Tribune News Service
Business Budget for Thursday, July 23, 2020
Updated at 9 p.m. EDT (0100 UTC)
Updates CORONAVIRUS-JOBS-1ST-LEDE:BLO, EBONY:TB
This budget is now available at TribuneNewsService.com, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.
^Tenants keeping up rent payments during pandemic, but wave of evictions could loom<
^REAL-CORONAVIRUS-TENANTS:LA—<More than 94% of renters paid at least part of their rent in April, May and June, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council, a Washington-based landlord trade group that surveys owners of 11.4 million apartments, or about a quarter of the nation’s rental market. Those figures are only a few percentage points behind what renters paid during the same months in 2019, according to the survey.
But those expanded unemployment benefits are scheduled to expire at the end of July, leaving tenants, landlords and housing advocates worried about a wave of evictions in the coming months as renters lose much of their incomes.
1200 by Liam Dillon in Los Angeles. MOVED
^If the COVID-19 shutdown didn’t kill your business, trying to reopen might<
^SMALLBIZ-CORONAVIRUS-REOPEN:SE—<Even if COVID-19 is kept at bay, many businesses are bracing for months of lower revenue from health restrictions, consumer uncertainties, and the complicated economic ripple effects of stay-at-home and other social changes during the pandemic. Just last week, Amazon extended its work-from-home policy to early 2021.
Many businesses can expect only between half and three-quarters of their pre-COVID revenue through 2020, warns Thomas Gilbert, associate professor of finance at the University of Washington Foster School of Business. In some sectors, such as restaurants and hotels, expectations are even lower.
1800 by Paul Roberts. MOVED
^1 in 5 US workers collects unemployment benefits. Without the extra $600, many say they’ll struggle to buy food, pay bills<
^CORONAVIRUS-RELIEF-UNEMPLOYED:TB—<The extra $600 weekly in federal unemployment benefits that people have received during the pandemic is set to expire this weekend. After that, the jobless will be eligible only for regular state unemployment aid, which in Illinois pays 47% of a person’s regular wages, up to a maximum of $484 a week.
For the millions who remain out of work, including many in industries that were decimated by stay-at-home mandates and won’t get back to normal for some time, the scenario is devastating. Economists warn that letting the supplement expire could make it difficult for people to buy food and pay bills, dealing a blow to the overall economy.
Lawmakers are debating the future of such supplements as the economic impact of the pandemic drags on. While the unemployment rate has declined from its April peak, in June it was still at 11.1%.
1950 by Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz in Chicago. MOVED
^US jobless claims rose last week for first time since March<
^CORONAVIRUS-JOBS-1ST-LEDE:BLO—<U.S. jobless claims rose last week for the first time since March, the clearest sign yet of a pause in the economic recovery as coronavirus cases surge in much of the country and force businesses to close their doors once again.
Initial claims through regular state programs increased to 1.42 million in the week ended July 18, up 109,000 from the prior week, a Labor Department report showed Thursday; on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, claims declined. There were 16.2 million who filed for ongoing benefits through those programs in the period ended July 11, down from the prior week and less than forecast.
750 by Katia Dmitrieva. (Moved as a national story.) MOVED
^OTHER BUSINESS NEWS<
^Watch parties and K-pop. How San Mateo streamer Rakuten Viki is growing in a pandemic<
^VID-RAKUTEN-VIKI:LA—<The first episode of the Korean fantasy drama “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God” started at 7 p.m. July 15. Viewers reacted to the scenes unfolding in front of them, commenting on the actors, the plot, and urging others to not spoil the show for newcomers.
“It’s much more fun to watch this again with other people,” one viewer said early in the showing.
It may seem like a typical movie night among friends, but the comments were all made online, and most of the viewers had likely never met.
The streaming site Rakuten Viki launched its Watch Party function in May, giving users the chance to connect with each other across screens. Unlike Netflix Party, the free Google Chrome extension that allows friends to watch shows together, Rakuten Viki plans the watch party itself and any of its users can join.
1100 by Naomi Klinge in Los Angeles. (Moved as an entertainment story.)
^TikTok announces $200-million fund to help video creators<
^TIKTOK-FUND-CREATORS:LA—<TikTok on Thursday announced a new $200-million fund to help promising U.S. creators make original content for its video streaming app.
