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The Autonomous Car

The Autonomous Car

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This basket consists of stocks expected to benefit from self-driving cars.

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  • Nuro gets OK to test its driverless delivery vehicles on California public roads
    TechCrunch

    Nuro gets OK to test its driverless delivery vehicles on California public roads

    Autonomous delivery startup Nuro has been granted a permit to begin driverless testing on California's public roads, paving the way for the company to roll out commercial operations throughout the state. Nuro, which raised $940 million from SoftBank Vision Fund last year, is allowed to put two of its low-speed electric R2 delivery vehicles on public roads in parts of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the agency that regulates autonomous vehicle testing in the state. The driverless permit allows the vehicles to operate at a maximum speed of 25 mph and only in fair weather conditions on streets with a speed limit of no more than 35 mph, the DMV said Tuesday.

  • President Trump has singled out these companies for their coronavirus response
    Yahoo Finance

    President Trump has singled out these companies for their coronavirus response

    During his daily White House appearances, President Trump has not shied away from calling out companies by name. Here’s a running tally of the companies he’s focused most of his attention on.

  • Oilprice.com

    The Oil Price Crash Won’t Stop The Tesla Boom

    Low gasoline prices are generally considered a negative for electric vehicles as their ICE competitors become cheaper to run, but Tesla is still outperforming its gasoline rivals

  • Alphabet (GOOGL) Stock Moves -0.05%: What You Should Know
    Zacks

    Alphabet (GOOGL) Stock Moves -0.05%: What You Should Know

    Alphabet (GOOGL) closed the most recent trading day at $1,182.56, moving -0.05% from the previous trading session.

  • USD/CAD Daily Forecast – Canadian Dollar Gains Ground On Global Market Optimism
    FX Empire

    USD/CAD Daily Forecast – Canadian Dollar Gains Ground On Global Market Optimism

    Flat oil and major rally in equity markets helps the Canadian dollar gain ground against the U.S. dollar.

  • Automakers Go Into Cash-Preserving Mode to Fight Coronavirus
    Zacks

    Automakers Go Into Cash-Preserving Mode to Fight Coronavirus

    With coronavirus concerns dimming earnings and sales prospects, carmakers are resorting to cost-containment initiatives and drawing down their credit lines to preserve cash.

  • Facebook (FB) Shares Location Data With Coronavirus Researchers
    Zacks

    Facebook (FB) Shares Location Data With Coronavirus Researchers

    Facebook (FB) boosts user location data collection initiatives to help researchers understand and derive measures to combat coronavirus outbreak.

  • Carmakers Looking Beyond Extended Factory Closures
    Zacks

    Carmakers Looking Beyond Extended Factory Closures

    Many U.S. carmakers are now looking at resuming production in May after President Trump last week extended the guidelines aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus till Apr 30.

  • Bloomberg

    Tesla Is Nearing Debut of Longer Range China-Made Model 3

    (Bloomberg) -- Tesla Inc. plans to expand its lineup in China by offering a locally built Model 3 sedan with a longer driving range from as early as this week, according to people familiar with the matter.The vehicle would have a range of more than 650 kilometers (404 miles) on one charge, compared with about 450 kilometers for the current most basic version that starts at 323,800 yuan ($45,800), the people said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public. The variant would start at about 350,000 yuan before rebates, though exact pricing has yet to be decided, they said.A longer range could help Tesla fend off competition from the likes of Volkswagen AG and BMW AG, who are also bringing out new electrified models in China. Carmakers are betting on new vehicles to spur demand in a market hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.The longer-range Model 3, like the existing cheaper version, would qualify for electric-vehicle subsidies and is exempt from China’s car purchase tax.Tesla representatives didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.Registrations of Tesla vehicles have fallen for two consecutive months in China, showing the U.S. carmaker isn’t immune to the broader auto-industry slump. The slowdown has come amid Tesla’s multibillion-dollar push to expand in the world’s biggest electric-vehicle market.Yet Tesla’s factory in China has recovered from a virus-related shutdown better than many in the industry, helped by aid from local authorities. After resuming operations on Feb. 10, the Shanghai plant -- Tesla’s only outside the U.S. -- has surpassed the capacity it had before the shutdown, reaching a weekly production of 3,000 cars, the company said last month.(Updates with rival offerings in third paragraph.)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.

