Business News


U.S. housing starts decreased in September, driven by a pullback in multifamily construction, as lingering supply-chain constraints, shortages of skilled labor and elevated materials costs continue to challenge builders.  Residential housing starts fell 1.6% last month to a 1.56 million annualized rate.  Applications to build, a proxy for future construction, fell 7.7% to an annualized 1.59 million units in September, the largest monthly decline since February. The drop was driven by a sharp decrease in multifamily permits.  Cheap borrowing costs and a pandemic-fueled migration to the suburbs supported housing demand and construction through late 2020 and earlier this year. But high materials costs, unpredictable supply-chain delays and labor shortages have strained builders’ ability to keep up with still-solid demand in more recent months.

 

The consumer products giant Procter & Gamble reported better-than-expected 3rd quarter earnings but the stocks sold off after the company said they were going to have to raise prices to cover rising commodity and freight costs, noting inflation looks like it’s here to stay.

 

Oregon’s jobless rate continued falling last month, dipping to 4.7%, according to new state data.  That’s down from a revised figure of 5.0% in August and reflects an economy that has enjoyed a dramatic recovery from the pandemic’s early days, when unemployment hit a record 13.2%. Oregon’s jobless rate has only occasionally been this low during the 45 years for which Oregon has comparable records.



The nation’s homebuilders aren’t seeing any relief from supply chain issues that have slowed construction recently, but high buyer demand appears to be making up for it.  Builder confidence in the single-family home construction market rose 4 points to 80 in October on the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index. That is still down from 85 in October 2020 and from the record high 90 in November of last year. Anything above 50 is considered positive.

China's GDP is growing at the slowest pace in a year as a massive energy crunch, shipping disruptions and a deepening property crisis take their toll on the world's second largest economy.  The Chinese economy expanded by just 4.9% in the third quarter, compared with the same period a year earlier. That's much slower than the 7.9% increase China registered in the second quarter. It's also the weakest rate of growth since last year's July-to-September period, when GDP also grew 4.9%.

The first U.S. bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund will start trading today, a milestone for the cryptocurrency industry.  The long-awaited ProShares ETF will offer exposure to bitcoin futures contracts — agreements to buy or sell the asset later for an agreed-upon price — rather than bitcoin itself.  Buyer beware.
 



Stocks posted their best week in months last week on the back of better than expected earnings reports from some major companies.  Earnings season is now in full swing, and a number of big names are set to report in the coming week.  So far 41 S&P 500 companies have reported third-quarter results, with 80% of them topping earnings per share expectations.

 

Sales at retailers rose sharply in September in a sign that Americans are spending enough money to sustain an economic recovery, but they are also paying more because of the highest U.S. inflation in three decades.  Retail sales climbed 0.7% last month after after a nearly 1% gain in August.

 

U.S. consumer sentiment fell unexpectedly in early October to the second-lowest level since 2011, as Americans grew more concerned about both current conditions and the economic outlook.  The University of Michigan’s preliminary sentiment index fell to 71.4 from 72.8 in September.  Consumers expect inflation to rise 4.8% over the next year, the highest since 2008. Buying conditions were seen as less favorable, especially for vehicles.



The US stock market had its best day since March on Thursday, as investors’ worries about inflation and potential interest rate increases were tempered by upbeat corporate earnings reports. The S&P 500 closed 1.7 per cent higher, its biggest one-day rise in seven months, though the blue-chip index remains about 2.4 per cent below its all-time high hit in early September.

 

It's been a solid first week of Q3 earnings so far as the largest U.S. banks posted another robust round of quarterly results. A rebounding economy allowed lenders to release more cash they had set aside for pandemic losses, while equity financing and trading boosted bottom lines. Don't forget about the deal bonanza that continued to ring the register for the banks' Wall Street operations, with a hefty quarter for mergers-and-acquisitions fees.

 

Consumers spent at a much faster pace than expected in September, defying expectations for a pullback amid pervasive supply chain problems, the Census Bureau reported Friday. Retail sales for the month increased 0.7%. Compared to a year ago, sales were up 13.9% on the headline number and 15.6% ex-autos. The increase came during a month when the government ended the enhanced benefits it had been providing during the Covid-19 pandemic and against forecasts that growth would slow in the third quarter.



