AMZN -, Inc.

NasdaqGS - NasdaqGS Real-time price. Currency in USD
+31.40 (+1.56%)
At close: 4:00PM EDT

2,041.10 -1.90 (-0.09%)
After hours: 7:13PM EDT

Stock chart is not supported by your current browser
Previous close2,011.60
Bid2,039.50 x 800
Ask2,042.00 x 2200
Day's range2,011.15 - 2,043.74
52-week range1,626.03 - 2,185.95
Avg. volume5,531,719
Market cap1.017T
Beta (5Y monthly)1.25
PE ratio (TTM)88.79
EPS (TTM)23.01
Earnings date22 Apr 2020 - 26 Apr 2020
Forward dividend & yieldN/A (N/A)
Ex-dividend dateN/A
1y target est2,413.11
  • Jack Dorsey's $1 billion pledge sparks conversation around UBI
    Yahoo Finance

    Jack Dorsey's $1 billion pledge sparks conversation around UBI

    The small but vocal cohort of proponents of UBI has found a well-heeled tech titan to ignite the movement — Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey.

  • Coronavirus: Teens are worried about the economy, have cut spending to the lowest level since 2011
    Yahoo Finance

    Coronavirus: Teens are worried about the economy, have cut spending to the lowest level since 2011

    According to the survey, 47% of U.S. teens think the economy will get worse, up from 28% a year ago.

  • INTERVIEW: Food-X Technologies CEO Peter van Stolk on How to Make Grocery E-Commerce Profitable

    INTERVIEW: Food-X Technologies CEO Peter van Stolk on How to Make Grocery E-Commerce Profitable

    By John Jannarone, IPO Edge Is it possible for grocers and markets to offer delivery at normal prices to consumers? Unfortunately, razor-thin gross margins along with high costs of additional labor and fleets make it extremely difficult to do so profitably. Even, Inc. appears to offer grocery deliveries at a loss - which is […]

