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U.S. Cases Climb 1.7%; Trump Again Blames Testing: Virus Update

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The World Health Organization reported a one-day high for global coronavirus cases, led by the Americas, as U.S. cases rose 1.7%. Florida and Texas recorded new virus records. President Donald Trump again linked testing and mounting cases.

Italy reported an above-average increase in cases, and India added more than 22,700 infections, the most in a day. Boris Johnson’s dad defended his trip to Greece after the U.K. advised against such international travel.

A sports agent said he’s confident U.S. baseball can resume, citing success in three Asia nations.

52,104 in U.S.Most new cases today

-7% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-1.​063 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-2.​3% Global GDP Tracker (annualized), May


Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases top 11.1 million; Deaths over 527,000
  • Cheers? English pubs shake off lockdown into uncertain world
  • Americans aren’t much interested in going out and spending
  • A thousand pork workers tested positive at JBS plant in Brazil
  • Japan insists this time is different even as cases surge
  • Low-income U.S. households suffer inflation shock from virus

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus.

Man in 9/11 Photo Dies of Covid-19 (5:15 p.m. NY)

A New York electrical engineer photographed in a crowd fleeing the smoking World Trade Center in 2001 died of the coronavirus, the Palm Beach Post reported, citing his family. Stephen Cooper, 78, died March 28 in Delray Beach, Florida, where he lived part-time. The photograph was widely published and is part of the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York.

Texas Records Record Rise (4:38 p.m. NY)

Texas reported a record 8,258 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the state’s total to 191,790 as of July 4. It marked a 4.4% rise, above the seven-day average of 4.2%. The number of deaths rose by 33 to 2,608, the Department of State Health Services said on its website.

U.S. Cases Rise in Line With Week’s Average (4 p.m. NY)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased by more than 46,000 from the same time on Friday, to 2.82 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. The 1.7% increase was below the average daily increase of 1.8% over the past week. Fatalities rose 0.3% to 129,601.

  • Florida reported another record jump in Covid-19 cases, rising by 11,458 cases, or 6.4%. That’s compared with the seven-day average of 5.5%, for a total of 190,052 cases. Another 18 people died, the fewest since June 22, for a total of 3,702.
  • New York, once the nation’s epicenter for the outbreak, reported a 0.2% rise in cases, in line with the past 7 days, or 726 cases. The state’s total is now 396,598. Eleven more people died, for a total of 24,896.
  • California reported 6,510 new cases, and increase of 2.6%. In total, 254,745 people have tested positive. The number of deaths rose by 50 to 6,313. The state website warned some data might be delayed from Los Angeles County.
  • Arizona reported 2,695 new cases, a 2.9% rise from a day earlier. It was the slowest rate of increase in five days, and below the record for daily cases set on Wednesday. Cases in the state have been rising at a 4.4% rate over the past seven days and now stand at 94,553.
  • New Jersey reported 303 new cases, for a total of 173,033. That is a slight drop from 386 reported the day before. The state had 25 deaths, down from 58 the day before, for a total of 13,333.

Trump Again Blames Testing for Case Rise (3:04 p.m. NY)

President Donald Trump again blamed the amount of testing for the record rise in U.S. Covid-19 cases. “Cases, Cases, Cases! If we didn’t test so much and so successfully, we would have very few cases,” he tweeted.

But many health experts point out the percentage of those testing positive is also rising. In Florida, his home state, 14% of tests on Friday came back positive -- a daily rate that has topped 10% since June 25 -- compared with his former home of New York, which had a positive rate of 1.2% on Friday.

WHO Ends One Malaria Drug Trial (2:30 p.m. NY)

The World Health Organization halted one of the clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine, touted by President Donald Trump for Covid-19, and lopinavir/ritonavir, accepting a steering committee recommendation.

WHO set up the so-called Solidarity Trial to find a treatment for patients in hospitals, but interim results showed the two drugs did little to reduce mortality rates whilke not adding to the risk of death.

This decision doesn’t affect possible evaluation in other studies of the two drugs in non-hospitalized patients or as pre- or post-exposure protection for Covid-19, the agency said in a statement. Trump took hydroxychloroquine in May.

California Cases Rise 2.6% (2:15 p.m. NY)

California reported 6,510 new Covid-19 cases, and increase of 2.6%. In total, 254,745 people in the state have tested positive. Deaths rose by 50 to 6,313. Numbers may not represent true day-over-day change as the reporting of test results can be delayed, according to the website.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is making improvements to its data processing systems beginning Saturday. As a result, testing data from the county won’t be included in statewide totals for the next few days. The county will continue to collect data during this time and it will be reported by the state early next week.

Johnson Dad Defends Trip Despite Guidance (2 p.m. NY)

The father of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended his trip to Greece this weekend made after the government advised British citizens to avoid all but essential international travel, including to Greece.

Stanley Johnson, 79, said his visit was “essential business” because he needed to “Covid-proof my property” ahead of the rental season, the Press Association reported. The elder Johnson, who owns a villa in Greece, earlier posted a picture on social media as he arrived wearing a face mask: “I didn’t put them up... in a spirit of defiance, or anything like that,” he told reporters, the PA said.

Boris Johnson refused to condemn his father for the apparent breach of travel guidance during a radio call-in program on a London sation.

WHO Reports Most New Cases for a Day (12:25 p.m. NY)

The World Health Organization reported a record 212,326 new coronavirus cases in the 24 hours ended early Saturday, the first infection total to top 200,000. The WHO has reported more than 163,000 new cases every day for the past week, led by a rise in the Americas.

The Americas region -- chiefly the U.S. and Brazil -- account for 61% of all new cases, followed by Southeast Asia, which made up 12% of the daily infections. Europe, once an epicenter for the outbreak, represented 9.3%, the WHO daily report showed. Cases in the U.S. and Brazil were 48% of the global total.

