Why it matters: Despite murmurs of an impending economic crash, the U.S. has seen strong job growth and record low unemployment as trade wars, sweeping technological change and new media consumption habits are changing the American economy.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+) coalition is entering the next phase of fraught market-management efforts that have repercussions for the battered U.S. oil industry.
Driving the news: The group yesterday agreed to press ahead with plans to begin increasing output as demand haltingly recovers.
A group of the world's largest oil-and-gas companies this morning pledged near-term cuts to greenhouse gas emissions from their operations.
Why it matters: It's the latest step by energy giants — including Exxon and state-owned behemoths like China's CNPC — to address climate change. Activists say, however, the industry as a whole is moving far too slowly compared to the scope of the problem, especially outside of Europe.
U.S. retail sales rose 7.5% in June, after a revised record 18.2% jump in May, the Commerce Department said Thursday.
Why it matters: Consumer spending accounts for roughly 70% of U.S. economic activity, and June's retail sales nearly reached February's pre-pandemic levels, driven by spending at car dealerships, clothing and furniture stores. But economists warn it may have since slowed as states began to reimpose lockdowns amid surging coronavirus caseloads.
More than 32 million Americans are receiving some form of unemployment benefits, according to data released by the Labor Department on Thursday.
Why it matters: Tens of millions of jobless Americans will soon have a smaller cash cushion — as coronavirus cases surge and certain parts of the country re-enter pandemic lockdowns — barring an extension of the more generous unemployment benefits that are set to expire at the end of the month.
The share of mortgages that went from current to 30 days past due rose to 3.4% in April, the highest reading on record, data firm CoreLogic reported this week. The previous peak in the transition rate was 2% in November 2008.
Yes, but: CoreLogic's data doesn't track whether the delinquencies were related to missed payments or forbearance programs.
Lost amid headlines about the coronavirus pandemic and the seemingly unstoppable stock market rally, has been the monthslong escalation of tensions in the U.S.-China trade war — and it's likely here to stay.
Why it matters: The tariffs continue to impress a sizable tax on U.S. companies and consumers, adding additional costs and red tape for small businesses, farmers, manufacturers and households trying to stay afloat amid the pandemic.
Spotify announced Thursday that "The Michelle Obama Podcast," the first podcast as part of its partnership with the Obamas' production company Higher Ground, will debut on July 29 for both free and paid subscribers.
Why it matters: It's the latest big media project from the former first lady. Her stated goal, alongside former President Obama, is to use media platforms like podcasts, film and social media to help Americans achieve a greater understanding of the world and to inspire young people.
Mint Event Design founder Carolina Villarreal said she had to find new ways to serve her clients when the coronavirus pandemic struck.
What she's saying: Villarreal said at an Axios virtual event on Wednesday that she created custom kits for clients to decorate their own homes. She used social media to spread the word about the shift in her business, bringing traffic to her website.
Austin, Texas, Mayor Steve Adler cautioned states against loosening restrictions meant to stem the spread of coronavirus without having proper measures in place, at an Axios virtual event on Wednesday.
The big picture: Adler called on jurisdictions to "be innovative and adaptive and creative" when they reopen, to ensure people's safety.
Apple is adding new audio features to both its free Apple News and subscription Apple News+ services, including a short daily podcast, produced and narrated by its own editorial staff.
Why it matters: Apple is doubling down on its commitment to human and editorial curation of news content, something its rival tech partners have mostly been slower to do.
The U.S. will impose visa restrictions on certain employees of Chinese telecom Huawei and other companies that "provide material support to regimes engaging in human rights violations globally," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday.
Why it matters: The Trump administration's latest escalation against Huawei, which U.S. intelligence officials view as a threat to national security due to its ties to the Chinese military, comes the day after the U.K. announced it will no longer allow the telecom to access its 5G network.
UnitedHealth Group registered more than $6.6 billion in profits in the second quarter — by far the conglomerate's highest quarterly profit ever, according to an analysis of company financial data from FactSet.
Why it matters: Most companies struggled in the second quarter as the coronavirus pandemic froze the economy, but health insurers like UnitedHealth heavily benefited as people held off on going to the doctor or hospital, resulting in fewer medical claims that needed to be paid.
