24.90 -0.03 (-0.12%)
After hours: 7:58PM EDT
|Bid||24.90 x 1000|
|Ask||24.87 x 900|
|Day's Range||23.79 - 25.05|
|52 Week Range||20.00 - 45.86|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||0.67|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||13.33|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y Target Est||N/A|
(Bloomberg) -- Boris Johnson has been taken into the hospital intensive care unit for treatment for coronavirus after his condition worsened, his office said. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is now deputizing for the U.K. prime minister.Johnson, 55, was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital in London for tests Sunday night because his virus symptoms had not cleared up, and he became more seriously ill Monday afternoon, a government spokesperson said in an email.He remains conscious and was moved to intensive care at about 7 p.m. in case he needs ventilation to help him recover, an official said. Another official said the prime minister is receiving oxygen but is not on a ventilator.The pound fell.“The prime minister is in safe hands with that brilliant team at St Thomas’s hospital,” Raab said in a pooled television interview Monday evening. “There’s an incredibly strong team spirit behind the prime minister -- and making sure that we get all of the plans the prime minister’s instructed us to deliver, to get them implemented as soon as possible.”President Donald Trump said Monday evening that he was deeply saddened by the news of Johnson’s condition and that “Americans are all praying for his recovery.”“I found Boris to be a fantastic person, just like a fantastic -- warm, strong, smart guy, he loves his country, you see that, I mean, he fought like hell for his country,” the president said.Fever, CoughThe prime minister’s worsening illness comes at a critical time for the U.K., with scientists predicting the country will suffer the peak of its coronavirus outbreak in the next seven to ten days.Johnson announced on March 27 that he was isolating himself after testing positive for coronavirus. On the evening of April 5, unable to shake the symptoms, he was admitted to St. Thomas’ suffering from a “persistent” cough and a fever.Throughout the day Monday, his officials insisted the prime minister remained in charge of the government and was continuing to work on his papers while keeping in touch with his team. He was said to be “in good spirits” Monday morning after a comfortable night.Reporters raised questions over how seriously ill Johnson was after Raab, the U.K.’s first secretary of state, disclosed that the pair had not spoken since Saturday. The premier’s spokesman declined to say whether he had been tested for pneumonia or what the results of any tests had been.‘Utterly Transparent’“They’ve got to be utterly straight with us now, utterly transparent about what’s going on,” Sonia Purnell, a biographer of Johnson, told the BBC.Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith expressed shock at the premier’s worsening condition.“I’m shocked like anybody else -- he’s a friend,” Duncan Smith told the BBC. “I’m deeply saddened that it has come to this.”(Updates with Trump remarks in sixth, seventh paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Chandrakant Thakur ekes out a living by zooming around Mumbai on his beaten up scooter dodging pedestrians, street dwellers, cars and sometimes cows to deliver meals. Now, with the streets eerily empty amid the city’s virus lockdown, he faces a stark choice: stay and survive on half his regular pay or return to his family in the state of Bihar.“If the virus doesn’t get me, hunger will,” said the 28-year-old. While his income from delivering dishes like chicken curry and fried rice has been as low as 300 rupees ($4) a day recently -- barely enough to survive on -- he’s going to stick it out for now in the nation’s financial capital as the outlook in his home province is even grimmer.India’s formal economy -- the part that can be measured through tax receipts -- was just starting to show some signs of bottoming out after a poorly conceived ban on high-value currency, new sales tax and shadow banking crisis had hobbled growth in recent years. Then the virus came, prompting an unprecedented 21-day lockdown of 1.3 billion people to prevent its spread.It’s gig workers and migrants like Thakur, many of whom work in India’s vast informal sector, that are the most vulnerable. Hundreds of thousands of them decided to leave for their homes before the lockdown kicked in on March 25, sparking an exodus that many are making by foot back to their villages -- a scene reminiscent of the days immediately after India’s independence in 1947.“India’s large informal sector is likely to be the worst hit,” said Pranjul Bhandari, chief India economist at HSBC Holdings Plc in Mumbai. “Informal firms have insufficient access to formal finance and can go into distress quickly when cash flow becomes irregular.”In Delhi, the usual hustle and bustle of business on the roads and in markets has fallen silent -- the little shops and food vendors on the sidewalks are gone and almost every shop except the odd grocery store or pharmacy in usually crowded shopping areas is shut. It’s a similar scene in Mumbai, where the few people who do venture out maintain distance from each other in queues at grocery shops, which are exempt from the lockdown.Informal enterprises -- the so-called parallel economy -- account for around 85% of overall employment and around 40% of GDP. As millions are reduced to subsistence living, and even worse in some cases, consumption is set to spiral lower, weighing on a sector that makes up some 60% of India’s economy.It’s yet another headwind for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of doubling the size of the economy to $5 trillion by 2024. In a bid to cushion the blow, the government has announced cash support for informal sector workers and Modi has even made a rare apology for the hardships they face.Meantime, the central bank stepped in on March 27 with unprecedented measures that included lower borrowing costs, $50 billion of liquidity to banks to expand credit and freedom to lenders to suspend some loan repayments for three months.Even with that fiscal-monetary combination, the economy is poised to shrink in the quarters ahead. While slower growth means economic hardships and joblessness in developed nations, that scale of slowdown in India is set to see millions suffer in poverty, struggling to even feed their families.There is a “pressing need for further action,” said A. Prasanna, an economist at ICICI Securities Primary Dealership in Mumbai. “The magnitude of the problem is such.”Some analysts are already calling for India’s government to loosen the budget, with Fitch Solutions seeing the shortfall widening to 6.8% of gross domestic product from the current 3.5% aim for the fiscal year which just started on April 1. To fund the deficit, Prasanna favors amending the law to let the Reserve Bank of India directly buy bonds from the government. That would be an extraordinary move for a developed nation to take, let alone an emerging one.Other economists have called for more rate reductions, support programs for small and medium scale businesses and handing out cash to the poor under a universal basic income program.Yet India, as an emerging market with dual trade and budget deficits, is constrained in what it can do. Unlike countries with vast savings pools like China and Japan or the U.S. and Europe which print currencies that others are happy to invest in, India must offer enough return on its debt to lure international buyers who can fund those deficits. It must also worry about the currency -- hovering near historic lows -- for fears further devaluation will spur an acceleration in capital outflows.“The fiscal situation was weak before the virus outbreak,” Chakravarthy Rangarajan, a former central bank governor told BloombergQuint. “The coronavirus has added to the problem,” he said, adding that unless the lockdown is lifted, production will suffer and most policy initiatives are likely to come to naught.For India, it’s a turnaround from the start of the year, when greenshoots were becoming visible in Asia’s third-largest economy. Even as the virus ravaged China, there was confidence that India would escape its path, as it had escaped SARS 18 years ago. Then the cases began to rise, triggering restrictions on travel and movement of people that have already hit the organized sector hard.Service-driven industries from airlines to hotels to entertainment centers bore the brunt immediately, while the blanket social distancing order soon meant manufacturers had to suspend operations.Companies that have temporarily shuttered operations include Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., India’s biggest car maker, and Toyota Motor Corp.’s local unit. Those production halts will mean more dour car sales numbers going ahead, after posting the worst drop in sales on record last year as a credit squeeze hit consumption.Such disruptions are also bound to mean more pain for India’s creaking banking system, which is already saddled with the highest stressed-asset ratios in the world -- one of the reasons for a slowdown in lending that’s been a brake on investment.Production halts will also likely inflate the ranks of the unemployed, which according to the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy Pvt. rose to 7.8% in February from 7.2% a month earlier. A further 10 million hit the job market every year, meaning that number is set to swell beyond what some economists say is already the worst jobs market in 45 years.And people like Najma, a 34-year-old migrant worker on the outskirts of New Delhi, aren’t even counted in such measures. She lost her $80-a-month job as a maid in private residences and her partner who does menial work is also struggling to find employment.“Both me and my husband are sitting at home,” said Najma, who worries about running out of food and falling behind on rent. “The decision of lockdown is bad for the poor. If we don’t earn, what do we eat? The rich can stock up and stay in the luxury of their homes, but for us it’s a question of survival.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The United States of America already has war bonds. They’re called Treasuries.Apparently, that $17 trillion market, the largest in the world, isn’t enough for some people. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said “I’m all for it” when asked on CNBC about the idea of the federal government issuing a “war bond” to fund relief efforts tied to the coronavirus pandemic. “This is a time, it seems to me, to sell bonds in order to raise money for the war effort, in this the pandemic effort,” he commented. Network personality Jim Cramer also shared his support for the idea on Twitter, calling for $1 trillion of 30-year bonds paying 2% interest.This makes little to no sense. For one, the U.S. is obviously already gearing up to issue debt to fund its pandemic relief programs. I wrote last week about how some Wall Street strategists see the Treasury breaking up its sales — the general consensus is that it should flood the market with short-term bills because money-market funds are receiving waves of cash to invest. Moreover, the Treasury already issues 30-year bonds, and Cramer’s suggested rate is significantly higher than the current yield of 1.27%. If the stated goal is to borrow at the lowest cost to taxpayers, this is a losing proposal for the government.It’s possible that the idea of U.S. war bonds is gaining traction because of talk about “coronabonds” in the European Union. They are not the same. The latter would be a shared debt instrument among all constituent countries, with proceeds directed to the areas most in need. EU leaders have talked about such securities basically since the founding of the currency bloc in 1999, but they’ve been a political hot potato because of the vastly different financial situations of rich countries like Germany compared with those of the comparatively poorer Italy and Spain. Another strange part of the intrigue around war bonds is that their traditional economic effects, as demonstrated during World War I and World War II, are exactly what the U.S. doesn’t need or want right now. The idea behind large-scale war bonds, in addition to raising money, is to lock up Americans’ cash in the securities to reduce their consumption and spending. Otherwise, individuals would be competing with the federal government for the same scarce resources, driving up their costs and therefore inflation as well. This is not the overriding concern of the U.S. economy. It might seem like forever ago, but remember that in January the Federal Reserve was obsessed with boosting inflation. Certainly no one is worried about runaway price growth at a time when more than 10 million Americans are suddenly unemployed.On the contrary, the federal government would prefer that citizens have as much disposable income as possible to cover rent payments and other essential bills, plus support small businesses that have had to close in recent weeks. If anything, as Bloomberg News’s Joe Weisenthal pointed out on Twitter, the most beneficial war bond instrument right now might just be stocking up on gift cards up from various local restaurants and other enterprises to help them survive this shutdown. A Washington, D.C., neighborhood even spearheaded a campaign called “Buy Restaurant Bonds” in an intentional nod to the previous war bond efforts.Anecdotally, I played a small part in a similar effort to get cash upfront. An Italian restaurant in Brooklyn with a highly regarded wine list opened up its cellar a few weeks ago and sold any and all bottles at half the listed menu price. I bought two — I saw others purchase many, many more. This is the type of “battle” that needs funding in cities and towns nationwide. By contrast, it’s very much an open question whether the local restaurateur or business owner would benefit quite as much from a special war-bond program. Cramer’s pitch — “we want this piece of paper” — is more of a nod to financial market investors starved of any safe investments with a decent yield. Needless to say, that shouldn’t be the first priority in this relief effort.As for Treasuries, one could argue they’ve been helping to fund actual war for the better part of two decades. The U.S. budget deficit reached a record $377 billion in absolute dollar terms 2003, the year the Iraq War began, and then further ballooned to more than $412 billion in 2004. The military has remained an outsized part of the federal government’s spending ever since: The Pentagon’s budget for the next fiscal year is more than $700 billion.Put it all together, and there’s little incentive to initiate a war bond program other than as maybe a basic pitch to patriotism. A better strategy would be urging Americans to support local businesses as much as they can while having the Treasury continue to borrow in a regular and predictable manner to finance the government’s own relief efforts. Maybe that includes a new 50-year maturity. But war bonds as devised by Kudlow and Cramer are good for absolutely nothing. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Brian Chappatta is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering debt markets. He previously covered bonds for Bloomberg News. He is also a CFA charterholder.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has been a disaster for the stock markets. While all sectors have suffered record losses, some have been particularly hard-hit and face an uphill climb to recover. For example, investments in airlines, cruise lines and hotels have their work cut out for them. But it might be an ideal time to pick up certain tech stocks.Technology companies have long been fantastic buys for investors seeking out growth. That's because many of these firms either latch on to or even create emerging trends, then find ways of turning them into profits: think e-commerce, streaming content and cloud technology.The same thing is happening now in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. Several tech stocks are showing their worth as COVID-19 changes the technology industry. Some firms are already enjoying considerable upside amid various shifts, such as the implementation of "social distancing," and should remain aloft as long as those efforts remain in play. In many cases, the momentum is expected to continue as these technologies become part of a "new normal."Here are 11 of the best tech stocks to buy as the coronavirus outbreak changes the way Americans live, work and play. SEE ALSO: 25 Dividend Stocks the Analysts Love the Most
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The desire for status and approval is one of the most powerful human motives. It induces us to work hard, dress well and engage in conspicuous consumption, such as Instagramming our fancy vacations. But with the rapid advent of Covid-19, most of those options have been whisked away from us.The plunge in status-seeking behavior is yet another way in which the lockdown is a remarkable and scary social experiment. One possible consequence is that many people won’t work as much, simply because no one is watching very closely and it is harder to get that pat on the shoulder or kind word for extra effort.Worse yet, for many people social approbation compensates for economic hardships, and that salve is now considerably weaker. Time was, even if you were unemployed, you could still walk down the street and command attention for that one stylish item in your wardrobe, or your cool haircut, or your witty repartee. Now there’s no one on the street to impress.Americans are learning just how much we rely on our looks, our charisma and our eloquence for our social affect. As Sonia Gupta asked on Twitter: “Extremely attractive people, I have a genuine question for you, no snark: What’s it like to not be getting the regular daily social attention you might be accustomed to, now that you have to stay inside and isolate from others?”Of course her question applies to more than just “extremely attractive people.” The social affirmation gained from, say, attending regular church meetings is now also much weaker.The collapse in status relations runs deep. We might spend a lot of time in chats and Zoom meetings, but in that medium status is harder to express. The boss who “dominates the room” just can’t project the same charisma from a small boxed image on your laptop screen. Nor can the others tell that everyone is listening attentively to that person, or that the person is tall or witty or well-dressed. This is another way in which Covid-19 is “the great equalizer.”In the short run, we can draw upon our status perceptions from the immediate pre-Covid-19 past. The boss is still the boss, and no one has forgotten who Taylor Swift is. As the lockdown continues, however, we may become increasingly confused in this new status-shorn universe, taking phone calls and meetings with previously unknown people.Even the still-famous may lose some of their luster. LeBron James remains a top NBA star, but he is not out there proving it every week, and so his renown has diminished somewhat — as has that of the NBA.To some extent this status erosion is liberating. It may cause a lot of people to reexamine perennial questions about “what really matters.” There are other positive effects: fewer peer-related reasons to go out and spend money, for instance (do you really need that new jacket, or to try all the hot new restaurants?). That will help make tighter budgets or even unemployment more bearable. Some socially anxious people may even feel they are better off.Yet overall this is a dangerous state of affairs. One risk is that we will elevate the status of performers who remain on television frequently. The White House’s Covid-19 press briefings have boosted the profile of President Donald Trump in part because he is appearing in a relative status vacuum, making him seem more leader-like.If you really are obsessed with continuing the status-seeking game, your best options are probably online. One of the few concrete consolations of this pandemic may be a new wave of creativity on YouTube and social media.More generally and in the longer run, expect the technology sector and the nerds to rise in status. It is their products and services that are commanding our attention and filling our status vacuums. The “nerdy look” is even less of a social handicap than it used to be. To paraphrase that famous saying: On a Zoom call, nobody knows you’re wearing mismatched socks.