Big Business This Week is a guided tour through the biggest market stories of the week, from winning stocks to brutal dips to the facts and forecasts generating buzz on Wall Street. 


Many people are damning the Grinch who stole their jobs this holiday season. This year has been brutal in a number of sectors, and concerns over waning consumer spending is driving even more pink slips as the end of 2023 approaches. This week, e-commerce site ETSY, toymaker Hasbro, and GM announced thousands of layoffs collectively. SmileDirectClub completely closed up shop, after declaring bankruptcy in September. ETSY stock ended the week up 1 percent. Hasbro stock initially dropped then rose back up, ending the week up nearly 3 percent, GM stock rose more than 6 percent. SmileDirect was already a penny stock when it shut its doors.


Investors got a new pep in their steps when Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell announced Wednesday that the agency will hold a key interest rate steady for now. Next year, he said, there could be three cuts. As inflation rates rose at a record pace during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fed began raising rates from near-zero to the current rate of 5.4 percent. The goal is to use interest rate to get inflation down to 2 percent. It's currently about 3 percent, and the final 1 percent drop is expected to come more slowly than earlier drops.


Tesla recalled nearly all of the vehicles it has sold in the U.S. over concerns about the Autopilot feature. Updates to the system are meant to stop sometimes deadly crashes we have seen when the self-driving technology was engaged. Critics say the updates still put too much of the onus on humans and don't address problems with the technology responsible for preventing accidents. It didn't deter investors, though. The stock ended the week 4 percent.


Video game maker Epic Games beat the big boss this week when a federal jury decided that Google's Android app store has been illegally quashing competition. Jurors unanimously found that Google has been using its outsized power in the tech industry to prevent real competition for Google Play. The fallout of the verdict could cost Google billions and the company plans to appeal. Google's parent company Alphabet ended the week about even and Epic Games ended the week up nearly 2 percent.


Choice Hotels is not taking no for an answer. The parent company of chains like Radisson, Quality Inn and Econolodge had been negotiating a potential purchase of Wyndham Hotels, which owns brands including Ramada, LaQuinta Inn and Super 8, but failed to come to an agreement. The board of Wyndham rejected an $8 billion deal that Choice made public in November. Now, Choice is going the route of a hostile takeover by appealing directly to stockholders. The board of Wyndham earlier claimed the offer was opportunistic. Choice stock ended the week down 2 percent and Wyndham ended the week down almost 1 percent.

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