week.  


Asia Pacific

Tokyo's April CPI jumped to 2.5% from 1.3%.  This was a touch higher than expected.  The two key drivers were energy prices and the base effect from the cut in last year's mobile phone charges.  Excluding fresh food prices, Tokyo's CPI rose to 1.9% from 0.8%.  Excluding fresh food and energy, Tokyo's consumer prices rose by 0.8% from -0.4%.  Energy prices are up about 25% year-over-year and lifted overall rate by 1.1 percentage points.  The mobile phone charges added 0.8%.  While influences of the Tokyo CPI will be evident in the national figures due out later this month, the BOJ insists on looking through the data on the grounds that the current spurs are not sustainable.  Wage growth is not strong enough.  At the same time, the new economic package is projected to lower inflation by 0.5 percentage points from May through September.  

The US appears to be getting close to adding China's Hikvision to the "Special Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list on human rights violation grounds.  Hivision sells surveillance software to governments and corporations, including CCTV cameras.  Although it operates globally with some 53k employees, its biggest customer is China itself.  While the US has been escalating and expanding its use of sanctions since 9/11, one of the things that draws attention to Hikvision, in addition to its size, is that the category of violations, human rights, could very broad and elastic. Meanwhile, we note that a bill passed the Senate committee stage yesterday that would allow the US to sue OPEC for manipulating the energy market.  The White House expressed concerns but has not formally opposed it yet.  

Beijing announced that all government and state-sponsored businesses should replace all foreign brand personal computers with domestic ones within two years.  This is the latest effort by Beijing to reduce its reliance on foreign technology.  Estimate suggest there are some 50 mln personal computers at the central government alone. The shares of many of non-Chinese brands sold-off on the news.  Note too that has been an effort elsewhere to reduce the use of Lenovo PCs, which is a Chinese brand.  

The dollar recovered from about JPY128.75 yesterday and closed a little above JPY130 as US yields jumped. Japanese markets re-opened from the extended holiday today, and the greenback rose to JPY130.80 in Asia, a new high for the week.  Initial support now is seen near JPY130.  The US 10-year yield is extending its gains above 3.0%, and this could help lift the greenback above the two-decade high recorded in late April near of JPY131.25. The Australian dollar peaked on Wednesday and Thursday near $0.7265 and between yesterday and today shed two cents to hit a low around $0.7065.  The week's low was set Monday closer to $0.7030 and the low for the year was set in late January by $0.6970.  A close today below last week's low around $0.7055 would a particularly bearish technical development.  The yuan's slide continued.  Recall that at the end of last week, before the holiday, the greenback settled near CNY6.6085.  Today, it reached CNY6.6955, its highest level since November 2020.  The 200-dy moving average, which it has not traded above since September 2020, is now near CNY6.73 and is the next technical target.  The PBOC set the dollar's reference rate lower than expected for the fourth consecutive session.  Today's fix was at CNY6.6332, while the projections (median forecast in Bloomberg's survey) was for CNY6.6379. 


It almost seems that the Bank of England goes out of its way to keep the market wrongfooted.  The BOE delivered the 25 bp rate hike, indicated that rates would likely rise further, and said, by the way, the economy will contract sharply in Q4, and 2023 as a whole, before stagnating in 2024.  And by the way, a technical recession (two quarters of shrinking output) may be avoided.  The vote to hike was with a 6-3 majority.  Despite the dour economic forecast, the dissenters favored a 50 bp hike, concerned about wage growth.  The swaps market has 30 bp of tightening priced in for the June 16 meeting.  The BOE also announced it would sell its corporate bond holdings in September.   It has a more passive approach to its government bond holdings.  As they mature, the proceeds will not be reinvested.  The BOE estimates that it may cost 600k jobs to bring inflation under control.   

Reports indicated that BOE Governor Bailey will not take a raise this year, but the focus is on what the government says about the tips for employees in the Queen's speech that lays out the parliamentary program.  The Tories have long promised to ensure that employees keep the tips have not carried through with it.  The reduction of cash payments also means that the tips are increasingly charged taking it out of the employee hands.  The issue may also take on a larger political significance given the largest cost-of-living squeeze in a generation and in the face of regressive policies.  Separately, the votes are still being counted in the yesterday's local elections, in which the Tories appear to have lost many councils.  However, the fact that the Lib Dems may emerge as the chief beneficiary rather than Labour is notable.  

