Costco Wholesale reported a 12.1% rise in March same-store sales, the retailer's biggest increase in at least seven years, as consumers continued to stock up on food and essentials. The growth was tempered by shortened store hours and limits on the number of shoppers allowed in the store at one time.
Tractor Supply has been designated as an essential retailer and is hiring about 5,000 employees, many of whom will clean carts and make sure shoppers are social distancing. The mostly rural-based retailer has seen a surge in pet food and animal feed sales as panic-buying shoppers stock up, new CEO Hal Lawton said.
"Gone for the time being is the ease of normal social interaction with work colleagues throughout the workday," writes IIA President and CEO Richard Chambers. "For those who live their lives in black and white, I fear there will be more black than white from prolonged isolation in a makeshift home office." Chambers offers advice for living a life in color.
CME Group Senior Economist Erik Norland highlights key areas where businesses may make changes due to the lingering impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. These include strengthening supply chains, implementing more flexible remote working policies, cutting back on business travel and an increased reliance on online commerce.
Economists expect efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic to cost the US 14.4 million jobs and to contract GDP by 4.9% this year, according to a survey by The Wall Street Journal. In the near term, economists expect GDP to shrink at an annualized 25% in the second quarter and forecast an unemployment rate of 13% in June.
European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde has urged EU states to show solidarity and develop a unified fiscal response to the coronavirus pandemic. Her comments come a day after finance ministers deadlocked on a €500 billion plan to combat the pandemic.
The lockdown imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus will send Germany into a recession that shrinks the economy 4.2% this year, according to leading economic institutes. However, the institutes forecast a swift recovery after the coronavirus is brought under control, with the economy expanding 5.8% next year.
Credit Suisse and UBS are to pay out their 2019 dividend payments in two installments this year, thus delaying half of them, as a result of pressure from Finma, the Swiss financial regulator. Finma has been calling on the country's banks to review their dividend policies, warning that payouts must be deducted from any regulatory capital relief they may receive.
Some active fund managers say the recent market rout and bearish conditions have created an opportunity to demonstrate the superiority of stock-picking over passive fund management. "In the current environment, traditional passive investing has met its Waterloo, fully exposing clients to the worst hit sectors, like oil and gas and commodities," says Bestinvest managing director Jason Hollands.
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