Financial Daily Dose 9.3.2020 | Headline-grabber: CBO predicts US government debt will nearly eclipse GDP for first time since WWII | Robins Kaplan LLP

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New figures from the Congressional Budget Office predict that US public debt, thanks to the pandemic recession, will roughly eclipse the size of the country’s GDP – a level not seen since just after World War II – CBO and WSJ and MarketWatch and NY Times

Yet to hell with the fiscal hawks, the Dow Jones rose above 29,000 again and the S&P and Nasdaq both hit new highs on Wednesday – WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch

The SEC has opened a civil fraud investigation into upstart brokerage Robinhood (best known for the popularity of its foreclosure-focused day trading app) for “its early failure to fully disclose its practice of selling client orders to high-speed trading companies”. – WSJ

Economists again predict a drop in initial jobless claims in the United States ahead of the release of today’s numbers and tomorrow’s jobs report. Last week didn’t do so well, and there’s increased uncertainty this time around because today’s data “will be calculated using a new methodology to adjust to seasonal factors” – WSJ and Bloomberg

It’s barely back to school, but struggling retailers are already bracing for a Covid-transformed holiday shopping season. From mall Santas to Black Friday deals to regular foot traffic, it’s going to be nothing like the year-end rush we’re used to seeing – NY Times

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected an offer from Oracle Corp. “to order the Pentagon to restart its procurement process for the highly sought-after $10 billion cloud computing contract that was ultimately awarded to Microsoft over Amazon Web Services Inc. in October.” A three-judge panel found Oracle suffered no harm when the Department of Defense solicited bids for the program – Law360

Amtrak is laying off more than 2,000 workers, or nearly 10% of its workforce, in response to the “sharp drop in ridership and revenue caused by the coronavirus pandemic.” The embattled passenger railroad agency is already facing a series of systemic issues drawing “the scrutiny of rail advocates and federal lawmakers” – NY Times

And while we’re on the subject of rails, a group of buyout investors led by Blackstone and Global Infrastructure Partners has put together a new offering for rail operator Kansas City Southern, which currently has a market capitalization of over $17 billion. dollar – WSJ and Bloomberg

United Airlines is the latest carrier to announce plans to lay off staff this fall, with more than 16,000 workers expected to join unemployment rolls in the coming weeks thanks to ‘a drop in passenger demand due to a pandemic’ – WSJ

SoftBank is leading a $100 million investment in Biofourmis Pte, a Singapore-founded, Boston-based software startup “that predicts heart disease patient issues” and uses AI “to deliver personalized care” – Bloomberg

In the latest sign of the widespread impact of the virus, Australia announced this week that the country had officially entered a recession – the island nation’s first in some three decades – NY Times

Mashable continues its series on algorithms this week with this fascinating article on even “the relentless march of technology – with ever faster, better, and smarter computers” can’t break the 2-3 week weather forecast limit. Just awesome stuff for us weather nerds – Mashable

We are away for a few days for the Labor Day holiday and hope you can find a good one [socially distant] way to celebrate the end of summer. We’ll see you here on Tuesday morning.

Be careful.

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