• What it takes to be a leader during the coronavirus crisis
    Yahoo Finance

    What it takes to be a leader during the coronavirus crisis

    This is a time for leaders to be measured and defined.

  • Exclusive: Amazon in contact with coronavirus test makers for potential screenings on employees
    Reuters

    Exclusive: Amazon in contact with coronavirus test makers for potential screenings on employees

    The chief executives of Abbott Laboratories and Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc have told Amazon they would like to work with the e-commerce company, though the U.S. government is taking up all of their testing capacity at present, the notes said. The nature of Amazon's conversations with the test makers and the exact assistance they might offer were unclear. The document separately indicated Amazon is looking into the ability to screen more than one person at a time for the virus, and it also wants to partner with a medical organization in its testing efforts.

  • Tesla cuts contractors from California, Nevada factories - CNBC
    Reuters

    Tesla cuts contractors from California, Nevada factories - CNBC

    The electric carmaker is axing contractors at both its vehicle assembly plant in Fremont, California, and at its Gigafactory outside of Reno, Nevada, according to the CNBC report https://cnb.cx/2UZf5EH. "It is with my deepest regret that I must inform you that the Tesla factory shutdown has been extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a result, Tesla has requested to end all contract assignments effective immediately," Balance Staffing, a workforce management company, said in a memo sighted by CNBC.

  • Tesla cuts contractors from California, Nevada factories: CNBC
    Reuters

    Tesla cuts contractors from California, Nevada factories: CNBC

    The electric carmaker is axing contractors at both its vehicle assembly plant in Fremont, California, and at its Gigafactory outside of Reno, Nevada, according to the CNBC report https://cnb.cx/2UZf5EH. "It is with my deepest regret that I must inform you that the Tesla factory shutdown has been extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a result, Tesla has requested to end all contract assignments effective immediately," Balance Staffing, a workforce management company, said in a memo sighted by CNBC.

  • Bloomberg

    Apple Supplier Targets Production of 30,000 Ventilators a Month

    (Bloomberg) -- Flex Ltd., a contract manufacturer known for making Apple Inc. computers, is starting to assemble thousands of ventilators to meet surging demand for the machines in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.The San Jose, California-based company will be churning out 25,000 to 30,000 ventilators a month by May or June, according to John Carlson, Flex’s head of medical solutions. That’s equal to the industry’s typical annual output, but as many as 1 million of these machines are needed now, he said in an interview Friday.The coronavirus has infected more than 1 million people and killed 58,000. Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, affects people’s respiratory systems. That has led to shortages of ventilators as hospitals try to keep thousands alive. On Friday, New York and New Jersey governors ordered unused ventilators to be seized from medical facilities and redistributed to hospitals treating coronavirus patients.Flex generates about $2 billion in annual sales by manufacturing medical devices for other companies. But ventilators are usually made in-house by medical-device companies, so this is new territory.Still, Carlson said Flex and other electronics contract manufacturers are well placed to respond. Flex has plants in the U.S., Mexico and China as well as other locations around the globe, along with experience procuring parts, dealing with regulations and adapting to local situations, such as workforce lockdowns.Ventilator production is slowed by the limited availability of proprietary valves and tubes that control the flow of air in and out of patients. These are usually made my small, specialist firms that supply them to medical-equipment companies, which, in turn, assemble ventilators themselves. That makes it hard to increase production quickly, Carlson said.Flex is working to make its own versions of these valves and tubes by reverse-engineering existing units and using techniques such as 3-D printing, he said.Many different companies are trying to make ventilators, including Flex rivals. U.S. President Donald Trump has pressured carmakers to pitch in, too, but Carlson said those companies will struggle because they have no experience making these devices and it will take time re-tool their factories.“It seems like a simple problem but the details get more complicated,” he said. “The whole world is trying to solve it, which is a great place to be, as long as the solution works.”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.

  • Some WeWork Staff Planned Their Lives Around a Stock Deal That Just Collapsed
    Bloomberg

