Monthly Archive: April 2020

Stock markets are surging, but has this rebound come too far, too fast?

A worse-than-expected hit to U.S. GDP announced Wednesday couldn’t stop North American stock markets from continuing their powerful rebound from the coronavirus crash, with all major indices surging more than two per cent for the day.

April is now on course to become only the third month since 1991 to see the S&P 500 return more than 10 per cent. But rather than rejoice at a surge that has seen the S&P 500 jump more than 31 per cent  since the bottom in March, many market analysts and money managers are instead wary — and preaching caution to investors.

“The idea that the stock market can run and have nothing to do with income streams is a head scratcher,” said Sam Labell, Veritas Investment Research’s head of research. “A 10 per cent correction is not out of the question.”

Wednesday’s gains appeared to be driven by a positive update from

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3 ways COVID-19 impacted Microsoft’s latest earnings

Despite the coronavirus weakening the global economy, Microsoft managed to be relatively unscathed. 

The technology giant said Wednesday that its overall revenue in its latest quarter jumped 15% year-over-year to $35 billion. Those results beat analyst expectations of $33.7 billion, fueling a 4.5% rise in the company’s shares during after-hours trading, to $177.43.

But while Microsoft continued its string of solid quarterly earnings, it wasn’t totally immune from financial troubles related to Covid-19, as company executives explained in a conference call. Here’s three ways the pandemic did impact the business.

Bing and LinkedIn took a hit

Chief financial officer Amy Hood said Microsoft experienced a “significant reduction” in ad spending, which affected its search business and LinkedIn professional network. The decline was part of a broader retrenchment in the online ad industry, which Facebook also highlighted on Wednesday.

With companies laying off thousands of workers and pausing hiring, … Read More

Google parent Alphabet tops sales estimates despite virus hammering economy

Alphabet Inc. on Tuesday beat analysts’ estimate for quarterly revenue as its Google unit experienced a smaller drop-off in advertiser spending than had been anticipated given economic concerns related to the novel coronavirus.

Shares of Alphabet rose 3.5 per cent to US$1,275 following the after-hours release of financial results. Alphabet shares were down about 8 per cent this year at Tuesday’s close.

A booming economy and rising internet usage have driven Google to record revenues in the last few years. But the virus has split those two trends, with consumer spending now plunging and reliance on internet services surging.

“Performance was strong during the first two months of the quarter, but then in March we experienced a significant slowdown in ad revenues,” Alphabet Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said in a press release.

Alphabet’s overall revenue in the first quarter was US$41.2 billion, up 13 per cent compared with the

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Coronavirus brews trouble for tea, disrupts supply as demand spikes By Reuters

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© Reuters. The owner of a tea house pours a cup of tea in this picture illustration

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By Rajendra Jadhav and Polina Devitt

MUMBAI/MOSCOW (Reuters) – The coronavirus outbreak is causing a rare stir in the usually staid global tea market, with labour lockdowns stifling supplies just as millions in lockdown drive up demand for the beverage known for its immunity-boosting properties.

Five countries – China, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Vietnam – account for 82% of global tea exports, but strict restrictions on movement to contain the coronavirus pandemic have already disrupted the key leaf-picking season, delayed some shipments by about a month and triggered a spike in prices.

Fewer pickers combined with colder-than-normal temperatures last month are expected to trim output in top producer China this year, while production in No.2 grower India and Sri Lanka have also been impacted by labour and weather issues.

India’s

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Scammers have registered 150,000 fake stimulus check websites. Here’s how to protect yourself

Eager to get your stimulus check? You aren’t the only one, apparently.

According to Bolster, an online security firm, there has been a dramatic spike in the number of websites trying to steal data or provide misinformation to consumers. Bolster reports more than 150,000 suspicious stimulus check related domains.

This comes amid a broader backdrop of heightened worry about coronavirus-related scams. Overall, Bolster says the number of phishing sites has spiked 235% during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is updating the number via its tracker. “The broader COVID-19 scam and suspicious domain explosion is the largest topic-oriented phishing spike that we’ve ever seen,” says Abhishek Dubey, CEO of Bolster, who previously ran machine learning and security research teams at Cisco, and whose company now counts Uber and DropBox as clients, according to their website.

Here’s how the stimulus scam generally works. Fraudsters create a copy of the IRS’s official … Read More

Stocks close more than 1% higher as some states reopen for business

NEW YORK — Wall Street gained more than 1 per cent on Monday at the onset of a hectic earnings week, as investors turned a hopeful eye toward several U.S. states that are relaxing shutdown restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

All three major U.S. stock averages advanced, and are all now within 20 per cent of their record closing highs reached in February, with the benchmark S&P 500 on track for its best month since 1987, after trillions of stimulus dollars helped U.S. equities claw back much of the ground lost since the coronavirus crisis brought the economy to a grinding halt.

But some analysts believe gains may be limited unless there is progress in finding treatments for the disease.

Several states have begun easing stay-at-home restrictions, in efforts to revive economies and get Americans back to work following crushing job losses.

“In

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