Following the sharp slide in factory orders yesterday, Germany reported that industrial output collapsed by 4.7% in March.  This is more than four-times more than the median forecast in Bloomberg's survey.  Spain's industrial production was forecast to fall by 0.5%.  Instead, it contracted by 1.8%.  The aggregate figure for the eurozone will be reported at the end of next week and the 0.8% median forecast in Bloomberg's survey will have to be re-thought.  

The euro came within about a tenth of a cent from the multi-year low set in late April slightly above $1.0470 before bouncing in early European turnover to $1.0580. It stalled there.  The market may be hesitant to take it further ahead of the US jobs report.  There are options for almost 600 mln euros at $1.06 that expire today.  The high for the week was recorded yesterday near $1.0640.  A move above there would target $1.07.  After an outside up day on Wednesday, sterling reversed lower yesterday despite the BOE's hike.  It collapsed 2% and fell to $1.2325.  The losses were extended to nearly $1.2275 today.  A break of the $1.2250 area could spur losses toward $1.2075 on the way to $1.20.  Of note, the lower Bollinger Band (two standard deviations below the 20-day moving average) is around $1.2235 now.  Initial resistance is seen in the $1.2380-$1.2400 area. 


The main narrative that seems to have emerged is that Fed Chair made what some have dubbed an "unforced error" in taking a 75 bp off the table.  But was it ever really on the table?  Yes, the Fed funds futures market had thought it was possible in the coming meeting or two.  This was a fantasy of speculators and was not a policy signal.  The market and some in the media who cover them simply read the Fed wrong and then blamed the Fed.  The most hawkish FOMC member is the St. Louis Fed President Bullard.  In the context of talking about how the central bank is not as far behind the curve as it may appear, using his own calculation of the Taylor Rule, which links the GDP and labor market output gaps to the overnight target rate, Bullard, said 75 bp move could be considered at some juncture.  He quickly added that was not his base case.  It does not seem as if any other Fed official endorsed a 75 bp hike and some pushed against it. Central bankers seem to be characterizing their challenge as threading a needle.  Push the inflation genie back into the bottle without driving the economies into recessions.  

Powell is leading down the middle.  A steady and predictable course might be the best tactic now. Strategic ambiguity may be the more traditional approach, but these are not traditional times. It seems common at recent FOMC meetings for the market to react one way initially and subsequently reverse it. This time it was exaggerated in both directions.  The market "corrected" itself yesterday with a word from a Fed official.  In fact, the market has about a one-in-four chance that the Fed hikes by 75 bp at the June 15 meeting.   We note that several Fed presidents will be speaking today (Williams, Kashkari, Bostic, and Daly). As the Vice Chair of the FOMC, NY Fed President Williams has a permanent vote.  He can also be expected to articulate the opinion of the leadership.  Governor Waller speaks with Bostic and is seen as among the more hawkish governors.  

Solid but a bit slower job growth may be exactly to the Fed's liking.  The median forecast in Bloomberg's survey has slipped recently but at 380k, it is still a "good" number.  At the same time, it would the slowest since last April.  Nonfarm payrolls rose by an average of 562k in the first quarter.  In Q1 21, average job growth was 645k. The risk may be on the downside after the ISM and ADP reports.  Weekly jobless claims rose a little.  A rise in the participation rate is also something that the Fed would like to see.  A greater participation rate would ostensibly help curb rising labor costs. The participation rate was at 63.3% before the pandemic and was at 62.4% in March.  Anecdotal stories suggest it ticked up.  Canada, which also reports its April jobs data has seen its participation rate nearly fully return to pre-pandemic levels.  It was at 65.5% at the end of 2019 and 65.4% in March.  Canada grew 70k jobs a month in Q1, of which 44k were full-time positions.  In Q1 21, job growth averaged 114k a month, and 88k of them were full-time. The market goes into the jobs data with 50 bp hike priced in for Canada on June 1.

After approaching CAD1.27 yesterday, the US dollar surged to nearly CAD1.2870 as US stocks cratered.  The greenback's high recorded on Monday was the high for the year by CAD1.2915. It is consolidating ahead of the job reports and is holding above CAD1.2800.  A convincing break of CAD1.2770 would weaken the US dollar's technical tone.  There is an expiring option for $1.4 bln at CAD1.2840.  The equity market performance may be just as important for the exchange rate today as employment reports.  The US dollar has been in a roughly MXN20.00-MXN20.31 range for the past two sessions.  It peaked on Monday near MXN20.50.  Initial support is in the MXN20.10-MXN20.15 area.  April CPI will be released next week, and it is expected to have accelerated, but the highlight next week is the central bank meeting.  A 50 bp hike is widely expected and the risk is a 75 bp move rather than 25 bp.  


