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With the growing adoption of electronic payments in emerging markets, global issuance of payment cards is projected to grow 36% to 18.3 billion during 2011-2016.
PayPal Holdings, Inc.
American Express Company
Global Payments Inc.
FleetCor Technologies, Inc.
Jack Henry & Associates, Inc.
Euronet Worldwide, Inc.
ACI Worldwide, Inc.
Green Dot Corporation
Net 1 UEPS Technologies, Inc.
VeriFone Systems, Inc.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- With all the focus on the surge in U.S. layoffs, it’s easy to forget that there’s a silent job killer lurking in the background. Hiring freezes such as that reported by American Express Co. mean that the take-up of workers is falling rapidly. How quickly companies ramp hiring back up will be a large factor in the strength of the recovery.The historic levels of initial unemployment claims illustrates the human consequences of a sudden stop of economic activity. Whole sectors of the economy have simultaneously shut, throwing millions out of a job. The leisure and hospitality industry along with non-food retailers have been especially hard hit.The rapid fiscal response will help cushion the blow for these newly unemployed workers. The expansion of unemployment benefits means that some laid-off workers might be able to receive more than 100% replacement income, a major expansion of the safety net. In addition, the Small Business Administration will be pushing out forgivable loans (essentially grants) to help retain employees that would otherwise be forced out of work.Enhanced unemployment benefits will help affected workers put food on the table, and pay the rent, providing important support for the economy. The SBA loans will help maintain employer-employee relationships so that activity could in theory ramp up quickly once restrictions end.These policy responses will not fully resolve the upcoming threats to the labor market. Job separations such as layoffs and quits represent only part of the picture. Hiring is a critical part. During recessions, not only do layoffs accelerate, but hiring drops sharply, exacerbating the labor market weakness.There were 5.2 million people hired in November 2007, one month before the last recession began. Hires fell to 3.6 million at the low in June 2009, a swing of 1.6 million. In contrast, layoffs and discharges rose from 2 million in November 2007 to a peak of 2.7 million at the peak in April 2009, a swing of 700,000. In other words, the drag on the job market from the drop in the pace of hiring was well above the drag from a faster pace of discharges.The dynamics in this recession will look different with a mass of layoffs and discharges coming early. Still, the lack of take-up of new employees will certainly exacerbate the deterioration in the labor market even as the initial round of layoffs slows. I call this the “silent job killer” because news of hiring freezes garners much less attention than layoffs.The willingness of firms to hire on the other side of the shutdown will help determine the shape of the recovery. After the 2007-09 recession ended, hiring did not return to its November 2007 level until December of 2014.The hope of course is that employer-employee connections remain sufficiently robust that activity and hiring snap back quickly when the shutdown ends. The reality may be different. The economy will suffer greater and more persistent damage the longer the shutdown lasts. Government support is unlikely to compensate for a lack of customers indefinitely. Moreover, there likely will not be a hard-restart of activity. More likely is that activity will be phased back in over time. Conferences, sporting events and other events with large groups may be curtailed far into the future. There is also the possibility - if not likelihood - that sporadic outbreaks of the virus will result in rolling shut-downs of venues or regions until Covid-19 treatments or a vaccine becomes widely available. China recently shut all movie theaters again. Such an uncertain environment will likely cause firms to hesitate before ramping up hiring even after the height of the crisis passes.Assuming virus-related concerns will persist over the next year or longer, we might expect a “square root” type of recovery. After an initial jump of hiring that follows the first phase of recovery begins, a less-than-full resumption of activity and uncertainty about future shutdowns threaten to restrain the pace of hiring long into the future.The layoffs associated with this initial shock will eventually slow but that alone will not put us on the path to recovery. We will need firms to not only stop letting workers go, but to return to a rapid pace of hiring. If that doesn’t happen, we can expect another long, slow recovery. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tim Duy is a professor of practice and senior director of the Oregon Economic Forum at the University of Oregon and the author of Tim Duy's Fed Watch.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Cash is dirty. Credit cards may be even dirtier. That’s a problem in this new germophobic world created by the coronavirus. There will likely be new winners and losers as consumers shift to products and services that help them keep their social distance even after this outbreak subsides. Is it finally time to embrace the digital wallet?Take Apple Inc.’s Apple Pay, a service that stores your credit-card information and lets you pay for purchases via your iPhone. The tech giant launched the product six years ago, but it didn’t bring about the revolution it hoped it would, where mobile payments lead the move toward a cashless society as it had in China. Here in the U.S., there just wasn’t a compelling enough reason for many consumers to change their entrenched routines. Now, though, Apple Pay’s ability to let customers shop inside physical stores and pay