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tyler Cowen is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a professor of economics at George Mason University and writes for the blog Marginal Revolution. His books include "Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- After a long stint embedded in his home office, Jeffrey Katzenberg felt almost ready to take a break. He was looking forward, he said on a Zoom call in late March, to watching more of “Tiger King,” the wacko documentary series from Netflix about big-cat trainers behaving badly, which was currently captivating large numbers of homebound viewers. A few years ago, Katzenberg said, he’d come across Joe Exotic, the incarcerated zookeeper at the center of the Florida-noir series, and had considered making a show about him. But it never came to pass, and now he was in the same boat as everybody else, stuck at home, watching the hit program on Netflix. The special powers of exotic animals seemed to be lingering on his mind. The press could hound him all they wanted but he didn’t scare easily, he explained. He leaned forward, took a pinch of his arm, and held it up to his computer’s camera. “This is rhino skin,” said Katzenberg. In the days ahead, he will certainly need all the big rhino energy he can muster. On Monday, Katzenberg and his business partner Meg Whitman, the former chief executive officer of EBay, are overseeing the much-anticipated launch of Quibi, a short-form mobile video service that arrives into a crowded field of fierce competitors who are digging in for a long, bloody battle. Quibi, which will eventually cost $5 a month with ads, or $8 without them, will roll out 175 shows this year. The kaleidoscopic slate of programming is a mix of comedic series, dramas, reality shows, and topical news programs — all of it serialized into brief episodes. The idea is to reach out and grab users’ attention for a few minutes at a time whenever they’re idly staring down at their phones. In one cooking competition, food is blasted out of a cannon onto participants’ faces. In another show, a sex therapist talks about how to date during a pandemic.While Quibi can sometimes sounds like a film school fever dream, it’s one of the more ambitious projects to emerge in recent years from the crossroads of Hollywood and Silicon Valley. To date, the company has collected about $2 billion worth of investment, much of it coming from major media companies. It has written checks to some of the biggest celebrities in the world. Steven Spielberg and Bill Murray are contributors. “The first thing you have to understand is, if you are a storyteller and you work in Hollywood — movies, television, animation, I don’t care, any part of it — you are an entrepreneur,” said Katzenberg. “And that entrepreneurial spirit hasn’t been tapped in a while.”Despite Katzenberg’s impressive track record in the entertainment business, plenty of competitors, critics and industry analysts are betting on Quibi to lose. “Our reaction out of the gate was: ‘I think this is gonna be pretty tough,’” said Stephen Beck, founder and managing partner of management consulting firm CG42. “Free short-form video on your mobile phone already exists, and you can get a lot of it by relatively big-name stars.” See, for example, YouTube. Katzenberg said he has found some of the more pointed criticism of the yet-to-launch service downright amusing. In February, the New York Times published a lengthy essay by writer Dan Brooks entitled “What’s a Quibi? A Way to Amuse Yourself Until You’re Dead,” which argued that the service cynically aimed to exploit consumers’ already unhealthy addictions to smartphones. Katzenberg said that after reading the piece, he reached out to its author and set the guy up with a phone loaded with Quibi content. That’s Rhino Skin, buddy. (Brooks said in an email the shows he saw were “uneven.”) “I asked my kids: ‘Are your friends watching stuff on their phones?’ They said: ‘Absolutely.’ So we wrote the script.”On Feb. 2, Quibi ran a Super Bowl ad in which a bunch of bank robbers wait for their getaway driver, who is distracted mid-heist by a Quibi show on his phone. Tagline: “Episodes in 10 Minutes or Less.” In the weeks that followed, Katzenberg and his colleagues were planning to advertise heavily during other major sports events, including March Madness. The campaign was supposed to culminate with a star-studded premiere party at 3Labs in Culver City, California. All of it was conceived to generate a ton of free press. Getting Quibi’s quirky-sounding name out as much as possible was important. Outside of the entertainment and media industries, few people knew what Quibi was. In a poll commissioned by the Hollywood Reporter and Morning Consult in March, 81% of adults said they’d heard little or nothing at all about Quibi. But before Quibi could promote itself to America’s legions of live-sports viewers, the pandemic hit and the entire sports industry ground to a halt. Quibi would have to turn elsewhere for introductions en masse. In mid-March, with businesses and schools shutting down around the country, Katzenberg, Whitman and the board discussed the possibility of delaying Quibi’s April 6 launch date. "We said, ‘OK, we can launch, but should we launch?’” Whitman told Bloomberg Television. “We’re not health-care professionals, we’re not first responders. But we thought what we do is inform, entertain and inspire. So we thought we could bring a little joy and light and levity to people’s challenges right now. So we decided to go."Rather than postponing, they tweaked the rollout. They decided to give away the service for free for the first 90 days, a way of appealing to cash-strapped viewers suddenly grappling with a dire economic situation. Quibi also shifted the focus of its advertising blitz away from live TV events and onto social media.Katzenberg and his colleagues have since rolled out a campaign in which the company is paying its series’ stars like Chrissy Teigen to hype Quibi on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. Meanwhile, many contributors in Hollywood are watching the launch with curiosity. Peter and Bobby Farrelly, the fraternal screenwriters known for comedies like “Dumb and Dumber” and “There’s Something About Mary,” have a Quibi show in the works, entitled “The Now,” starring Dave Franco and Bill Murray, which will premier in May. In separate phone interviews, the Farrelly Brothers said it was a little weird to make a film that needed a cliffhanger every 10 minutes, but ultimately that it was “a fun experiment.”“I rarely watch things on my phone, certainly not television,” said Peter Farrelly. “So I asked my kids: ‘Are your friends watching stuff on their phones?’ They said: ‘Absolutely.’ So we wrote the script.”While the new service may feel experimental, Katzenberg is quick to point out that Quibi has plenty of historical precedents. He cites Charles Dickens as a producer of Quibi-like narratives, as well as Dan Brown, the author of “The DaVinci Code.” Both writers, Katzenberg said, were masters of feeding audiences long stories in installments. For readers lacking time or self-discipline, that meant they could consume a sprawling, complex tale in brief increments over weeks or months without losing the plot. Quibi’s kickoff comes not long after the debut of Disney+, the robust streaming service that arrived in the U.S. in November and quickly attracted more than 28 million subscribers. Disney can be a tough act to follow. Katzenberg should know. During the ’80s and early ’90s, he oversaw a major revival of Disney’s animation division. While he may have missed out on “Tiger King,” back in 1994, he found an epic feline hit in “The Lion King,” which went on to gross hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office for Disney and has since spawned an impressive litter of spinoff movies and shows. These days, “The Lion King” franchise is still hard at work, attracting streaming subscribers to Disney+. “They got 100 years, the greatest brands ever known, the most amazing library ever, and ‘The Mandalorian,’” said Katzenberg, referring to a popular Star Wars show.Quibi, by contrast, has got some interesting mobile viewing technology, a large batch of unproven programming and some great expectations. Katzenberg said that of the 50 shows that Quibi will offer people in the first two weeks, he expects eight to 10 to go viral. “Meaning, in the same way we’re laughing about ‘Tiger King,’” he said. “You’re hearing about it through a connection. We’re not allowed to be around one another, but we are all still connected.” For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday offered a vision of a world that was “united and resolute” in battling the Covid-19 pandemic.“This time we join with all nations across the globe in a common endeavor,” she said. “We will succeed — and that success will belong to every one of us.”It’s not what the monarch meant, of course, but the common endeavor the world is engaged in now is a protectionist one. For all the rhetoric about the united fight and the need for internal cooperation, the current obsession in almost every country is how to ban exports and hoard protective masks, clothing and ventilators.The U.S. on Friday became the latest country to impose export controls on protective equipment, banning American companies like 3M from overseas sales.In an era in which President Donald Trump is usually leading the protectionist wave, the U.S. is actually a laggard. Dozens of countries have imposed restrictions. China and the European Union acted weeks ago. Germany’s Angela Merkel may, like the queen, call publicly for cooperation but her government banned exports of medical equipment in early March.To economic nationalists everywhere this is an “I told you so!” moment.The pandemic, they argue, has exposed the false promises and underlying evil realities of international alliances and supply chains. We live in a world where every nation is for itself, they crow.The truth is somewhat more complex and less politically potent. If there is a policy failure to learn from, it’s that governments have wasted years — and not just the early months of 2020 — in preparing for a pandemic that many predicted would arrive someday.The U.S. federal government's inadequate stockpiles of N95 respirators and ventilators is not a failure of corporate supply chains or globalization. It’s a failure of planning for an emergency, which is the highest responsibility of governments. If we pay our taxes for any one reason, it is to be protected from calamity by our leaders, or at least our technocrats.The quasi-black market for protective equipment exists now because of that failure. In normal times, governments are called to build up strategic reserves, whether they be of oil, grains or N95 masks, so that, in an emergency, they can be released to avoid the chaos and inflated prices and profiteering we're seeing now.The problem now is not a lack of domestic production. That’s been made clear in the U.S. by the manufacturers from Ford and GM to Ralph Lauren who have turned their American factories to making needed equipment.There just wasn’t a market for what is now being urgently produced beforehand because the demand wasn’t there, which gets back to the role of governments in making markets where they might eventually be needed.What comes next? The reality check that if you throw up barriers others will too, in all likelihood.On Saturday, the day after Trump announced his export ban on protective equipment, India imposed a ban of its own, on hydroxychloroquine, the malaria drug the U.S. president has touted as a “game changer” in the fight against Covid-19.Trump on Saturday said he had spoken with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to appeal for the release of shipments of the drug already ordered by the U.S. The best the American president could offer, though, was that he had been told India was giving his request “serious consideration.”When one protectionist pleads with another, that’s about as good as it gets.Charting the Trade TurmoilEven as Asia slowly reopens after its lockdown, factories there risk running short on supplies as the virus spreads to countries that produce vital raw materials. And nowhere is the problem