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Majority Of C-Suite Execs Thinking Of Quitting, 40% Overwhelmed At Work: Deloitte Survey

Majority Of C-Suite Execs Thinking Of Quitting, 40% Overwhelmed At Work: Deloitte Survey

Authored by Naveen Anthrapully via The Epoch Times,




Majority Of C-Suite Execs Thinking Of Quitting, 40% Overwhelmed At Work: Deloitte Survey

Authored by Naveen Anthrapully via The Epoch Times,

A majority of C-suite executives are considering leaving their jobs, according to a Deloitte survey of 2,100 employees and C-level executives from the United States, Canada, the UK, and Australia.

Almost 70 percent of executives admitted that they are seriously thinking of quitting their jobs for a better opportunity that supports their well-being, according to the survey report published on June 22. Over three-quarters of executives said that the COVID-19 pandemic had negatively affected their well-being.

Roughly one in three employees and C-suite executives admitted to constantly struggling with poor mental health and fatigue. While 41 percent of executives “always” or “often” felt stressed, 40 percent were overwhelmed, 36 percent were exhausted, 30 percent felt lonely, and 26 percent were depressed.

“Most employees (83 percent) and executives (74 percent) say they’re facing obstacles when it comes to achieving their well-being goals—and these are largely tied to their job,” the report says. “In fact, the top two hurdles that people cited were a heavy workload or stressful job (30 percent), and not having enough time because of long work hours (27 percent).”

While 70 percent of C-suite execs admitted to considering quitting, this number was at only 57 percent among other employees. The report speculated that a reason for such a wide gap might be the fact that top-level executives are often in a “stronger financial position,” due to which they can afford to seek new career opportunities.

Interestingly, while only 56 percent of employees think their company executives care about their well-being, a much higher 91 percent of C-suite administrators were of the opinion that their employees believe their leaders took care of them. The report called this a “notable gap.”

Resignation Rates

The Deloitte report comes amid a debate about resignation rates in the U.S. workforce. Over 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in April, with job openings hitting 11.9 million, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In the period from January 2021 to February 2022, almost 57 million Americans left their jobs.

Though some are terming it the “Great Resignation,” giving it a negative connotation, the implication is not entirely true since most of those who quit jobs did so for other opportunities. In the same 14 months, almost 89 million people were hired. There are almost two jobs open for every unemployed person in the United States, according to MarketWatch.

In an Economic Letter from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco published in April, economics professor Bart Hobijn points out that high waves of resignations were common during rapid economic recoveries in the postwar period prior to 2000.

“The quits waves in manufacturing in 1948, 1951, 1953, 1966, 1969, and 1973 are of the same order of magnitude as the current wave,” he wrote. “All of these waves coincide with periods when payroll employment grew very fast, both in the manufacturing sector and the total nonfarm sector.”

Tyler Durden Sat, 06/25/2022 - 20:30

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Doctors’ Group Urges Biden Administration To End Quarantine, Vaccine Recommendations For Children

Doctors’ Group Urges Biden Administration To End Quarantine, Vaccine Recommendations For Children

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch…



Doctors' Group Urges Biden Administration To End Quarantine, Vaccine Recommendations For Children

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A group of doctors is urging top government officials to quickly reverse recommendations that have left children in isolation for days and advice that virtually every child get a COVID-19 vaccine.

We strongly urge you to revise the CDC’s COVID-19 guidelines with regards to testing, isolation, and vaccine recommendations for children to ensure that public health policies are not doing more harm than good,” the group, Urgency of Normal, wrote in a June 21 open letter to Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House’s COVID-19 response coordinator, and Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks in Washington on June 16, 2022. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The CDC’s guidelines say that people, including children, who are exposed to COVID-19 should quarantine for at least five days, and encourage widespread COVID-19 testing.

The agency also recommends that all children 6 months of age or older get a COVID-19 vaccine, following the recent authorization of the Moderna and Pfizer shots for kids under 5.

The doctors noted that many European countries, U.S. states, and other areas have updated COVID-19 policies to greatly reduce periods of quarantine, COVID-19 testing frequency, and forced vaccination.

