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Weekly Market Report - December 23, 2020


Congressional leaders on Sunday reached a hard-fought agreement on a $900 billion stimulus package that would send immediate aid to Americans and businesses to help them cope with the economic devastation of the pandemic and fund the distribution of vaccines. The deal would deliver the first significant infusion of federal dollars into the economy since April, as negotiators broke through months of partisan gridlock that had scuttled earlier talks, leaving millions of Americans and businesses without federal help as the pandemic raged. While the plan is roughly half the size of the $2.2 trillion stimulus law enacted in March, it is one of the largest relief packages in modern history.


The pandemic’s slowdown in real estate deals has cost New York City $1.2 billion in lost revenue so far this year. Sales of commercial and residential properties—everything from office buildings to hotels and condo units—are down 49% this year through November, according to a report Thursday by the Real Estate Board of New York. That’s led to a 42% decline in city tax revenue, compared with the same 11-month period in 2019, the trade group said. The money comes from a long list of levies that each transaction generates. A dearth of deals means fewer collections of transfer and mansion taxes, and less income from newly recorded mortgages.

Flexible workspace provider Breather laid off the majority of its staff and plans to shutter all of its more than 400 locations around the world as it switches to an online-only platform, according to sources and The Globe and Mail. The Montreal-based startup started insolvency processes in the United States, where it has 315 locations, and in Great Britain, where it has 40 outposts, on Wednesday with plans to assign them to a third party who will shutter them and repay Breather’s creditors, The Globe and Mail reported. “The decision I’ve made is that Breather, in its current form as an operator, doesn’t make sense, and, to be frank, I’m not sure it ever made sense,” CEO Bryan Murphy told The Globe and Mail. “I want to be like Airbnb.”


New Yorkers banned from dining inside their neighborhood restaurants are crossing state and city lines to get a bite to eat as temperatures turn frigid. Restaurateurs are taking notice. To persuade diners to visit their other locations outside New York City and make up for lost sales in the dining capital, business owners are offering promotions and shifting workers to New Jersey, Connecticut and other parts of New York state. Call it a kind of pandemic arbitrage, said Jeffrey Bank, chief executive officer of Alicart Restaurant Group, which owns destination eateries including Carmine’s in New York and in the Tropicana Atlantic City.


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