a bigger issue than in Africa, which provides the metals and minerals needed for just about every industrial product, and where countries heavily reliant on trade with China have been suffering from a collapse in commodity prices.Today’s Must ReadsOut of the blue | Across the nation, what President Trump had been hyping as a “blue-collar boom” going into November’s election is quickly turning into a blue-collar bust. Ground game | Airbus told employees that a return to full operations isn’t feasible in the short run because of parts shortages and an inability of struggling airlines to receive new aircraft. Clean hands | The maker of Purell hand sanitizer was granted exclusions from U.S. tariffs on components it imports from China, in a reversal by the Trump administration. Food inflation | As the pandemic penetrates more deeply into global supply chains, prices for key food staples are starting to soar in some parts of the world. Oil slick | Trump said he doesn’t think he’ll have to impose tariffs on imported oil to blunt the impact of a damaging price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia. Damage review | Samsung releases preliminary earnings Tuesday, becoming one of the first major tech companies to paint a picture of how the pandemic impacted the industry. Sloppy Joe | Just weeks before Brazil’s coffee harvest starts, farmers are fretting they may not have enough field hands to pick crop before beans fall from their trees and rot.Bloomberg AnalysisEconomic plan | China's policy makers are mobilizing to steer the economy through the Covid-19 pandemic, deploying a full range of policies to contain the coronavirus and jump-start activity. Japan response | A declaration of a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic would heap more downward pressure on Japan's economy. Use the AHOY function to track global commodities trade flows. See BNEF for BloombergNEF’s analysis of clean energy, advanced transport, digital industry, innovative materials, and commodities. Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus and here for maps and charts.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. is designing face shields for medical workers and separately has sourced over 20 million masks through its global supply chain, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said.Cook made the announcement Sunday on Twitter, saying that its design, engineering, packaging and operations teams are working with suppliers to get the shield made and shipped.The first shipment was delivered to a Santa Clara, California, hospital last week. The shields are fully adjustable and assemble in under two minutes, he said, adding that Apple plans to ship over a million this week and another million weekly after that.Apple plans to quickly expand shipping of the shields beyond the U.S., the executive said. Apple has shuttered all 458 of its retail stores outside of China to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and is requiring its engineers and designers to work from home.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson went to a hospital Sunday suffering persistent symptoms 10 days after testing positive for Covid-19.In a possible respite after days of sobering developments, the reported daily death toll in some of the world’s coronavirus epicenters was lower on Sunday.New York State fatalities fell for the first time. Italy had the fewest deaths in more than two weeks. France reported the lowest number in five days and Spain’s tally fell for three days in a row.Key Developments:Global cases pass 1.2 million; deaths top 68,000: Johns HopkinsU.S. cases exceed 321,000, a quarter of the world totalU.K. to tighten lockdown if neededBiden suggests virtual conventionIndia bans exports of “game changer” virus drugReligious gatherings move onlineThe fast spread pits treating patients against finding a cureU.K. Premier Sent to Hospital (4:15 p.m. NY)U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to a hospital Sunday night after having “persistent symptoms” 10 days after testing positive for Covid-19, a spokesperson said.“This is a precautionary step,” the official said.Johnson had been in isolation with a high temperature which had not abated. Two days ago, he posted a video on Twitter about his condition.He remains in charge of the government, and is in contact with ministerial colleagues and officials.NYC Welcomes Added Medical Staff (4 p.m. NY)New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said 291 medical staff have arrived to work in the besieged hospital system, but said as many as 1,450 are needed. The first wave includes 74 nurses, 104 doctors and 12 respirator therapists.The city has a supply of breathing machines for about 48 to 72 hours, which he said was an improvement since officials had feared the ventilator supply would be exhausted by Sunday.“I see a few signs that are a little hopeful, for sure,” de Blasio said. “I think it’s early to be able to declare” a corner has been turned.Boston Mayor Imposes Curfew (3:45 p.m. NY)Boston imposed new measures including an overnight curfew for non-essential activities and encouraging the use of face coverings. Starting Monday, non-essential trips to businesses, restaurants and other locations are banned from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., Mayor Martin Walsh said. The city encourages the use of delivery services for items needed after 9 p.m. City parks, including sports courts and fields, will close. Walking and jogging paths remain open.Ackman ‘Optimistic’ After Seeing Data (3:30 p.m. NY)Pershing Square founder Bill Ackman is “beginning to get optimistic” as cases appear to be peaking in New York, the billionaire said in a series of tweets.Ackman, who has repeatedly called for a complete shutdown of the U.S., said hydroxychloriquine and antibiotics appear to help, and he envisions a time in the next few months where everyone is tested and all but the most vulnerable return to more normal life.The activist investor has previously invested a portion of his personal wealth to help manufacture antibody test kids made by Covaxx, a new subsidiary of closely held United Biomedical Inc..French Deaths Cut by Half in a Day (2:10 p.m. NY)France reported the lowest daily coronavirus deaths in five days in a possible sign that three weeks of confinement are starting to help contain the outbreak. The country had 518 fatalities on Sunday, the fewest since last Tuesday, according to figures published by French health authorities. New cases dropped to 1,873, the fewest since March 21.Irish Premier Will Help as Doctor (2:15 p.m. NY)Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, a doctor by training, has re-registered as a medical professional seven years after leaving the field to pursue politics, the Irish Times reported. Once a week, Varadkar will help carry out assessments by phone for people fearing they may have been exposed to the virus, the newspaper said.Ireland reported 21 new deaths and 390 new cases on Sunday—bringing the total cases nationwide to almost 5,000.N.J. Death Fall Sharply (1:50 p.m. NY)New Jersey, which has the second-highest number of U.S. cases, reported a slowdown in the death rate: Fatalities rose by 71 compared with 200 the day before.The state also reported fewer new cases, 3,381, for a total of 37,505. Total deaths are 917.Austria Readies Lockdown Exit Plan (1 p.m. NY)Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has vowed to chart a step-by-step way out of the lockdown on Monday, as the number of active coronavirus patients dropped for the first time this weekend. Recoveries outnumbered new positive tests on Saturday and Sunday. Fatalities are still rising about 10% per day.Total infections rose 270 to 12,051 and 18 more deaths for a total of 204.Italy’s Deaths Fewest Since March 19 (12:15 p.m. NY)Italy reported the lowest figure for single-day coronavirus deaths in 2 1/2 weeks, even as the region around Milan announced tougher containment measures.Fatalities fell to 525, the fewest since March 19, bringing the total since the beginning of the outbreak in Italy to 15,887. New confirmed cases totaled 4,316, down from 4,805 the day before. Italy now has 128,948 cases, slightly fewer than Spain.Hard-hit Lombardy is requiring that citizens shield their mouths and noses with masks or other coverings when they leave their homes, and insisted residents stay inside for all but essential activities, after seeing a spike in people venturing outside in defiance of the quarantine.Read story hereU.S. Sends Military Doctors to NYC (12:10 p.m. NY)The U.S. military will deploy 1,000 Air Force and Navy medical staff to New York City in the next three days, the Pentagon said in a statement. About 300 will be assigned to the Javits Center, which has been converted into a Covid-19 hospital. The rest will deploy to other area locations, the U.S. Northern Command said in a statement.N.Y. Deaths, Hospitalizations Fall (11:30 a.m. NY)New York reported 594 new coronavirus deaths, fewer than the 630 it reported on Saturday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said at his daily press briefing. He said it’s too soon to draw conclusions. The state has 4,159 fatalities so far.There are 122,031 positive cases in total. New hospitalizations also dropped, to 574 from 1,095, Cuomo reported.The governor said while the coronavirus has hurt the economy, it led to a drop in the crime rate and fewer trauma cases unrelated to the outbreak being taken to hospitals.BOE Rules Out Monetary Financing of Fallout (11:20 a.m. NY)Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey rejected the idea of using monetary financing to help contain the economic impact of outbreak, and said the bank’s current policies stop short of such action.The central bank has boosted its own bond-buying plan by 200 billion pounds ($246 billion). That’s prompted some commentators to warn that it leaves the bank at risk of directly funding government spending, and potentially unleashing a wave of runaway inflation.“Using monetary financing would damage credibility on controlling inflation by eroding operational independence,” Bailey said in an op-ed in the Financial Times. “It would also ultimately result in an unsustainable central bank balance sheet and is incompatible with the pursuit of an inflation target by an independent central bank.”Biden Suggests Virtual Convention (10:15 a.m. NY)Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said the party should consider a virtual nominating convention this summer because the coronavirus has led to limits on public gatherings.“We’re going to have to do a convention, we may have to do a virtual convention,” Biden said on ABC’s “This Week.” “We should be thinking about that right now. The idea of holding a convention is going to be necessary. But we may not be able to put 10, 20, 30,000 people in one place.”Pentagon to Issue Mask Guidance (9:49 a.m. NY)U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the Pentagon will issue guidance Sunday on personnel wearing face coverings, after U.S. health officials recommended the step for Americans.