The money would go to people hoping to make a living by creating TikTok videos. Qualified creators will consistently post original videos and in return, they get payments from the fund.
“As our community continues to flourish, we’re committed to fostering even more ways for our creators to earn livelihoods by inspiring joy and creativity,” wrote Vanessa Pappas, general manager for TikTok U.S., in a blog post.
550 by Wendy Lee. MOVED
^Twitter gains after reporting record growth in daily users<
^TWITTER-EARNS:BLO—<Twitter Inc. reported a second straight quarter of record user growth as people joined the service for news and entertainment during the global coronavirus outbreak, but its advertising business was hammered amid a global marketing retraction as businesses pulled back on spending.
Twitter reported 186 million daily users for the period ended June 30, a 34% jump over the quarter a year earlier, and its largest year-over-year increase since first reporting the metric in 2016. Users jumped 24% in the first quarter, a record at that time. Shares gained about 6% in premarket trading.
600 by Kurt Wagner. MOVED
^Romney says he will oppose Shelton’s confirmation to Fed Board<
^FED-SHELTON-ROMNEY:BLO—<Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah said he will vote against Judy Shelton, one of two Trump administration nominees to the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors.
“I’m not going to be endorsing,” Romney told reporters Thursday. “I will be voting against it.”
Shelton, an informal adviser to President Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016, is nominated along with Christopher Waller, a director of research at the St. Louis Fed. They both won the support of a majority on the Senate Banking Committee on July 21.
400 by Laura Litvan and Christopher Condon. MOVED
^Southwest Airlines won’t need furloughs this year<
^SOUTHWEST-EARNS:DA—<Southwest Airlines won’t need to furlough employees this year after getting nearly 17,000 workers to take early retirement and extended leave, even after reporting a $915 million loss from the COVID-19 pandemic, the company said Thursday.
Dallas-based Southwest, which warned that air travel won’t recover until a COVID-19 vaccine or therapy is developed, said that it will save about $400 million in the fourth quarter from employees opting out of working.
The news came as Southwest reported an 83% drop in revenue for the second quarter and that it burned $23 million a day in costs.
450 by Kyle Arnold. MOVED
^AT&T calls launch of streamer HBO Max a success despite business challenges posed by COVID-19<
^ATT-HBO-MAX:LA—<AT&T declared the launch of its new streaming service HBO Max a success despite the business obstacles posed by COVID-19.
AT&T Chief Executive John Stankey told financial analysts in a Thursday earnings call that the service is on track with the company’s targets for subscribers and revenues since being rolled out on May 27.
700 by Stephen Battaglio. MOVED
^Also moving as:<
500 by Dom DiFurio. MOVED
^Pandemic sends Alaska Air into the red for latest quarter<
ALASKA-AIR-EARNS:SE — In what airlines can only hope is going to prove the worst quarter of the coronavirus pandemic, Alaska Air Group lost $214 million in the last three months, despite the government’s infusion of $362 million in a grant through the Payroll Protection Program.
That’s a loss of $1.73 per share for the parent company of Alaska Airlines and regional carrier Horizon Air, compared with a net profit of $262 million, or $2.11 per share, in the same quarter of 2019.
450 by Dominic Gates in Seattle. MOVED
^Twitter cryptocurrency scam echoes previous schemes on YouTube<
TWITTER-BITCOIN-HACK:BLO — The Bitcoin scam that hackers deployed while breaking into the Twitter Inc. accounts of political leaders and business titans last week closely resembles similar schemes used previously on YouTube.
In the July 15 Twitter attack, hackers hijacked accounts belonging to Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Joe Biden and Jeff Bezos and asked their followers to send Bitcoins to their crypto wallet with a promise to double the amount. In a matter of hours, the hackers had accrued more than $100,000.
900 by William Turton in New York. (Moved as a national story.) MOVED
^From soda to beer, your drink of choice may be in short supply because of coronavirus<
^CORONAVIRUS-ALUMINUM:RA—<Aluminum cans are becoming harder to come by, sparking concerns for beer and soda drinkers.
Demand for cans has gone up as people stay home during the coronavirus pandemic. As consumers kick back on their couches or patios, some manufacturers have been working to crank out enough of the beverage containers.
500 by Simone Jasper. MOVED
^Ebony ousts CEO, exits print as it struggles to stay relevant — and solvent — for the Black Lives Matter generation<
EBONY:TB — For 75 years, Ebony has chronicled the African American experience, reaching its zenith as an influential voice during the civil rights movement.