  • How Scientists Track Us to Help Tame Covid-19
    Bloomberg

    How Scientists Track Us to Help Tame Covid-19

    (Bloomberg) -- It wasn’t ordered up by Washington, it doesn’t have a catchy name and its members don’t get paid. But the Covid-19 Mobility Data Network could mean the difference between life and death.The network sprang up voluntarily among universities, epidemiologists, public-health departments, database providers, advertising-technology companies and social-media giants like Facebook Inc. Their mission is to fight the pandemic’s spread by testing the effectiveness of stay-at-home and social-distancing policies using a single tool: your cell phone’s physical location.The new data-sharing relationship is just one way companies, academics and public-health officials are teaming up to curb the spread of coronavirus. The network is analyzing the data and sharing insights with governments in states like Massachusetts and California; in cities such as Boston, New York and Miami; and in other countries, including India, Italy and Spain.“A lot of these companies just came out of the woodwork,” said Andrew Schroeder, one of the network’s coordinators. “There’s a lot of location data out there,” he said, which needs to be shaped “into something that’s not just the Wild West, but is passing through an expert filter on what this means for public health.”The data show whether people are complying with stay-at-home and social distancing orders that have spread across the U.S. and countries around the globe.For example, people taking trips outside their neighborhoods in San Francisco decreased 40% to 50%, but dropped only 20% to 30% in other parts of California, Shroeder said.In New York City, residents were more mobile during the week than they were on weekends, and mobility rates were higher on Staten Island than in lower Manhattan, he noted.Facebook on Monday announced that it was expanding the kinds of location data it provides to researchers tracking the pandemic, which has infected more than 1.3 million people and claimed more than 74,000 lives worldwide.The company, which normally uses such data to help sell targeted advertising, has been sharing it with researchers in an anonymized, aggregated form since 2017 to track things like whether people evacuate disaster zones.The data sets are now being used by dozens of organizations studying Covid-19, the disease the virus causes. The expansion of the program means Facebook will also share more nuanced details on whether people are staying at home, or the “probability that people in one area will come in contact with people in another,” the company wrote on its blog.The network is also working with Camber Systems, a Washington-based data-analytics company, and will soon team up with Cuebiq Inc., a New York-based data-collection company, to provide reports to “decision-makers who are implementing social distancing interventions,” according to the network’s website.It’s in talks with Alphabet Inc.’s Google about using data from the search giant. Google is posting “mobility reports” to show how traffic to places such as parks and transportation hubs has declined.The mobility data project, which started in early March, is similar to work that Schroeder, along with others such as Caroline Buckee, an associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard University, had been doing to analyze mobility rates in disaster situations.Schroeder, vice president of research and analysis for public-health nonprofit Direct Relief, had worked with Buckee on travel trends in Mozambique after a cyclone tore through the country in 2019. He’s taken on similar initiatives for Houston after a tropical storm hit last year and for California after wildfires ravaged the state, Schroeder said.Once they realized the need for data would probably be greater than in previous natural disasters, Schroeder, Buckee and Satchit Balsari, another Harvard professor and medical doctor, came up with the network idea. They recruited others who had done similar work and reached out to government contacts to ask how they could help, Schroeder said.“All of these various public-health departments around the country were making these pretty big calls on shutting down big chunks of the economy and society,” said Schroeder. “Nobody had any visibility at all” into the question: “Are people listening to you when you say that everyone should stay home? Do they stay home?”Camber Systems is processing anonymized geo-location data from millions of U.S. cell phones and passing it to the mobility network, Schroeder said. The company receives the data from firms in the advertising-technology industry, and then strips it of any names, addresses or other personal identifying details before handing it to researchers in a digestible format. The data are refreshed every few hours to track how devices are moving throughout a region. Camber Systems declined to comment.The increased ability of mobile-app providers and digital-advertising companies to track cell-phone owners’ positions has made such projects possible -- and elicited criticism from consumer advocates concerned about privacy violations.Some fear that an emphasis on health over privacy could undermine the protection of civil liberties, similar to what happened after 9/11, when the U.S. secretly began collecting mass amounts of data on its own citizens in an effort to track down terrorists.Earlier: Pandemic Data-Sharing Puts New Pressure on Privacy ProtectionsFacebook and the mobility network insist that no one’s privacy is being jeopardized, and that no governments are receiving raw data. “We’re not aware of any active conversations or asks with the U.S. or other governments at this point asking for access to that data directly,” Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said March 18.Since May 2019, Facebook has offered what it calls “disease prevention maps” to researchers and nonprofits. It hands over anonymous user-movement data that is aggregated into 0.6 kilometer-sized grids and updated every 8 hours, according to Schroeder.The researchers use that information to calculate changes in the number of trips Facebook users in a specific region take outside their homes in a day. Facebook said it only shares data from users who have opted in to the company’s location-tracking settings.In the coronavirus outbreak, the maps have found multiple uses. Direct Relief, the humanitarian aid group that Schroeder works for, has used them to help determine where to distribute medical supplies, he said. Researchers at Taiwan’s National Tsing-Hua University are using the data to model possible outbreaks of the disease on the island, said Hsiao-Han Chang, a professor at the university.Harvard researchers are also using Facebook’s data sets to study the effects of government social-distancing advisories. “We have no idea what they actually do in terms of subsequent epidemiology of the disease,” said Harvard’s Buckee. “Policy makers want to know things like, ‘Which of these policies actually work? And how long are we going to have to do them?’”“We are acting as an intermediary to help make sure that this information is processed together correctly,” Schroeder said. “We can help people make sense of it and not just dump a bunch of raw data on them.”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. Deaths Top 10,000; Possible Plateau in N.Y.: Virus Update
    Bloomberg