They’re asking U.S. officials to adapt to a “test-to-treat” approach, which would focus on recommending vaccination and treatments to those at the highest risk from COVID-19, which are primarily the elderly and others with serious underlying health conditions.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Sat, 06/25/2022 - 17:30

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This Week in Apps: Twitter Notes, Instagram age verification, Spotify’s Live Events

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy….



Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy.

The app industry continues to grow, with a record number of downloads and consumer spending across both the iOS and Google Play stores combined in 2021, according to the latest year-end reports. Global spending across iOS, Google Play and third-party Android app stores in China grew 19% in 2021 to reach $170 billion. Downloads of apps also grew by 5%, reaching 230 billion in 2021, and mobile ad spend grew 23% year over year to reach $295 billion.

Today’s consumers now spend more time in apps than ever before — even topping the time they spend watching TV, in some cases. The average American watches 3.1 hours of TV per day, for example, but in 2021, they spent 4.1 hours on their mobile device. And they’re not even the world’s heaviest mobile users. In markets like Brazil, Indonesia and South Korea, users surpassed five hours per day in mobile apps in 2021.

Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours, either. They can grow to become huge businesses. In 2021, 233 apps and games generated over $100 million in consumer spend and 13 topped $1 billion in revenue. This was up 20% from 2020, when 193 apps and games topped $100 million in annual consumer spend and just eight apps topped $1 billion.

This Week in Apps offers a way to keep up with this fast-moving industry in one place, with the latest from the world of apps, including news, updates, startup fundings, mergers and acquisitions and suggestions about new apps to try, too.

Do you want This Week in Apps in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here:

Top Stories

Instagram to verify users’ ages in new test

Image Credits: Instagram

Instagram announced this week it’s testing a new set of features for verifying users’ ages in the app, including things like video selfies, vouching from adult friends and providing an ID. The tests, which will begin in the U.S., will apply to users who try to change their age to 18 or over after being previously set to under 18. These users may be trying to correct an earlier mistake or they could be teens trying to circumvent the app’s newer age-appropriate restrictions.

If users are prompted to provide an ID card, like a passport or driver’s license, Meta will store it on its servers for 30 days before deletion. If users choose the social vouching option, they’ll need at least three other adult friends to vouch for their age — and Instagram will choose a list of six people randomly who meet the criteria. Those users can’t have a new account or be vouching for others at the same time.

The company also said it’s using AI that can estimate users’ ages in video selfies. The company is working with the London-based digital identify firm Yoti which will examine the file, make an estimate, then delete the file.

Age verification is an increasingly common feature in social apps used by younger users as a result of tighter regulations. Another company catering to Gen Z users, Yubo, recently rolled out its own age estimating tech as well.

Twitter goes long form

TechCrunch broke the news that Twitter was testing a long-form writing feature called Twitter Notes. The next day after our report went live, Twitter announced it officially.

The news is one of Twitter’s more significant changes since doubling the character count from 140 to 280 characters, as it will allow users to write on Twitter directly, as if it’s a blogging platform. With Twitter Notes, users are able to create articles using rich formatting and uploaded media, which can then be tweeted and shared with followers upon publishing. The company also said it would merge its newsletter service, Revue, into Twitter Notes.

Users with access can create Twitter Notes from the “Write” link in Twitter’s navigation. For the time being, Twitter is testing Notes with a small group of writers in the United States, Canada, Ghana and the United Kingdom. The Notes can be up to 2,500 words in length.

The feature could encourage users to rely on Twitter Thread (tweetstorms) less in order to share their longer thoughts, ideas or stories with their Twitter followers, Community or Circle. It could also put an end to using a screenshot from the Notes app to tweet something longer than 280 characters. Meanwhile, Twitter Notes can tap into the potential for viral distribution that comes with posting to the platform. Like tweets, the Notes would have their own link and could be tweeted, retweeted, sent in DMs, liked and bookmarked. They can also be reported and must comply with Twitter’s rules.

It’s worth noting (ha!) that Twitter Notes also gives the company a new business and potential revenue stream as it further develops the product. The feature may allow the social platform to compete with established services, like Medium for blogging, or Substack’s newsletters.