  • Amazon Warehouse Warned Staff Not to Touch Shipments for 24 Hours

    Amazon Warehouse Warned Staff Not to Touch Shipments for 24 Hours

    (Bloomberg) -- Last week, a manager at an Inc. warehouse in eastern Pennsylvania issued a stark warning to his team on how to handle shipments from another Amazon facility afflicted with the coronavirus: Don’t touch them for 24 hours. “As a precaution surrounding Covid-19 concerns, a directive came in today to let ALL loads from AVP1 sit for 24 hours prior to opening/receiving,” the manager said in an email reviewed by Bloomberg. “Please do not process any AVP1 trailers before the 24-hour mark.”The AVP1 warehouse in Hazle Township is among dozens of Amazon facilities where employees have been diagnosed with Covid-19, including a warehouse on Staten Island that has been roiled by worker protests. But the cluster of at least 21 positive tests at AVP1 appears to be one of the most severe in Amazon’s sprawling logistics network. With many workers now afraid to come to work, employees said the company is struggling to keep the facility open and orders flowing, which an Amazon spokeswoman disputed. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Wednesday that it is opening an investigation into working conditions at AVP1. One of 10 such warehouses in Amazon’s U.S. fulfillment network, AVP1 is an important cog in the smooth functioning of the online retailer’s logistics machine, according to Marc Wulfraat, a consultant who studies the company’s operations. Extended closures of Amazon facilities could fracture the company’s finely tuned network, delaying deliveries to customers who would rather avoid stores and shop online instead.Employees at AVP1 were informed of at least 21 cases in their ranks, according to voicemails and text messages from the facility’s management reviewed by Bloomberg. Three employees said more cases disclosed in meetings may not be included in the tally of 21. The employees, two of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation from their employer, said paranoia is rife that the virus is spreading from employee to employee in the building, though they have no hard evidence to back up that suggestion. In the meantime, absenteeism has surged, the employees said.  “It’s kind of a Petri dish,” said Andrea Houtsch, who last worked March 27 and has been taking unpaid time off so she doesn’t catch the virus. “Any time you’ve got hundreds of people in the same building, breathing the same air, no matter how far you stay apart, there’s that chance.” She added: “Amazon is not responsible for this pandemic, nobody was prepared for this. They just need to be realistic about what’s happening here. Once things get better, I have no problem going back.”Amazon said the guidance about goods coming from AVP1 was a mistake. “This was an error in communication made locally with positive intentions but was misinformed—it has since been corrected,” Kristen Kish, an Amazon spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement. “Based on guidance from the CDC, the WHO, and the Surgeon General, there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is being spread through packages. It’s a belief within the infectious disease community that if there was transmission through packages there would have been immediate global spread early in the outbreak, that did not happen and it confirms the risk as incredibly low.”Kish declined to provide a complete count of Covid-19 cases at AVP1, and the company didn’t immediately have a comment on the OSHA investigation. Amazon says it has stepped up cleaning measures at all of its facilities, in line with federal guidance for employers allowed to stay open as state orders close many businesses. The Seattle company has staggered shift start times, reorganized break rooms and repositioned workstations to prevent employees from congregating.This week, Amazon is rolling out temperature screenings and a limited supply of masks for employees to wear during their shifts. The company has also offered temporary raises and more lucrative overtime to people who keep working, and said it will give two weeks of sick pay to those diagnosed with Covid-19 or quarantined after being exposed to someone with the disease.Still, concerns about getting sick, or infecting loved ones, continue to fester. Hazleton, home to about 25,000 people, has been hit hard by the coronavirus. It is in Luzerne County, which has the third most cases per capita in Pennsylvania, behind nearby Lehigh and Monroe counties, according to Pennsylvania Department of Health data. Commodities giant Cargill Inc. this week idled a beef plant located near AVP1 after workers there tested positive for Covid-19. “People are scared to death,” said another employee at AVP1. One worker, afraid of spreading the disease to family members at home, last week broke down and started crying in the break room, two colleagues said.The Hazle Township facility, west of the town of Hazleton, opened in 2008, one of the first in a decade-long expansion from a handful of warehouses to hundreds across the U.S. AVP1 is the anchor of a cluster of depots Amazon built in Pennsylvania to take advantage of cheap real estate, a workforce reeling from the loss of manufacturing jobs and a relatively short trip to major cities like New York and Philadelphia. Amazon’s warehouses are best known for orange robots zipping around, ferrying products to workers who place them in bins and send them along a conveyor belt to be shipped out. AVP1 is different. Called an inbound cross-dock, it receives pallets of goods from manufacturers, many of them overseas, breaks them down and then ships them on to Amazon warehouses. The facility handles all manner of goods, and shipments in recent weeks included sought-after items such as Lysol wipes, as well as bedsheets, books and toys, workers said.On March 26, AVP1 staff were informed of the first Covid-19 cases and quickly shared the information with the Hazelton News 1 website. More people began calling in sick, or staying home, in the following days as managers disclosed more cases at impromptu meetings, the employees said. Some people, worried they weren’t being informed of cases from other shifts or departments, started comparing notes on social media and sharing contact details of local and federal authorities. Amazon said it’s informing all workers as new cases are confirmed.The next week, dozens of new staffers arrived at AVP1, according to two employees, part of a hiring surge Amazon has unleashed to keep warehouses open and meet rising demand. Workers said Amazon is using the new hires to fill gaps left by employees who have chosen to stay away to avoid being exposed or to take care of children whose schools have closed.Trainers at AVP1, worried about working with people they don’t know or who hail from from the hard-hit New York area, refused to train the new hires, according to two employees. Instead of six hours of supervised, hands-on work in small groups, the batch of recruits spent last Monday in the break room watching instructional videos before a question and answer session with a manager.Early last week, more than half of one shift’s 500 or so workers didn’t show up, according to an employee briefed on the numbers. Then about 30 minutes before the end of the shift, managers announced there were seven additional Covid-19 cases among their coworkers. That prompted all but a handful of the more than 100 workers in the shipping department to leave rather than finish their shift, said one employee who was there. Before long, products started backing up, triggering an alarm and halting the conveyors, the employee said, and managers had to help clear the backlog and send out the final shipments. Amazon says it has adjusted staffing at its facilities to make it possible for employees to practice social distancing. Meanwhile, workers at a warehouse in nearby Pittston were told to let goods coming from the warehouse sit for at least 24 hours. “It just made us more anxious,” said an employee at the Pittston warehouse. The employee said the guidance was still in effect as of Tuesday.Workers at AVP1 last weekend were told by automated text message and voice call of four additional Covid-19 cases. On Monday evening, they were informed of nine more. The messages said the site had undergone “enhanced cleanings” since the sick employees last worked and that Amazon would send home, with pay, those who have been in close contact with the sick. The company this week also began encouraging employees to wear face masks, in line with updated federal health guidance. Employees were welcome to bring their own, and Amazon will also have “limited quantities” on site, the messages said. (Amazon on Wednesday said it had enough masks for all employees in its facilities.)“We understand the risk of exposure is low for those who weren’t in close contact with the affected associate,” the message said.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Alphabet’s Delivery by Drone Surge to Stay-at-Home Customers