    Some WeWork Staff Planned Their Lives Around a Stock Deal That Just Collapsed

    (Bloomberg) -- Teddy Kramer worked at WeWork from 2013 to 2015. When he left the company, he had been a director of new market development, helping the co-working startup open new offices in different regions. He’d put in the time and been granted shares in the company. At first, he thought he might be able to sell them after WeWork’s much-anticipated initial public offering in September, but the IPO attempt flopped.As a backup option, Kramer and other current and ex-WeWork staff were told they would be able to sell their shares to SoftBank Group Corp. in a deal set to take place on Wednesday. Kramer was expecting to sell between $50,000 and $100,000, he said, and he was depending on the cash to cover expenses while he started his new business, a co-working space in San Francisco called Neon. On Thursday, though, SoftBank sent a letter to all WeWork shareholders: The deal was off. The Japanese conglomerate, the largest investor in WeWork parent We Co., was pulling out of the agreement to purchase billions in WeWork stock from existing shareholders. The abrupt about-face has impacted many people like Kramer—rank-and-file employees who had been banking on the payout from SoftBank, some of whom are now left in a lurch as the coronavirus pandemic slams the global economy. They’d already faced the disappointment of losing the chance to sell after the promised IPO and seeing their highly valued WeWork shares lose almost all their worth in the fallout. SoftBank’s decision to pull out underlines the precarious nature of owning shares in a startup, even when the company was, at one point, the most valuable startup in the U.S.Less than a year ago, WeWork was on pace for an IPO that would add to the rolls of tech millionaires. New York was bracing for an infusion of wealth akin to the bonanza that beset Silicon Valley overnight when Facebook Inc. went public in 2012. An IPO or multibillion-dollar stock transaction like the one SoftBank agreed to with WeWork provides the seed money for people to buy homes and start businesses. For WeWork, those opportunities evaporated with little forewarning, coming as a shock to some shareholders who had already begun laying the foundation for their new lives. SoftBank cited several reasons for pulling out of the deal, including that WeWork was currently facing government inquiries from U.S. attorneys, the Securities and Exchange Commission, attorneys general in California and New York and the Manhattan district attorney. Those ongoing inquiries, the company said, meant that the conditions of the original deal had not been met. Representatives for SoftBank and WeWork declined to comment.  In the letter sent early Thursday confirming the deal was off, SoftBank framed the called-off stock sale as something that would have mainly benefited WeWork’s ousted chief executive officer, Adam Neumann, and WeWork’s investors. The bulk of the proceeds of the $3 billion stock sale was set to go to just five investors, including Neumann and venture capital firm Benchmark. "Adam Neumann, his family, and certain large institutional stockholders, such as Benchmark Capital, were the parties who stood to benefit most from the tender offer," SoftBank said in a statement about the decision. "Together, Mr. Neumann’s and Benchmark’s equity constitute more than half of the stock tendered in the offering. In contrast, current WeWork employees tendered less than 10% of the total."But for employees, a tenth of $3 billion is still a lot of money. Add in additional workers who have recently left the company, and that figure could climb even higher. Some current and former staff at WeWork have taken issue with SoftBank’s statements about its decision to pull out, arguing that the money they stood to receive from the sale would make more of a difference in their lives than to Neumann and others.“They’re trying to leverage the negative press that has followed Adam since the IPO by saying ‘This is just a billionaire making more money,’” Kramer said.Kramer, 36, said he’s fairly lucky. He hadn’t signed a lease yet for his new company, and doesn’t have employees that he would have to cut. But without the money from the stock sale, his business dream is on indefinite hold. In the meantime, he’s tutoring kids in reading comprehension over Zoom and looking for a different job.Other people were depending on the SoftBank sale to help defray costs they’d incurred when WeWork’s stock seemed much more valuable. One current WeWork employee, who also asked not to be named because of a non-disclosure agreement, said they bought a house last summer thinking they'd be able to pay for it after selling shares in the IPO. When that didn't happen, they had still been hoping cash from this stock sale could help offset some of those costs.A former employee, who asked not to be named because they signed a non-disclosure agreement, said that once the company’s IPO prospectus was made public in August, they figured that meant the IPO was likely to take place. Right after that, this person took out a loan in order to buy the shares they had access to. The idea was to buy early to try to avoid short-term capital gains tax.Over the next month, though, as WeWork’s bankers struggled to get institutional investors to commit to buying into WeWork’s IPO, the company’s prospects started to look shakier. The former employee said that WeWork’s then chief financial officer, Artie Minson, repeatedly tried to reassure workers at all-hands meetings. Minson told them the company had strong revenue, that its numbers had never been better, and that the company would go public by the end of the year.But quickly, WeWork withdrew its IPO and turned to SoftBank for bailout funding to avoid going bankrupt. Employees were offered the chance to reprice their shares at around $4 each. The former employee, though, still had a tax bill based on the value of the shares at their time of purchase, around $50 apiece. That left this person with a six-figure tax bill—and no way to sell the shares in order to pay it off. The former employee had been hoping that they’d be able to sell enough shares to SoftBank this week to pay off the loan taken out to buy the shares in the first place—not the profit this person had envisioned, but just enough to break even.Some employees might be able to find some relief, said Deep Gujral, a principal who works with venture-backed companies at the professional services firm Withum. Gujral recommended trying to negotiate with creditors: "Given the current climate, and Covid-19, they might be more receptive" to relaxing payment requirements, he said. "If you have a mortgage, and you go to the lender, they might be flexible." Gujral also expects to see class-action lawsuits that include current and former WeWork employees as a result of the withdrawn tender offer. After energy-services company Enron filed for bankruptcy in 2001, employees were able to use federal laws around benefit plans and stock to their advantage in court, and the same could apply here, he said.But hypothetical lawsuits are of little comfort to most WeWork shareholders. “The rest of the world needs to know that there are 500 to 1,000 early employees who are paying the price for this,” Kramer said. “All we ever did was work hard and make this company an $8 billion company. This was our moment. SoftBank came in and made a deal: ‘We're going to take care of you.’ And now all of a sudden it's, ‘Eh, we're not doing 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.

