Target's more than 350,000 store and warehouse employees will now be given gloves and face masks at the start of their shifts and will be encouraged to wear the protective gear while working, the retailer said. Stores will also start keeping track of the number of shoppers at any given time and set a limit if necessary.
Home Depot has ordered its stores to stop selling N95 masks and said it will donate the protective gear to first responders, hospitals and other health care workers. Rival home improvement retailer Lowe's said last week it was donating its supply of the masks to US medical centers.
With the US government's small business rescue program commencing today, the interest rate on small business loans offered through the $2 trillion CARES Act was doubled from 0.5% to 1% in response to banks who were afraid they would lose money on the loans. The Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration also assured banks they would not be penalized if borrowers don't follow the program's rules.
Smarsh has joined Microsoft's One Commercial Partner Program in an initiative aimed at helping financial firms keep up with their compliance requirements as teams work remotely amid the coronavirus pandemic. Smarsh's Enterprise Archive will be used to store and index firms' communications data in Microsoft programs.
The European Central Bank has extended the period for reviewing monetary-policy strategy to mid-2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The ECB has also delayed the Forum on Central Banking to Nov. 10 to 12.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has proposed a €100 billion plan to help employers keep employees on payrolls during the coronavirus pandemic. She says it is important to keep workers within their companies because that "enables companies to return to the market with renewed vigour".
US investment-grade issuers secured a record $260.7 billion from debt markets during March, Bank of America Global Research analysts say, despite the worsening coronavirus crisis. The analysts expect activity to continue this month with companies issuing a further $150 billion to $200 billion in new debt.
Bank of America analysts predict the severe quarantine measures currently in place across Europe will lead to a 7.6% contraction in the region's economy this year. They contend that measures taken so far by policymakers to stimulate the economy are insufficient and warn that "more fiscal help will be needed to limit permanent damage to the corporate sector and jobs."
The Federal Reserve's policy of directing liquidity initiatives at investment-grade and government debt risks creating a $9 trillion pool of "orphan" issuers, such as heavily leveraged companies, that do not qualify for relief. The policy could hurt otherwise creditworthy issuers, says Roberto Perli of Cornerstone Macro.
Two non-transparent exchange-traded funds began trading in the US on Thursday and may test the market's appetite for actively managed ETF products. ETF analyst Eric Balchunas comments "a lot of advisers just aren't looking at stock picking" amid the current volatility, although JPMorgan Chase analysts say mutual fund strategies could ultimately place as much as $7.2 trillion with such funds.
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