The Americas make up 51% of all cases, or 5.58 million of 10.92 million, followed by Europe with 25% and the Eastern Mediterranean, including the Middle East, with 10%. The WHO total often lags behind tallies from John Hopkins University, which showed 11.13 million cases as of midday Saturday.

Italy’s Infection Pace, Deaths Edge Higher (11:45 a.m. NY)

Italy, Europe’s first pandemic epicenter, reported 21 new virus-related deaths on Saturday, compared with 15 a day earlier, raising the country’s toll to 34,854, according to the Health Ministry. New cases increased by 235, more than the previous seven-day average of 175.

Arizona Cases Rise Less Than 7-Day Average (11:20 a.m. NY)

Arizona reported 2,695 new cases on Saturday, a 2.9% rise from a day earlier but less than the record set Wednesday. Cases have been rising at a 4.4% rate over the past seven days and now stand at 94,553. The state had 4,878 new cases on Wednesday, the most for a day.

The state reported 17 new deaths, down from a record 88 on Wednesday, putting the total at 1,805.

New York Hospitalizations Decline (11:10 a.m. NY)

New York reported fewer hospitalizations and new admissions as cases climbed by 726, or 0.2%, according to the state health department website, a rate consistent with most days since the middle of June.

The state had 844 patients in hospitals, 13 fewer than on the previous day, with 63 admissions, a drop of 10 from Thursday. Of all tests on Friday, 1.16% were positive, down from 1.38% a day earlier.

Sports Agent Bullish on Baseball Safety (11:10 a.m. NY)

Sports agent Scott Boras, who represents some of the highest-paid professional baseball players, said he’s convinced games can safely return this month without fans, even as Covid-19 cases surge. In an interview, Boras cited the experience of Korea, Japan and Taiwan, where games were played without hospitalizations.

Four players have decided to sit out the year and on Friday the game’s biggest star, Mike Trout, said he’s concerned about playing with his wife pregnant. Thirty-one players and seven staff members tested positive for Covid-19, according to an announcement from Major League Baseball and the players union. That was 1.2% of the total 3,185 samples, a rate lower than 5% of players reported by the National Basketball Association in its initial round of testing.

Florida Cases Surge By Record (10:35 a.m. NY)

Florida’s Covid-19 cases reached 190,052 on Saturday, up 6.4% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 5.5% in the previous seven days. Deaths among Florida residents reached 3,702, an increase of 0.5%, according to the report, which includes data through Friday. The increase in infections was 11,459, the most for a single day.

Cumulative hospitalizations of Florida residents rose by 244, or 1.6%, to 3,702. The rate of people testing positive for the first time fell to 14.1% for Friday, from 14.9% a day earlier.

Portugal Reports More Cases, Mostly in Lisbon Region (10 a.m. NY)

Portugal reported 413 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, up from 374 on Friday, taking the total to 43,569. Daily new cases have ranged between 192 and 457 since the start of June. The additional cases are mostly in the greater Lisbon region, where authorities have tightened restrictions in 19 parishes and increased testing after new clusters were identified.

Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva on Friday called a U.K. requirement that travelers quarantine when they arrive in England from Portugal “absurd,” citing a higher number of deaths in Britain due to the pandemic.

Spanish Region Locked Down (8 a.m. NY)

Spain’s Catalan government has put the Segria region and its capital Lleida under lockdown to contain an outbreak. The number of cases in the region of 210,000 has soared 20% in the past two weeks to 3,312. Four of nine outbreaks currently being monitored by authorities are associated to companies harvesting and processing fruit and vegetables.

The lockdown won’t impact the harvest season, but Alba Verges, head of the regional department of health, called for agriculture workers to limit their social activities. The precarious conditions that these workers often live in make controlling the outbreaks more difficult, Verges said. These temporary workers, many of them African migrants, are often hired by the day, paid very low salaries and live in crowded spaces or even on the streets.

“We have taken exceptional public health measures in this region because the data make us think that contagion is much greater than in the rest of the country,” Verges said.

India Cases Rise by More Than 22,000 (4:50 p.m. HK)

Infections in the South Asian nation of 1.3 billion people rose to 648,315, including 18,655 deaths as of Saturday -- the world’s fourth-largest outbreak, according to the country’s health ministry. It recorded 22,771 fresh infections on Saturday, the highest increase in new cases so far.

India has set an ambitious timeline for its first potential vaccine -- from human trials to general use in six weeks. Bharat Biotech International Ltd., an unlisted Indian vaccine maker, got regulatory approval to start human clinical trials for its experimental shot earlier this week.

— With assistance by Ian Fisher, Steve Geimann, Brandon Kochkodin, Virginia Van Natta, and Tony Czuczka

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World News

Florida’s Virus Cases Jump by Record for Single Day

Florida’s Covid-19 cases jumped by the most during the pandemic, two days after the previous high, a sign that the outbreak is expanding and leading to more serious clinical consequences.

Reported new cases rose by 11,458, or 6.4%, to 190,052, compared with an average 5.5% in the previous seven days. The Sunshine State had a record 10,109 cases on Thursday. Deaths reached 3,702, according to the release, which includes data through Friday, an increase of 18, the fewest since June 22.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has ruled reimposing a lockdown, but hospitals and local officials officials are taking note of the rising trend in cases.

Miami-Dade County is under an overnight curfew and entertainment venues are closed in the state’s most populous county amid a surge in Covid-19 patients in intensive-care units and hospitals. Jackson Health System, which operates one of Florida’s biggest hospitals, said it will limit inpatient surgeries and procedures to emergency and urgent cases starting Monday.