The Port of Los Angeles, one of the busiest ports in the country, will begin operating 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to ease cargo bottlenecks that have led to shortages and higher consumer costs. While the neighboring Port of Long Beach, Calif., also started doing a 24/7 schedule last month, major ports in Europe and Asia have operated around the clock for years. The increase in capacity will require cooperation from major companies like Walmart, FedEx, and UPS.

 

Fed officials signaled last month that they should start reducing emergency pandemic support for the economy in mid-November or mid-December, according to the latest FOMC minutes. The program could then end by mid-2022, though several participants said they'd prefer quicker pace of reducing purchases. Keep in mind that the central bank is currently purchasing at least $80B per month of Treasury securities and at least $40B per month of MBS.

 

Bank of America posted third-quarter results on Thursday that exceeded analysts’ expectations as it benefited from better-than-expected loan losses and record advisory and asset management fees.  Profit surged 58% to $7.7 billion, as revenue climbed 12% to $22.87 billion.



A record number of U.S. workers quit in August, potentially signaling more trouble ahead for businesses already struggling to fill some 10 million open jobs.  The government reported U.S. job openings fell in August from an all-time high, but even more noteworthy was a record number of people leaving their jobs.  The so-called quit rate climbed to 2.9% overall and 3.3% for private-sector employees. Both are the highest figures on record since the government began to keep track in 2000.  Altogether, a record 4.27 million people quit their jobs in August.  By contrast, just half as many had quit during the early stages of the pandemic.

 

According to the Labor Department consumer prices increased slightly more than expected in September as food and energy price increases offset declines in used cars.  The consumer price index for all items rose 0.4% for the month. On a year-over-year basis, prices increased 5.4% vs. the estimate for 5.3% and the highest since January 1991.

 

The parent company of Portland-based Umpqua Bank is selling to Columbia Bank in a $5.1 billion deal that will keep the Umpqua brand and split the business’ headquarters between Tacoma and the Portland area.  Both stocks were lower on the news.



Henry Kravis and George Roberts are stepping down as co-CEOs of KKR, the private equity firm they founded nearly half a century ago. The cousins are pioneers of the buyout industry, taking it from a niche market in the 1970s into one of the biggest pieces of Wall Street. The $25B purchase of Nabisco in 1989 held the record for the largest-ever LBO until 2007, when KKR topped its own record buying Texas utility TXU Corp. for $31.8B. At the time, the Nabisco acquisition was so revolutionary that it became the subject of the bestselling book Barbarians at the Gate.

 

The IMF’s executive board has opted to retain Kristalina Georgieva as managing director, saying they have “full confidence” in her ability, despite allegations she pressured World Bank staff when she was its chief executive to manipulate data to China’s benefit.

 

The extended climb in oil prices is leaving some other industrial commodities behind, a divergence that reflects bets that energy supply shortages will offset any slowdown in the global economy.  Oil is now on track to outpace copper this year by the largest amount since 2002 and is topping an index of raw materials by the biggest margin in more than a decade, according to Dow Jones Market Data. Like oil, natural gas is also far outpacing other commodities.



Investors will be keeping a close eye on rising costs as the Q3 earnings season kicks off this week. Price pressures could pose a problem for corporate profits in the current quarter and beyond, with the S&P 500 already down 3.2% from its September record. Supply chain bottlenecks, labor problems and outsized demand are all leading to shortages, while a jump in raw material costs is pressuring companies' bottom lines.  Analysts expect that earnings from S&P 500 companies grew 29.6% in the third quarter from a year earlier.  

 

Companies have announced record levels of share buybacks as confidence recovers after a lull at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.  Businesses have authorized more than $870bn of repurchases so far this year, Goldman Sachs data show, almost three times more than in the same period in 2020 and $50bn ahead of the record set in the first nine months of 2018.  The rebound suggests that corporate America is now flush with cash and looking for ways to use it, after cutting payouts last year to hoard funds and protect against the risk of a more severe downturn.

 

More than 130 countries have signed up to a groundbreaking global deal on corporate tax reform aimed at eliminating tax havens while bringing in $150bn more a year from multinationals.  The agreement — the biggest corporate tax reform for more than a century orchestrated by the OECD — includes a 15 per cent global minimum effective corporate tax rate, plus new rules to force the world’s multinationals to declare profits and pay more in the countries where they do business.
 