    U.S. Deaths Top 10,000; Possible Plateau in N.Y.: Virus Update

    (Bloomberg) -- More signs emerged that the crisis may be easing in some areas, sending stocks soaring. Italy, France, Germany and Spain reported lower numbers of new cases. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said deaths were showing indications of hitting a plateau. U.K. deaths slowed for a second day, even as they passed the grim milestone of 5,000. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was hospitalized Sunday after 10 days in isolation, was moved to an intensive-care unit.JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said he expects a major economic downturn and stress similar to the crisis that almost brought down the U.S. financial system in 2008.Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he’ll propose a state of emergency in some prefectures.Key Developments:Global cases top 1.3 million; deaths exceed 73,000: Johns HopkinsU.S. deaths surpass 10,000: Johns HopkinsTrump, Biden spoke by phone about the outbreakMilken Conference postponed a second time to OctoberDenmark, Austria began to relax measuresNew York state lockdown extended to April 29Denmark Joins Austria in Easing Curbs (4:38 p.m. NY)Denmark joined Austria in announcing a gradual relaxation of measures imposed to slow the coronavirus’s spread. The country will press ahead with a “cautious reopening” starting with kindergartens and primary schools on April 15 if the virus numbers remain stable, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said. The government will also start talks with business leaders on gradually moving employees back into offices.Austria said earlier that it would take its first steps toward restarting its economy. The two countries were among the first in Europe to shut down public life in response to the outbreak. Wisconsin Governor Delays Tuesday Primary (3:15 p.m. NY)Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers suspended in-person voting just hours before the state’s primary was scheduled to begin, though the order could be subject to a court challenge.Although 15 states and Puerto Rico have already postponed their primaries amid the coronavirus pandemic, Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled legislature has rejected requests by Evers, a Democrat, to delay the state’s in-person voting on Tuesday.Evers’s executive order delays in-person voting until June 9 unless the legislature acts to change it.French Cases Leveling Off (1:50 p.m. NY)France reported a continued leveling-off of cases, signaling that confinement measures are starting to contain the crisis.The country had 3,912 new confirmed cases on Monday, fewer than it reported in five out of the past seven days, according to figures presented by Health Minister Olivier Veran. Deaths from the virus rose by 833 to 8,911, Veran said.“The pressure is still very great on hospitals, enormous -- the confinement has to continue,” Veran said. Still, he said there was some reason for optimism. “We can see that the confinement has a palpable effect in France, we’re starting to feel it.”Read more hereWHO May Announce Move This Week to Accelerate Vaccine (1:30 p.m. NY)A new program to accelerate vaccine development and production may be announced this week, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing in Geneva.“The difficulty for governments right now is that lockdowns are proving effective in dampening the flames of the epidemic in those countries, but those lockdowns are also causing great economic hardship,” said Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s health emergencies program. Still, he said it would probably be “very inadvisable” to lift a lockdown completely all at once.“Once you raise the lockdown, you have to have an alternative method to suppress the virus -- active case finding, testing, isolation, tracking of contacts and strong community education,” Ryan said.N.Y. Deaths May Signal Possible Plateau (1:10 p.m. NY)New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said deaths from the coronavirus pandemic were showing signs of hitting a plateau in the state that has become the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak.The challenge, he cautioned Monday, is to maintain the social distancing that has finally pointed New York toward a possible peak in fatalities. For a second day in a row, the percentage increase in the death toll was less than 10%, a turnabout from numbers about twice as large barely a week ago.The peak of the outbreak could fall on the earlier side of the state’s models showing that it could take anywhere from a week to 30 days for the situation to hit its worse.“I get that people are cooped up,” Cuomo said in his daily press briefing. “But, we get reckless, we change and we’re not compliant on social distancing, you’ll see those numbers go up again.”He doubled the fine for social-distancing violations to $1,000.Italy’s New Virus Infections Lowest in Almost Three Weeks (12:20 p.m. NY)Italy reported the lowest number of new coronavirus infections in nearly three weeks, prompting debate over how and when the country should start emerging from a nationwide lockdown.Civil protection authorities reported 3,599 new cases of the disease on Monday, compared with 4,316 a day earlier. Italy registered 636 new deaths linked to the virus, compared with 525 the day before. That brings the total number of fatalities to 16,523.Italy, once the epicenter for Europe, now has fewer cases than Spain and the U.S.California to Send Ventilators to National Stockpile (12:16 p.m. NY)California, which has yet to see its hospitals overrun by patients, plans to loan 500 state-owned ventilators to the national stockpile.“We’re aggressively preparing for a surge -- but we can’t turn our backs on Americans whose lives depend on having a ventilator now,” Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement.With the New York area experiencing a supply shortage, other states are stepping in to assist. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said this weekend that Oregon offered to send 140 ventilators to his state.Merkel Says Too Soon to Ease Lockdown (11:43 a.m. NY)It’s too early for Germany to set a date for easing its lockdown, Chancellor Angela Merkel said, holding her first press conference since returning from 12 days of self-confinement after being exposed to Covid-19.She reiterated her support for the use of the European Stability Mechanism and the European Commission’s proposal for job protection, and said the continent will need a plan for reconstruction after the pandemic subsides.At least three tests showed she was free of the virus.Philippines Likely to Extend Lockdown (11:43 a.m. NY)Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he’s inclined to extend a lockdown of more than half the country’s population on its main island until April 30 to further stem the coronavirus outbreak.Duterte, in an address late Monday, also said he’s considering tweaking this year’s 4.1 trillion-peso ($80.8 billion) budget to allocate more funds to virus response, as some 200 billion pesos set aside for cash grants to poor families won’t be enough.Israel Cuts Rates for First Time Since 2015 (9:33 a.m. NY)The Bank of Israel shifted course by cutting interest rates and adding new market-based tools. After playing down the potential for cheaper borrowing costs, the monetary committee on Monday reduced the key rate back down to the all-time low of 0.1% from 0.25%.Hong Kong Extends Ban on Nonresident Entry (9:22 a.m. NY)The city’s airport will also continue to halt all transit services until further notice, according to a government statement. The original rules were set to expire by April 7.Germany Plans ‘Limitless’ Aid Program for Small Companies (8:44 a.m. NY)German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government announced a new “limitless” aid program for small- and medium-sized companies. The program for loan guarantees is the latest measure introduced by the government, which says Europe’s largest economy might contract even more this year than the 5% drop caused by the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009.Inovio Begins Phase 1 Human Trial of Vaccine (8:41 a.m. NY)Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. began a phase 1 human trial of its Covid-19 vaccine, INO-4800. Animal studies show promising immune responses, the company said.Glaxo to Develop Covid-19 Drugs in $250 Million Partnership (8:14 a.m.)U.K. pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline Plc is joining dozens of companies in the hunt for therapies to treat the illness caused by the coronavirus, signing a partnership with Vir Biotechnology Inc. and agreeing to invest $250 million in the U.S. company.South Africa’s Economy May Shrink as Much as 4%, Central Bank Says (8:09 a.m. NY)South Africa’s economy could contract by 2% to 4% this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and measures to curb its spread, according to the Reserve Bank. The monetary policy committee projected in March that the economy will contract by 0.2%.U.K. PM Johnson Had ‘Comfortable Night’ and Is in ‘Good Spirits’ (8:07 a.m. NY)Prime Minister Johnson is in “good spirits” after spending a “comfortable” night in St. Thomas’s hospital in central London, his spokesman, James Slack, said on Monday. Johnson went to the hospital on Sunday as a “precaution,” he said.Mass Layoffs Push Canada’s Consumer Confidence to All-Time Low (8:00 a.m. NY)The Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index, a composite gauge based on a telephone survey of households, declined sharply for a third week as extensive lock downs triggered mass layoffs. The aggregate index dropped to 42.7 last week, the lowest reading since polling began in 2008.Romania to Extend State of Emergency Until Mid-May (7:53 a.m. NY)Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said that he plans to extend the state of emergency over the crisis by another month because “we haven’t reached the peak of the epidemic, so it’s not time to relax.”Netherlands Has Slowest Death Growth in Week (7:40 a.m. NY)The Netherlands reported 101 new fatalities, the smallest increase since March 30. Total reported cases rose 5% to 18,803. An additional 260 patients were admitted to hospitals, according to the RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment.China to Strengthen Transport Control Measures Along Borders (7:15 a.m. NY)China will tighten quarantines in border areas, following a meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases found in people who arrived through a land border has surpassed those that came by air.Dimon Sees ‘Bad Recession’ and Echoes of 2008 Crisis Ahead (7:11 a.m. NY)“At a minimum, we assume that it will include a bad recession combined with some kind of financial stress similar to the global financial crisis of 2008,” the CEO said Monday in his annual letter to shareholders. “Our bank cannot be immune to the effects of this kind of stress.”Nigeria to Borrow $6.9 Billion to Offset Virus Impact on Economy (7:03 a.m. NY)The government plans to raise as much as $6.9 billion from multilateral lenders to offset the impact of the pandemic. The state will seek $3.4 billion from the International Monetary Fund, $2.5 billion from the World Bank and a further $1 billion from the African Development Bank, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed told reporters Monday.French Firms Have Requested Guarantees for EU20 Billion of Loans (6:58 p.m. NY)French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said 100,000 companies requested government loan guarantees for a total of 20 billion euros ($21.6 billion). In addition, more than 500,000 small companies have requested aid from France’s solidarity fund.Redhill Announces First Covid-19 Patient Treated With Opaganib (6:19 a.m. NY)RedHill Biopharma said the first patient with a confirmed coronavirus diagnosis was dosed with opaganib in Israel, and additional patients are expected to be treated in the coming days. Pre-clinical data demonstrated anti-viral effects in other viruses, anti-inflammatory activities and the potential to reduce lung inflammation, the company said.Hungary Announces Virus Stimulus Plan of Up to 20% of GDP (6:17 a.m. NY)Hungary’s government will pay some-private sector wages, offer loan guarantees and boost spending on infrastructure and pensions as part of a major fiscal stimulus plan aimed at averting a recession and mass unemployment as the coronavirus pummels the economy. The package, valued at 18% to 20% of gross domestic product including planned stimulus from the central bank, will also see the 2020 budget deficit rise to 2.7% of GDP from 1%, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Monday.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.