“We’re going to move toward face coverings,” Esper said on ABC’s “This Week” broadcast. “We want to take every measure to protect our troops.”U.K. Coronavirus Cases Rise (9:25 a.m. NY)Cases rose to 47,806 from 41,903 on Saturday. Total deaths were 4,934 versus 4,313, according to the Department of Health and Social Care, rising at a slower pace than those reported on Saturday.The U.K. will tighten a nationwide lockdown if needed to halt the spread, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, even as pressure builds on the government to explain how it will eventually ease economically devastating measures.As many as 4,000 low-risk prisoners will be freed in England and Wales as cases inside prisons climb. Selected inmates with less than two months to serve will be released and monitored with electronic devices, the Ministry of Justice said.Denmark May Ease Restrictions (7:56 a.m. NY)Denmark may announce a loosening of restrictive measures aimed at curbing the outbreak as soon as Monday, local media reported.Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen is seeking to present some watering down of the measures at a press conference in coming days, Berlingske and TV2 reported, without saying where they got the information. The country’s confirmed cases of the virus rose to 4,369 on Sunday, with 179 deaths.Scottish Official Warned About Trip (7:30 a.m.)Police in Scotland have visited the country’s chief medical officer after photos were published of her and her family traveling to their second home. Legal instructions about not leaving your home without a reasonable excuse apply to everyone, Police Scotland said in a statement.Catherine Calderwood accepted a warning about her actions, the chief constable said. Earlier, she apologized on Twitter, saying she didn’t have legitimate reasons to be out of the house and didn’t follow the advice she is giving others.Jakarta Commuters Must Wear Masks (7:28 a.m. NY)Commuters in the Indonesian capital will be barred from using public transit if they aren’t wearing face masks. The country has more than 2,000 cases of Covid-19 and Jakarta is among the world’s most-densely populated cities, with more than 10 million residents.Abu Dhabi Waives Charges for NHS (7:20 a.m. NY)Abu Dhabi’s state-owned exhibitions company is waiving charges for Britain’s health service to use its giant London conference center as an emergency hospital, following a similar move by Blackstone Group Co.Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Co. PJSC had initially been asking as much as 3 million pounds ($3.68 million) per month for the site near London’s Canary Wharf financial district, the Sunday Times reported earlier. The center has been turned into a 4,000-bed field hospital for virus cases, making it one of the largest in the world.Singapore Reports Most Cases in a Day (7:17 a.m. NY)Singapore had 120 new cases, the most in a day, bringing the total to 1,309. Of the new cases, only four involved patients with recent travel history, officials said at a briefing.Two complexes for foreign workers have been declared “isolation areas” and any individuals residing there will have to stay in their rooms for 14 days to avoid the spread of the virus, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo. The buildings house almost 20,000 people.Europe Needs Marshall Plan (7:09 a.m. NY)“Massive investments, a Marshall Plan for Europe” is needed to emerge from the virus crisis, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a column published by Welt am Sonntag. “At the center there should be a strong new EU budget,” accepted by all member states to ensure solidarity and modernization, she said. Funds must be allocated “particularly smart and in a sustainable way.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Queen Elizabeth II urged Britons to adopt the same discipline and resolve that the U.K. showed during World War II as she sought to comfort the public during the fight against coronavirus. In a rare televised address, the 93 year-old monarch insisted that the sacrifices made during the national lockdown will be worth it, and added that families and friends will be reunited again once the crisis passes. “I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge,” she said. “And those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any.”The Queen thanked National Health Service staff and other key workers tackling the pandemic. Other than her annual Christmas address, she rarely makes such public pronouncements. She recalled her first broadcast in 1940 as a teenager growing up in World War II, alongside her sister Margaret. “We, as children, spoke from here at Windsor to children who had been evacuated from their homes and sent away for their own safety. Today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones. But now, as then, we know, deep down, that it is the right thing to do.”The speech was recorded at Windsor Castle by a single cameraman wearing personal protective equipment and keeping a safe distance from the monarch. In her message, the Queen said self-isolation would be hard for many but also offered people a chance to slow down, reflect on life, or pray. “We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return,” she said. “We will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again. We will meet again.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
What should you do with your stimulus check? Robert Kiyosaki, the best-selling author of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” offered a bit of advice to his 1.3 million followers on Twitter for when that cash finally arrives.
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump on Saturday dismissed concerns about the rollout of a $349 billion program to assist small businesses rocked by the coronavirus, saying loan distributions were “way ahead of schedule” even as banks struggle to respond to the flood of requests.“It’s been flawless so far,” Trump told reporters Saturday at the White House. “Far beyond our expectations. I don’t even hear of any glitch.”The president’s rosy assessment came even as some small businesses said they were worried funding for the Paycheck Protection Program -- a tent-pole of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package signed into law March 27 -- might be exhausted before their loans were approved.The Trump administration didn’t release new rules until late Thursday, hours before the program launched, and some banks, including Wells Fargo & Co., said they weren’t ready to accept applications. Small business owners reported frustration trying to get answers from their banks and submit the required documents.“Yesterday was a lot of confusion -- you had the Treasury secretary tweeting out how well it was going, but what I was seeing was that most banks couldn’t get on the system,” David Steen, a top executive at Bridge Community Bank in Iowa, said in a phone interview.Trump said that within 24 hours, the Small Business Administration and over 1,200 local lenders had processed over 28,000 loans. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said over $5.4 billion had been processed on the program’s first day, and promised that more lenders would be ready to accept applications next week.Trump earlier tweeted that he “will immediately ask Congress for more money to support small business” if the funds run out, as many people expect. Larry Kudlow, the White House’s top economic adviser, said that could come through “supplemental assistance.”House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, also acknowledged on Friday that Congress might have to direct more funds to the virus-relief programs already signed into law.With the U.S. payrolls report released Friday shattering records -- even without capturing the full extent of jobs lost due to the coronavirus lockdown -- members of the Trump administration and Congress recognized the urgent need for more aid.“We needed to make sure we put money in to the pockets of small business quickly -- this was going to do no good if we waited three or four months,” Mnuchin said late Friday on Fox Business Network.He has said that his team has worked until 4 a.m. on some days, and headed back to the office within three hours, to launch the brand new loan facility within one week of Trump signing it into law.Banks and other lenders reported spotty success with the SBA’s loan portal, called E-Tran, on Friday. Overall, the several billion dollars in loans that went through was evidence the portal worked, at least for some, said Julie Huston, chairwoman of the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders.However, other banks witnessed the portal crash repeatedly and were locked out of the system, said Paul Merski, an executive vice president at the Independent Community Bankers of America.‘Beyond Stressful’That made the process on Friday “beyond stressful and disappointing for community banks, Rebeca Romero Rainey, head of the ICBA said in a statement.Banks that haven’t done SBA loans previously -- accounting for 60% of lenders -- are at a particular disadvantage because they have to essentially set up an account with the agency. The fear is that big banks with established SBA units may eat up the lion’s share of government funds, to the detriment of many rural businesses, Merski said.Mnuchin heard about some of these frustrations Friday afternoon during a call with House Republicans, according to one person familiar with the conversation. The Treasury chief’s main message to the group of lawmakers was: “We’re working on it,” the person said.Lawmakers told Mnuchin they’re worried that the $349 billion will run out too soon. Mnuchin has repeatedly said that if that happens, he’ll ask Congress for more money.The House and Senate aren’t scheduled to be back in session before April 20. It’s possible to pass legislation without a roll call vote, as long as there are no objections.(Updates with Trump comments in paragraphs one through three and six.