U.S. services industry activity nudged up in September, but growth is being restrained by a persistent shortage of inputs and the resulting high prices as the pandemic drags on. The Institute for Supply Management said their non-manufacturing activity index edged up to a reading of 62 last month from 61 in August. A reading above 50 indicates growth in the services sector, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.

 

The U.S. trade deficit raced to a record high in August, boosted by imports as businesses rebuild inventories, the latest sign that economic growth slowed in the third quarter.  The trade deficit surged 4.2% to $73.3 billion last month, the highest since the government started tracking the data.  Trade has subtracted from US GDP growth for 4 straight quarters.  The report followed on the heels of government data last Friday showing high inflation sharply cutting into consumer spending in July.

 

Shares of PepsiCo are more than 1% higher after the food and beverage giant reported better-than-expected third-quarter earnings despite higher supply chain costs. The company also raised their full-year forecast.



The major stock averages took steep losses to start the week as investors continued their rotation out of technology stocks amid rising yields. Large technology shares like Facebook, Apple, Nvidia, and Amazon were lower as investors eyed bond yields. A surge in rates to end September knocked highly valued tech stocks.

 

Shares of the drug maker Merck gained 2.1%, following through on an 8% surge on Friday after the drug maker said their oral antiviral treatment developed with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics for Covid-19 reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 50% for patients with mild or moderate cases.

 

It was only a matter of time, but mortgage rates may finally be heading the way many housing experts have expected them to travel by this point in 2021: sharply upward.  Rates on America’s most popular types of home loans surged last week. The average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages jumped last week from 2.88% to 3.01%, according to the mortgage giant Freddie Mac.  It was the largest weekly increase since mid-February.


 



The cost of goods and services rose sharply again in August and left the rate of U.S. inflation at a 30-year high, with all signs pointing to price pressures snaking into next year.  The personal consumption expenditure price index climbed 0.4% in August. It was the sixth straight big increase.  The rate of inflation in the 12 months ended in August edged up to 4.3% from 4.2% — the highest rate since 1991, when George H.W. Bush was president.


The Institute for Supply Management’s U.S. manufacturing index rose to 61.1% in September from 59.9% in the prior month.  The reading was the highest since May.  Any reading above 50% indicates improving conditions.  The ISM index had hit a high of 64.7% in March before rebounding over the last two months from a 59.5 reading in July.  Demand is still strong but manufacturers are struggling with supply shortages. Survey participants talked about an “unprecedented number of hurdles to meet” rising demand.

 

The CEO of Marvell technologies one of the largest semiconductor makers in the world says that the semiconductor chip shortage that is hamstringing the production of products ranging from cars and computers to appliances and toothbrushes will extend into 2022 and potentially beyond that.



During a three-hour Senate hearing yesterday, Facebook came under fire from lawmakers who were upset about the revelations brought to light by The Wall Street Journal's "Facebook Files." Internal documents showed that Instagram makes body image issues worse for a substantial minority of teen girls and was blamed for increases in anxiety and depression. With the company on the defensive (and minimizing its own research), it looks to be signaling new enthusiasm among Senators for regulatory proposals that had stagnated a bit.

 

It was set to be the second biggest tech deal of the year, but Zoom Video Communications and Five9 are calling off their $14.7B merger. Zoom had hoped the all-stock transaction would build on the explosive growth it experienced during the pandemic. Last week, Zoom also disclosed that a DOJ-led panel has been investigating the agreement over national security risks given Zoom's ties to China.

 

Investment banks are raking in record sums, with fees surging past $100bn in the first nine months of the year thanks to a rush of dealmaking.  Wall Street’s top banks and leading boutique advisers have benefited from the boom in mergers and acquisitions as well as hot equity capital markets. Fees for both are at the highest level since records began two decades ago and have hit $60.6bn in the year to date, according to Refinitiv.



A deal to avert a US government shutdown was agreed late last night but legislation promising trillions of dollars for infrastructure, the environment, healthcare and education remains mired amid political infighting between moderate and progressive Democrats.  Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said lawmakers had reached an agreement to avoid a government shutdown tomorrow by extending government spending until December 3.