52,104 in U.S.Most new cases today

-7% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-1.​063 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-2.​3% Global GDP Tracker (annualized), May


Cumulative hospitalizations rose by 244, or 1.6%, to 15,735, slowing from the pace from the day before. The median age of patients dropped to 35 from 37 the previous day.

The rate of people testing positive for the first time fell to 14.1% on Friday, from 14.9% a day earlier.

— With assistance by Jonathan Levin

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European diplomats believe Joe Biden will repair the damage done by Trump to America's broken alliance with Europe

  • European diplomats and foreign policy experts say that a Joe Biden presidency would restore the United States' strained alliances with Europe.
  • Donald Trump's presidency has put relations between the US and its closest allies under severe stress.
  • The president's attacks on international institutions and his dislike for multilateral action have tested longstanding alliances.
  • One senior UK diplomat told Business Insider that they believed a Biden presidency would bring an end to "the venal corruption" of the Trump era.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Joe Biden's election as US president in November would restore UK-US relations, repair the diplomatic damage caused by the Trump administration, and boost the prospects of a transatlantic trade deal, according to European diplomats and trade experts.

The transatlantic alliance between the US and its European allies has been under growing strain since Trump's election in 2016.

The president's attacks on multilateral institutions such NATO, his attacks on Europe's rapprochement with Iran, and his decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord have all tested the long-standing "special relationship" with the UK and other European allies.

The damage has been reflected among the European public, with recent polling showing a collapse in perceptions of America on the other side of the Atlantic.

However, there is growing optimism in European diplomatic circles that much of the damage could be undone were the president to lose in this year's election.

One senior UK diplomat, who asked not to be named, told Business Insider that a Biden presidency would bring a welcome end to the "venal corruption" of the Trump era.

"A lot of stuff will change if Biden wins," the diplomat said.

"The venal corruption of the Trump family and the nasty narcissistic aspects of his behaviour — all that will go with a different sort of president," they said.

"Rather than having a unilateralist America alone policy with a Biden, you would have a 'let's work with our allies to find solutions' approach."

The diplomat's comments echo those made by Biden's foreign policy adviser Antony Blinken, who signaled earlier this year that the US under Biden would rebuild the US's links with multilateral institutions.

"When Joe Biden looks at the world, one thing stands out," he told the London think-tank Chatham House, in comments reported by the Guardian. "Whether we like it not, the world tends not to organise itself and, for 75 plus years, the US played the leading role in working to organise the world, establishing the institutions, writing the rules and setting the norms."

"If we are not doing that, then one of two things happen. Either someone else is, and probably not in a way that advances our interest and values, or no one is, and that can be even worse. Then you have a vacuum which tends to be filled by malevolent things before good things. So the US has a responsibility and self-interest in leading with humility."

The distancing between Washington and its allies has been particularly keenly felt in the UK where relations with Washington have been severely tested by Britain's decision to sign off a deal with Chinese telecoms company Huawei to develop its 5G network, despite repeated opposition and threats from the Trumps administration.

Officials in the US were also angered in June by plans for Huawei to build a £400 million research & development centre in Cambridge, England.

That is not to say Biden would adopt a conciliatory approach towards China. In fact, he has signalled that he will take a similarly tough line on China to Trump, and has even criticised Donald Trump for being too soft towards Beijing.

"Democrats are as stern on this issue as Republicans," said Heather Conley, senior vice president for Europe, Eurasia and the Arctic at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"The tactics will be very different. I would assume a Biden administration will not instigate tariffs and a trade war against their allies.

"They will try to convince them [instead] to reduce dependence on Chinese investment, particularly in telecommunications. But the message will still be the same."

"That's where I think the R&D centre is going to be a significant concern to a Biden administration as much as it would be to a Trump administration," Conley said.

One UK diplomat told Business Insider: "[Issues] like taking a firm line with China, like Iran — those things will remain bones of contention. These [Biden and his allies] are people who believe in alliances, in the difference between right and wrong, and in the moral standing of the United States as the leader of the free world. But they accept it has to be earned."

Biden's hostile rhetoric towards China indicates the state of UK-US relations could well end up being governed by how Boris Johnson chooses to manage the UK's relationship with Beijing.

The prime minister has not formally signalled that he will pull the UK out of the deal to let Huawei build part of the UK's 5G network but he indicated this week that he was going to think "very carefully" about whether to proceed with the deal because he "didn't want to see our critical national infrastructure at risk of being in any way controlled by potentially hostile state vendors."

Conservative MPs and Downing Street are increasingly worried about the UK's dependence on China for investment and imports.

Those concerns have only grown due to the coronavirus pandemic, which highlighted the UK's dependence on China.

A UK-US trade deal will remain challenging

Joe Biden and former UK Prime Minister David CameronGettyConley also suggested the UK's decision may have been driven in part by an assessment on the UK's part that the US Congress would not approve a free-trade agreement if the Huawei decision did go ahead.

"What I've seen over the last several weeks is a significant shift in the UK's position — whether that's in part because of the realities of a UK-US free trade agreement, and knowing that Congress would not approve an FTA unless the Huawei issue was addressed, or whether there was now so much pressure coming from intelligence channels and others that the government made a decision that it had to move off its position," she said.

There is also muted optimism among some trade experts that a Biden administration could bolster the prospects of a UK-US free trade deal, on which progress has stalled in recent months.

While the impact of such a trade deal would be economically negligible — boosting the economy by only 0.16% over 15 years — Downing Street believes it would represent a significant political win and mark a new era of post-Brexit global trade.

Currently, obstacles to a deal include US demands that the UK drop its opposition to importing US agricultural products, as well as the UK's plans to introduce a digital services tax, which could mean big US tech companies face much higher taxes.

But Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics, told Business Insider that a Biden administration would be more likely to be willing to compromise on several sticking points in negotiations.

"I think a Biden administration would be more willing to live and let live," Hufbauer told Business Insider.

"The Biden insistence on [food safety standards] would be not nearly so insistent as with the Trump administration. So that would make things easier in a deal with the UK," he said.

Additionally, he said, a Biden administration would also appear more inclined to seek a compromise on the digital services tax, possibly in the form of agreed international cap on the amount of revenue it could raise.

However, James Kane, a trade associate at the UK's Institute for Government think tank, said that a Biden administration would be unlikely to drop its current demands on agriculture.

"On trade policy, the US is heavily driven by domestic business interests — and this is particularly true of agriculture," he told Business Insider.

"The US objective will remain to get US agricultural products into the UK. That will still mean removing tariffs and non-tariff barriers like the ban on hormone-treated beef and chlorinated chicken.

"The US tried to do that with the European Union under Obama, and I don't see why they'd do it any differently under President Biden."

"An awful lot of US trade policy is bi-partisan. It has always been America First. Trump has just been the first to put it in such crude terms."

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Spain locks down a region of 200,000 people indefinitely after it experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases

  • The Catalonian government in Spain announced on Saturday an indefinite period of lockdown for the Segrià region of the country, which is home to more than 200,000 people.
  • Gatherings are restricted to no more than 10 people and travel in and out of the city is prohibited, with exceptions for workers in the city.
  • There were at least 72,860 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 12,586 deaths in the region, according to the government's news agency.
  • Spain has faced one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks among European countries with 250,545 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 28,385 deaths, according to data analyzed by Johns Hopkins University.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Catalonian government on Saturday announced that the Segrià region of Spain, which is home to more than 200,000 people, will enter an indefinite period of lockdown after a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

"We take a step back to protect ourselves and we will take all the decisions to stop the contagion," Catalonia President Quim Torra said, according to The Independent.

Police checkpoints will be used to enforce the lockdown order, according to the BBC. Catalonian leaders ruled out the idea of "selective confinement," opting instead for the entire lockdown order, according to The Independent.

On Friday, a field hospital was set up outside the Lleida's Arnau de Vilanova hospital in the region's capital city of Lleida, the BBC reported. It has the capacity to treat up to 105 additional patients if needed.

According to the report, there are 21 reported people being treated in local hospitals with six requiring intensive care treatment.

Beginning Saturday, gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited in both private and public settings, according to the report. Only people who work in the area will be allowed to enter or leave the region. 

There were at least 72,860 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 12,586 deaths tied to or expected to have resulted from the virus in the region, according to numbers released Friday by the government-owned Catalan News agency.

As a whole, Spain has been one of the hardest-hit European countries by the novel coronavirus pandemic. According to data analyzed by Johns Hopkins University, the country has recorded 250,545 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 28,385 deaths caused by the COVID-19.

According to a Reuters tally, the number of COVID-19 cases globally surpassed 11 million on Friday. About a quarter of all deaths from the virus have occurred in the United States, which on Thursday reported more than 50,000 new cases of COVID-19 — an all-time high of the pandemic.

Do you have a personal experience with the coronavirus you’d like to share? Or a tip on how your town or community is handling the pandemic? Please email [email protected] and tell us your story.

Get the latest coronavirus business & economic impact analysis from Business Insider Intelligence on how COVID-19 is affecting industries.

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Business

Wall Street Insider: The Mooch's leaked memo to Merrill — Boutique bank exits — Hackers target PE

 

Welcome to Wall Street Insider, where we take you behind the scenes of the finance team's biggest scoops and deep dives from the past week. 

If you aren't yet a subscriber to Wall Street Insider, you can sign up here.

Dealmaking activity has fallen off a cliff this year, as executives focus on steering their existing businesses through the havoc caused by the coronavirus crisis instead of seeking out new deals. Data from Refinitiv released this week showed that the drop in activity was more pronounced for bigger M&A transactions, with the overall value of deals worth more than $5 billion down 53% year-on-year.

As Alex Morrell reports, the fading memories of the megadeals of the last few years are hitting boutique banks. Independent investment bank Perella Weinberg Partners was ramping up its footprint after an explosive start in 2016, landing one of the largest mergers in history — AT&T's $100 billion deal for Time Warner. 

But since then, deals have been scarce for Perella's media and telecom team, and the group has been gutted by departures in 2020. Alex dives into how experienced media and telecom bankers have been laid off, quietly asked to leave, or departed for other firms.

Read the full story here: 

After flashy hires and a big buildout, Perella Weinberg's media and telecom team has been gutted. We tracked the exodus — and what it says about the landscape for blockbuster M&A deals.

Over in the world of real estate, big office deals are stalling as banks grow cautious about extending debt over concerns about the future of the workplace. Dan Geiger reports on how this is especially perilous for real estate investors who have pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to enter into contracts for buildings like the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco. 

Despite the uncertainty of when or how people will occupy spaces like they did in the pre-pandemic era, there are real estate players looking far into the future. As Dan reports, a Las Vegas landlord, which owns some of the strip's biggest casino resorts like Caesars Palace, is plotting the city's next mega-project. Recruiting for executives to lead new projects is also picking up, reports Alex Nicoll, who spoke to four recruiters on the roles they're looking to fill.

Keep reading for a look at how private equity and hedge fund firms are ramping up their efforts in impact investing; some due diligence drama between Anthony Scaramucci and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management; and the story behind a JPMorgan trading team's hot streak. 

Have a great holiday weekend, 

Michelle Abrego

(Meredith is on vacation and will be back next week.)