for things without having to make physical contact with a counter or card-reader may be the catalyst it needs to finally disrupt the payments industry.My own habits are noticeably changing on this front. Though I had my card information inside Apple Pay for years, I rarely ever used it. Old habits die hard, and I simply didn’t mind pulling out my credit card and paying for things the usual way. Nowadays? Not so much. Due to virus fears, I would rather not tap on a payment terminal’s numeric key pads or use my finger to sign for purchases when there is a much cleaner alternative. As a result, Apple Pay has now become the main way I pay for things whenever I venture outside.The way Apple Pay works is, you type in your credit card information into the Apple Wallet app. Once entered, you can pay for items at most physical store retailers by double-clicking the power button, authenticating using Face ID or Touch ID and then hovering your iPhone a few inches above the payment terminal. Google Pay and Samsung Pay work similarly on their respective smartphones. This type of proximity-based mobile payment enables consumers to pay for items without touching or handing over anything. Traditional paper bills and physical card payment alternatives are filthy in comparison. An academic study cited by Mastercard found the average cash note has 26,000 bacterial colonies. And according to LendEDU, a personal finance products comparison website, credit cards contain even more germs than cash or New York City subway poles. It makes sense as cards are often put on tables, inside restaurant bill folders and are rarely cleaned, while cash is constantly circulated by hand.Yes, the credit-card companies are rolling out their own version of contactless or “tap-to-pay” payments. Visa and Mastercard both said in their most recent reported quarters that about one-third of global transactions are now contactless. But the usage rate of the new cards is much lower in the U.S. as many Americans have yet to receive them. Further, it still requires touching the physical card and tapping the terminal (or at least getting the card within a couple of inches). This year, Apple Pay will command 47% of the U.S. proximity-based mobile payment market, with Google capturing 19% and Samsung Pay 17%, according to an eMarketer forecast.Admittedly, the U.S. market is still small, and expectations were relatively muted heading into this year before the pandemic struck. Only about 33 million Americans were expected to use Apple Pay’s proximity-based payment feature in 2020, or 14.5% of smartphone users, according to an eMarketer forecast made in September. But things are a lot different now.If Apple Pay and its brethren do take off, there will be deeper ramifications across the industry. Credit-card companies will do fine because their card networks are still being utilized by the smartphone maker’s service. But it could be a negative for PayPal Holdings Inc., the payments company that dominates the adjacent market of digital checkout buttons for online retailers.PayPal’s e-commerce checkout button enables its users to pay for online orders on retailer websites without having to re-type address or payment information, reducing friction to complete orders. It is a critical cash cow for the company and accounts for nearly 90% of its earnings, according to MoffettNathanson.But Apple Pay also offers a competing digital checkout feature. And if Apple Pay became increasingly used inside physical stores, it seems likely customers will be inclined to use the service for e-commerce transactions as well, eating into PayPal’s business.With new consumer habits being formed in a coronavirus world, Apple’s gain may be PayPal’s pain.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tae Kim is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Barron's, following an earlier career as an equity analyst.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Blackstone Group Inc. is abandoning plans to buy an office building in Oakland, California, that’s leased to payments company Square Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.The private-equity giant will forfeit a $20 million deposit it made to purchase the 397,000-square-foot building, known as Uptown Station, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing the private negotiations.Commercial real estate investors are reevaluating plans with huge swaths of the U.S. locked down to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Blackstone’s deal to buy Uptown Station from CIM Group for about $400 million was seen just weeks ago as a symbol of Oakland’s draw for property owners who wanted to bet on the technology industry’s expansion outside of San Francisco.Blackstone had planned to purchase the building through its non-traded real estate investment trust, BREIT. The firm decided to walk away after recent changes in the lending market, one of the people said. Blackstone is still actively pursuing real estate acquisitions, sales and financings, according to the person.A spokeswoman for CIM didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Institutional Real Estate previously reported that the deal had fallen apart.Uptown Station has been a symbol of tech’s migration to Oakland. Uber Technologies Inc. purchased the shuttered 1920s-era Sears store in 2015 with plans to renovate it for a major East Bay outpost. That effort unraveled two years later as the ride-hailing company stumbled. CIM bought the property in late 2017 for $180 million with a plan to complete the remodel.Square signed a lease for the office a year later, giving it room for as many as 2,000 employees. On its website, the payments company says it’s “hella proud” of its newest office.Public health officials in the San Francisco Bay Area have extended an order for people to stay at home through May 3.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.