But during the summer of 2020, when Black Lives Matter has been splashed across headlines and city streets amid a new wave of civil unrest, Ebony magazine has been rendered mostly silent by its own struggles.
1050 by Robert Channick in Chicago. MOVED
^REAL ESTATE STORIES<
^A New York writer asked ‘LA Twitter’ where she should live. It didn’t go well<
^REAL-LA-TWITTER:LA—<It was totally an innocent question. She promises.
Taylor Lorenz, a New York Times Style reporter known for cheeky but astute explainers on online youth culture, tweeted an innocuous query to her 171,000 followers that set off — true to the high-wire tensions of the web these days — an avalanche of indignant responses.
“LA Twitter,” Lorenz wrote, “Everyone says Silverlake, Echo Park, and Los Feliz are the best places to live in LA. But why not Santa Monica or Venice? Wouldn’t u wanna be near the beach if u live in CA? Just something I’ve been wondering”.
The replies were, uh, impassioned.
1500 by Daniel Hernandez. MOVED
^Amid the coronavirus pandemic, a Black housing crisis gets worse<
^REAL-CORONAVIRUS-BLACK-HOUSING:LA—<Across the United States, Black people faced the greatest housing insecurity before the crisis. Now, along with Latino workers, they face the greatest job losses.
Black unemployment was 15.4% in June, up 9.6 percentage points since February, while Latino unemployment was 14.5%, up 10.1 percentage points. White unemployment was 10.1%, up seven percentage points.
Nationwide, 55% of Black renters spent more than 30% of their income on housing in 2016, the typical threshold at which experts say costs begin to crowd out other necessities. That compares with 54% of Latino households and 43% of white households, according to an analysis of census data from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.
1950 by Andrew Khouri in Los Angeles. MOVED
^Natasha Frost: For single ladies — building wealth with a house<
^PFP-RATE-HOUSE:GRA—<For households that choose to own a home, the equity that builds up over time ends up accounting for a big chunk of net worth, which is the value of all assets minus all debts. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau finds homeowner net worth is 80 times that of renters. The median value of equity among homeowners is more than the median value of household retirement accounts.
That’s an opportunity single women are eager to take advantage of. Freddie Mac, which guarantees mortgages, reported that in 2019 single women took out one in five of the mortgages it backed, up from 15% in 2010. The National Association of Realtors reports single women are twice as likely as men to buy a home on their own (18% vs. 9%).
800 by Carla Fried. MOVED
^Jeff Ostrowski: Homeowners getting mortgage relief even from lenders not required to offer it<
^REAL-BANKRATE-RELIEF:MCT—<In a bit of good news for borrowers with jumbo loans, non-QM loans and other mortgages held by lenders or owned by private investors, many banks are offering payment relief — even though federal law doesn’t require it.
As COVID-19 reached pandemic proportions in March, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The sweeping law includes generous forbearance terms for mortgages — borrowers can miss up to a year of monthly payments, so long as their loans are held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac or issued by the Federal Housing Administration or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
650 by Jeff Ostrowski. MOVED
^Neal Templin: Should you have an umbrella insurance policy?<
^PFP-RATE-UMBRELLA:GRA—<For homeowners and drivers, umbrella coverage kicks in when limits are exceeded on normal insurance.
You cause an accident on the freeway and a dozen other drivers or passengers are injured in the pile-up.
Your teenager hosts a party at your house, and a guest gets drunk and gets hurts.
You make an offhand remark about a neighbor at a party and are accused of slander.
These situations have one thing in common: You can be sued for amounts beyond the coverage limits of your car or home insurance, or for actions like slander that aren’t typically covered by ordinary insurance.
The solution is an umbrella policy, a relatively cheap policy that kicks in when your normal coverage is inadequate.
650 by Neal Templin. MOVED
^DAILY MARKETS GRAPHIC <
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^Real estate Q&A: What are my rights if I’m breaking my lease?<
^REAL-REALESTATE-QA:FL—<I just purchased a home and need to break my current lease that expires on Oct. 31. I have tried working with my landlord and have referred multiple applicants to transfer the remainder of the lease to and he continues to reject all of them saying they are not qualified. I gave written notice in June to move out by the end of July. What are my rights?
450 by Gary M. Singer. MOVED
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