Walmart will require all customers to wear face masks beginning next week in all of its 5,000 company-owned stores, in addition to its Sam's Club locations, the company announced Wednesday.
Why it matters: Walmart is the largest retailer in the U.S. and the latest in a string of national chains — including Costco and Starbucks — to mandate masks for customers.
Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX) is considering a sale process for its snake venom unit, which could fetch upwards of $1 billion, per multiple reports.
Why it matters: Because snake antivenom products, like Boston Scientific's CroFab, are the sort of niche things you never think about until that unfortunate moment when it's all you can think about.
Early Facebook employee Dave Morin is back with a new venture capital fund called Offline Ventures, 15 months after leaving Slow Ventures.
Driving the news: Morin's new effort is called Offline Ventures, and is raising money via a "rolling fund" structure recently introduced by AngelList. Expect it to invest in both health and IT startups.
Google is investing $4.5 billion in India's Jio Platforms, with plans to team up on an entry-level smartphone, the tech giant announced Wednesday.
The big picture: Jio has become tech's favorite bet on India as perhaps the world's greatest digital growth market. Google is following the likes of Intel, Qualcomm and Facebook in investing in Jio, which houses India's largest wireless carrier and a range of other tech and telecom assets.
BlackRock, in a report published Tuesday, said this year it has used its shares to take "voting action" against 53 companies that are "making insufficient progress integrating climate risk into their business models or disclosures."
Why it matters: The tally is an early sign of how BlackRock is implementing one element of its wider plan unveiled early this year to make climate change more central to its strategy.
Big companies are quickly getting back to business as usual even as coronavirus cases continue to hit record levels.
What's happening: A recent survey of U.S. chief financial officers found the difference in outlooks between small and large firms over the next 12 months "is extreme."
Tuesday's earnings reports showed how banks have reaped the rewards of the Federal Reserve's efforts to carpet bomb markets with liquidity since March.
What happened: JPMorgan's fixed-income trading revenue jumped 99% in the quarter, while fixed-income trading revenue climbed nearly 60% at Citi during the quarter.
More asset managers are starting to consider the "rising probability of political 'blue wave'" with Democrats sweeping the White House and Congress in the fall, strategists at Bank of America write in a note.
Where it stands: The analysts note that Oddschecker.com is factoring in a 57% likelihood of a win for Joe Biden, while Real Clear Politics puts a 62% likelihood on Democrats taking the Senate. BofA's data found annualized returns for assets from 7 out of 21 "blue waves" since 1928. The analysts also cite the likelihood of a "Blue Deal" fiscal stimulus in 2021 that would include infrastructure, student debt forgiveness and health care spending, which would be positive for value stocks and banks.
Revenue from cloud gaming is expected to explode in the next four years, according to a new report from ABI Research, commissioned by InterDigital Lab, a mobile technology research and development company.
Why it matters: Higher broadband speeds and penetration from 5G connectivity will make cloud computing gaming more accessible to the masses.
Bari Weiss' dramatic resignation from The New York Times' Opinion department Tuesday is the latest aftershock from an earthquake that has rocked U.S. newsrooms re-evaluating what role opinion journalism should play in the internet age.
Driving the news: In a letter written to the Times' publisher, A.G. Sulzberger, Weiss says she was the victim of persistent bullying within the organization and warns the New York Times that "Twitter has become its ultimate editor."
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the game for U.S. businesses, pushing forward years-long shifts in workplaces, technology and buying habits — and forcing small businesses to fight just to survive.
Why it matters: These changes are providing an almost insurmountable advantage to big companies, which are positioned to come out of the recession stronger and with greater market share than ever.
Health care companies will start reporting second-quarter financials in earnest this week, showing how the coronavirus lockdowns and subsequent reopenings affected their businesses.
The big picture: Revenues almost certainly will be down for most companies, as the virus forced people to stay at home and led to fewer people getting surgeries and going to pharmacies. But that doesn't mean profits were eliminated, and Wall Street has already pumped health care stock prices back to where they were pre-pandemic.
College students overwhelmingly plan to return to campus this fall if their schools are open — and they claim they'll sit out the fun even if it's available, according to a new College Reaction/Axios poll.
Why it matters: For many, even an experience devoid of the trappings of college life is still a lot better than the alternative.