Soft consumer sentiment index, prompted by curtailment in spending capacity, is sure to dampen the prospects of payment stocks going forward.
(Bloomberg) -- Kyash Inc., a Tokyo-based digital banking startup, has raised $45 million from investors at a time the coronavirus outbreak threatens to dry up venture capital funding.The Series C round was co-led by Greenspring Associates Inc. and Goodwater Capital, bringing the total raised by the company to date to $73 million, Kyash Chief Executive Officer Shinichi Takatori said in an interview. Kyash, which also counts Jafco Co. and Japanese banks Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. among its investors, will use the funds to expand its digital banking offerings.Kyash has developed a payment platform that links directly to Visa Inc.’s system, allowing it to issue cards to consumers as well as tailor services to businesses. The company is part of the growing universe of so-called challenger banks, a group of mostly online operators that aim to use technology to reduce costs and lure customers away from established competitors. The cohort includes Monzo, Starling Bank and Revolut Ltd. in Europe and Chime in the U.S. SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund last year invested $800 million into financing company Greensill.“It is a vote of confidence in our business, especially at a time like this,” Takatori said. “Our investors believe we can be the leading challenger bank in Japan.”The 34-year-old CEO founded the company five years ago after stints in banking and consulting. Kyash launched a peer-to-peer money transfer app in 2017 and added a Visa-linked payment wallet a year later. It declined to disclose user numbers and other figures and only said its systems currently process about one transaction per second.In Japan, Kyash is up against heavy competition. Mercari Inc., whose mobile payment service counts more than 6 million users in the country, this year acquired pay service Origami Inc., while e-commerce giant Rakuten Inc. runs its own bank, has a credit card with more than 19 million customers and is launching a mobile network. SoftBank is in the process of creating a domestic giant by combining its Yahoo Japan internet business with Line Corp., whose app is used by about half of Japan’s population to send instant messages every day. Both companies compete in mobile payments.While Takatori acknowledges that not having a large, existing user base is a challenge, he says his company enjoys a light cost structure because it was built from scratch. The app also reflects transactions in real time, without delays typical of cards that involve processing by third parties.“Unlike some of our competitors, we are not doing this to funnel people into some other service or try to sell them a mobile plan,” Takatori said. “This is our main business.”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) -- A fellow co-founder of PayPal Holdings Inc. said Elon Musk and others probably regret comments they made dismissing the seriousness of the novel coronavirus, adding that he’s hopeful the billionaire will now help in the relief effort.“Everyone who has made fun of this thing as a tougher flu or a silly problem that is going to go away with the first ray of sunshine is probably slightly embarrassed by those comments,” Max Levchin, who at 23 co-founded a company that would eventually become PayPal, said Monday on Bloomberg Television. “That excludes no one.”Musk, who now runs Tesla Inc. and SpaceX, initially downplayed the virality of the coronavirus and fatality rates related to Covid-19. He called panic over the illness “dumb” and predicted that overreaction would do more harm than the disease itself before starting to help by donating masks to hospital workers and buying ventilators.Musk has told his Twitter followers that Tesla can be most helpful by purchasing ventilators and helping deliver them more efficiently. While he tweeted that he had an engineering discussion with ventilator maker Medtronic Plc on March 21, it’s unclear whether Tesla or Space Exploration Technologies Corp. will play a role in manufacturing the desperately needed medical devices.“You do have this spirit of Silicon Valley, that when given direction or given a good idea, we know how to mobilize and inspire and go through walls and build something,” Levchin, who’s now chief executive officer of fintech company Affirm Inc., said on Bloomberg TV. “And so in that sense, I think if Elon is committing to build ventilators, by god he’s going to build a lot of ventilators, and they’re probably going to be quite good.”