PE goes ESG

The coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing reckoning of racial justice and equity in the workplace have put ESG investing at the forefront of the conversations in the asset management business.

As Casey Sullivan and Bradley Saacks report, some private-equity firms and activist hedge funds are committing resources and capital to ESG and impact investing.

Read the full story here: 

Big investors like Apollo and Carlyle are clamoring for a piece of the $30 trillion ESG space. We spoke to 15 insiders about how they're ramping up hires, raising money, and striking data-driven deals.

The Mooch vs. Merrill 

SkyBridge founder Anthony Scaramucci sent a 6-page, strongly-worded memo to Andy Sieg, the president of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, on Thursday after the company downgraded its flagship fund, Meghan Morris reveals. 

In a leaked memo seen by Business Insider, Scaramucci said Merrill Lynch published an inaccurate due diligence report. He called the firms' relationship "yet another casualty of the pandemic," writing that the report "reflects a breakdown in communication" between the firms – one he didn't think would happen if executives had met in person.

Read the full story here:

LEAKED MEMO: Anthony Scaramucci mourns his relationship with $2.2 trillion Merrill Lynch after it downgraded SkyBridge's main fund

Victorious volatility trades

Markets have produced bizarre and historic results in the first half of 2020, creating stark swings and diverging fortunes for traders.

As Alex Morrell reports, that's especially true in the world of equity derivatives and the traders that bet on volatility, where some investment funds have flamed out spectacularly while many Wall Street banks have minted hundreds of millions in revenues.

Read the full story here: 

JPMorgan volatility traders raked in $700 million through June — 3 times what they brought in for all of 2019. Here's how they outpaced Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley on the hottest trade of the year.

Hackers are targeting private equity firms 

Cyberattacks have been on the rise in 2020 due to the pandemic, with financial services targeted the most.

Private equity, in particular, has been viewed as a viable new opportunity for cybercriminals as they have deep pockets and wire large sums of money, reports Dan DeFrancesco. While bigger PE firms have the resources to dedicate to cybersecurity, the process at small to mid-size shops remains a work in progress.

Read the full story here:

Cyberattacks against financial firms are up 238%. Experts explain why deep-pocketed private equity firms are most at risk.

The future of fintech is infrastructure  

As Shannen Balogh reports, fintechs are looking for ways to reimagine and disrupt core banking services that have been long dominated by infrastructure giants like FIS and Fiserv.

"They are all, as it currently stands, very good businesses with large customer bases who trust them, but the fact of the matter is they've fallen behind on technology," Tripp Shriner, partner at Point72 Ventures told Shannen.

Shriner isn't alone in his prediction. Goldman's investment banking head of fintech also says that the next trend to watch in fintech is players that focus on banks' core, often dated, infrastructure. 

Read more:

Business Insider events

One-click checkout startup Fast raised its $20 million Series A from investors including Index Ventures and buzzy fintech Stripe in May as it looks to take on Apple Pay to solve pain-points around password management and online checkout.

Join Business Insider reporter Shannen Balogh on Tuesday, July 14 at 1:30 p.m ET when she will speak with Domm Holland, Fast's co-founder and CEO, and Jan Hammer, general partner at Index Venture. They'll discuss how Holland came up with the idea for Fast, how to build a pitch deck, and what it takes to win over investors.

If you're a Business Insider subscriber, you can sign up here.

You can also join Business Insider on July 8 at 12 p.m. ET for "Planning for the Future in Uncertain Times," a free digital event and part of the Master Your Money series. Presented by Fidelity, it will explore components of a strong financial plan and how to adjust it given recent events. 

Click here to register for the Master your Money event.

Real estate

  • Vacancy rates are soaring above 15% in Washington DC's normally recession-proof office market. Here's why some industry players are still optimistic.
  • Meet Material Bank, a Bain-backed logistics startup disrupting the architecture industry. Here's a look at its vision for becoming the Amazon of design.

Careers

  • How a Bank of America exec is partnering with a non-profit training program to tap into a diverse and underserved talent pool for Wall Street tech jobs

Wealth management & fintech

  • Morgan Stanley financial advisers are starting to head back to offices around the country. Here's what they can expect when they return.
  • An app helping families save for college used this pitch deck to raise $9 million from investors like Anthos Capital and NBA all-star Baron Davis

Going public

  • A 179-year-old data shop just raised $1.7 billion in an IPO. Dun & Bradstreet's president walked us through its quick return to public markets and why the company's in high demand.

Banking

Read the latest banking news and featured articles:
– Banking Industry Trends
– Future of Banking Technology
– Mobile Banking Market
– Banking as a Service Explained
– Digital Banking
– Open Banking & Bank APIs
– Alternative Lending & Nonbanks
– US Neobank Market

Exclusive FREE Slide Deck: 10 Up and Coming Fintechs by Insider Intelligence

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Lucky Brand Files for Bankruptcy After Pandemic Forces Closures

Lucky Brand Dungarees LLC and affiliates, known for jeans and other apparel, filed for bankruptcy in Delaware after the coronavirus pandemic scuttled restructuring efforts.

The closely-held company has entered into an asset purchase agreement with SPARC Group LLC, which operates brands including Aéropostale and Nautica, for the sale of “substantially all” of its operating assets, according to a company statement. ABG-Lucky LLC, a newly-formed unit of Authentic Brands Group LLC, a brand manager that bought Barneys New York Inc. out of bankruptcy, will acquire Lucky Brand’s intellectual property.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has severely impacted sales across all channels,” Matthew Kaness, Lucky Brand’s interim chief executive officer, said in the statement. “While we are optimistic about the reopening of stores and our customers’ return, the business has yet to recover fully.”

Lucky Brand, which is a portfolio company of private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners LP, said it will continue to operate during the Chapter 11 process and will seek out other bidders to get the best price for its business.

