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More employees are returning to the office

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The return-to-office movement is gaining momentum as it continues its upward trajectory, with December seeing a significant surge in average visitation rates at 350 Manhattan buildings, reaching 67% of 2019 levels.

This latest figure represents a notable increase from the 65% recorded in November.

If the typically quieter final week of December, sandwiched between Christmas and New Year’s, were excluded from the calculation, the rate would have been even higher, at 74%.

REBNY’s analysis is based on Placer.ai location data, which tracks the mobile data of office tenants and employees, providing valuable insights into office occupancy trends.

Upward trajectory

The return-to-office movement has been on an upward trajectory since REBNY began publishing its findings early last year.

In December, premium Class A+ buildings saw an average visitation rate of 74%, while Class A, A-minus, and B/C properties recorded rates of 64% and 68%, respectively.

Midtown Manhattan experienced the most significant growth, with visitation rates reaching 73%.

Meanwhile, Midtown South remained stable at 68%, and Downtown Manhattan saw a slight dip to 54%.

Encouraging trend

The return-to-office movement in New York City reflects a broader nationwide trend as businesses and employees navigate the evolving landscape of remote work and office presence in the post-pandemic era.

The data from REBNY suggests that New York City is continuing to adapt and recover, with the return to pre-pandemic office occupancy levels firmly in sight.

Ahron Young is an award winning journalist who has covered major news events around the world. Ahron is the Managing Editor and Founder of TICKER NEWS.

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Money

AI pushes the Nasdaq to a record-breaking close

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The Nasdaq achieved a record-breaking close, surpassing its previous record high of 16,057.44, which was established on November 21, 2021.

Artificial assistance

Artificial intelligence-related technology stocks, such as Nvidia (NVDA.O) and Microsoft (MSFT.O), have greatly boosted the index.

The Nasdaq Composite has increased by almost 7.2% this year.

The tech-focused index surged 43% in 2023, and as chipmakers gained traction and confidence increased that the Fed might achieve a soft landing—that is, curb inflation without inciting a recession—stocks surged strongly by year-end.

In contrast, Nvidia increased by 1.9% on Thursday, bringing its total gain from a year ago to around 250%.

Market boom

Every S&P 500 subs sector saw a gain at the end of the month.

Analysts at Deutsche Bank report that the index has now increased for 16 of the past 18 weeks, matching the record most winning weeks last attained in 1971.

Bitcoin also moved closer to its all-time high.

The price of the virtual currency momentarily surpassed $64,000 as spot bitcoin ETFs helped drive it to heights last seen in 2021.

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Money

Disney sign off on mega merger with India’s largest conglomerate

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India’s top conglomerate Reliance Industries and Walt Disney announced the merger of their India TV and streaming media assets, forming an $8.5 billion entertainment juggernaut.

Disney, Reliance sign non-binding agreement for India’s largest media conglomerate

Reliance, led by Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, will inject $1.4 billion in the merged entity, with the company and its affiliates holding a more than 63% stake, with Disney owning the rest, the companies said in a joint statement.

Mukesh Ambani, Reliance’s multimillionaire CEO

Media rivals

With two streaming platforms and 120 TV channels, the combined company will be a formidable opponent for competitors like Netflix and Sony of Japan in the $28 billion media and entertainment market, which is expected to grow to $100 billion by the end of the decade.

Disney’s lengthy battle to stop users from leaving its collapsing Indian streaming service and the financial burden resulting from billion-dollar payments for Indian cricket rights before the deal, providing yet another illustration of how difficult it can be for Western companies to expand in India.

Ultimate alliance

“The combined entity will create a sports behemoth in India,” stated Jinesh Joshi, an analyst at Prabhudas Lilladher in India.

“This merger will give Reliance great bargaining power when it comes to negotiating advertisement contracts … For Disney, coming together with a bigger player, in terms of (financial) pockets, will give it a cash cushion,” he continued.

According to the corporations, the combined company will serve the approximately 750 million viewers in India as well as the Indian diaspora worldwide.

According to Disney CEO Bog Iger’s statement, “Reliance has a deep understanding of the Indian market and consumer,” and the acquisition will enable “us to better serve consumers with a broad portfolio of digital services, entertainment, and sports.”

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Warner Bros Discovery plans to shutdown popular NZ news network

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One of New Zealand’s two free-to-air television networks claimed it will be shutting down all newsroom operations, television news broadcasts and website from June 30, with the loss of up to 200 media jobs.

The once-thriving network, which had been a staple in the New Zealand entertainment industry, is now facing financial turmoil, sending shockwaves through the media landscape.

Warner Bros Discovery, who own the NZ news network, stated the decision comes following further attempts to reduce costs and that meant major changes including the planned shut down of the newsroom.

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