Things appear to be getting worse, not better, along the global supply chain, which was upended by the coronavirus pandemic over a year ago. That means entire companies and industries are going to have to deal with more extremes for the foreseeable future. In an open letter to the United Nations General Assembly, business leaders from the International Chamber of Shipping, IATA and other transport groups sounded the alarm on the risks of the supply chain.

The private equity groups Blackstone, Carlyle and Hellman & Friedman are set to raise almost $15bn of debt on Thursday across bond and loan markets as they close in on financing the largest leveraged buyout since the 2008 financial crisis. The hefty debt issuance will go towards the buyout groups’ $34bn acquisition of a majority stake in family-owned Medline, one of the largest medical supply manufacturers in the US.



Inflation and the prospect of higher interest rates are prompting investors to dump government bonds and reposition their stock portfolios. The Fed meeting last week indicated a willingness to respond to growing inflationary pressures by lifting borrowing costs as soon as next year, as well as tapering bond buying as soon as November. Combined with surging prices for oil and other commodities, the rhetoric was enough to send bond yields flying, with the 10-year Treasury climbing 20 basis points over the last week alone.

 

Inflation and tapering aren't the only forces spooking investors. Debt ceiling drama is intensifying in Washington ahead of a Thursday night deadline, with the risk of a partial shutdown starting Friday morning. Nearly two weeks later, on Oct. 18, the government will run out of money to meet its obligations to debtholders, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

 

Investors today will be eyeing the public debut of Warby Parker, which will hit the New York Stock Exchange via a direct listing (a cheaper, but less common way of going public). The company is known for its affordable eyeglasses that are sold online and through its network of 145 stores. Last night, the NYSE assigned a reference price of $40 to Warby's 111.5M outstanding shares, giving it a valuation of around $4.6B



Stocks traded mixed yesterday as investors closely monitored developments in Washington, D.C., as lawmakers rush to try and avert a government shutdown and advance a bevy of new measures.

The increase in flying and rebound at Boeing gave a boost to durable-goods orders in August, but ongoing supply shortages held back automakers and remain a drag on the nation’s economic recovery.  Orders for durable goods rose 1.8% last month and business investment also rose for the sixth month in a row. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had forecast a 0.6% increase.

Facebook is putting a hold on the development of a kids’ version of Instagram, geared toward children under 13, to address concerns that have been raised about the vulnerability of younger users.  The announcement follows an investigative series by The Wall Street Journal which reported that Facebook was aware that the use of Instagram by some teenage girls led to mental health issues and anxiety.

At least three Federal Reserve officials said they are ready to pull back on stimulus even though they don’t see a threat from inflation.  They stressed, however, that the move, known as tapering, isn’t providing any signal about looming interest rate hikes.



Stocks are marginally lower this morning as traders braced for the final week of a volatile September.  The retreat is being led by tech stocks, and comes asTreasury yields pushed higher. The 10-year Treasury yield increased on economic optimism and inflation fears, briefly topping 1.5% on Monday. That’s the highest since June and up from 1.30% at the end of August.

 

The deadline in the debt ceiling showdown in Washington approaches, with a government shutdown possible on Friday, Oct. 1.  Democrats have disagreements within their party as well over a $1.2T infrastructure bill and a $3.5T reconciliation bill. A temporary spending bill would need to pass Thursday night. Congress has raised the debt ceiling more than a dozen times in the last 20 years, with the last major face-off coming in 2011 between the GOP and the Obama administration.

 

Polestar, the Swedish high-end electric vehicle company, has signed a deal to go public at a $20 billion valuation, via a merger with a SPAC backed by the Gores Group and Guggenheim Capital. Polestar is owned by Volvo Cars and Volvo’s Chinese parent, Geely. Polestar has two models on the road, and it wants to launch three more by 2024. It delivered approximately 10,000 vehicles in 2020.  Almost unbelievably, its valuation is conservative for an EV company. 



The latest crackdown in China is still making headlines, with Macau now in the regulatory crosshairs of the CCP. The largest gambling market in the world has historically operated as a special administrative region, meaning it was at least an arm's length away from Beijing. But the area known for casino gambling is also plagued with money laundering, triggering a fresh look from the Chinese government.  Casino stocks like Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, and MGM Resorts suffered big losses on Wednesday and Thursday on word of increased government supervision.