  • Honda, Fiat Chrysler aim to restart U.S., Canada auto production in May
    Reuters

    Honda, Fiat Chrysler aim to restart U.S., Canada auto production in May

    Honda Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said on Monday they hope to restart U.S. and Canadian auto production in May amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Fiat Chrysler said Monday it "intends to progressively restart its U.S. and Canadian manufacturing facilities beginning May 4." U.S. President Donald Trump last week extended the guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus to April 30.

  • Foursquare-Factual Merger Sets Up Location Data Alternative to Google and Facebook
    Skift

    Foursquare-Factual Merger Sets Up Location Data Alternative to Google and Facebook

    Foursquare, a pioneer in consumer check-ins a decade ago that pivoted into location data services for ad targeting, is merging with a competitor, Factual. The tie-up — the terms of which was not disclosed — pairs two already strong players in location data advertising services, and strengthens them as an alternative to Google and Facebook […]

  • INTERVIEW: Beachbody CEO Carl Daikeler Sees Surge in Home Fitness Demand During Lockdown and Beyond
    IPO-Edge.com

    INTERVIEW: Beachbody CEO Carl Daikeler Sees Surge in Home Fitness Demand During Lockdown and Beyond

    By John Jannarone The recent quarantine triggered by the coronavirus pandemic has caused a surge in demand for home fitness video-streaming services. Beachbody, which has a track record of over 20 years in the business, has been a leader in the field as media formats evolved from VHS to DVD and now streaming. In an […]

  • Facebook asks users about coronavirus symptoms, releases friendship data to researchers
    Reuters

    Facebook asks users about coronavirus symptoms, releases friendship data to researchers

    Facebook Inc said on Monday it would start surveying some U.S. users about their health as part of a Carnegie Mellon University research project aimed at generating "heat maps" of self-reported coronavirus infections. Facebook said it may make surveys available to users in other countries too, if the approach is successful. Alphabet Inc's Google, Facebook's rival in mobile advertising, began querying users for the Carnegie Mellon project last month through its Opinion Rewards app, which exchanges responses to surveys from Google and its clients for app store credit.

  • Facebook Expands Location Data Sharing With Covid-19 Researchers
    Bloomberg

    Facebook Expands Location Data Sharing With Covid-19 Researchers

    (Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. is expanding the user location data that the company offers to researchers and non-profits trying to study the outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus.The world’s largest social network shares anonymized, aggregated location information as part of an effort to study disease outbreaks, and more than 150 organizations partner with the company to use that data for research. Facebook is adding new data points for researchers fighting Covid-19, including information about whether people are staying at home, and other material that details “the probability that people in one area will come in contact with people in another,” the company said Monday.At Harvard University, researchers are using the information to measure whether government recommended “social-distancing” measures are actually helping to decrease spread of the virus, which has already infected a confirmed 1.3 million people worldwide.“We are putting in social distancing policies and currently we have no idea what they actually do in terms of subsequent epidemiology of the disease,” said Caroline Buckee, an associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard. “Policy makers want to know things like, ‘Which of these policies actually work? And how long are we going to have to do them?’”Facebook will also put a post atop users’ feeds in the U.S. directing them to a Carnegie Mellon University survey that will ask users, among other things, to self-report possible Covid-19 symptoms. Facebook says the survey is intended to “help health researchers better monitor and forecast the spread of Covid-19.”“[Researchers] won’t share individual survey responses with Facebook, and Facebook won’t share information about who you are with the researchers,” the company said. Only those 18-years-old or older will see the survey prompt.Alphabet Inc.’s Google said last week it would publicly release mobility reports that show anonymized data about where people are traveling to help researchers better track the disease. The company’s Maps app is used by more than 1 billion people worldwide.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 Countries Are Taking Social Distancing More Seriously Than Others
    Bloomberg

    Some Countries Are Taking Social Distancing More Seriously Than Others

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Google has deployed the tracking data it collects from users around the world to assess our movements before and after the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a global pandemic.Charted below are the location trends for places such as national parks, public beaches, marinas, dog parks, plazas and public gardens. They illustrate which countries reacted most swiftly to the call for social distancing (e.g. Italy) and which lagged behind (e.g. Sweden).— Ben Schott is a Bloomberg Opinion visual columnist. He created the Schott’s Original Miscellany and Schott’s Almanac series, and writes for newspapers and magazines around the world.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.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.

