Monday's economy & business stories

Jun 29, 2020 - Podcasts

Ben & Jerry's executive addresses the Facebook ad boycott

Major brands are suspending their advertising on Facebook properties as part of a coordinated campaign to pressure the social media giant into changing several of its content policies.

Axios Re:Cap digs in with Chris Miller, head of activism strategy at Ben & Jerry's, which was one of the first companies to hit pause.

Lululemon to buy connected fitness startup Mirror for $500 million

Photo: Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images

Fitness apparel company Lululemon announced Monday it will buy connected fitness company Mirror for $500 million.

Why it matters: This could be the first in a series of connected fitness acquisitions by both retail and media companies.

Broadway to remain closed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic

The Lyric Theatre where "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" resides has remained dark since Broadway closed its doors in March. Photo: Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

Broadway's 41 theaters will remain closed through Jan. 3, 2021, as the industry tries to hammer out its next steps amid the coronavirus pandemic, trade group the Broadway League announced Monday.

Why it matters, per Axios' Sara Fischer: It's the biggest economic crisis to hit Broadway in decades. Even during past recessions, Broadway has rallied. But with theaters physically shut, the theater community must rally around digital alternatives to survive.

Supreme Court says CFPB's leadership structure is unconstitutional

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court said the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is unconstitutional, but that the agency can keep operating under new rules.

Why it matters: The court’s ruling will make it easier for future presidents to fire the leader of the powerful watchdog agency, making it more subject to political vicissitudes.

Jun 29, 2020 - Health

Gilead sets price for coronavirus treatment remdesivir

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Gilead will charge U.S. hospitals $3,120 for the shortest treatment course of its coronavirus drug remdesivir for typical patients with private insurance, according to an open letter from CEO Daniel O’Day.

Why it matters: It is the first antiviral drug shown to effectively treat coronavirus in a major clinical trial, and Gilead's pricing decision may set the bar for how future treatments will be priced.

Democratic panel to float climate plan ahead of November election

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

House Democrats' climate change committee is slated to unveil a detailed, wide-ranging set of proposals Tuesday at an event featuring Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Why it matters: It's a preview of policies Democrats could try to advance if they control the White House and Senate after the 2020 election, which could open a political window to move climate legislation.

The fall of Under Armour

Data: Yahoo; Chart: Axios Visuals

Under Armour is seeking to terminate its record-breaking $280 million contract with UCLA just three years into their 15-year deal, an unprecedented move that speaks to the state of Bruins athletics — and says even more about the state of Under Armour.

Why it matters: Once heralded as the next Nike, Under Armour has seen its sales — and its stock price — plummet over the last four years, leading some to believe the company's best days are behind it. Terminating a historic deal only adds to the "struggling brand" narrative.

Personal income is on a worrisome path

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Americans' personal income fell 4.2% last month, which was better than expected, but remained supported by increased government spending on unemployment benefits, food stamps and other generalized welfare payments that are all at never-before-imagined highs.

Why it matters: Personal spending ticked up, largely supported by one-time CARES Act direct payments, with personal income excluding government transfers up 1.5% from April.

The myth of closing the racial wealth gap through education

Adapted from the Cook Center on Social Equity; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

On average, Black households in the U.S. with heads who have completed a college degree have less net worth than white households headed by someone with less than a high school education.

Why it matters: It is only after completing advanced post-college work that the median Black household surpasses the median white household's net worth for a head with only a high school degree.

Global corporate defaults have already surpassed those in 2019

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A total of 119 companies have defaulted on debt so far this year, meaning that in just over five months there have been more corporate defaults than the full year 2019, S&P Global reported Friday.

What they're saying: "Both Europe and other developed regions have seen a considerable increase in defaults compared with previous years and have either matched or surpassed their full year tallies in 2017, 2018, and 2019," Sudeep Kesh, head of S&P Global Credit Markets Research, said in a press release.

Another coronavirus-driven economic dip may need new policy ideas

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The economic progress made by the U.S. over the last month is slowly falling apart. Three of the four most populous states in the country are seeing notable increases in confirmed cases of COVID-19, business activity is contracting, consumer confidence is retreating, bankruptcy filings are rising, and the stock market is falling.

Why it matters: Even before governors in various states announced new bar and restaurant restrictions on Friday, "high frequency data on service sector activity suggests businesses and consumers may already be responding to the surge in new cases," economists at asset manager Nomura wrote in a note to clients.

The (near) cashless society arrives

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

People have suddenly stopped using money — of the bill-and-coin variety — for fear it may spread the virus. Some worried shopkeepers have stopped accepting it, too.

Why it matters: The coronavirus may have changed our buying and payment habits forever. Online shopping is through the roof, and consumers are rushing to get "contactless" credit and debit cards, which are tapped at a merchant terminal rather than inserted or swiped.