    Alphabet’s Delivery by Drone Surge to Stay-at-Home Customers

    (Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc.’s Wing unit is seeing a dramatic increase in the number of customers using its drone delivery service in rural Virginia during the Covid-19 pandemic.Wing, which began routine deliveries under a test program approved by the federal government last October, has added new vendors and expanded the items customers can order to better serve people during the epidemic, the company said in a statement Wednesday.“The technology is particularly useful at a time when people are homebound in many cases and the need to limit human-to-human contact is important,” spokesman Jonathan Bass said in an interview.Deliveries have more than doubled in the Christiansburg, Virginia, area where the U.S. test is being conducted and in a similar project in Australia, Bass said.In addition to partnerships with FedEx Corp. and the Walgreens drug-store chain, Wing recently began deliveries from a bakery and a coffee shop.Mockingbird Cafe sold 50% more pastries through Wing’s drones in its first weekend with the company than it typically sold in its store prior to the virus-related business disruptions.Deliveries from Walgreens have included toilet paper, medicine and toothpaste, the company said. They recently added items such as pasta and baby food to meet demands of people staying home.While the payload of Wing’s autonomous drones is limited, orders are fulfilled within minutes, Bass said.The program is being run in the community around Christianburg. Wing is working with nearby Virginia Tech, which has a drone-test program approved by the Federal Aviation Inc., United Parcel Service Inc. and many smaller companies are also experimenting with the concept of drone deliveries.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • U.S. senators question Amazon CEO about firing of warehouse protest leader

    U.S. senators question Amazon CEO about firing of warehouse protest leader

    The letter, addressed to Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, adds to public scrutiny Amazon is facing over the dismissal, at a time when the company is racing to update safety protocols, keep warehouses open and ship essential goods to shoppers who are shut indoors. Amazon employee Christian Smalls came to the company's Staten Island, New York warehouse on March 30 for a small protest he helped organize, which in part called for the site's closure. Workers feared infection after a colleague had fallen ill to the novel coronavirus, cases of which have now been reported among staff at more than 50 Amazon warehouses, according to the New York Times.

  • Microsoft (MSFT) Azure Adopted by Blackrock to Host Platform

    Microsoft (MSFT) Azure Adopted by Blackrock to Host Platform

    Microsoft's (MSFT) cloud revenues expected to benefit from Blackrock's adoption of Azure Cloud Platform.

  • Rising Work-From-Home Trend to Boost 5 Industries & ETFs

    Rising Work-From-Home Trend to Boost 5 Industries & ETFs

    As many are working from home now to contain the spread of the coronavirus, some specific industries are benefiting.

  • Amazon (AMZN) to Halt Amazon Shipping to Meet Customer Demand

    Amazon (AMZN) to Halt Amazon Shipping to Meet Customer Demand

    Amazon (AMZN) suspends the usage of Amazon Shipping to focus on its core delivery services in order to handle flurry of orders due to coronavirus-induced panic shopping.

  • Netflix, Other Streaming Services Go All Out Amid Quarantine

    Netflix, Other Streaming Services Go All Out Amid Quarantine

    In the past month, Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) and Alphabet Inc.'s (GOOGL) YouTube Kids have seen a surge in subscribers and installs along with longer playback time.