  • Isolation Changes Everything for Status Seekers
    Bloomberg

    Isolation Changes Everything for Status Seekers

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- The desire for status and approval is one of the most powerful human motives. It induces us to work hard, dress well and engage in conspicuous consumption, such as Instagramming our fancy vacations. But with the rapid advent of Covid-19, most of those options have been whisked away from us.The plunge in status-seeking behavior is yet another way in which the lockdown is a remarkable and scary social experiment. One possible consequence is that many people won’t work as much, simply because no one is watching very closely and it is harder to get that pat on the shoulder or kind word for extra effort.Worse yet, for many people social approbation compensates for economic hardships, and that salve is now considerably weaker. Time was, even if you were unemployed, you could still walk down the street and command attention for that one stylish item in your wardrobe, or your cool haircut, or your witty repartee. Now there’s no one on the street to impress.Americans are learning just how much we rely on our looks, our charisma and our eloquence for our social affect. As Sonia Gupta asked on Twitter: “Extremely attractive people, I have a genuine question for you, no snark: What’s it like to not be getting the regular daily social attention you might be accustomed to, now that you have to stay inside and isolate from others?”Of course her question applies to more than just “extremely attractive people.” The social affirmation gained from, say, attending regular church meetings is now also much weaker.The collapse in status relations runs deep. We might spend a lot of time in chats and Zoom meetings, but in that medium status is harder to express. The boss who “dominates the room” just can’t project the same charisma from a small boxed image on your laptop screen. Nor can the others tell that everyone is listening attentively to that person, or that the person is tall or witty or well-dressed. This is another way in which Covid-19 is “the great equalizer.”In the short run, we can draw upon our status perceptions from the immediate pre-Covid-19 past. The boss is still the boss, and no one has forgotten who Taylor Swift is. As the lockdown continues, however, we may become increasingly confused in this new status-shorn universe, taking phone calls and meetings with previously unknown people.Even the still-famous may lose some of their luster. LeBron James remains a top NBA star, but he is not out there proving it every week, and so his renown has diminished somewhat — as has that of the NBA.To some extent this status erosion is liberating. It may cause a lot of people to reexamine perennial questions about “what really matters.” There are other positive effects: fewer peer-related reasons to go out and spend money, for instance (do you really need that new jacket, or to try all the hot new restaurants?). That will help make tighter budgets or even unemployment more bearable. Some socially anxious people may even feel they are better off.Yet overall this is a dangerous state of affairs. One risk is that we will elevate the status of performers who remain on television frequently. The White House’s Covid-19 press briefings have boosted the profile of President Donald Trump in part because he is appearing in a relative status vacuum, making him seem more leader-like.If you really are obsessed with continuing the status-seeking game, your best options are probably online. One of the few concrete consolations of this pandemic may be a new wave of creativity on YouTube and social media.More generally and in the longer run, expect the technology sector and the nerds to rise in status. It is their products and services that are commanding our attention and filling our status vacuums. The “nerdy look” is even less of a social handicap than it used to be. To paraphrase that famous saying: On a Zoom call, nobody knows you’re wearing mismatched socks.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tyler Cowen is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a professor of economics at George Mason University and writes for the blog Marginal Revolution. His books include "Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero."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.

  • Q1 Auto Sales Hit by Coronavirus: ETF & Stocks in Focus
    Zacks

    Q1 Auto Sales Hit by Coronavirus: ETF & Stocks in Focus

    The U.S. auto industry took a hit in the first quarter due to COVID-19 that forced people to stay home for the most of March, denting business of one of the nation's largest industries.

  • Real Estate Is Struggling With a Lack of Data
    Bloomberg

    Real Estate Is Struggling With a Lack of Data

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- How can we determine the state of the housing market when we lack data? That is the challenge facing those in the real-estate industry today, says this week's guest on Masters in Business, Jonathan Miller, co-founder of Miller Samuel and a master appraiser and consultant to the industry. The contract data we do have reflects transactions entered into a month or so ago, before most of the shelter-in-place orders were adopted.Miller’s expertise on real-estate appraisals and transactions comes from the data he assembles and analyzes. He has created a variety of real-estate data analytics for regional and national markets. He is sought after as the go-to appraiser for the most expensive dwellings in Manhattan. Miller, who also writes at the Matrix Blog, explains how real estate is responding to the lockdown: The industry move to online listing services, such as Street Easy and Zillow, is all but complete. But some online sites are removing crucial data from their listings, including “days since listed” that show how long a property has been on the market. We also discuss the challenges appraisers are having doing interiors inspections, now in New York City but eventually the rest of the country. Appraisals that are “desktop” by computers, or “curbside” drive-bys are becoming more common, he said.Part of the problem the residential market is facing is that the spring selling season most likely is lost; how soon the market returns to normal won't be known until the pandemic passes. Although virtual tours and live videos are an option for some buyers, the human element requires being physically present to see, walk through and even smell a home, which is usually a person’s largest purchase.His favorite books are here; a transcript of our conversation is available here. Our 2014 conversation with Miller can be found here; our 2016 MiB is here.You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras, on Apple iTunes, Spotify, Overcast, Google, Bloomberg and Stitcher. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.Next week, we speak with James Montier, a member of GMO UK Lt.’s asset allocation team. Before joining GMO in 2009, he was co-head of global strategy at Societe Generale. He is the author of several books including “Behavioural Investing: A Practitioner’s Guide to Applying Behavioural Finance”; “Behavioural Finance: Insights into Irrational Minds and Markets” and “The Little Book of Behavioural Investing.”This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is chairman and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management, and was previously chief market strategist at Maxim Group. He is the author of “Bailout Nation.”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.