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) -- Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., issued stay-at-home orders, with Virginia’s stretching to June 10. The San Francisco Bay Area will extend its mandate to May.New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy followed through on a threat to go after anyone who disobeys orders to stay home, and a Florida pastor was arrested for holding services. New York said new infections are slowing.Italy reported the slowest rate of new Covid-19 cases in almost two weeks and extended containment measures to at least Easter. Spain had fewer deaths after three days of record fatalities. Moscow’s 12.7 million residents were ordered to stay home.Key Developments:Cases top 775,000; 37,000 dead, 164,000 recovered: Johns HopkinsSick crew keeps ship running, risking spread of virusNew York City marshals all hospitals; Navy sails in to helpEx-FDA commissioner says distancing must go on until spread slowsU.S. allows emergency use of drug Trump backed against virusCentury-old vaccine investigated as a weapon against coronavirusSubscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here.Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus and here for maps and charts. For analysis of the impact from Bloomberg Economics, click here. For BNEF’s view of the impact on energy, click here.Gap Joins Macy’s in Furloughing Workers (5:20 p.m. NY)Large retailers are letting workers go as shoppers stay home. Gap Inc. said it would furlough most of its U.S. and Canada store employees as it anticipates closures to extend past a previously announced April 1 date. Ascena Retail Group, the owner of chains including Ann Taylor, announced a similar move. Macy’s Inc. said earlier Monday that it would furlough most of its roughly 130,000 workers this week.Consumer spending has “sharply declined” amid the pandemic, according to Visa Inc., which lowered its outlook for revenue growth in the fiscal second quarter.J&J Surges After Vaccine Deal With U.S. Government (4:25 p.m. NY)Johnson & Johnson jumped 8% after the company said it would begin a $1 billion-plus effort with the U.S. government to make a vaccine against the virus. It will work with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to further develop a vaccine the company said it’s been working on since January.J&J said it plans to begin building manufacturing capacity for a billion doses of the vaccine. Early doses may be ready for emergency use as soon as January.Read the full story hereCalifornia Calls for Non-Practicing Health-Care Workers (4:13 p.m. NY)California Governor Gavin Newsom made a call to non-practicing health-care workers, asking them to help with the anticipated surge in hospitalizations. “We need you,” he said of nurses, doctors, pharmacists and emergency medical technicians. Facebook Inc. has committed $25 million to provide stipends for additional costs health-care workers might face from childcare to hotel rooms, Newsom said in a press briefing.In the past four days, California’s number of hospitalizations related to the virus have roughly doubled to more than 1,400. The progression matches the state’s modeling, Newsom said, meaning California is on track to needing an additional 50,000 hospital beds and people to staff them.Charges Filed Against Florida Pastor Who Held Services (3:15 p.m. NY)Charges were filed against a Florida pastor who held in-person services at his megachurch on Sunday, Hillsborough Country Sheriff Chad Chronister said during a press conference on Monday. An arrest warrant was issued for Rodney Howard-Browne, who yesterday compared the pandemic to a flu and dismissed the advice of public health experts.Howard-Browne’s behavior was described as “reckless disregard for public safety” by Chronister. The local county is under a stay-at-home order as the state of Florida deals with skyrocketing coronavirus cases and deaths.N.Y. Cases Slowing Though Fatalities Still on Rise (2:17 p.m. NY)New York state reported 253 new coronavirus fatalities on Monday, a 26% increase, but Governor Andrew Cuomo also offered some positive news: The rise in confirmed cases is slowing, and the hospital-discharge rate is rising.While the doubling of infections has slowed from every two days to every six, the number of people who had to be moved into intensive care with intubation surged in one day, the governor said at a briefing in Manhattan.New York added almost 7,000 confirmed infections overnight, for a total of more than 66,000, Cuomo said. Of those, roughly 9,500 are hospitalized, an increase of more than 1,000, and about 2,350 were in intensive care, up 315.France Hospital Deaths Rise by Most to Date (1:56 p.m. NY)France reported 418 deaths in hospitals, the most in a day for the country. The number doesn’t include deaths in other locations, and will add those figures later in the week, according to the health ministry’s press office. The jump brings the total number of hospital deaths to 3,024.Israel PM Netanyahu Tests Negative for Virus (1:45 p.m.)Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his family and close aides tested negative for Covid-19, his office said in a statement. One of his aides who he was in contact with has the virus, prompting them to go into isolation and be tested. He will remain in isolation until receiving further instructions from the health ministry.N.J. Files Charges for Violating Social-Distancing Orders (1:25 p.m. NY)In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy made good on a promise to name and shame people accused of violating social-distancing orders. His attorney general, Gurbir Grewal, sent out a news release detailing cases against a score of people, an unusual move for low-level offenses like disorderly conduct.Among the residents facing charges are four buddies who met to drag race in a school parking lot, men who held weddings, a woman who left her home to toss a Molotov cocktail at her boyfriend’s residence -- unsuccessfully -- and a billiards hall owner who reopened after he was ordered to close. At least a dozen people have been charged with threatening to transmit the virus.Italy Reports Fewest New Cases in Two Weeks (12:30 p.m. NY)Italy reported the smallest number of new coronavirus cases in almost two weeks as the epicenter of Europe’s contagion enters its fourth week of lockdown.New infections in the past 24 hours totaled 4,050, compared with 5,217 the previous day, civil protection authorities said Monday at their daily news conference in Rome. This is the lowest increase since March 17.Fatalities rose by 812 on Monday compared with 756 on Sunday, bringing the total to 11,591. Italy now has 101,739 total cases, the most after the U.S.Read more hereEurope Expected to Start Stabilizing Soon, WHO Says (12:18 p.m. NY)European countries that took measures two to three weeks ago will probably begin to show some signs of stabilization soon, according to Mike Ryan, head of health emergencies at the World Health Organization. The WHO hopes Italy and Spain are nearly at the peak, though reducing the number of new cases requires proactive measures, Ryan said at a press briefing Monday.To know if they are testing enough, countries should be getting roughly 10 negative results for every confirmed infection, Ryan said. “If 80 or 90% of the people you test are positive, you are probably missing a lot of cases.”All Covid-19 patients should be taken to health facilities rather than staying at home, and their close contacts also ideally should be isolated outside the home, he said. Singapore’s success in containing the virus came by sending community workers door-to-door, checking people for symptoms such as fever, and immediately taking anyone suspected to be infected to a testing center, he said.EU Finance Ministers to Meet April 7 on Response (12:01 p.m. NY)Euro-area finance ministers will meet on April 7 to deliver proposals to reinforce the EU’s policy response to the coronavirus, Eurogroup President Mario Centeno said on Twitter.Their meeting comes after EU leaders last week struggled to find common ground on how best to cushion to the impact of the pandemic. Instead, they gave their finance chiefs two weeks to produce new proposals amid disagreements over whether they should deploy the bloc’s bailout fund or push with more ambitious plans such as joint debt in the form of so-called coronabonds.French Fashion Brands Ramp Up Mask Production (12:01 p.m. NY)The French fashion sector’s push to supply protective masks is on track to produce 480,000 units per day with 45 companies participating, Deputy Economy Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said. Those masks, often reusable, will be intended as an additional protection measure for people working outside the medical sector.France’s makers of surgical masks are also ramping up production, targeting 40 million masks in April, Pannier-Runacher said Monday in a briefing to press.Lacoste, Yves Saint-Laurent and Chanel are among the French fashion makers that have said they’ll participate in the effort.CureVac to Start Trials This Summer, Focus Says (10:30 a.m. NY)The German biotech CureVac AG will start a trial of a potential coronavirus vaccine in early summer, the magazine Focus reported, citing an interview with CureVac supervisory board member Friedrich von Bohlen. The vaccine could be ready be year-end.Earlier this month, CureVac denied speculation that the U.S. government tried to buy the business or its technology amid the intensifying race to produce a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.Abbott Surges on Five-Minute Test (9:45 a.m. NY)Abbott Laboratories shares surged after the company unveiled a coronavirus test that can tell if someone is infected in as little as five minutes, and is so small and portable it can be used in almost any health-care setting.The medical-device maker plans to supply 50,000 tests a day starting April 1, said John Frels, vice president of research and development at Abbott Diagnostics. The molecular test looks for fragments of the coronavirus genome, which can quickly be detected when present at high levels. A