Weekly News

Platforms: Apple


Image Credits: Twitter/Shopify

  • As part of its ongoing efforts to expand into e-commerce, Twitter announced a new partnership with Shopify. The deal will see Twitter launching a sales channel app that will be made available to all of Shopify’s U.S. merchants through its app store. The app allows merchants to onboard themselves to Twitter’s Shopping Manager, the dashboard offered by the social media company where sellers can access product catalog tools and enable other shopping features for their profiles. Merchants will be able to use the new sales channel app to connect their Twitter account to their Shopify admin then get set up with Twitter’s Shopping Manager and other free tools Twitter built for “Professionals.” This includes Twitter’s launch of a new feature called Location Spotlight, which allows local businesses in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Australia to display information like their street address, contact info and operating hours directly on their profile.

Augmented Reality

  • Walmart gave its app an AR upgrade with the launch of View in Your Space, which allows customers to see home décor and furniture in their own homes. The feature will be rolled out to over 300 items on Walmart’s iOS app by early July.
  • Tim Cook may have hinted at Apple’s AR headset plans when he told a Chinese state-run news outlet to “stay tuned” to see what Apple had in store next for AR in an interview. A later investor note by Ming-Chi Kuo also suggested the new hardware could arrive as soon as early 2023.
  • IKEA launched a new in-app design experience, called IKEA Kreativ, that lets U.S. shoppers visualize furniture in their own spaces using AR and AI. The feature can also remove the existing furniture from your room so you can better imagine the changes.
  • Snap shared some data about AR shopping trends, noting that there was a 32% increased use of shoppable AR during the pandemic and that 69% of consumers believed AR was a part of shopping’s future.


  • Coinbase is shutting down its standalone Pro service by year’s end and replacing it with Advanced Trade across its website and app. The latter offers comparable features to the Pro service, which had lowered fees to traders who interacted directly with the Coinbase Exchange order book.
  • Facebook Pay formally rebranded to Meta Pay. The change had already been announced but is now rolling out in the U.S. before expanding globally.


Image Credits: Twitter

  • Snapchat announced its first accelerator program for emerging Black creators, which will see 25 selected participants receive $10,000 per month to launch their careers across a total $3 million investment.
  • Instagram has been experimenting with a new feature that would allow users to leave notes for their friends at the top of the DM inbox. The feature could help users share urgent or more important messages that could be overlooked in Stories or in messages.
  • Meta announced more ways for creators to make money on Facebook and Instagram and the expansion of other monetization tools to more creators. The company will keep paid online events, fan subscriptions, badges and its upcoming independent news products free for creators until 2024, instead of 2023, as it had said before. Meta is also testing a designated place on Instagram where creators can get discovered by brands for partnerships; will launch a way for users to subscribe to Facebook Groups even for those who have paid for access on another platform; and is expanding the Reels Play Bonus program to more creators and making Facebook Stars available to all.
  • Twitter announced the return of its developer conference, Chirp. The event was first held in 2010 but was then canceled the next year. At the time, the event had been a reflection of Twitter’s attitude toward its developer community in general — disorganized and constantly in flux as the company’s business initiatives changed. Times have since changed and Twitter has been trying to woo back developers with its new API, even by promoting some apps on Twitter itself.


  • Telegram said it now has over 700 monthly active users and announced Telegram Premium, a subscription that gives users access to exclusive features like doubled limits, 4 GB file uploads, faster downloads, exclusive stickers and reactions, improved chat management and more.



  • Match-owned Hinge added a new feature that allows users to share their “Dating Intentions” — meaning whether they’re looking for long-term, short-term, open relationships and more. The update changes Hinge’s focus as the company has historically been the app designed to connect people looking for more serious relationships, while Match-owned Tinder was aimed at those seeking casual encounters.

Streaming & Entertainment

Image Credits: Spotify

  • Spotify revamped its concert discovery feature with the launch of a new Live Events Feed. The personalized feature will allow users to find favorite artists’ events in your area and will now include artist imagery and more tour details. Local events will also be highlighted while streaming and soon, in other places in the Spotify app.
  • Clubhouse is testing a new feature called Houses, per Bloomberg, which are private rooms aimed at encouraging social interactions where anyone can unmute themselves and speak.
  • Reddit Talk, the company’s live audio Clubhouse-like feature, announced its Host program would launch on July 11th. The program will promote hosts’ audio across the site. Reddit Talk also gained new features like a soundboard and topic selector for discovery purposes.
  • Apple Music raised the price of its student plan in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. In the United States and Canada, the price for the plan has increased from $4.99 to $5.99. In the United Kingdom, the price has increased from £4.99 to £5.99.