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Benzinga has examined the prospects for many investor favorite stocks over the past week. Bullish calls included e-commerce and software giants.Bearish calls included airlines and the leading electric vehicle maker.The main U.S. indexes closed out last week lower again, led by the more than 2% retreat by the Dow Jones industrial, as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic continued to spread. The March jobs report was worse than expected and new jobless claims shattered records again. Crude oil prices hit a multiyear low but tried to recover later in the week. And investors are already bracing for big bank reports to kick off a new earnings season later this month.Benzinga continues to examine the prospects for many of the stocks most popular with investors. The following are some of this past week's most bullish and bearish posts that are worth another look.Benzinga is covering every angle of how the coronavirus affects the financial world. For daily updates, sign up for our coronavirus newsletter.Bulls Priya Nigam's "Amazon Analyst On Positives, Negatives Of Coronavirus Spending: 'A Material Impact'" examines how the e-commerce and cloud businesses at Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) could benefit from recent trends."Analyst Says Microsoft Is Relatively Well-Positioned For A Crisis" by Shanthi Rexaline looks at why Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) is one of the more resilient stocks in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.In "Huge Boeing Option Trader Makes M Bet On Nearly 50% Upside By September," Wayne Duggan details why one trader has found cause to feel bullish on Boeing Co (NYSE: BA). In "What Doesn't Kill Twitter During This Coronavirus Crisis Just Makes It Stronger, Goldman Says," Elizabeth Balboa shares why the tide could be turning for struggling social media stock Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR).For additional bullish calls, also have a look at "7 Safe Dividend Plays For 2020" and "Mario Gabelli Dishes Out Top Picks, Weighs In On Energizer, MSG And More."Bears In Jayson Derrick's "Tesla Is Still A 'Maximum Short' For Chanos," see why a bet against Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) remains a favorite position of noted short seller Jim Chanos. Has nothing significant changed at the electric automaker?"Stifel Upgrades, Downgrades Airlines Facing Coronavirus Shock, Says Hawaiian Well-Positioned" by Priya Nigam looks at why a key analyst is bearish on American Airlines Group Inc (NASDAQ: AAL) and others.Wayne Duggan's "7 Media And Entertainment Stocks To Buy, Sell And Hold" includes Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NASDAQ: LVS) as a stock that investors should steer clear of for now. See what's a better bet.eBay Inc (NYSE: EBAY) is not among those benefiting from stay-at-home culture. So says "This Chart Shows E-Commerce Winners, Losers During Coronavirus Pandemic" by Elizabeth Balboa.Be sure to check out "2008 Playbook Suggests Current Period Is Calm Before The Storm For Stocks" and "This Economist Projects 3 Quarters Of GDP Contraction In Coronavirus Recession" for additional bearish calls.At the time of this writing, the author had no position in the mentioned equities.Keep up with all the latest breaking news and trading ideas by following Benzinga on Twitter.See more from Benzinga * Barron's Picks And Pans: Tech Picks, SoftBank, REITs, Tesla And More * Benzinga's Bulls And Bears Of The Week: Boeing, Netflix, Nike, Target And More * Barron's Picks And Pans: Big Tech Picks, Bank Stocks Large and Small And More(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
Millions of Americans have recently shifted to working from home full-time as most states have adopted stay-at-home guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from getting worse. Take Jill Sanfilippo, a corporate paralegal in Montgomery, N.J., who bought a $150 padded stool/bench on Amazon (AMZN) so that she has a cushier seat while toggling between two laptops. “I’m working at the kitchen counter while my son is schooling at the dining room table, so it’s a long day of standing!” Sanfilippo, 48, told MarketWatch.
On CNBC's "Fast Money," Guy Adami said he agrees with Goldman Sachs' upgrade on Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) as the stock should benefit from increased traffic during the crisis. He is concerned about the ad spending, but he thinks that traders who want to play the market can buy some at the current price level.Dan Nathan sees Twitter as a valuable utility for the users, but the company is not growing sales at a rate one might expect for a growth company valued this way. If it drops to high to mid teens, the stock would be amazingly cheap, said Nathan.See Also: Tesla Analysts Dissect 'Surprisingly Strong' Q1 Deliveries DataTim Seymour spoke about AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). He thinks the stock traded lower Friday as investors listened to the downgrade from MoffettNathanson, which now has a $23 price target for the stock. Seymour explained the company wanted to become more cyclical, but it has done so in the recession and now, investors are concerned about its debt. He has a long position in the name and he added the company now has a lower financing costs.Steve Grasso would be a seller of Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) because going forward delivery numbers are going to be disappointed. Nathan is concerned people won't be able to afford Tesla's cars during the recession. He thinks the stock should be trading lower.See more from Benzinga * Cramer Shares His Thoughts On Procter & Gamble, Virgin Galactic And More(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
Twitter Inc. may be facing a weaker advertising market as the COVID-19 outbreak crimps consumer spending, but the company may also be picking up a flood of new information-hungry users that it could keep around for the long haul.
(Bloomberg) -- In just a matter of weeks, Ryan Sitton went from being a lame-duck commissioner of an obscure Texas agency to one of the key figures in a global effort to save the oil market from plummeting prices.Sitton, a Republican who lost the primary election for his own seat on the Texas Railroad Commission just one month ago, said Thursday that he had spoken with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak about cutting global oil supplies and planned to have a conversation with Novak’s counterpart in Saudi Arabia. Two weeks ago, he spoke with OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo and was invited to attend a meeting this summer in Vienna.To be clear, these kinds of exchanges between state-level regulators and national energy ministers about capping global oil supplies are not common. In fact, if Sitton attends that OPEC meeting, he would be the first member of the state Railroad Commission to do so since the 1980s. He’s earning a seat at the table just as the OPEC+ alliance, which includes Saudi Arabia and Russia, tries to form a global coalition to cut output, put an end to a war over market share and stem the rout in crude prices brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.A deal with non-OPEC+ nations including the U.S. would set a historic precedent. President Donald Trump hasn’t publicly said whether the U.S. is willing to cut its own domestic production. He met with oil executives at the White House on Friday to discuss ways to shore up the industry.In the absence of federal action, Sitton -- an oil and gas engineer and self-proclaimed energy markets expert who leaves office in January -- became the face of America’s response to a global battle for oil market share. Even before crude collapsed amid the virus and a Saudi-Russia price war, Sitton was in the public eye far more often than his fellow commissioners, Chairman Wayne Christian and Christi Craddick, both Republicans. He regularly appears on television and has his own website, ryansitton.com, where visitors can view everything from his annual oil industry report to a video of a Crossfit class he led for state employees. (Sitton, 45, attributes his more public persona to success early in his career as a business owner that allowed him to take more risks while in office.)To a certain degree, Sitton’s always had an eye on the global market. When the commission was criticized for its lax policy toward natural gas flaring, Sitton took it upon himself to release a report and subsequent video call, saying that the problem was far worse in Iraq and Iran.“Other nations are flaring at levels four times higher than Texas,” he said in the report, which was panned by environmental groups. “They, therefore, present much more efficient paths to global flaring reductions.”The power to manage the state’s oil production has been there all along. Following a slump in the oil market in 1931, the Texas Railroad Commission started periodically implementing a process known as pro-rationing to bolster prices. That ended in the early 1970s, just as OPEC, which had modeled itself on the commission, was rising to a dominant position in the oil market.“There’s this regulatory authority that’s just sitting there unused for all these years but all of a sudden becomes relevant again,” said James Coleman, an energy law professor at Southern Methodist University. “The Texas Railroad Commission, although obscure, has always been an important international player.”Days after prices first crashed below $25 a barrel, Sitton penned an opinion piece advocating for a coordinated response with Saudi Arabia and Russia. He’s urging the agency to consider pro-rationing state production, a proposal that both Christian and Craddick have yet to support. It wouldn’t be the first time Sitton has split with his fellow commissioners: Last year, Craddick nominated Christian to serve as chairman, even though tradition dictated that Sitton would lead the agency as he ended his six-year term.The commission has scheduled a hearing on pro-rationing for later this month, a move Sitton announced in a webinar he hosted to outline his take on the global oil market.“Our constituents elect us for situations like this and look at how we solve problems,” he said in an interview last month. “They don’t need people who sit on the sidelines when you’re in an economic catastrophe like we’re in right now.”Complicated PositionIt’s a complicated political position to take in Texas, a state that prides itself on free markets and individualism. And Sitton doesn’t appear to have much public support, with the exception of Pioneer Natural Resources Co. and Parsley Energy Inc. Scott Sheffield, chief executive officer of Pioneer, is himself an unusually public figure for the typically media-shy independent shale producers.Others companies, including Exxon Mobil Corp., and major trade groups like the American Petroleum Institute, have said they’re not seeking government intervention, preferring free markets take their course. And Christian and Craddick both reiterated Friday evening that Sitton’s vocal support for a government response doesn’t necessarily reflect their positions.“One commissioner does not speak for” the Texas Railroad Commission, Craddick said. “No decision has been made about proration to limit Texas oil production.”But Sitton may have little to lose. Last month, he lost the Republican primary for his seat in a shocking upset. In November, Jim Wright, a rancher and chief executive of an oilfield-service company, will battle one of two Democrats vying for Sitton’s seat.Now Sitton could be spending his last few months in state office speaking with international energy chiefs and traveling to Vienna.“It’s important to remember that this is the history of the Railroad Commission,” Coleman said. “It’s just amazing how quickly this happened.