thorough search to definitively rule out an infection can take up to 13 minutes, he said.Read more herePoland Election Plan Faces Pushback (9:45 a.m. NY)Pressure is growing on Poland’s ruling party to delay the May 10 presidential election as the authorities introduce more curbs on civil liberties to contain the coronavirus.On Monday, a deputy science minister became the first government official to publicly call for the vote to be postponed. Meanwhile, municipalities are growing wary of having to help organize as many as 300,000 volunteers on local election committees that supervise voting and count ballots.Read more hereChina to Reveal Data on People Infected With No Symptoms (9:07 a.m. NY)China’s government indicated it will start releasing data on how many people are infected with coronavirus but don’t have symptoms, as domestic and international criticism of the country’s portrayal of the outbreak grows.Local governments should emphasize efforts to monitor, track and isolate these asymptomatic infections, a meeting on Covid-19 led by Premier Li Keqiang said Monday. These efforts will help close loopholes in epidemic control work, according to a statement released on the website of the State Council, the top administrative body in China.Trump Says Hazard Pay for Hospitals Is Being Looked At (8:49 a.m. NY)The president told Fox News that hazard pay for hospital workers dealing with the coronavirus is being looked at. He said hospitals were being asked to consider possible bonuses, among other measures.Tokyo Governor Urges Residents to Avoid Night Clubs (8:39 a.m. NY)Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike urged residents to avoid bars and night clubs, which are seen to be behind a recent increase in virus cases in the city. Tokyo reported 13 new cases of infection on Monday, bringing the total to 443.U.A.E. to Open Drive-Through Testing Centers (8:33 a.m. NY)The United Arab Emirates plans to open drive-through testing centers nationwide, the official news agency WAM reported on Monday.Netherlands Reports Its Slowest Case Growth: (8:20 a.m. NY)New cases in the Netherlands rose by 8% to 11,750, the smallest daily gain since the country reported its first case in late February. The RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment also said total deaths climbed to 864 after it recorded 93 more fatalities, an increase of 12%, below the recent average.The growth of new cases has slowed gradually over the past week. The RIVM expects to be able to say whether there’s a real flattening over the course of this week.The government is set to extend restrictions, such as keeping schools and restaurants closed, until after April 6, Dutch news agency ANP reported.Portugal Cases Slow (7:54 a.m. NY)The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Portugal rose 7.5% to 6,408 as of 11 a.m. on Monday from 5,962 on Sunday morning, the government’s Directorate-General of Health said. That’s slower than a daily increase of 15% reported on Sunday and a 21% gain on Saturday. The total number of deaths increased to 140 on Monday from 119 reported through Sunday morning.Germany Asks Companies to Suspend Dividends (7:53 a.m. NY)German listed companies will have to suspend dividend payments to qualify for government assistance designed to ease the impact of the coronavirus crisis, according to two people familiar with the policy.Decisions will be taken on a case by case basis, but the general rule will be that dividends should not be paid if companies want to tap into the aid program and borrow from state bank KfW, said the people, who asked not to be identified by name because the policy isn’t public. The KfW declined to comment.Germany is in line with France in insisting firms forgo dividend payments.The Latest on Covid-19 Tests and Vaccines (7:30 a.m. NY)Johnson & Johnson rose in pre-market trading after saying it had selected a lead Covid-19 vaccine candidate. The company expects to initiate human clinical studies latest by September and anticipates the first batches of a vaccine could be available for emergency use authorization in early 2021.Earlier, Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he expects data about remdesivir “in month or so” that will indicate whether the drug works for coronavirus and whether it’s safe to use.Meanwhile, Abbott Laboratories shares rose 18% in U.S. pre-market trading after the company introduced a coronavirus test that can tell if someone is infected in as little as five minutes, and is so small and portable it can be used in almost any health-care setting.And Israel has developed a 3D-printed sticker to attach to a standard surgical mask to increase its protective capabilities. The sticker is composed of nanoscale fibers coated with disinfectants, the Defense Ministry said.(A previous version was corrected to fix the number of cases in the U.K.)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.