  • It’s a Quibi! Quirky Streaming Service for Smartphones Is Born Into Quarantining Nation
    Bloomberg

    It’s a Quibi! Quirky Streaming Service for Smartphones Is Born Into Quarantining Nation

    (Bloomberg) -- After a long stint embedded in his home office, Jeffrey Katzenberg felt almost ready to take a break. He was looking forward, he said on a Zoom call in late March, to watching more of “Tiger King,” the wacko documentary series from Netflix about big-cat trainers behaving badly, which was currently captivating large numbers of homebound viewers. A few years ago, Katzenberg said, he’d come across Joe Exotic, the incarcerated zookeeper at the center of the Florida-noir series, and had considered making a show about him. But it never came to pass, and now he was in the same boat as everybody else, stuck at home, watching the hit program on Netflix. The special powers of exotic animals seemed to be lingering on his mind. The press could hound him all they wanted but he didn’t scare easily, he explained. He leaned forward, took a pinch of his arm, and held it up to his computer’s camera. “This is rhino skin,” said Katzenberg. In the days ahead, he will certainly need all the big rhino energy he can muster.  On Monday, Katzenberg and his business partner Meg Whitman, the former chief executive officer of EBay, are overseeing the much-anticipated launch of Quibi, a short-form mobile video service that arrives into a crowded field of fierce competitors who are digging in for a long, bloody battle. Quibi, which will eventually cost $5 a month with ads, or $8 without them, will roll out 175 shows this year. The kaleidoscopic slate of programming is a mix of comedic series, dramas, reality shows, and topical news programs — all of  it serialized into brief episodes. The idea is to reach out and grab users’ attention for a few minutes at a time whenever they’re idly staring down at their phones. In one cooking competition, food is blasted out of a cannon onto participants’ faces. In another show, a sex therapist talks about how to date during a pandemic.While Quibi can sometimes sounds like a film school fever dream, it’s one of the more ambitious projects to emerge in recent years from the crossroads of Hollywood and Silicon Valley. To date, the company has collected about $2 billion worth of investment, much of it coming from major media companies. It has written checks to some of the biggest celebrities in the world. Steven Spielberg and Bill Murray are contributors. “The first thing you have to understand is, if you are a storyteller and you work in Hollywood — movies, television, animation, I don’t care, any part of it — you are an entrepreneur,” said Katzenberg. “And that entrepreneurial spirit hasn’t been tapped in a while.”Despite Katzenberg’s impressive track record in the entertainment business, plenty of competitors, critics and industry analysts are betting on Quibi to lose. “Our reaction out of the gate was: ‘I think this is gonna be pretty tough,’” said Stephen Beck, founder and managing partner of management consulting firm CG42. “Free short-form video on your mobile phone already exists, and you can get a lot of it by relatively big-name stars.”  See, for example, YouTube. Katzenberg said he has found some of the more pointed criticism of the yet-to-launch service downright amusing. In February, the New York Times published a lengthy essay by writer Dan Brooks entitled “What’s a Quibi? A Way to Amuse Yourself Until You’re Dead,” which argued that the service cynically aimed to exploit consumers’ already unhealthy addictions to smartphones. Katzenberg said that after reading the piece, he reached out to its author and set the guy up with a phone loaded with Quibi content. That’s Rhino Skin, buddy. (Brooks said in an email the shows he saw were “uneven.”) “I asked my kids: ‘Are your friends watching stuff on their phones?’ They said: ‘Absolutely.’ So we wrote the script.”On Feb. 2, Quibi ran a Super Bowl ad in which a bunch of bank robbers wait for their getaway driver, who is distracted mid-heist by a Quibi show on his phone. Tagline: “Episodes in 10 Minutes or Less.” In the weeks that followed, Katzenberg and his colleagues were planning to advertise heavily during other major sports events, including March Madness. The campaign was supposed to culminate with a star-studded premiere party at 3Labs in Culver City, California. All of it was conceived to generate a ton of free press. Getting Quibi’s quirky-sounding name out as much as possible was important. Outside of the entertainment and media industries, few people knew what Quibi was. In a poll commissioned by the Hollywood Reporter and Morning Consult in March, 81% of adults said they’d heard little or nothing at all about Quibi. But before Quibi could promote itself to America’s legions of live-sports viewers, the pandemic hit and the entire sports industry ground to a halt. Quibi would have to turn elsewhere for introductions en masse. In mid-March, with businesses and schools shutting down around the country, Katzenberg, Whitman and the board discussed the possibility of delaying Quibi’s April 6 launch date. "We said, ‘OK, we can launch, but should we launch?’” Whitman told Bloomberg Television. “We’re not health-care professionals, we’re not first responders. But we thought what we do is inform, entertain and inspire. So we thought we could bring a little joy and light and levity to people’s challenges right now. So we decided to go."Rather than postponing, they tweaked the rollout. They decided to give away the service for free for the first 90 days, a way of appealing to cash-strapped viewers suddenly grappling with a dire economic situation. Quibi also shifted the focus of its advertising blitz away from live TV events and onto social media.Katzenberg and his colleagues have since rolled out a campaign in which the company is paying its series’ stars like Chrissy Teigen to hype Quibi on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. Meanwhile, many contributors in Hollywood are watching the launch with curiosity.  Peter and Bobby Farrelly, the fraternal screenwriters known for comedies like “Dumb and Dumber” and “There’s Something About Mary,” have a Quibi show in the works, entitled “The Now,” starring Dave Franco and Bill Murray, which will premier in May. In separate phone interviews, the Farrelly Brothers said it was a little weird to make a film that needed a cliffhanger every 10 minutes, but ultimately that it was “a fun experiment.”“I rarely watch things on my phone, certainly not television,” said Peter Farrelly. “So I asked my kids: ‘Are your friends watching stuff on their phones?’ They said: ‘Absolutely.’ So we wrote the script.”While the new service may feel experimental, Katzenberg is quick to point out that Quibi has plenty of historical precedents. He cites Charles Dickens as a producer of Quibi-like narratives, as well as Dan Brown, the author of “The DaVinci Code.” Both writers, Katzenberg said, were masters of feeding audiences long stories in installments. For readers lacking time or self-discipline, that meant they could consume a sprawling, complex tale in brief increments over weeks or months without losing the plot. Quibi’s kickoff comes not long after the debut of Disney+, the robust streaming service that arrived in the U.S. in November and quickly attracted more than 28 million subscribers. Disney can be a tough act to follow. Katzenberg should know. During the ’80s and early ’90s, he oversaw a major revival of Disney’s animation division. While he may have missed out on “Tiger King,” back in 1994, he found an epic feline hit in “The Lion King,” which went on to gross hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office for Disney and has since spawned an impressive litter of spinoff movies and shows. These days, “The Lion King” franchise is still hard at work, attracting streaming subscribers to Disney+. “They got 100 years, the greatest brands ever known, the most amazing library ever, and ‘The Mandalorian,’” said Katzenberg, referring to a popular Star Wars show.Quibi, by contrast, has got some interesting mobile viewing technology, a large batch of unproven programming and some great expectations.  Katzenberg said that of the 50 shows that Quibi will offer people in the first two weeks, he expects eight to 10 to go viral. “Meaning, in the same way we’re laughing about ‘Tiger King,’” he said. “You’re hearing about it through a connection. We’re not allowed to be around one another, but we are all still connected.” 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 Google Plan to Wipe Out Mosquitoes Appears to Be Working
    Bloomberg