  • Uber Expands Option for Companies to Get Food Delivered to Staff

    Uber Expands Option for Companies to Get Food Delivered to Staff

    (Bloomberg) -- Bloomberg’s daily technology newsletter is chronicling the impact of Covid-19 on the global tech industry. Sign up here.Uber Technologies Inc. is expanding a program for businesses to order food delivery to their employees’ homes, a response to surging demand during the coronavirus pandemic.The option, previously only in the U.S., will be available starting Wednesday to companies in Brazil, Canada, France and the U.K., Uber said. San Francisco-based Uber is accelerating a rollout of the service, with another dozen countries planned for the rest of the year.The world’s largest ride-hailing company, like other transportation providers, is looking for new sources of revenue as the effects of the pandemic choke its main business. Uber has said rides plummeted by as much as 70% in some of the hardest-hit cities as governments place limits on travel. Lyft Inc., the second-largest provider in the U.S. and Canada, is seeking to partner with companies to provide drivers with additional work delivering food or medical supplies. In the meantime, Lyft told its drivers to apply for jobs at Inc.The food delivery app Uber Eats is available in 45 countries, but the ability for businesses to cover orders for employees only arrived in the U.S. last year. Before the virus struck, customers used the service to cater lunches at the office, as well as delivering meals to staff working off-site.In March, usage increased 28% from February, Uber said. There are more than 1,200 companies now using Uber Eats for Business. Early customers include GoodRx Inc., which runs a site to find discounted pharmaceuticals, and Talkable, a marketing software maker.Strengthening the food delivery business was a priority for Uber even before the coronavirus outbreak. The company sees it as a key ingredient in its recipe for turning a quarterly profit by the end of this year.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Twitter founder pledges $1bn to fight coronavirus
    Yahoo Finance UK

    Twitter founder pledges $1bn to fight coronavirus

    Jack Dorsey, founder and CEO of Twitter and Square, has pledged to donate $1bn (£812m) towards fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Bloomberg

    Dorsey Pledges $1 Billion of Square Stake for Virus Relief

    (Bloomberg) -- Jack Dorsey pledged $1 billion of his stake in Square Inc., the payments firm he co-founded, to coronavirus relief efforts, the largest pandemic-related donation yet.“I hope this inspires others to do something similar,” Dorsey said Tuesday in a tweet. “Life is too short, so let’s do everything we can today to help people now.”It will likely take several quarters or even years to complete the transfer, according to a Square spokesperson. The proceeds from the initial sales will fund coronavirus relief efforts. So far, $100,000 has been donated to America’s Food Fund to “help fund meals to people impacted by COVID,” according to a publicly available spreadsheet Dorsey linked to in his tweet.“After we disarm this pandemic, the focus will shift to girl’s health and education, and UBI,” Dorsey said in the tweet, referring to universal basic income, the idea that all citizens should be provided with a certain amount of money each month. The pledge represents about 28% of his wealth, he said.Dorsey has been working from his home in San Francisco’s affluent Sea Cliff neighborhood, following shelter-in-place orders that are keeping many people from their regular activities. Also the co-founder and chief executive officer of Twitter Inc., he has a net worth of about $3.9 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The bulk of his fortune -- about $3 billion -- is made up of Square equity.Shares of San Francisco-based Square, which were little changed during regular trading, dropped about 1% in the extended session.While other billionaires have announced significant donations to combat the pandemic and the anticipated economic turmoil, Dorsey’s pledge is by far the biggest so far. Before his announcement, $2.85 billion had been committed in the U.S. by companies, public charities, family foundations and individuals, according to Candid, a nonprofit research and support Inc.’s Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, is donating $100 million to Feeding America. Michael and Susan Dell have committed another $100 million, mostly for global relief efforts. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged a similar amount to develop a vaccine and pay for detection, isolation and treatment initiatives. Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan announced a $25 million commitment last month to help research a possible drug for Covid-19. The couple’s philanthropic organization, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, is working with Bay Area hospitals to offer free Covid-19 tests.Black, Ken Griffin Donate to Coronavirus Fight: Donation TrackerThis is not the first time Dorsey has announced a large stock pledge. In 2015, shortly after Twitter cut roughly 8% of its employees, Dorsey said he was donating almost $200 million in Twitter stock back to the employee grant pool. “I’d rather have a smaller part of something big than a bigger part of something small. I’m confident we can make Twitter big!” he tweeted at the time.On Tuesday, Dorsey wrote that he wants to be more transparent with his philanthropy so he and others can learn from it, adding that he’s donated $40 million in the past, mostly anonymously.Across the world, there have been more than 1.41 million virus cases and over 81,000 deaths. The San Francisco Bay Area, where Dorsey and his companies are based, had some of the earliest U.S. cases and authorities in the region took aggressive action to rein in the virus.Aside from the physical and mental toll the virus will take, the economic impact is also severe. The U.S. jobless rate has jumped to 4.4% -- the highest since 2017 -- from a half-century low of 3.5%, and is expected to surge in coming months.“Why now?,” Dorsey said in his Tuesday tweet. “The needs are increasingly urgent, and I want to see the impact in my lifetime.”(Updates with details throughout)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Amazon (AMZN) Gains As Market Dips: What You Should Know

    Amazon (AMZN) Gains As Market Dips: What You Should Know

    In the latest trading session, Amazon (AMZN) closed at $2,011.60, marking a +0.7% move from the previous day.

