20hours ago, 3 Apr, Friday
Nearly 10 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits over the past two weeksSingularity Financial Hong Kong April 2, 2020 – by Zohar Lee The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits surged to more than 6.6 million last week, breaking a record high for the second week in a row as more states and cities enforced strict stay-at-home measures in an attempt to stop the coronavirus pandemic. Claims between the period of March 21 and March 28 blew past the previous week's record of 3.3 million, according to the weekly jobless claims report from the Labor Department published on Thursday. The previous week’s total was revised higher by 24,000. That brings the total number of Americans who filed for unemployment over the past two weeks to nearly 10 million, a stunning sign of the colossal economic damage inflicted by the outbreak. "Four years of job gains have evaporated in the span of two weeks," said Daniel Zhao, senior economist at Glassdoor. "Today’s report is a one-two punch for an economy reeling from the coronavirus outbreak. As more states and localities shut down non-essential businesses to preserve public health in response to the coronavirus outbreak, initial claims are likely to continue to produce eye-popping reports."
5days ago, 30 Mar, Monday
Jefferies Group CFO dies of coronavirus complications; 'Today' show co-host Hoda Kotb broke down on air
Singularity Financial Hong Kong March 30, 2020 – The chief financial officer of Jefferies Group LLC, Peregrine "Peg" Broadbent, has died from coronavirus complications, the company said in a statement Sunday.
Broadbent, who was 56-years-old, had served as CFO of the financial services company since 2007. The company has appointed Teri Gendron, CFO of Jefferies Financial Group, as the interim CFO and chief accounting officer of Jefferies Group.
The United States now has the most confirmed cases worldwide, and the Centers for Disease Control has issued a travel advisory urging people in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for the next two weeks.
Today 'Today' show co-host Hoda Kotb broke down on air after interviewing New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees about his $5 million donation to the state of Louisiana amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
SoftBank plans to raise $41 billion by selling key holdings like Alibaba to silence doubtersSingularity Financial Hong Kong March 30, 2020 – Author: Carl According to “Bloomberg Markets: China Open”, SoftBank is said to be planning to sell $14 billion of its shares in Alibaba. The move is part of a larger plan to shore up its business battered by the coronavirus pandemic. The Japanese conglomerate is considering raising the remainder of the money by selling a stake in SoftBank Corp., its domestic telecommunications arm, as well as part of Sprint Corp. following its merger with T-Mobile US Inc., said one of the people, who requested anonymity discussing private transactions. The Alibaba stake sale could range from $12 billion to as much as $15 billion, the people said. The Japanese company now aims to sell assets to raise as much as 4.5 trillion yen (US$41 billion) over the coming year to buy back stock and slash debt – an amount equivalent to almost its entire market value last week. The scale of the endeavour surprised investors, sending the Japanese firm’s stock up 19 per cent on Monday. Yet that was a fraction of the capitalisation the investment house has lost since its 2020 peak, underscoring persistent concerns that tumbling technology sector valuations will damage Son’s debt-laden company.
Masayoshi Son is eager to generate fundsMasayoshi Son, the founder of SoftBank, announced the sale plans Monday in Tokyo - he is finally doing what investors have been urging for years -- using his stake in Alibaba for shareholder returns and to pay down debt. The Alibaba stake, worth more than US$120 billion, makes up the largest chunk of SoftBank’s unrealised value. An Alibaba spokesperson did not respond to an emailed request for comment. SoftBank spokespeople in Tokyo and the US declined to comment. “The market sent a strong message and SoftBank has heeded it,” Kirk Boodry, an analyst at Redex Holdings who writes for Smartkarma, said after the Monday announcement. Apollo Global Management, the alternative asset management house co-founded by Leon Black, has placed a short bet against bonds issued by SoftBank because of its tech exposure, according to the Financial Times. Alibaba, Sprint and SoftBank Corp. are worth as much as $190 billion combined, estimates Atul Goyal, senior analyst at Jefferies Group. But Son will want to keep at least a 50% stake in the domestic telecom unit because it’s the only cash-generating asset and its dividends help pay for SoftBank’s interest on debt, he wrote. And since Sprint is going through a merger with T-Mobile, most of the funds will initially have to come from Alibaba, he said.
1week ago, 25 Mar, Wednesday
Preventing Covid-19 From Infecting the Commercial Mortgage MarketSingularity Financial Hong Kong March 25, 2020 – Real estate investor Tom Barrack said the U.S. commercial-mortgage market is on the brink of collapse and predicted a “domino effect” of catastrophic economic consequences if banks and government don’t take prompt action to keep borrowers from defaulting. Barrack, chairman and chief executive officer of Colony Capital Inc., warned in a white paper and in a subsequent interview on Bloomberg Television of a chain reaction of margin calls, mass foreclosures, evictions and, potentially, bank failures due to the coronavirus pandemic and consequent shutdown of much of the U.S. economy. To download white page, please click this link.