Foiled Restructuring

Prior to the onset of the coronavirus, the company had been working to restructure its retail operations and stores as well as refinance debt, Mark Renzi, chief restructuring officer, said in court documents.

“Despite the company’s best efforts and support of its economic stakeholders, the company’s restructuring efforts were derailed by a combination of the economic impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in extended closures of its retail stores, and limited liquidity, which diminished access to new inventory from its vendors,” Renzi said.

Founded in Los Angeles in 1990, Lucky Brand joins a growing number of fashion apparel retailers that are exploring bankruptcy protection amid the pandemic. J.C. Penney Co., Neiman Marcus Group Inc. and J. Crew Group Inc. each filed for bankruptcy in May.

As of the petition date, Lucky Brand had about $181.97 million in funded debt. The company operated 112 specialty retail stores and 98 outlet stores in North America as of May. In addition, Lucky Brand provides licenses to third parties to use the company’s trademarks.

The case is Lucky Brand Dungarees LLC, 20-11768, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware.

— With assistance by Linus Chua, and Lauren Coleman-Lochner

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AMERICAN RESILIENCE: How a small Alaska town fought for survival after the Exxon Valdez Oil spill dumped 11 million gallons of oil into the ocean and nearly wiped out its fishing industry

  • Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker off the coast of Alaska, hit a reef in March of 1989, spilling more than 11 million gallons of oil into the ocean.
  • The spill's initial impacts devastated wildlife, killing hundreds of thousands of marine animals and billions of fish eggs.
  • Lingering oil in the ocean was linked to dwindling herring and salmon populations.
  • In the three decades since the spill, Herring fishermen have turned to other breeds, locations to fish, and entirely different lines forms of work.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Cordova is a town on the east coast of Prince William Sound in Alaska. A sound is a section of the ocean that is between coastlines.

Source: The New York Times, World Atlas

In the 1970s and 1980s, Cordova was a hot spot for commercial herring and salmon fishing. 800 of the town's 2,100 people were fishermen. Their collective catch amounted to as much as $40 million.

Source: The New York Times

On March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker hit a reef in Prince William Sound, spilling more than 11 million gallons of oil into the ocean.

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The oil spread about 1,300 miles down the coast. At the time, it was the biggest oil spill in history.

Source: National Geographic

Immediately afterward, Exxon recognized its role in the incident and the organization that represented the oil tanker took responsibility for cleaning up the spill. Several others helped clean too, including the U.S. Coast Guard.

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, The New York Times

The spill killed 250,000 seabirds, 300 harbor seals, 250 bald eagles, 22 killer whales, and around 3,000 sea otters per a National Geographic article.

Source: National Geographic

The spill also killed billions of salmon eggs and caused the area's Pacific herring population, which fishermen heavily relied on, to plummet.

Source: National Geographic

Rick Steiner, a marine biologist, told National Geographic that it's impossible to clean up an oil spill entirely. In 2016, Smithsonian Magazine said that this is because there is no technology that can clean it up fast enough.

Source: National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine

By 1994, scientists estimated that 50% of the oil in Prince William Sound had biodegraded, 20% had evaporated, and 14% had been cleaned.

Source: Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council

That means that 16% of the oil remained — 13% in sediments, 2% on shorelines, and 1% remained in the ocean.

Source: Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-led 2015 study found that these oil levels were linked to growth problems in salmon and herring.

Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science

The study stated that fish embryos absorb oil into their skin while they are developing into fully-formed fish and this reduces their ability to swim and their chance of survival.

Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science

 

Between 1990 and 1992, Alaska caught a record number of salmon and herring. However, in 1994, both species' populations plummeted and the local herring fishery closed. State and federal scientists said this was linked to the lingering oil in the ocean, the New York Times reported in 1994.

Source: The New York Times

The state sued Exxon following the spill, and the federal government said the company violated the Clean Water Act, which states that no one can add pollutants to water without a permit. It cost the oil company more than $1 billion in settlements.

Source: The Washington Post, The New York Times, Business Insider

In 2006, U.S. and state officials asked Exxon to pay an additional $92 million for cleaning up long-term damages. The company refused and in 2015, the judicial action was dropped.

Source: Business Insider

More than 32,000 fishermen and Alaska residents collectively sued Exxon for its impact on the fishing industry which had led to economic depression in Cordova, The New York Times reported in 1994. They sued for $5 billion, but the Supreme Court changed the amount to half a billion in 2008.

Sources: The Washington Post, The New York Times

After the spill, some who initially moved to Cordova for the fishing industry began traveling south to California. Others turned to odd jobs like construction work.

Sources: NPR, The New York Times, NPR

By 2014, salmon, cod, and halibut populations had rebounded in Cordova, but herrings had not.

Source: NPR

The Alaska Department of Fishing and Game has not released a report on Commercial Herring Fisheries in Prince William Sound in four years. According to the latest report in 2016, the commercial harvest of the fish was not likely the following year.

Source: The State of Alaska, The Alaska Department of Fishing and Game

But Cordova's fishing industry is making do without the herring population. According to a 2018 study, residents made $33 million in gross fish earnings.

Source: Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute

In May 2020, the New York Times reported that the fishing town is concerned that about this year's Copper River salmon season because of the coronavirus. The small town is worried that out-of-state travelers will spread the virus in Cordova.

Source: The New York Times

Thousands of fishermen from around the world travel to the town each year to catch Copper River salmon, which sell for about $75 a pound.

Source: The New York Times

Get the latest ExxonMobil stock price here.

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U.K. Considers Joining EU Virus Vaccine Drive in Race for Supply

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The U.K. is considering joining the European Union’s drive to develop and acquire coronavirus vaccines, despite formally quitting the 27-country bloc earlier this year.