The company said transaction volumes fell in the second half of March and there has been a rapid deterioration in cross-border travel-related spending. The coronavirus has upended the retail industry as shoppers stay at home to avoid catching the highly contagious illness and stores remain shut. Mastercard Inc , American Express , and PayPal Holdings Inc have also warned of slowing revenue growth due to the outbreak.
As the virus outbreak hits business volumes, AmEx has moved from a largely brick-and-mortar operation to having more than 60,000 employees equipped to work from home and two-thirds of its customer-care professionals working remotely, Squeri said. AmEx said earlier this month that spending volumes fell at the end of February and well into March as the pandemic wreaks havoc on consumer spending, leading the company to forecast low-single-digit percentage revenue growth for the first quarter.
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Karen Mills, the former administrator of the Small Business Administration, welcomed the stimulus, but expressed concern on whether the money could arrive fast enough to make a difference.
(Bloomberg) -- Visa Inc. is considering a reprieve for gas stations straining under an October deadline to upgrade their pumps, and, along with Mastercard Inc., delayed a set of fee changes that were to take effect next month.The moves are aimed at sending relief to merchants struggling to remain afloat as the coronavirus puts a virtual halt to global travel and governments order businesses to shut.“Now, more than ever, we’re putting all our power, capabilities, and technology to work to keep commerce flowing,” Seth Eisen, a spokesman for Mastercard, said in a statement. “To help our customers and partners manage through this unprecedented event, we are pausing updates to some systems while delivering the same level of security and service they receive every day.”Visa and Mastercard will delay until July the planned changes to interchange fees, which are paid by retailers each time a consumer swipes their card at checkout.“We are actively implementing and considering a number of ways we can proactively support our clients to ensure the stability, security, reliability and resiliency of the digital payments ecosystem,” said Will Stickney, a spokesman for Visa.The change was welcome news for retailers. The Merchant Advisory Group said the move would “provide needed relief to some of the hardest-hit businesses while ensuring electronic-payment processing continues to work in the seamless fashion as they do today.”Fuel PumpsVisa might also postpone a deadline for gas-station operators to upgrade their fuel pumps to accept chip cards, according to a person familiar with the matter.Fuel retailers currently have until Oct. 1 to upgrade their pumps. Those that don’t will have to start taking on responsibility for the costs related to fraud that happens at their facilities.Merchants have complained that the new machines are costly, and say it’s hard to find workers to install the pumps as more businesses shut because of the virus.“Nobody planned for the disruption of the pandemic delaying everything,” said Dan Rasmussen, a senior vice president at Hughes Network Systems, which helps retailers ready their systems to accept chip cards. Major oil companies including BP Plc, Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp. have been “applying quite a bit of pressure on the retailers to move and get the orders in and start progressing.”The world’s largest payment networks have seen their stocks battered as the pandemic severely curtails spending on the firms’ networks, prompting Mastercard to abandon its full-year revenue guidance this week.Read more about restaurants pushing to lower card feesVisa Chief Executive Officer Al Kelly on Thursday pledged his company wouldn’t initiate any layoffs due to the global pandemic in 2020. The company has previously warned that the slowdown in cardholders’ overseas spending would likely crimp its outlook for revenue growth.“There is enough sadness in the world and already too many families impacted by job losses,” Kelly said in a LinkedIn post. “I have no interest in contributing to that.”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.
The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Walt Disney, General Electric, Fiserv, S&P Global and TJX Companies