 

The last Sears department store located in the retailer’s home state of Illinois is getting ready to close its doors for good. The shop, located in Simon Property Group’s Woodfield Mall, is scheduled to shutter on Nov. 14, the company has confirmed. Sears =, which also owned Kmart, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October 2018. Transformco later acquired Sears out of bankruptcy and has since closed dozens of the remaining Sears and Kmart locations across the United States.

 

New figures from the IIF calculate that total global debt hit a record $296tn at the end of the second quarter of 2021, up from $270tn a year earlier.  The good news for anyone worried about excess debt was that a post-lockdown rebound in global growth earlier this year caused the ratio of global debt to gross domestic product to dip slightly from a record 362 per cent in March to 353 per cent in June.
 



Joe Biden’s hopes of securing legislation that would allow the US government to negotiate lower drug prices for seniors was dealt a blow yesterday. Three moderate members of the president’s party on the House energy and commerce committee voted against the measure, scuppering the bill and handing a significant victory to pharmaceutical companies.

 

Goldman Sachs has agreed to buy specialty lender GreenSky. The investment bank has agreed to pay $2.2bn GreenSky as it continues to build its presence in consumer lending. It is Goldman’s second multibillion-dollar acquisition in under a month and highlights chief executive David Solomon’s intention to transform the investment bank into a more consumer-focused financial institution.

 

Retail sales posted a surprise gain in August despite fears that escalating Covid cases and supply chain issues would hold back consumers, the Census Bureau reported Thursday.  Sales increased 0.7% for the month against the Dow Jones estimate of a decline of 0.8%.  A separate economic report showed that weekly jobless claims increased to 332,000 for the week ended Sept. 11, according to the Labor Department.



In a bombshell WSJ report, Facebook has been conducting studies into how its photo-sharing app affects its millions of young users. Repeatedly, the company’s researchers found that Instagram is harmful for a sizable percentage of them, most notably teenage girls. More than 40% of Instagram’s users are 22 years old and younger, and about 22 million teens log onto Instagram in the U.S. each day.  Approximately 1 in 10 teenage girls with suicidal thoughts can be traced to originating on Instagram.

 

Prices of goods online have now risen for an unprecedented 15 consecutive months, following what was a historical period of declines, according to a new report from Adobe Digital Insights. Inflation is hitting categories including pet products, nonprescription drugs, apparel, furniture and flower arrangements.  The growth in digital sticker prices across the industry means e-commerce transactions are on pace to soon account for roughly $1 of every $5 spent by Americans, up from $1 of every $6 in 2017.

 

The first all-civilian mission to orbit Earth is set to take off tonight, within a five-hour launch window that opens at 5pm.  The latest endeavor supported by SpaceX will go well beyond the International Space Station at a height of 360 miles above Earth.
 



Prices that producers get for final demand goods and services surged in August at their highest annual rate since at least 2010, according to the Labor Department.  The producer price index accelerated 0.7% for the month, above the 0.6% Dow Jones estimate.  On a year-over-year basis, the gauge rose 8.3%, which is the biggest annual increase since records have been kept going back to November 2010.

 

First-time filings for unemployment claims in the U.S. dropped to 310,000 last week, easily the lowest of the Covid era and a significant step toward the pre-pandemic normal.  The total for the week ended Sept. 4 represented a substantial drop from the previous week’s 345,000 and is the lowest since March of 2020. 
 
Shares of the biotech company Moderna rose after they announced they are developing a two-in-one vaccine booster shot that protects against both Covid-19 and the seasonal flu.  The new vaccine, which the company is calling mRNA-1073, combines Moderna’s current COVID vaccine with a flu shot that’s also under development, according to a press release. Shares of Moderna jumped by more than 5% after the announcement.
 



Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that the mere specter of a U.S. default can have drastic consequences for U.S. financial markets and urged Democratic leadership to raise or suspend the debt ceiling as soon as possible.  Yellen reiterated that lawmakers have until some point in October before the Treasury exhausts its extended efforts to prevent what would be a historic default.  “We have learned from past debt limit impasses that waiting until the last minute to suspend or increase the debt limit can cause serious harm to business and consumer confidence, raise short-term borrowing costs for taxpayers, and negatively impact the credit rating of the United States.