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- OPEC+ delayed a meeting aimed at ending the oil price war, as Riyadh and Moscow trade barbs about who’s to blame for the collapse in oil prices.The alliance is tentatively aiming to hold the virtual gathering on April 9 instead of Monday as it previously intended, a delegate familiar with the matter said. Producers need more time for negotiations, said another. Beyond the alliance, Saudi Arabia and Russia have indicated they want other oil countries to join in any output cuts, complicating efforts to call a meeting, the delegate said, asking not to be named discussing diplomatic matters.The delay came hours after Saudi Arabia made a pointed diplomatic attack on Russian President Vladimir Putin, opening a fresh rift between the world’s two largest oil exporters and jeopardizing a deal to cut production.In a statement early on Saturday, the Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said comments by Putin laying blame on Riyadh for the end of the OPEC+ pact between the two countries in March were “fully devoid of truth.”The direct criticism of Putin, echoed in a statement by Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, threatens a new agreement to stabilize an oil market that’s been thrown into chaos by the global fight against coronavirus. President Donald Trump had devoted hours of telephone diplomacy last week to brokering a truce in the month-long price war between Moscow and Riyadh.“We always remained skeptical about this wider deal as U.S. producers cannot be mandated to cut,” said Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at consultant Energy Aspects Ltd. “If so, Russia doesn’t come to the table. And if everyone doesn’t cut, Saudi Arabia’s long held stance is that they will not cut either.”The prospect of a new deal spurred a 50% recovery in benchmark oil prices last week as traders saw some relief from the catastrophic oversupply caused by a lockdown of the world’s largest economies, in a bit to halt the coronavirus pandemic. With billions of people forced to stay at home, demand for gasoline, diesel and jet has collapsed by about as much 35 million barrels a day.“Russia was the one that refused the agreement” in early March, the Saudi foreign ministry said. “The kingdom and 22 other countries were trying to to persuade Russia to make further cuts and extend the agreement.”Read more: Trump Meets U.S. Oil Leaders After OPEC+ Urges Cuts to Stem RoutSponsored by Trump, who’s fretting about the future of America’s shale industry, momentum for a new agreement had built in recent days.A delay is “not a good sign,” said Ayham Kamel, head of Middle East and North Africa at the Eurasia Group consultancy. “This entirely plays negatively for the discussions.”“Part of Putin’s comments are about saving face and also justifying why the oil price crashed and partly to deter criticism from the U.S. Putin doesn’t want to be blamed for any losses in the U.S. energy industry. It seems to me that there’s both a defensive effort to shield from criticism abroad for both the Saudis and the Russians,” Kamel said.Blame GamePutin acknowledged the need for a deal on Friday, saying Russia was willing to contribute cuts. This could be 1 million barrels-a-day if the U.S. joins, according to four people familiar with sentiment in the industry.But he also put responsibility for the downward spiral in prices on Saudi Arabia.“It was the pullout by our partners from Saudi Arabia from the OPEC+ deal, their increase in production and their announcement that they were even ready to give discounts on oil” that contributed to the crash, along with the coronavirus-driven drop in demand, he said.“This was apparently linked to efforts by our partners from Saudi Arabia to eliminate competitors who produce so-called shale oil,” Putin continued. “To do that, the price needs to be below $40 a barrel. And they succeeded in that. But we don’t need that, we never set such a goal.”In fact, at the time the deal collapsed, Russian officials said privately they were seeking to do just that: use lower prices to force U.S. shale producers from the market and reverse some of the losses in market share they’d seen in recent years.Since the original OPEC+ deal fell apart at a March 5 meeting in Vienna, the Saudis have argued Russia decided to walk away and was first to say countries were free to pump as much as possible.Prince Abdulaziz, the energy minister and half-brother of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, made the same point in his statement on Saturday.“The Russian Minister of Energy was first to declare to the media that all the participating countries are absolved of their commitments,” he said. “This led to the decision by countries to raise their production in order to offset lower prices and compensate for their loss of returns.”But the end of OPEC+, first forged in 2016, reflected long standing tensions between the two most important members in the 24 nation alliance. Saudi Arabia was shouldering most of the burden, producing more than 2 million barrels a day below capacity, while Russia had made a more nominal contribution.The Saudis, who have ramped up production to a record 12 million barrels a day in the past month and massively discounted the price of their oil, have insisted a new agreement must involve significant contributions from all OPEC+ nations and major producers outside the coalition, including the U.S. and Canada.“No one had expected such a total collapse in the oil market,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, head of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, a research group which advises the Kremlin. “Saudi Arabia and Russia have lost control of the situation. Tearing up the OPEC+ deal caused a lot of hurt feelings in Moscow and Riyadh, for Putin and MBS. That makes things more difficult, they have to get over that while not losing face. That’s why they’re both pointing the finger at each other.”(Updates with new meeting date and analyst comment in final paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- For the longest time, Canadian real estate investment trusts were a stalwart for income investors. Now, dividend payments hang in the balance as commercial and residential tenants struggle to pay rent during a pandemic that has shut down much of the economy.Typically seen as a place to get a high, safe payout in a world of low bond yields, REITs are one of the worst performing groups in the nation’s benchmark index since the peak on Feb. 20, plunging 38%.That has sent yields skyward as share prices fall and investors anticipate dividend cuts or suspensions.Before the market sell-off, the 19 stocks that make up the S&P/TSX Capped REIT Index gave it a dividend yield of 4.1%. That spiked as high as 7.8% last week as the rout got worse, and is now just above 6.5%.“Before we were looking at an average yield in that 3 to 5% range and now you’re looking at yields in the 5 to 10% range,” Jenny Ma, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets, said by phone. “It has really widened out as far as the individual names go. And in some cases when you have REITs trading at yields in excess of 10%, and in some cases well in excess of 10%, then clearly the market is suggesting that the expectation is for a distribution cut.”Two REITs in the index with double-digit yields both have high exposure to retail. SmartCentres Real Estate Investment Trust is the landlord to many Walmart outlets and other big-box stores. H&R Real Estate Investment Trust owns retail, industrial and office properties across Canada; it yields more than 17% after a decline of 62% in the stock this year.Cash Flow TroubleIn normal times, falling interest rates are good for REIT shares. But the usual rules don’t apply: commercial property markets in major economies have frozen up as buildings that bustled with diners, shoppers and workers just weeks ago have gone quiet.This isn’t the first time Canadian REITs have hit a wall. Ma believes the global financial crisis in 2008-2009 taught them a valuable lesson that might help them now -- the wisdom of lower payout ratios.Real estate trusts that had strong growth in cash flow, and resisted the urge to pass all that growth to investors in higher dividends, might be a better position today than they were a decade ago, Ma said.What’s different this time around is whether tenants can pay their rent, something that wasn’t as much of an issue during the financial crisis.RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust will lose as much as one-quarter of its revenue in the next two months as retail tenants close their doors due to the coronavirus spread, Chief Executive Officer Ed Sonshine told Bloomberg News last month.Cominar REIT withdrew its 2020 forecast and suggested its retail unit, with heavy exposure to enclosed malls, will be materially affected.“It stands to reason that it’s hard to manage your cash flow if you’re not earning any more,” Ma said. “A lot of companies have been very good and said that they are going to pay their employees. They still have to pay their overhead costs and they have to pay their rent. So there’s a lot of questions as to what’s going to happen there.”Markets -- Just The NumbersChart of The WeekEconomy & PoliticsEconomists will be keeping an eye on March jobs data due April 9 after Bloomberg News reported that more than two million Canadians, making up about 11% of the labor force, applied for jobless claims since the start of nationwide lock downs last month to slow the spread of the coronavirus.Bank of Canada’s business outlook survey is expected on April 6 and March housing starts data is due on April 8.The cost of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s fiscal package to protect the economy from the impact of Covid-19 has hit about C$250 billion ($176 billion). One of the flagship programs, a plan to temporarily subsidize 75% of wages for Canadian workers, will cost C$71 billion, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said. Along with other measures such as a monthly C$2,000 benefit for affected workers, the government expects to spend C$105 billion on direct support for companies and households.TrendingInCanadaPrime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to work with Amazon.com Inc.’s Canadian unit to manage distribution of equipment to provinces and territories has faced backlash among Canadians who believe the nation’s postal service should be doing the job.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Shares are down 40% since Feb. 17, versus a 27% drop in the S&P 500 over the same span—and that might have generated an opportunity for investors.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled more than 450 points Friday midday after a jump in New York coronavirus-related deaths. U.S. coronavirus cases climbed past 259,000, as the new stock market rally edged into a second day.
