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USA Today reports that “Gary Shilling, an economist and financial analyst who is credited with predicting several recessions over the past 40 years, thinks the U.S. is in a relatively mild slump … His view is at odds with the vast majority of economists who expect the economy to grow a solid 2% to 2.5% this year after expanding at about a 3% clip last year and in the first quarter.”

According to the story, Shilling says, ““I think we’re probably already in a recession but I think it will probably be a run-of-the-mill affair, which means real GDP would decline 1.5% to 2%, not the 3.5% to 4% you had in the very serious recessions.”

“In such a tempered slide, he says, ‘Stocks probably wouldn’t fall’ but if they did, they likely would tumble about 22% - similar to other recent recessions. That, he says, would take the Standard and Poor’s 500 index about 200 points below it’s Christmas Eve nadir of 2,351.”

• The Wall Street Journal reports that, as expected, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has “passed the first blanket ban on e-cigarette sales in the U.S. on Tuesday. The measure, which prohibits the sale, distribution and manufacture of e-cigarettes, will now need to be signed by Mayor London Breed.”

The story goes on: “Aimed at combating the rise in teen vaping, the ban would take effect seven months after the mayor signs the ordinance. Under the measure, violators could be subject to a $1,000 fine or other penalties. It would remain in place until the Food and Drug Administration approves the marketing of e-cigarettes. The FDA has given e-cigarette companies, including Juul Labs Inc., until 2022 to submit their products for a health review.”

• The New York Times reports that the US Department of Justice has “intervened in a class-action lawsuit that claims some of the biggest American poultry companies, including Tyson Foods and Pilgrim’s Pride, conspired to manipulate chicken prices. In a court filing, the Justice Department asked the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to halt the discovery process for six months as it pursues a criminal investigation.

“Price-fixing claims against the chicken producers have been floating around for years, in suits like the one in Illinois, but the government’s involvement is a potentially significant escalation because it means criminal charges could follow. The filing itself does not guarantee that the government is going to bring charges, but it does suggest that the government is strongly considering them…”
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