Our Blog

Daily Briefing -131

Post: Aug. 18, 2020

Alaska and Delaware Added to the List of Restricted States 

Governor Cuomo announced yesterday that two additional states meet the metrics to qualify for the travel advisory requiring visitors to quarantine for 14 days. The newly-added states are Alaska and Delaware. No areas have been removed.

The governor also announced that for the 11th straight day, New York State’s rate of positive tests was below 1 percent. Governor Cuomo also updated New Yorkers on the state’s progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The number of new cases, percentage of tests that were positive and many other helpful data points are always available at forward.ny.gov.

U.S. DOL Releases Guidance for the Lost Wages Assistance Program Created by Presidential Memorandum + FEMA Q&A

The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the release of guidance to help states implement the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. LWA is authorized by Presidential Memorandum, and provides claimants in most Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs up to $400 per week additional benefits, starting with weeks of unemployment ending on or after Aug. 1, 2020, and ending Dec. 27, 2020 at the latest. LWA will be administered by states and territories through a grant agreement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and with support from the Labor Department.

To qualify for LWA benefits, individuals must provide self-certification they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and the state must confirm that the individual is receiving at least $100 of underlying unemployment benefits. 

U.S. Housing Starts Surge by Most Since 2016 and Permits Climb

U.S. home construction starts increased in July by more than forecast and applications to build surged by the most in three decades, indicating builders are responding to robust housing demand fueled by record-low interest rates.

Residential starts jumped by 22.6%, the most since October 2016, to a 1.5 million annualized rate from a month earlier, according to a government report released Tuesday. That compared with the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 1.25 million and followed an upwardly revised 1.22 million in June.

Read more at Bloomberg

NY Fed: Businesses Report Ongoing Shortfalls in Employment and Revenues

Service sector businesses, on average, indicated that about half their workforce was working on site; the average manufacturer, in contrast, noted that 84 percent of its workforce was working onsite. Of those not working onsite, the vast majority were reported to be working from home, while a modest proportion were on temporary furlough—either with or without paid benefits.

When asked about staffing levels relative to this time last year, service sector panelists indicated that they were down 15 percent, on average, while manufacturers reported an average decline of less than 4 percent. However, there was wide dispersion in the responses—especially among service firms, with 13 percent of businesses indicating increases in employment and another 13 percent reporting declines of more than 50 percent. Also, reported staff reductions tended to be a bit steeper, proportionally, among smaller firms than larger firms. Over the course of the next month, staffing levels are expected to rise slightly, on average,
at service firms, while manufacturers anticipate a further decline.

Read more at the NY Fed

Liberty Street Economics: Debt Relief and the CARES Act –  Which Borrowers Benefit the Most?

The CARES Act, passed by Congress on April 2, 2020, provided $2.2 trillion in disaster relief to combat the economic impacts of COVID-19. Among other measures, it included mortgage and student debt relief measures to alleviate the cash flow problems of borrowers. In this post, and through a series of tables and charts, the authors examine who could benefit most (and by how much) from various debt relief provisions under the CARES Act.  

Read more at the NY Fed

Walmart Q2 Earnings Soar, Led by Nearly 100% Growth In E-Commerce

Walmart (WMT), the world’s largest retailer, reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings results, bolstered by online sales that skyrocketed 97% during the period, as the coronavirus crisis prompted consumers to flock to e-commerce for their needs.

Here were the main numbers compared to Bloomberg consensus forecasts:

  • Revenue: $137.7 billion vs. expectations of $135.6 billion
  • Adjusted EPS: $1.56 vs. expectations of $1.24
  • Walmart U.S. comp-store sales (excluding gas):  9.3% versus 5.3% expectations
  • Walmart U.S. e-commerce sales: up 97 %

Read more at Yahoo Finance

Home Depot Q2 Sales Soar 23%

Home Depot on Tuesday reported that its quarterly sales soared 23% as consumers stuck in the house during the coronavirus pandemic tackled home improvement projects.

Shares of the company rose 2.6% in premarket trading.

Here’s what the company reported for the fiscal second quarter compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:

  • EPS: $4.02 vs. $3.71 expected
  • Revenue: $38.05 billion vs. $34.53 billion expected

Home Depot’s profit also surged 25% to $4.33 billion, or $4.02 per share, during the fiscal second quarter ended Aug. 2, up from $3.48 billion, or $3.17 per share, a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting earnings per share of $3.71.

Read more at CNBC

Target Q2 Results Soar 24.3%

Sales online and at stores open for at least a year climbed by 24.3% during the quarter ended Aug. 1— an all-time high for the retailer. Same-store sales climbed by 10.9% while the company’s digital sales nearly tripled from a year earlier.

Here’s how the company did in the second quarter versus what analysts forecast, based on average estimates compiled by Refinitiv:

Adjusted EPS: $3.38, vs. $1.62 expected
Revenue: $23 billion, vs. $20.09 billion expected
Same-store sales growth: 24.3%, vs. 7.6% expected, according to a StreetAccount survey

Read more at CNBC

Lowes Q2 Results Soar 30%

Lowe’s on Wednesday blew past Wall Street forecasts with a 30% surge in revenue and 68.7% jump in profit as consumers shifted spending from restaurants and travel to home improvement projects during the coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s what the company reported for the quarter ended July 31 compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:

  • Adjusted EPS: $3.75 vs. $2.95 expected
    Revenue: $27.3 billion vs. $24.27 billion expected

Read more at CNBC