“Work is ongoing to determine whether and how the U.K. participates in the EU Vaccines Strategy,” the U.K.’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said in an email on Friday.

The EU is spending more than 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion) to finance research into a vaccine as it tries to avoid falling behind the U.S. or China in obtaining supplies of any Covid-19 interventions. Earlier this month, EU health ministers gave the European Commission the green light to pursue advance purchase agreements with drug companies for hundreds of millions of doses.

52,291 in U.S.Most new cases today

-7% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-1.​063 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-2.​3% Global GDP Tracker (annualized), May


In March, the U.K. was criticized for not joining an EU program to procure ventilators for patients suffering from coronavirus, despite being invited to join. Britain is due to complete its separation from the bloc on Jan 1. 2021 after the current transition period ends.

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Pandemic etiquette guide: How to be polite while keeping your distance and socializing safely

  • Life during the coronavirus pandemic has a new set of rules, and it can be difficult to manage them socially.
  • Business Insider spoke to lifestyle and etiquette expert Elaine Swann about how to navigate all of the new social situations we're facing.
  • It's important to be direct and flexible with friends you want to see. Be careful to avoid suggesting activities that may make them uncomfortable.
  • If someone invites you to a gathering you think is unsafe, respectfully decline and don't debate them about it — assume they already have enough information that they've just ignored.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

It's fair to say that things have changed a little in the past few months.

Pre-pandemic, things like offering a hug or sharing a snack were little gestures of goodwill. Today, however, both of those would be seen at best as an awkward position to put the recipient in, and, at worst, as a possible accelerant for contagion.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed how we work, how we relax, and — as restrictions begin to ease, for better or worse — how we interact with one another. 

As people begin to emerge from their homes into a pandemic summer, the rules of conduct and etiquette have changed. Things like grabbing a drink with a friend can become a minefield. Are you comfortable with their level of distancing? Who have they been seeing? Is it safe to go to their home or to go to a patio restaurant? And how do you even begin to ask them all of these questions politely?

To get some answers, Business Insider spoke to lifestyle and etiquette expert Elaine Swann, the founder of the Swann School of Protocol, on how to respectfully navigate the new world of quarantine etiquette.

Above all, clear communication is important — and being upfront about your own circumstances.

When the severity of the pandemic first became clear, "I had said it was going to be very important for us to verbalize our desires more so than any anything," Swann said. "And I still believe the same thing."

Here's her advice for navigating different pandemic situations politely and safely.

How to gauge a friend's comfort level with an activity — and invite them to join you

If you want to see your friends at a distance, you're not alone. With some states in different stages of reopening — or closing back down — you or your friends may not feel comfortable with different activities.

For those who like to invite friends to fun activities, you'll need to be more flexible and open when it comes to making plans.

"My recommendation is to ask the other person how they feel about whatever it is," Swann said. "For example, if you do want to go out to eat for a restaurant, or you do want to hike on a trail, ask them first instead of inviting them."

Key here is not using leading language. We've all probably experienced — or been guilty of asking — a question that already has a desired answer. But that's not how you should approach pandemic social events.

"Here's an example you can say, 'You know, I was thinking about getting together this weekend. I'd like to know how you feel about going out to restaurants right now.' Period. And let them talk," Swann said.

That way you won't be steamrolling your friend into something they're uncomfortable with, and can also learn a little bit more about where they're at.

If you're invited to an event that makes you feel uncomfortable, just decline it and don't try to debate the hosts

If someone invites you to a hot tub party or a buffet, you don't have to go. Just decline the invitation, Swann says — and don't try and futilely correct them with public health facts.

"Don't correct people on doing things in their own home," Swann said. "Let crazy be crazy."

And if their gathering is flouting rules of social distancing or CDC guidelines, it's not worth your time to correct them.

"If a person is ignoring all of the information that's been shared, it's highly unlikely that there's anything you'll be able to say to convince them otherwise," Swann said. "So do not waste your time, just decline the invitation."

And what if you accept an invitation to a gathering that you think is safe, but makes you uncomfortable when you arrive?

Let's say you've made a plan with one or two friends for a distanced hangout in the park. And when you arrive one of them mentions they brought a roommate, who is bringing their two friends, and one of those friends is bringing their boyfriend, who lives with an essential worker.

Suddenly the hangout you safely planned looks a lot different — and you may not feel comfortable staying.

In that case, Swann said that you should "bow out gracefully."

"Don't make a big scene when you do it, don't make an excuse," Swann said. "Don't be evasive … if you initially were going to stay there the entire time, you can say, 'I thought that I was going to be able to stay longer, but I'm going to have to cut my time short.' And that's the very honest truth."

Swann added that you can always follow up with anyone you're particularly close with afterwards and offer a detailed explanation. But in the moment, just take your leave.

If you're planning your own socially distanced gathering, try and making distancing fun for everyone involved

For those who may be considering a socially distant gathering for the holiday, Swann recommends incentivizing everyone to follow safety precautions. She said that beyond hosts individualizing things like food portions and beverages, they should reward guests for abiding by social distancing.

"Make it fun, whether it's some sort of game or prize or gift card, or adding up points to get a gift card or prize at the end," Swann said. "Do something to that effect so that the reminder to stay socially distant has more of a prize attached to it as opposed to shaming someone into compliance."

And, if anyone isn't abiding by those rules, provide them with discreet reminders — remind them that you all trust one another and want to do the right thing. 

"You just want them to change their behavior," Swann notes. "You don't have to change their mind, change their behavior."

Do you have a personal experience with the coronavirus you’d like to share? Or a tip on how your town or community is handling the pandemic? Please email [email protected] and tell us your story.