  • Cloud Computing Seen as Tech Haven Amid Pandemic Uncertainty

    Cloud Computing Seen as Tech Haven Amid Pandemic Uncertainty

    (Bloomberg) -- The coronavirus pandemic has pressured nearly every corner of the global economy, but analysts continue to see sunny days ahead for cloud computing and the ecosystem that surrounds the technology.The sub-sector is seen as a rare bright spot in the current environment, particularly as the outbreak pushes more people to work remotely, contributing to a long-term trend of rising demand. The boost is expected to be broad based, helping software companies, communication firms, and chipmakers that focus on data-center products, which are processors used in cloud computing.“The lasting impact of Covid-19 could actually be a net positive,” wrote Richard Baldry, an analyst at Roth Capital Partners. Cloud-based communication companies “should see increased customer activity, at least once operational bandwidth returns to a somewhat more normal level for prospects.” He listed Five9, Medallia, eGain and LivePerson as names that could see stronger demand and which were trading at valuations he views as attractive.So far this year, the Global X Cloud Computing ETF -- an exchange-traded fund that tracks an index of companies involved in the space -- is down 6.4%. A different ETF, the First Trust Cloud Computing ETF, is down 9.2%. Both have outperformed the S&P 500’s drop of more than 15% over the same period.According to Wedbush, the pandemic has thrown “sales cycles, procurement/IT departments, and budgets into a tornado-like state of chaos,” resulting in unprecedented risks to IT spending. Even in this environment, analyst Daniel Ives wrote, “cloud remains a theme”; he expects $1 trillion to be spent on cloud computing over the coming decade.Ives named Microsoft as “the Rock of Gibraltar cloud stock to own,” but said the trend would also support the cloud-computing businesses of both Amazon and Alphabet.Earlier this week, Bank of America referred to cloud-focused chipmakers as a “shining house in [a] tough neighborhood,” referring to the headwinds facing other areas of the industry. Analyst Vivek Arya expects cloud capex to rise 13% in 2020. While this is down from a prior view of 16% growth -- the lower estimate reflects “the most current Covid-19 headwinds” -- it represents a “robust acceleration” from 2019, when capex grew just 3.5%.The firm listed Broadcom, Nvidia, Advanced Micro Devices, Marvell Technology and Intel among the chipmakers most exposed to this trend. Nvidia has been one of the rare semiconductor gainers this year, and analysts have pointed to its data-center business as a tailwind.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Will Amazon (AMZN) Postpone Prime Day Due to Coronavirus?

    Will Amazon (AMZN) Postpone Prime Day Due to Coronavirus?

    Amazon (AMZN) is reportedly delaying its mid-year shopping holiday, Amazon Prime Day 2020, until at least August.

  • Amazon (AMZN) Delivery Network to Aid Canada Fight Coronavirus

    Amazon (AMZN) Delivery Network to Aid Canada Fight Coronavirus

    Amazon (AMZN) has entered into an agreement with the Canadian government to deliver the essential medical equipments to combat coronavirus spread.