  • Paypal (PYPL) Stock Moves -1.21%: What You Should Know
    Zacks

    Paypal (PYPL) Stock Moves -1.21%: What You Should Know

    In the latest trading session, Paypal (PYPL) closed at $92.39, marking a -1.21% move from the previous day.

  • Intel (INTC) Stock Moves -0.4%: What You Should Know
    Zacks

    Intel (INTC) Stock Moves -0.4%: What You Should Know

    In the latest trading session, Intel (INTC) closed at $54.13, marking a -0.4% move from the previous day.

  • Apple Acquires AI Startup to Better Understand Natural Language
    Bloomberg

    Apple Acquires AI Startup to Better Understand Natural Language

    (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. acquired Voysis, an artificial intelligence startup that developed a platform for digital voice assistants to better understand people’s natural language.Dublin, Ireland-based Voysis focused on improving digital assistants inside online shopping apps, so the software could respond more accurately to voice commands from users. A now-removed company webpage said the technology could narrow product search results by processing shopping phrases such as “I need a new LED TV” and “My budget is $1,000.” Voysis provided this AI to other companies to incorporate it into their own apps and voice assistants.Read more about the startup here: Synthesizing Realistic Human Speech Just Got a Lot EasierAn Apple spokesman said the company “buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”Voysis’s system taps into Wavenets, an AI-based method for creating more human-like computer speech that was first developed by Google’s DeepMind in 2016. Voysis co-founder Peter Cahill said in 2018 that his company managed to shrink its system to the point where, once the AI is trained, the software uses as little as 25 megabytes of memory -- about the same size as four Apple Music songs. That made it much easier to run on smartphones without an internet connection.Apple could use the acquired know-how improve Siri’s understanding of natural language or to offer the Voysis platform to thousands of developers that already integrate with the Apple digital assistant. Apple has been the top buyer of AI startups in recent years and has a portfolio that already includes former startups including Turi, Xnor.ai, and Laserlike.Read more: Big Tech Swallows Most of the Hot AI StartupsVoysis was founded in 2012 and sold its services to several companies. It also had offices in Edinburgh and Boston and got $8 million in venture funding from Polaris Partners in 2017.The acquisition is the second Apple deal disclosed this week. The Cupertino, California-based tech giant also bought Dark Sky, a popular weather app for iPhones and iPads.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.

  • ETFs to Gain on Cloud Computing Growth Amid Coronavirus Crisis
    Zacks

    ETFs to Gain on Cloud Computing Growth Amid Coronavirus Crisis

    Cloud computing comes to the rescue as countries practice social distancing, making people work remotely to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

  • Sky News

    Coronavirus: Google data shows how people's movements have changed since outbreak

    Visits to shops, museums and cafes in the UK have fallen by 85% since the coronavirus outbreak, according to data shared by Google. The technology firm's anonymised data of people's locations provides an insight into how the public are moving around during the pandemic. The information comes from products such as Google Maps, the company said.

