New Zealand says coronavirus ‘eliminated’, to lift most curbs By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks during an interview with Reuters in Wellington

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand has eliminated transmission of the novel coronavirus and will lift all containment measures except for border curbs, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday, making the South Pacific nation one of the first countries to do so.

The government will drop social distancing restrictions form midnight on Monday as it moves to a level 1 national alert from Level 2, Ardern told a news conference.

Public and private events, the retail and hospitality industries and all public transport could resume without social distancing norms still in place across much of the world.

“While we’re in a safer, stronger position there’s still no easy path back to pre-COVID life, but the determination and focus we have had on our health response will now be vested in our economic

Read More

Costco should be Warren Buffett’s next bulk purchase

Warren Buffett says “nothing can stop America.” To put his money where his mouth is and spend some of his US$137 billion stash before this crisis is over, he wouldn’t have to look far. If there’s one company that warrants the dealmaker’s attention, it may be Costco Wholesale Corp., a retailer in which Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. already owns a stake.

At Berkshire’s virtual shareholder meeting last month, Buffett signalled that the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t afforded him deal opportunities at bargain-basement prices the way past economic meltdowns have. Despite the nationwide shutdowns that are just starting to lift and a soaring unemployment rate, the S&P 500 Index is only 8 per cent off its February all-time high. That’s partly due to aggressive actions taken by the Federal Reserve to mitigate the crisis, though one can’t deny that there exists an astonishing disconnect between stock prices and the economic realities of

Read More

What shape will the recovery take? U-shape, check mark, square root symbol, and swoosh are all on the table, say economists

The U.S. economy’s descent into a crisis certainly looks like a straight line down. What shape the recovery might take on the way up is an entirely different story.

As economists try to make sense of what a recovery might look like, the only real certainties have been an unpredictable virus, dismaying data, and massive (yet improving) unemployment numbers in the near term.

While unemployment modestly ticked down to 13.3% in May, it skyrocketed in April, hitting 14.7% (and many suspect it was even higher), as over 42.6 million Americans have filed for unemployment since shutdowns began. GDP for the first quarter shrank by 4.8%, with what Wall Street uniformly touts will likely be the worst quarter—the second—still to come. That has led to economists and analysts predicting a much wider variety of lettered and shaped recoveries than we have typically seen in past recessions.

The V crowd

But … Read More