    A Google Plan to Wipe Out Mosquitoes Appears to Be Working

    (Bloomberg) -- An experimental program led by Google parent Alphabet Inc. to wipe out disease-causing mosquitoes succeeded in nearly eliminating them from three test sites in California’s Central Valley.Stamping out illness caused by mosquitoes is one of Alphabet unit Verily’s most ambitious public-health projects. The effort appears to be paying off, according to a paper published in the journal Nature Biotechnology on Monday. Verily is also running coronavirus triage and testing in parts of California. Bradley White, the lead scientist on the Debug initiative, said mosquito-suppression is even more important during the pandemic, so that outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever don’t further overwhelm hospitals.Since 2017, the company has released millions of lab-bred Aedes aegypti male mosquitoes into several Fresno County neighborhoods during mosquito season. The insects are bred in Verily labs to be infected with a common bacterium called Wolbachia. When these male mosquitoes mate with females in the wild, the offspring never hatch.In results of the trial published on Monday, Verily revealed that throughout the peak of the 2018 mosquito season, from July to October, Wolbachia-infected males successfully suppressed more than 93% of the female mosquito population at field test sites. Only female mosquitoes bite.Working with the local mosquito abatement district and MosquitoMate, which developed the mosquitoes originally, Verily released as many as 80,000 mosquitoes each day in three neighborhoods from April 2018 through October 2018. In most collections, per night Verily found one or zero female mosquitoes in each trap designed to monitor the population. At other sites without the lab-bred bugs, there were as many as 16 females per trap.“We had a vision of what this should look like and we managed to do that pretty perfectly,” said Jacob Crawford, a senior scientist on the Debug project.In the arid climate of the Central Valley, disease is an unlikely result of a mosquito bite. But in the hot, humid regions of the tropics and subtropics, diseases caused by the Aedes aegypti, such as dengue fever, Zika virus and chikungunya, kill tens of thousands of people every year. Releasing masses of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes into the wild might wipe out entire populations of deadly mosquitoes and the diseases they carry.Verily is not the only organization pursuing an end to mosquito-borne disease. Microsoft Corp. co-Founder Bill Gates has pledged more than $1 billion to help wipe out malaria, including controversial efforts to genetically modify mosquitoes. Infecting mosquitoes with Wolbachia, which occurs naturally in some mosquito species, is a popular approach rooted in an old insect control strategy called sterile insect technique. What Verily’s efforts offer is not just evidence that Wolbachia can help wipe out disease-causing mosquitoes but potential ways to make such efforts work on a massive scale. Last year, Verily released about 14.4 million mosquitoes in Fresno County.Initial small-scale Fresno trials in 2016, run by an upstart called MosquitoMate, were the first time male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes infected with the bacteria were ever released in the U.S. The following year, Verily stepped in, bringing more advanced technology to the breeding and release process that could make it possible to expand such efforts to entire cities or regions.The new paper details many of those technologies, such as an automated process for separating male and female mosquitoes in the lab, and software that helps to determine exactly where to release altered male mosquitoes for maximum effectiveness.“Once you try to start rearing hundreds of thousands of mosquitoes a week, you run into all sorts of problems,” said White. “Mosquitoes may be everywhere, but they are really finicky and difficult to grow.”Verily has expanded its partnerships to include Singapore’s National Environment Agency. Trials there have entered a fourth phase to cover 121 urban residential blocks and about 45,000 residents. Verily is eyeing partnerships in South America and is in talks to launch in the Caribbean.Within a few years, said Crawford, Verily hopes the program will cover entire regions. Without intervention, he said, the public health toll of mosquito-born illness will only grow.“This is something that’s not going away on its own,” 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.