  • Bloomberg

    Google Joins With U.K. Researchers to Track Coronavirus Cases

    (Bloomberg) -- Google is working with researchers in Europe to track the spread of the coronavirus using troves of location data gathered from smartphones.The search engine giant is collaborating with academics from the University of Southampton in the U.K., who in turn are working with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, according to several people involved in the project.The location data, which Google collects from location-enabled apps such as Google Maps, has been shared with the researchers in an aggregated and anonymized format. It can’t be used to track an individual person; rather, it shows broad patterns of movement across entire countries over periods of time, according to the people.The data is helping researchers analyze the relationship between travel patterns and transmission rates of the virus within different countries, according to the people, while also providing insight into the effectiveness of lock downs in European countries.“We are looking at inner-city movement across the EU and what it means for controlling Covid-19,” said Nick Ruktanonchai, an infectious disease epidemiologist and lecturer at the University of Southampton. “With the location data, we are testing different scenarios and simulating what might happen if countries don’t end their lock downs in a coordinated way. It’s about buying time. We want to make sure a big second epidemic doesn’t happen months down the line.”Ruktanonchai’s description was confirmed by three others familiar with the project, who requested anonymity.A spokesman for Google pointed to a blog post the company published on Friday, which stated that it was “collaborating with select epidemiologists working on Covid-19 with updates to an existing aggregate, anonymized dataset that can be used to better understand and forecast the pandemic.”The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control didn’t respond to a request for comment.The researchers are also working with telecommunications giant Vodafone Group Plc, Ruktanonchai said, and have combined data from Vodafone’s mobile phone networks with the Google location data in an effort to create more accurate models of movement patterns in Europe.A spokesman for Vodafone Group confirmed that the company was working with Southampton researchers on a project to monitor how the coronavirus might develop in different scenarios.In recent weeks, more than a dozen countries -- including the U.S., U.K., Italy, Germany, Austria, Spain, South Korea, Iran and Taiwan -- have turned to mobile phone location data as a method of monitoring people’s movements during the coronavirus pandemic.Two of the U.K.’s largest telecommunications companies – British Telecom and Telefonica UK Ltd – have said that they have provided anonymized location data to the government to support policy planning during the coronavirus crisis. In Austria and Italy, authorities are using location data provided by Telekom Austria and Vodafone to keep tabs on whether people are following restrictions on movement.The data has proved useful in determining whether lock down measures have been successful. However, privacy experts have raised concerns about its use. On Thursday, a coalition of more than 100 human-rights groups issued a joint statement that called on governments not to “disregard rights such as privacy and freedom of expression in the name of tackling a public health crisis.”The work being done in the U.K. not only offers an insight into current movement patterns but also enables the researchers to try and predict future scenarios. “We’re looking at what happens if all countries coordinate lock downs” or end their lock downs at different times, said Andy Tatem, director of the University of Southampton’s WorldPop project, which is leading the research.If countries in Europe don’t coordinate, Tatem said, it could lead to a resurgence of the virus.Teams at Alphabet Inc.’s Google have been working for weeks to find ways to use the company’s large stores of data to assist governments and organizations to manage their response to the coronavirus outbreak, according to two people familiar with those efforts.On Friday, Google announced that it would begin publishing “mobility reports” that show movement trends in 131 countries during the coronavirus pandemic. Google said the reports would document trends across different categories of places such as retail and recreation, groceries and pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces and residential.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.

  • Top Research Reports for Amazon, Medtronic & Vertex
    Zacks

    Top Research Reports for Amazon, Medtronic & Vertex

    Top Research Reports for Amazon, Medtronic & Vertex

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    US STOCKS-Wall Street falls as coronavirus cuts into U.S. payrolls

    Wall Street's main indexes fell on Friday as the coronavirus abruptly ended a record U.S. job growth streak of 113 months, leaving little doubt that the economy is in a recession. The survey considered data only until mid-March, before widespread U.S. lockdowns put more people out of work. While relatively flat volatility indexes suggested that investors getting used to market swings, Mike Turvey, TD Ameritrade's institutional senior trading strategist sees institutional investors taking a shorter term view with many still very cautious ahead of the weekend market close.

  • Bloomberg

    Apple CEO Cook Questioned by Senators on Covid-19 Screening App

    (Bloomberg) -- Several Democratic senators asked Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook about the privacy of the company’s new Covid-19 screening app and website.Senators Bob Menendez, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Richard Blumenthal sent a letter to the company on Friday expressing concern “for the safety and security of Americans’ private health data.” They want to know about data-sharing practices and safeguards, and whether the app complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The senators are also seeking information on Apple’s agreements with federal or state governments for the development of the app, according to the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg.The senators acknowledge that Apple says the software does not “require a sign-in or association with a user’s Apple ID, and users’ individual responses will not be sent to Apple or any government organization.”Read more: Apple Joins Others in Launching Covid-19 Screening ToolsThe iPhone maker addresses the tool’s privacy on its website. “Apple is not collecting your answers from the screening tool,” the company says. “To help improve the site, Apple collects some information about how you use it. The information collected will not personally identify you.” 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.