Get the latest coronavirus business & economic impact analysis from Business Insider Intelligence on how COVID-19 is affecting industries.

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How Hong Kong beat coronavirus and avoided lockdown

  • Hong Kong, which has a population of 7.5 million people, has recorded around 1,200 cases of Covid-19.
  • With stores and restaurants remaining open throughout, much of Hong Kong has felt relatively normal this year compared with its peers, which enacted strict lockdown measures.
  • Today, office workers are back to work and the city has reopened its gyms and even nightclubs.

When Apple closed its retail stores around the globe amid the coronavirus pandemic, a handful of outlets were exempt, including its six locations in Hong Kong.

In fact, much of Hong Kong has felt relatively normal this year compared with its peers, which enacted strict lockdown measures.

Since its first confirmed case of Covid-19 on Jan. 22, Hong Kong went through phased closures of government offices, schools, gyms and bars. But other services were relatively unaffected, including dine-in service at restaurants, shops, malls, and trains.

Today, office workers are back to business and the city has reopened its gyms and even nightclubs.

By all accounts, Hong Kong's situation could have been bad. It's one of the world's densest cities. Public transit is often packed. There are even direct flights and trains from Wuhan, the Chinese city where Covid-19 first emerged late last year. In fact, more than 2.5 million people arrived from mainland China in January alone.

With a population of 7.5 million people, Hong Kong has recorded around 1,200 cases. Singapore, by comparison has had more than 43,000 cases, amid an outbreak in migrant worker housing. That caused the city-state to enact lockdown measures for more than two months.

In contrast, Hong Kong had consecutive weeks of zero new cases.

Hong Kong managed to avoid a lockdown while containing — and to a large extent — eliminating Covid-19.

Here's five reasons why Hong Kong managed to avoid lockdown while defeating Covid-19:

1. Experience

Many people in Hong Kong remember living through the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003.

"We had never experienced something like that at that time," Leah Choi told CNBC recalling her experience of growing up in Hong Kong. "But because of our experience during SARS, the Hong Kong people are much more alert."

Choi recalled teachers taking her temperature and having to wear face masks all the time.

"Today, the Hong Kong people are much more diligent when facing the coronavirus outbreak, where we know what to do because we already had an experience of what could happen if we don't take all these safety measures against the virus," she said.

The outbreak, first identified in 2002, eventually came to infect nearly 1,800 people in Hong Kong. Following the health crisis, Hong Kong's government created the Center for Health Protection, which specializes in disease prevention and control.

"When they first heard about cases occurring in mainland China, people took it seriously," Keiji Fukuda, professor and director at the School of Public Health at The University of Hong Kong told CNBC.

"The public really responded and so, in most places in the city, you could really see that most people were wearing masks," he said referring to the days following the city's first confirmed case.

2. Decisive border control & strict quarantine measures

Hong Kong closed nine of its 12 border checkpoints in late January, leaving the remaining three open to facilitate the flow of goods. As the situation evolved, the city banned all non-residents from entering, starting on March 25. By early April, there were only about 100 daily visitor arrivals and those who arrived had to undergo a strict 14-day quarantine.

Marco Bellanda, a Hong Kong resident of six years, flew from his hometown in Italy back to the city on May 10, where he was immediately tested for Covid-19. Despite his test returning negative, he was still required to quarantine for 14 days. During that period, the government tracked his location through an app and an electronic wristband he was required to wear. 

"I have to sleep. I have to shower. I have to cook. I have to do everything with this," he told CNBC over video call while in quarantine in his home. When he returned to his apartment following his initial test, he was instructed to walk around his home, so the government could ensure his movement over the next two weeks would strictly be within his home's coordinates.

"I cannot go downstairs or outside, otherwise I think it will ring," he said. "Actually, I don't want to try because the fine would be HK$25,000  ($3,225) and six months jail."

Besides the wristband, Marco has also received sporadic calls from government officials on WhatsApp, ensuring he was home and asking if he had any symptoms or was feeling unwell.

As infection levels plunged, the city gradually eased some of its border controls at the end of April.

3. Contact tracing

Contact tracing is a method of locating people who may have been exposed to Covid-19. In many cases, these people are instructed to self-isolate for 14 days to monitor for any potential symptoms. The practice has been used extensively across many Asian countries during the coronavirus pandemic.

Upon his return to Hong Kong, government officials asked Bellandato write down the license plate of the taxicab that brought him home. This way authorities could contact the taxi driver in case Bellanda later tested positive for Covid-19.

The Hong Kong government also updates an interactive online map depicting detailed information about all the confirmed cases around the city, including dates and times of movement.

4. Centralized government

Hong Kong's relatively small population has made it easier for the government to monitor and control the movement of its people as opposed to places with bigger populations.

For example, the U.S. has had different responses to the pandemic at the federal, state, county and city levels, making a coordinated approach much more challenging.

5. Cultural habits

Professor Fukuda, whopreviously worked at the World Health Organization, has lived in both the U.S. and Asia. He thinks cultural outlook has played a large role in the way the outbreak has been contained in the latter.

"If you can get people and the government to work together, it's an amazingly powerful combination," he said. "There's a very high consciousness about not wanting to affect other people and not wanting to put them at risk. So, when the public says, we're part of the reason why things are going well, it's absolutely true."

Fukuda highlighted politicization has hindered the U.S. and its ability to contain the outbreak. The U.S. has now reported more than 2.6 million confirmed cases.

"In Asia, there is a very significant degree of concern about other people, about taking care of each other," he said. "In the States, it has really exposed that there are big cultural differences in the country. So, whether you are in the rural areas or in the cities, whether you are in red states or blue states."

"Whereas in Hong Kong, if anything, the outbreak has brought people closer together," he said.

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