  • Bloomberg

    India’s Massive Lockdown Sees Trucking Skid to a Halt

    (Bloomberg) -- The world’s biggest lockdown has brought transportation of goods in India close to a halt, even though the federal government has exempted the sector from restrictions to halt the spread of coronavirus.Daily movement of trucks has collapsed to less than 10% of normal levels, according to All India Motor Transport Congress, an umbrella body of goods-vehicle operators representing about 10 million truckers. Road transport accounts for about 60% of freight traffic in India and 87% of its passenger traffic, according to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.Trucking has emerged as a major chokepoint in global supply chains from food to medical supplies as governments around the world take ever more stringent steps to contain the pandemic, restricting the movement of vehicles as well as people to drive them. The stoppages in India, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a three-week lockdown on the nation’s 1.3 billion people from March 25, are a harbinger of the damage the measures are wreaking on the economy amid forecasts the country could see its first contraction in at least two decades.“Though the government has allowed movement of both essential and non-essential goods, the situation is very different at the ground level,” said Naveen Kumar Gupta, secretary general of AIMTC, the largest grouping of transporters in India. Almost daily clarifications by the government take time to trickle down to officials enforcing the rules, making operations difficult, according to the organization’s president, Kultaran Singh Atwal.The decline in road transport is another major setback for fuel demand in the world’s third biggest oil market, which has already been hit by the collapse in air travel. Fuel sales in March by India’s three biggest state-run retailers shrank by  as much as 33%.One of the major problems facing truckers is loading and unloading because of a shortage of labor, according to AIMTC. And with the lockdown shutting highway food establishments and workshops, truckers can’t get the services they need even if they are on the road.How will the coronavirus pandemic shift power around the world? Join us on Tuesday at 10 am ET for a live virtual conversation exploring how a post-virus world might look. Register here for Bloomberg New EconomyCharting the Trade TurmoilThe world could be on the brink a food scare as the coronavirus upends supply chains and sends prices for key staples higher. Prices of rice and wheat — crops that account for a third of the world’s calories — are rapidly climbing.Today’s Must ReadsAbout face | President Donald Trump eased restrictions on exports of masks and other protective equipment needed to fight the Covid-19 pandemic after a backlash from allies around the world. Stranded sailors | Port restrictions and canceled flights are straining the ability to replace seafarers on board ships, further weakening global supply chains already snarled by the coronavirus pandemic. Supply concession | India partially lifted a ban on the exports of a malaria drug after Trump sought supplies for the U.S., according to government officials with knowledge of the matter. Plane challenge | The most dramatic contraction in civil aviation history poses a challenge for Airbus in how to balance its response. Pose a strike | The global health crisis is shining a spotlight on how Amazon and many of the world’s biggest companies treat essential workers. Swiss nonplussed | Switzerland, whose penchant for preparing for emergencies has won it praise, is facing a possible shortage of alcohol used to make hand sanitizer.Bloomberg AnalysisFunctions for the market | Food supply-chain risks persist even as panic buying ebbs. Rent effects | The coronavirus will reduce apartment REIT revenue and funds from operations in 2020, potentially by more than the 4% drop at the depths of the 2008-09 crisis. Swift response | On Feb. 27, ECB President Christine Lagarde said there was no obvious need for a monetary response to the pandemic. Four weeks later, she unleashed massive stimulus. Use the AHOY function to track global commodities trade flows. See BNEF for BloombergNEF’s analysis of clean energy, advanced transport, digital industry, innovative materials, and commodities. Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus and here for maps and charts.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Why Bankers Don't Want to Lend to Your Local Hair Salon

