White House to skip expected mid-year economic projections: Washington Post [Reuters]
The so-called mid-session review typically includes updated projections on unemployment, inflation, economic growth and other economic trends. But economic volatility amid the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic made such modeling difficult, two unnamed White House officials told the Post…. This year’s review will not include the economic projections, which budget experts told the Post had not been excluded since at least the 1970s, according to the report.
Consumer Spending Fell a Record 13.6% in April [WSJ]
The April decline was the steepest for records tracing back to 1959. Weak April spending adds to the evidence that the U.S. economy is in for a long, slow recovery….
“I definitely decided that big purchase was not going to happen until I have some revenue,” [Tracy Miller] said…. “I’m just trying to stay afloat and not spend a lot,” she said.
Peet’s Coffee IPO Raises $2.5 Billion [Bloomberg]
The coffee giant, carved out of the Reimann family’s investment firm JAB Holding Co., raised 2.3 billion euros ($2.5 billion) in an IPO that took just 10 days, condensing what’s usually a four-week process and attracting investor orders that exceeded the number of shares offered by multiple times.
Coffee consumption has remained resilient during the pandemic, moving from offices and cafes into people’s homes, according to JDE Peet’s, which bills itself as the world’s largest pure-play coffee group…. JDE Peet’s climbed 13% to 35.50 euros at 10:51 a.m. on Friday in its first day of trading in Amsterdam after earlier gaining as much as 17%. The company priced its shares at 31.50 euros each, according to a statement Friday, in the upper half of the marketed range giving it a market value of 15.6 billion euros.
C.D.C. Recommends Sweeping Changes to American Offices [NYT]
Upon arriving at work, employees should get a temperature and symptom check.
Inside the office, desks should be six feet apart. If that isn’t possible, employers should consider erecting plastic shields around desks.
Seating should be barred in common areas.
And face coverings should be worn at all times….
The recommendations run from technical advice on ventilation systems (more open windows are most desirable) to suggested abolition of communal perks like latte makers and snack bins…. Some border on the impractical, if not near impossible: “Limit use and occupancy of elevators to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet.”
“It’s Like, ‘Fuck You, America’”: Aided by the Fed’s Cheap Money, Carl Icahn Is Exiting Herbalife and Making a Killing [Vanity Fair]
Now, thanks to the Federal Reserve, the billionaire buddy of Trump has another chance to reduce his stake in Herbalife in an ingenious way. He’s unlikely to get close to the $52 a share he got two years ago, but even a price in the low $40 per share represents a profit for the wily Icahn, who has said he paid an average price for his shares of around $20. The longtime investor is left dumbfounded by Icahn’s skills. “I thought he was going to get stuck holding the bag with this thing,” he tells me. “But he’s just brilliantly been able to kind of quietly exit without doing an open market transaction. He’s exiting at a premium, which is a very difficult thing to do in this kind of circumstance, which I find amazing.” He tells me he’s fairly certain the Fed’s actions in March and April were not designed to allow a multibillionaire to sell his stock back to a company at a profit. He says of Herbalife, which is incorporated in the Cayman Islands but headquartered in Los Angeles, “They’re taking the money and using it to buy back the biggest insider, which is just, you know, it’s like, ‘Fuck you, America.’ I mean, it’s really bad.”
Billionaire Cliff Asness pegs AQR rebound on ‘largest opportunity ever’ in value stocks [FN]
Asness said he thought "we are in some kind of large bubble within stocks ... it has been excruciating to get here, I will not downplay it, but we've thrown everything we can at it and it looks like the largest opportunity ever in value, not a strategy that is broken going forward."
Value investing, he added, comprised "a fairly giant bubble. Unless we ever find something — it's not going to come from returns — but something of a story that really makes sense and is supported by the data why things are different now, we will be sticking with this like grim death, and like we have several other times in the past, we will win."
$350 USB Stick That Claims to Block 5G Is Actually a $6 Generic Thumb Drive [PC Mag]
The makers of the “5GBioShield” claim their USB stick can block electrical waves through a “proprietary holographic nano-layer catalyst” technology. It purportedly does this by “balancing” all the existing radiations around you to create a protective bubble 8 meters in diameter, even when the USB drive is unplugged…. Pen Test Partners… ordered the 5GBioShield, and found it's just a cheap unbranded USB stick. Sure, the product does have a cool crystal handle. However, PenTest Partners discovered you can buy identical-looking USB drives on the internet in bulk.
A teardown of the USB stick also revealed no holographic nano-layer catalyst technology. “First, we managed to pull the device off the crystal, which showed nothing other than an LED at the end of the stick, the same as the other ‘crystal’ USB keys we found made in (the Chinese city of) Shenzen. There were no additional components or any connections,” wrote company penetrator tester Phil Eveleigh in the report.