Job openings outnumbered the unemployed by more than 2 million in July as companies struggled to fill a record number of vacancies.  The department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, which the Federal Reserve watches closely for signs of slack in employment, showed 10.9 million positions open.  There are just over 8 million people in the US who are unemployed, but 10.9 million job openings.


The latest edition of the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed that home prices increased 18.6% from a year ago in July, marking the third consecutive month of record growth in the more than 30-year history of the index.   As in recent months, the largest price gains were recorded in Phoenix, San Diego and Seattle.
 



We've been hearing about it all week, but the moment has finally arrived. All eyes will be on Fed Chair Jerome Powell this morning as he speaks at the central bank's annual economic symposium in Jackson Hole. Actually, he won't be taking the podium in Wyoming, but will rather be dialing in for the second year in a row.

 

Tim Cook just received the tenth and final tranche of a pay deal he received after taking the top job at Apple a decade ago. The award consisted of 5M shares worth a total of $750M, giving the 60-year-old a net worth of over $2B. According to an SEC filing, Cook already sold most of the new stock from the compensation package, which required AAPL's return over the past three years to surpass at least two-thirds of companies in the S&P 500.

 

Fitness technology group Peloton delivered a disappointing sales outlook for the current quarter and warned that its profitability would be hit by higher commodity costs and lower prices for its most popular video-connected exercise bikes.  The company reported a net loss of $313.2m, and slashed the price of its bike by $400. 



Initial claims for unemployment insurance were little changed over the past week, hovering around pandemic-era lows as the jobs market shows further signs of healing.  First-time filings totaled 353,000 for the week ended Aug. 14, a slight increase from the previous week’s 349,000, the Labor Department reported this morning.  A separate economic reading showed that gross domestic product increased at a 6.6% annualized pace in the second quarter, according to the second estimate Thursday from the Commerce Department. That was ahead of the 6.5% initial estimate.

 

Shares of Western Digital are surging following a report that the data-storage technology leader is close to merging with Japan's Kioxia Holdings in a deal that could be worth more than $20B.  Kioxia is owned by private-equity firm Bain Capital. While the company's name might not be as well-known outside of Japan, it was once called Toshiba Memory and has a long track record in the semiconductor industry.

 

The highly anticipated Jackson Hole symposium from the Federal Reserve will be held virtually this year tomorrow, with many central bank speakers making remarks to the media beginning Thursday. At the event, central bankers could provide updates on their plan around tapering monetary stimulus.



The major averages rose again Tuesday following a broad-based stock rally powered by full approval for Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine. The S&P 500 notched its 50th record close of 2021, while the Nasdaq hit the 15,000 milestone.  Taper talk remains the worry, but if inflation continues to run hot and economic data continues to be mixed the timing of tapering could get pushed.

 

Following a year that has been marred by some high-profile cyberattacks, including the SolarWinds (SWI) and Kaseya breach, Colonial Pipeline hack, and supply disruption at meatpacker JBS The CEOs from Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon, are heading to the White House this afternoon to discuss efforts in beefing up cybersecurity. Bloomberg reports that other top industry players were also invited to the meeting, including the heads of Alphabet, IBM, Southern Co., and JPMorgan Chase.

 

Blank-check companies are booming again—in the courts. So far this year, there have been 19 of these more typical class-action lawsuits concerning SPACs filed in federal court. Five were filed in all of 2020.  This sharp uptick is likely just the beginning, insurance brokers and lawyers say.
 



US and international data releases are missing forecasts at an accelerating pace, highlighting rising investor angst that the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant will slow the pace of the global economic recovery.Several closely watched US economic measures published in recent weeks have come in well below Wall Street expectations, indicating the powerful economic growth from the depths of the Covid crisis may be losing steam.

 

A new report from Bloomberg suggests that Apple (AAPL) will become the latest corporation to delay the return of its global workforce to the office (until at least January). Wells Fargo (WFC) and Chevron (CVX) have already postponed their September returns following an uptick in coronavirus cases, while Amazon (AMZN) and Facebook (FB) have pushed their return into early next year.

 

The battle over the gig economy is far from over. Last year, companies like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Postmates, and Instacart sunk $200M into Proposition 22, which exempted them from treating drivers as employees in California. Instead, the app-based businesses promised new protections to workers.  While California voters ended up passing the measure with an overwhelming majority, a California Superior Court Judge decided he knew better.  The companies have vowed to appeal. 
 


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