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- It’s hard to overstate the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs, to Europe’s economy. They make up 99% of all non-financial businesses in the European Union (by number) and account for about two-thirds of private-sector jobs. Their survival through the coronavirus lockdowns is essential. So is their swift return to health once people can get back to daily business.Hence the speedy government measures to alleviate the SME cash crunch. Within days of cutting back economic activity, policymakers rolled out plans to disburse hundreds of billions of dollars to keep companies alive, packages that would typically take months to hammer out. But designing state-funded schemes that get the money where it’s needed quickly is a huge challenge. The evidence so far suggests that, while banks can help facilitate this process, there’s a limit to how much of the financial burden they’re prepared to take on. And their reticence is understandable. The long-term consequences of policy errors could be severe. Propping up companies that face a long-term solvency threat beyond the coronavirus outbreak will merely delay the inevitable; and loading up firms with yet more debt could hold back their recovery.Getting financing to SMEs is hard at the best of times. Banks are typically reluctant to lend without borrowers’ pledges of collateral, and the costs involved are high, especially for young companies. In Europe, lenders have been given incentives to lend to SMEs by being told they can set aside less of their capital to cover their overall loans. But many banks are only just recovering from the last “bad-loan” crisis, and they still see huge risks in the SME world. Even when government guarantees are in place, they would still like collateral on their loans from the company concerned.While Europe’s governments looked first to the banks to help mitigate the economic carnage cause by coronavirus lockdowns, the limits of what the industry was prepared to take on has become apparent.Take the U.K. Of the 130,000 applications submitted by SMEs as of last week, only about 1,000 have been approved, totaling a paltry 90.5 million pounds ($112 million). Under the terms of the country’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, lenders have been told they cannot demand personal guarantees for loans below a certain threshold, a requirement that had rightly incensed borrowers.British banks will be on the hook for 20% of the coronavirus scheme’s loans, with the government guaranteeing the rest, and any losses will probably be shared proportionally from the outset. Other countries have taken the view that this is too much to ask of their lenders.From the EU to the U.S., other national policymakers have concluded that their banks can offer little more than their processing services to get money to companies fast. Expecting them to take on the credit risk for 10% or 20% of the loans is seen as unrealistic when borrowers might run out of cash within weeks.Following guidance from the EU that member states could back 100% of these loans for up to 800,000 euros ($870,000), Germany this week presented a new “limitless” loan program for companies with between 11 and 250 employees. Italy will start offering similar.Switzerland’s SME program has been a model, including a first tranche of loans that are backed fully by the government for up to 500,000 Swiss francs ($514,000). Companies have been receiving funds within hours. A second tranche can follow with an 85% state guarantee.However, it’s not just banks who need to be careful about the danger of non-performing loans. Governments do too when they’re loading up on debt, especially Europe’s weaker economies. While keeping companies alive is essential, policymakers need to keep weighing up the longer term implications. Rather than letting banks off the hook completely, an alternative would be providing longer-dated debt where lenders share the risk.After all, not all businesses will survive and the banks can help be a little more cool-headed about assessing to whom that might apply — notwithstanding the inevitable howls of political anger that may be forthcoming. For example, the retail sector was already struggling with the dominance of Amazon in pre-Covid-19 days, and casual dining chains also faced severe challenges. Lenders should play a role in working through businesses’ probable chances of success.There’s also a risk in the current approach of handing out loans to companies based on a percentage of their sales. That may work for some industries, but it might leave companies that principally trade goods — whose revenues are often much higher than their profits — with too high a debt burden. One size does not fit all.Governments are doing the right thing by rushing to meet the funding needs of business through the shutdown. Which companies exit the crisis, and how, will need equal attention.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Elisa Martinuzzi is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering finance. She is a former managing editor for European finance at Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Indian traders ask court for Amazon, Flipkart antitrust probe restart

    Indian traders ask court for Amazon, Flipkart antitrust probe restart

    An Indian retail group has asked a court to allow the restart of an antitrust investigation into Inc and a Walmart unit that is on hold following a legal challenge by the companies, a court filing seen by Reuters showed. Amazon and Walmart's unit Flipkart did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. The appeal will likely be heard later this month at a time when both Amazon and Flipkart are battling slowing sales and logistical challenges during India's lockdown to tackle the coronavirus which has resulted in supply chain disruptions.

  • Amazon Stops Shipping Service That Competes With FedEx

    Amazon Stops Shipping Service That Competes With FedEx

    Apr.08 -- Amazon will suspend its delivery service that competes with UPS and FedEx. Dave Wilson reports on "Bloomberg Markets."

  • Investing Strategies: DocuSign CEO Insights, Medical Sector Update, E-Commerce Explosion Amid Coronavirus
    Investor's Business Daily Video

    Investing Strategies: DocuSign CEO Insights, Medical Sector Update, E-Commerce Explosion Amid Coronavirus

    The coronavirus pandemic has impacted daily life on many levels, from the way businesses operate to how consumers purchase needed goods. This episode, we're analyzing the multitude of societal changes brought on by Covid-19 from an investor standpoint. DocuSign CEO Dan Springer provides insight into the e-signature company's growth trajectory and weighs in on data security concerns as businesses move their entire operations online. Plus, all hands are on deck in the medical sector amid the scramble for testing, treatments and vaccines. We're also breaking down IBD's take on improving stock market conditions, with analysis of the key signals to watch in this rally. And ProShares joins us to discuss ETFs that provide exposure to the e-commerce boom that's been accelerated by widespread stay-at-home orders.

  • Covid-19: E-Commerce Boom, Brick-And-Mortar Doom?
    Investor's Business Daily Video

    Covid-19: E-Commerce Boom, Brick-And-Mortar Doom?

    Even before the onset of coronavirus, booming e-commerce sales have come at the expense of in-store sales, and the global pandemic is accelerating this trend. Simeon Hyman of ProShares discusses the dichotomy between online shopping and brick-and-mortar stores, and how investors can get exposure to this theme through ETFs.

  • Amazon Actionable
    Investor's Business Daily Video

    Amazon Actionable

    Amazon edged higher (for now!!), holding above 50-day line and recent highs. Aggressive entry. Has traditional 2186.05 buy point.

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