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Carl Icahn warns US economy could tip into ‘recession or worse’

Carl Icahn, the billionaire investor and corporate raider, said that the American economy could be in for a “recession or even worse” as policymakers struggle to bring rapid inflation under control. “I have kept everything hedged for the last few years,” the founder and chairman of Icahn Enterprises told CNBC. “We have a strong hedge on against the long positions and we try to be activist to get that edge… I am negative as you can hear. Short term I don’t even predict.” Icahn sounded a pessimistic note as to whether Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s plan for further rate hikes will soften the blow of inflation. “I really don’t know if they can engineer a soft landing,” Icahn said. “I think there is going to be a rough landing… Inflation is a terrible thing when it gets going.” Icahn said the possible economic downturn could prompt America’s leading businesses to take stock of their management structures. “There’s no accountability in corporate America,” he said. “You have some very fine companies, some very fine CEOs, but far too many that are not up to the task.” Last week, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 0.25% — the first time since 2018 that the central bank has hiked rates in an effort to get inflation under control. The Fed also indicated it will raise rates several times this year, a sharp about-face from its massive, credit-extending policies to aid the ailing the economy during the pandemic and a turnaround from earlier over the past year when the central bank insisted inflation was “transitory.” Wall Street indices began trading on a downward trajectory on Wednesday after strong sessions over the course of the past week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down by more than 230 points before noon on Wednesday while the Nasdaq fell by more than 100 points. The S&P 500 shed more than 0.5%. Investor fears have been further stoked by sky-high oil prices — a byproduct of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. US crude was selling at more than $113 a barrel on Wednesday while Brent crude cost $120 a barrel.

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