KEY WORDS “The notion of the federal stockpile is that it’s supposed to be our stockpile. It’s not supposed to be states’ stockpiles that they then use.” — That was White House senior advisor Jared Kushner during Thursday night’s coronavirus task force briefing, in response to being asked about states that have reported shortages of medical supplies such as face masks and gloves during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The coronavirus epidemic has crushed stocks worldwide. Even multinational semiconductor company Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) is no exception, as AMD stock fell 14% last month due to supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic.Source: Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com Despite the potential drop in sales, AMD's diversified revenue mix has put it into an excellent position to weather the storm and stay on track for a strong showing this year.Let's take a closer look at the reasons why AMD stock will emerge as a winner out of the coronavirus chaos and why it's a must-have for your portfolio.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips The Growth of the Work From Home EconomyIt's no secret that the coronavirus-led crisis has led to several organizations adopting a work from home culture. Talking about the situation, CNBC's Jim Kramer said the current Covid-19 crisis didn't reveal anything regarding our collective move to a more telecommuting culture but that the "outbreak's pouring fuel on the stay-at-home fire." * 10 Stocks to Buy Whose Companies We Can't Live Without With more employees working from home, the demand for laptops, network peripherals and communication services is rising dramatically. Companies such as Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ:ZM), a cloud-based video conferencing tool, are reporting a massive spike in demand for its services.Social media platforms such as Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) have also witnessed a surge in engagement. All these developments point towards an increase in the demand in the networking and data center space.Speaking of which, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) has dominated the sector with an over 95% market share. However, the year-over-growth in its data center segment was down 19%.A strong showing in the fourth quarter allowed Intel to post a 2% increase in its data center segment. AMD, on the other hand, is steadily chomping away at Intel's market share in the sector with the success of its Epyc processors and Radeon Instinct GPU accelerators.The data center segment constitutes 15% of its $6.73 billion in revenues in the past year, and with AMD ramping up volumes, expect the sector to record double-digit growth.Intel completely obliterated its competition in the aftermath of the 2009 financial crisis. Still, with AMD's current progress, the results will be much different if the coronavirus leads to a prolonged recession. CFO Devinder Kumar, states that the company aims to receive 30% of its 2023 sales from data center products, which is 15% over the 2019 figure. Strong Financial PerformanceAMD's financials have been on a tear for the past three years with sizable growth in its revenues and gross margins. In the words of its Chief Executive Officer Lisa Su, "2019 marked a significant milestone in our multi-year journey as we successfully launched and ramped the strongest product portfolio in our 50-year history."Revenues were up by 50% in the past year, mainly driven by the Computing and Graphics segment. Gross margins increased by 7% primarily due to the ramp of 7nm products.Operating profits and net incomes have also witnessed a steady increase in the past year. Perhaps the most encouraging sign for the company is the reduction of its debt by $524 million and a massive 300% increase in the free cash flows.The CEO predicts that the company will achieve 20% revenue growth in the next four years and will hit gross margins of more than 50%. She stated that AMD was maintaining its revenue forecasts of $1.8 billion for the first quarter.Although the weakened demand in China will impact sales, revenues in other sectors are in line with the estimates, which would result in a 28% to 30% increase in revenues for 2020. PC Gaming: A World of OpportunityThe PC gaming market is growing enormously, with the growth of esports and popular multiplayer titles. Most esport tournaments are played on PC's which is driving up demand for high-end processors and graphic cards.Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) is the market leader in the discrete GPU space with a 69% market share. However, with a cost-effective pricing model for the RX 5700 and the RX 5700 XT GPUs, AMD managed to gain significant ground in the past year. AMD also poses a significant threat to Intel's shaky position in the video-gaming laptop market.The new third-generation Ryzen 4000 processors for laptops were revealed at the CES 2020 conference. These two are the best performing mobile laptop CPUs in the series and were developed with mobility in mind. The processor is likely to affect sales of Intel's top-of-the-line i9 9880H will emerge as a serious threat to its dominance in the coming years.Also, let's not forget Sony (NYSE:SNE) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) will launch their next-generation consoles this year, and AMD will supply chips for the systems. Bottom Line on AMDIf you're thinking about investing in the best recession-proof stocks, the AMD stock has got to be in your list. The shift in the working culture presents a golden opportunity for AMD to outperform its competitors in the first and second quarter of 2020.With its innovative GPU and processors, the company is poised to gain significant ground against Nvidia and Intel. Therefore, AMD is a strong buy in my book, and you should grab it at a discount right now.As of this writing, Muslim Farooque did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. More From InvestorPlace * 25 Stocks You Should Sell Immediately * 1 Under-the-Radar 5G Stock to Buy Now * This Stock Picker's Latest Video Just Went Viral * The 1 Stock All Retirees Must Own The post AMD Stock Is an Opportunity You Should Not Pass Up appeared first on InvestorPlace.
Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) peaked in 2014 and has since traded around half that rate. But tides could be turning for the struggling social media stock.The Twitter AnalystGoldman Sachs analyst Heath Terry upgraded Twitter to a Buy rating but cut his price target from $39 to $35.The Twitter ThesisBy Terry's assessment, the COVID-19 social environment is changing in Twitter's favor."We believe the net impact of advertisers retreating, both as brands weigh the value of spending in a crisis and direct response sees conversions declining, while user growth surges globally as people look to stay informed and connected, has created an attractive entry point for investors," the analyst wrote in a note.He expects the platform to prove its value during the coronavirus crisis -- as it has in other localized crises -- and convert many passive visitors to long-term members. The company will be poised to monetize its user base as its ad technology improves.See Also: Why Facebook Is More Important Than Ever During COVID-19 PandemicOf course, the impending recession and immediate coronavirus impacts weigh on Goldman's near-term estimates. But the analyst expects Twitter to emerge from the struggle with new strength."While there are a number of variables in estimating the impact of the current crisis (user growth, advertiser exposure, ad budget trajectories, etc.), we believe that acceleration in Twitter users implied by company guidance and third-party data, along with the pre-crisis acceleration in user growth and engagement driven by product investments, leave Twitter well positioned to exit this crisis stronger than it entered it," Terry wrote.TWTR Price ActionTwitter traded up more than 3.8% on Friday morning, but turned red to trade around $22.85 at time of publication.Latest Ratings for TWTR DateFirmActionFromTo Apr 2020CFRAUpgradesHoldBuy Apr 2020Goldman SachsUpgradesNeutralBuy Mar 2020Morgan StanleyMaintainsEqual-Weight View More Analyst Ratings for TWTR View the Latest Analyst Ratings See more from Benzinga * 4 Coronavirus Myths Causing Unnecessary Alarm * Twitter's Q4 Did Little To Sway These Analysts(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.