  • Epic Games has come up with a new system for game ratings. While these changes apply to its own online games store, it’s an example of why alternative app stores could be useful to provide competition with Apple’s own — they can be a ground to test out new ideas. In Epic’s case, random players who have played a game for over two hours will be asked to rate the game on a five-point scale. Over time, these will create the game’s Overall Rating. The system, which relies on random sampling, could cut down on review bombing and reviews left by those who aren’t actual players, the company notes.
  • China’s regulation of the mobile gaming market may be leading to declining use of the App Store in the country, according to Morgan Stanley. The firm’s latest analysis estimated that the App Store only saw 1% growth in June so far, compared with 6% growth in May.

Health & Fitness

  • Fitbit added a new premium feature, “Sleep Profile,” which will allow users to track their sleep patterns across 10 key metrics, including new data points like bedtime consistency, the time before sound sleep and disrupted sleep. The feature is rolling out to the Fitbit app’s Premium users and supports devices including Sense, Versa 3, Versa 2, Charge 5, Luxe or Inspire 2.

Travel & Transportation

  • Apple is planning to expand its CarPlay experience to China, according to a job posting.
  • Polestar has now added Apple CarPlay to its all-electric Polestar 2 sedan via an over-the-air software update, after previously only supporting Android Auto.
  • Car rental apps saw their MAUs grow 19% year-over-year in the U.S. in May, reported Apptopia, despite rising gas prices.

Image Credits: Apptopia

Government & Policy

  • TikTok offered a series of commitments in the EU to improve user reporting and disclosure requirements around ads/sponsored content as well as an agreement to boost transparency around its digital coins and virtual gifts. The agreement follows a series of complaints over child safety and consumer protection complaints filed back in February 2021.
  • The U.S. Department of Justice today entered into an agreement with Meta to resolve a lawsuit that alleged Meta engaged in discriminatory advertising in violation of the Fair Housing Act (FHA). As a result, Meta has agreed to develop a new system for housing ads and will pay a roughly $115,000 penalty, the maximum under the FHA.

Reading & News

  • India-based VerSe Innovation rolled out its news aggregator Dailyhunt in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait, with over 5,000 content partners in the region.

Security & Privacy

  • Google Chrome for iOS gained a number of new features in a recent update, including access to Enhanced Safe Browsing to protect users from dangerous websites and malware, as well as the ability to make Google Password Manager your Autofill provider. Other additions include Chrome Actions (typed commands in the URL bar) and access to Google’s Discover feed on the main page.
  • Daycare apps including those from Brightwheel, HiMama and others were found to lack 2FA and other privacy protections, in an analysis.
  • Google threat researchers detailed a commercial spyware system called Hermit, used in Kazakhstan and Italy, which targeted both Android and iOS. The iOS version had six exploits, including two zero-days. Targeted victims are tricked into installing a malicious app — which masquerades as a legitimate branded telco or messaging app — from outside the app store.

Funding and M&A

Courier raised $35 million in a Series B funding round led by GV. The company provides an API for sending notifications across multiple channels, including email, text, web and mobile.

Ghana-based fintech Fido raised $30 million in equity investment and some undisclosed debt funding in a Series A round led by Israel-based private equity fund Fortissimo Capital. The round brings the total equity investment raised to date to $38 million. The startup says it’s adding savings and payment products to its portfolio later this year and will enter Uganda.

Twitter asked its shareholders to approve the $44 billion Elon Musk acquisition. At the time of its SEC filing, Twitter’s share price was around $38.12 — lower than Musk’s offer price of $54.20 a share. The company’s market cap had also dropped below $30 billion, making a $44 billion deal look very good.



Image Credits: WatchTube

Well, here’s something kind of crazy: 9to5Mac this week highlighted the new app WatchTube, which lets you watch YouTube videos directly on your Apple Watch. Yes, really!

The app is not the best experience for watching videos, as you may have guessed, but it is pretty wild that it actually works. The app by default shows you top trending videos, but you can customize this so the videos that appear are selected from a particular genre, like Music, News, Gaming, Movies and more. While it would be enough to just accomplish bringing YouTube to the Watch, the developer also added other features like the ability to search for videos, save videos to the app’s local Library and subscribe to Channels. When you get back to your other devices, you can also scan a QR code to share the video back to your iPhone or iPad.

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