Owners of 76ers and Devils cancel plans for salary reductions to help employees
Josh Harris, the billionaire co-owner of the N.B.A.’s Philadelphia 76ers and the N.H.L.’s New Jersey Devils, has canceled plans to impose temporary salary reductions of up to 20 percent upon full-time employees from both teams who earn at least $50,000.“After listening to our staff and players, it’s clear that was the wrong decision,” Harris said in a statement. “We have reversed it and will be paying these employees their full salaries. This is an extraordinary time in our world — unlike any most of us have ever lived through before — and ordinary business decisions are not enough to meet the moment. To our staff and fans, I apologize for getting this wrong.”
The president of Harvard University, and his wife, have tested positive for Covid-19Singularity Financial Hong Kong March 25, 2020 – Lawrence S. Bacow, the president of Harvard University, and his wife, Adele, have tested positive for Covid-19, Dr. Bacow said on Tuesday afternoon in an announcement to the Harvard community.
Dr. Bacow said that he did not know how he and his wife had contracted the virus, but were heartened that they had not come into contact with many people over the last few days.
2weeks ago, 24 Mar, Tuesday
Bill Ackman said he has made a recovery bet on the economy and taken off all the hedgesSingularity Financial Hong Kong March 24, 2020 – Activist investor Bill Ackman said he has made a “recovery bet” on the economy, investing $2.5 billion in equities, including upping his positions in several of his portfolio companies and reinvesting in others like Starbucks Corp. The billionaire investor said he has taken off all the hedges that he put in place for his Pershing Square Capital Management, through shorts in the credit market. Those hedges were put in place to offset the effects of the coronavirus, he said. Ackman said his hedge fund has used the proceeds to reinvest over the past 10 to 12 days in several of his portfolio companies, including Lowe’s Cos., Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. “That’s about the most bullish thing we’ve done,” he said in a Bloomberg TV interview. “We are all long. No shorts, you know, betting on the country.”
2weeks ago, 23 Mar, Monday
Singapore closes borders to keep virus at bay, will Hong Kong follow?Singularity Financial Hong Kong March 23, 2020 – A day after Singapore confirmed its first two coronavirus-related deaths, the country said it would close its borders to short-term visitors and some foreign labourers from on Monday (March 23) to help the limit the spread of the disease.
The new rules mean short-term visitors will no longer be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore, while semi-skilled workers on "work passes" will not be allowed to return to the island unless their job is in sectors that provide essential services such as healthcare and transport, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a statement.Pressure was on Sunday mounting for Hong Kong to follow Singapore and Taiwan in closing its borders on all non-residents as it reported 44 new coronavirus infections, the second-highest single-day spike since the outbreak began. Asked if Hong Kong would follow Singapore’s lead, a government spokesman replied in a statement that it needed to conduct a “thorough risks assessment” first. Another regional transport hub, Taiwan, also shut its doors to all non-citizens. "In Singapore, almost 80 percent of our new COVID-19 cases over the past three days were imported, most of them Singapore residents and Long Term Pass holders returning home from abroad. These imported cases had travel histories to 22 different countries", the MOH statement said. Dr Leung Chi-chiu, chairman of the advisory committee on communicable diseases at the Hong Kong Medical Association, said the city could reach a “point of no return”. He urged the government to ban non-residents from entering without compelling reasons. A top medical expert in Hong Kong warned that the number of infections could reach 1,000 in the next few weeks unless drastic measures were taken. The Hong Kong government also revealed on Sunday night that police were investigating 41 cases of quarantine violation, including five people who could face prosecution for leaving their confinement without permission or removing their tracking wristbands.
2weeks ago, 21 Mar, Saturday
Hong Kong records its biggest rise in coronavirus cases as new wave of infections crashes into AsiaSingularity Financial Hong Kong March 21, 2020 – Hong Kong recorded what is by far its biggest daily jump in coronavirus cases on Friday—the latest in a new phase of infected travelers, many of whom are returning to the city from Europe, the United States and Southeast Asia. The city is not alone in facing the increasing threat of imported cases. Taiwan, which also saw a daily record increase in the number of new cases, reported 27 additional infections on Friday—most of which are travel-related. In Singapore, 24 out of 32 newly infected patients had a history of travel to Southeast Asia, Europe and North America. All three places managed to fend off the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak, when it was spreading across mainland China—despite having close economic ties and a large number of travelers from the mainland.
2weeks ago, 20 Mar, Friday
Senator Dumped Up to $1.7 Million of Stock After Reassuring Public About Coronavirus Preparedness
As the head of the intelligence committee, Burr, a North Carolina Republican, has access to the government’s most highly classified information about threats to America’s security. His committee was receiving daily coronavirus briefings around this time, according to a Reuters story.