  • A More Hopeful View of AI’s Impact on America’s Rural Worker
    Bloomberg

    A More Hopeful View of AI’s Impact on America’s Rural Worker

    (Bloomberg) -- When Microsoft Corp. Chief Technology Officer Kevin Scott wanted to examine how artificial intelligence was poised to create yet another economic upheaval in a rural America, he returned to the Virginia countryside where he was born. Instead, he found small businesses already using technology and primed to take advantage of AI — a much more hopeful picture, if only the U.S. could figure out how to boost education and access to technology throughout the working class.In the months since since Scott finished writing “Reprogramming the American Dream,” which is scheduled for release next week, the Covid-19 pandemic has made the shortcomings he identifies starker and more immediate. The same way it’s hard to build a small business in towns without reliable fast internet access, people can’t work from home without it. In underfunded schools with little computer education, it’s hard to set up distance learning.“We want to put opportunity and the best possible tools into the hands of as many people as possible,” Scott said in an interview. “I don’t know that it’s going to be some overnight transformation, but we have to bake it into the values that we have and the economic decisions we are all making as consumers, big businesses, partners and policy makers.”After 16 years working on machine learning, Scott, 48, said he’d developed a typical point of view in the industry that AI would be a disaster for low- and middle-skilled workers and a boon to information and tech workers. Yet in a visit to his hometown of Gladys, Virginia, and its county seat -- the evocatively named Rustburg (population 1,431 in the last census) -- he found burgeoning small businesses using new technology and a cause for optimism mixed with high rates of poverty and unemployment borne from the demise of local industries like textiles and tobacco.“I had this ‘a-ha’ moment that these people I’d grown up with were doing work and running businesses that were already using technology in really interesting ways, and the types of tech they were using were exactly the sorts of things that were going to be amenable to improvements with AI,” he said. These people, and not the tech leaders and AI researchers, were going to have a better idea how to use AI for their specific industries and challenges, he said.  Scott is pushing ideas he hopes will boost rural economies and lessen the impact of future disruptions like the current one. Microsoft, his employer, stands to benefit greatly by more use of AI as one of the largest providers of AI tools over the internet. He suggests the U.S. government spend $200 billion, an amount equivalent to the Apollo program that sent the first astronauts to the moon, for “AI in service of the public good.” He calculated the figure using the percentage of GDP spent on the Apollo program in the 1960s. If some of that funding is used to provide better health care for all, it might pay for itself by reducing waste and costs, he said. He also wants the government to come up with ways to provide ongoing education for the skills of the future and to finally fix the lack of rural broadband. Promoting rural small businesses, like the precision plastic parts plant a high school classmate of Scott’s manages in an former textile mill, will also require buyers for their goods. The current pandemic, which has large companies rethinking their overseas supply chains, particularly in China, may provide opportunities for smaller U.S.-based businesses to prove their worth, Scott said. Companies like Microsoft can help by committing to buy from rural America more often, he said. While using artificial intelligence to sharpen and improve business practices is essential, Scott said, the technology can’t replace people in many areas. “We should make sure we are never taking for granted those things humans do uniquely well,” he 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.

  • Exclusive: Amazon to delay Prime Day event due to coronavirus, outlines cloud risks
    Reuters

    Exclusive: Amazon to delay Prime Day event due to coronavirus, outlines cloud risks

    The company also sees a risk to cloud computing sales in France, while another business - video on demand - is shaping up to post $100 million more in revenue than Amazon had planned for the first quarter, the document said. Amazon declined to comment. The notes, in which Amazon's general counsel wrote critical comments reported by Vice News about an employee it fired on Monday, offer a rare insight into planning inside the world's largest online retailer.

  • The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Amazon, Microsoft, Alphabet and Alibaba
    Zacks

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Amazon, Microsoft, Alphabet and Alibaba

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Amazon, Microsoft, Alphabet and Alibaba

  • ETFs to Ride High on Tesla's Robust Q1 Delivery Numbers
    Zacks

    ETFs to Ride High on Tesla's Robust Q1 Delivery Numbers

    The solid deliveries data has put the spotlight on ETFs having substantial allocation to the luxury carmaker.

  • GBP/USD Weekly Price Forecast – British Pound Pulls Back for the Week
    FX Empire

    GBP/USD Weekly Price Forecast – British Pound Pulls Back for the Week

    The British pound continues to see a lot of resistance in the 1.25 region, an area that is a large, round, psychologically significant figure and of course the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement.

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