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🎙 “The technical man must not be lost in his own technology; he must be able to appreciate life, and life is art, drama, music and most importantly, people.” - See who said it and why it matters at the bottom.
The Federal Reserve's unprecedented response to the coronavirus outbreak has not helped it win the battle for public opinion.
Why it matters: As an unelected institution that has been granted the power to independently oversee monetary policy by Congress, the Fed's power "is contingent on securing as well as maintaining broad political and public support," Mark Spindel and Sarah Binder wrote in their 2017 book "The Myth of Independence: How Congress Governs the Federal Reserve."
One level deeper: Mistrust of the Fed defies age, race and even education level, as a majority of respondents across the board say they either had not very much or no trust at all in the central bank.
The big picture: The survey comes at a time when the Fed should be at its most popular — chair Jerome Powell led an early and effective response to the pandemic that stopped a market panic and returned liquidity to the global financial system.
Between the lines: In a separate study conducted by data firm CivicScience, 42% of respondents said the Fed had done somewhat or very well in responding to the COVID-19 crisis, while 34% said the Fed had done poorly.
Don't sleep: Politicians have long targeted the Fed for wielding undue influence over the economy and for bailing out Wall Street after the 2008 financial crisis while ordinary Americans lost their homes and life savings.
Flashback: The Fed's popularity is lower than it was in 2014 when a Pew Research study found 47% of Americans held a favorable view and 37% had an unfavorable view.
The bottom line: Despite historic job losses and a recession expected to be the worst since the Great Depression, many Americans remain optimistic about the future.
BlackRock's largest shareholder, PNC Financial, said it is exiting its stake in the firm, allowing BlackRock to eschew certain restrictions on shareholder voting and avoid some regulatory burdens. (WSJ)
Undisclosed White House data show COVID-19 infection rates hitting new highs in cities like Des Moines, Iowa, and Amarillo, Texas, while Charlotte and Kansas City have seen 200% increases over the prior week. (NBC News)
In a best-case scenario, just half of Americans say they would participate in a voluntary coronavirus "contact tracing" program tracked with cellphones. (Axios)
The New York Fed's April survey of consumer expectations released Monday shows a "considerable deterioration in households’ expectations about most economic outcomes," but even higher expectations for stock prices to rise than the last record high in March.
What's happening: Nearly a third of Americans expect their own household financial situation will be worse in a year, the highest level on record.
Yes, but: Despite the rally since U.S. stock prices hit their cycle low on March 23, confidence that stocks will be higher a year from now was the highest it has ever been.
Expectations for U.S. stock earnings in the first quarter are the lowest since the global financial crisis, and may suffer more than global peers this year.
What's happening: Blended estimates imply a -13.7% decline in S&P 500 earnings, while in Europe, Japan and emerging markets the fall has been much bigger, "of the order of -31 to -34%," Deutsche Bank research analysts write in a note to clients.
But, but, but: Having been hit earlier by the coronavirus outbreak, companies in Europe, Japan and emerging Asia are on pace to deliver horrific Q1 numbers but are expected to see better earnings than the U.S. as the year progresses.
Watch this space: As earnings have tumbled, U.S. companies' price-to-earnings ratios have soared to near the highest since the dot-com bubble burst.
Already facing an industry-wide recession coming into the year, the coronavirus pandemic has leveled the global transportation industry and pushed U.S. freight volume to its largest year-over-year percentage decline since the Association of American Railroads began collecting data in 1989.
By the numbers: The total number of originated carloads on U.S. railroads last month averaged 196,107 per week, "easily the lowest weekly average for any month since before January 1988, when our data began," AAR analysts wrote in the latest monthly assessment of the industry, "Real Time Indicators."
Nearly 40% of all respondents and 47% of those who say they’re still working reported saving the government stimulus payment they received, a new survey of over 3,000 U.S. adults from CivicScience finds.
Why it matters: "This is a shift from prior studies indicating that paying down debt/bills and buying necessities were higher priority than saving for those planning to receive payments," CivicScience analysts note.
Between the lines: Their survey also finds 31% of U.S.adults who were employed before the pandemic have been laid off, furloughed or are working reduced hours.
Something to talk about: Only about 5% of respondents reported not working but still receiving regular pay. That group had radically different responses to the survey including significantly higher rates of investment.
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Quote: “The technical man must not be lost in his own technology; he must be able to appreciate life, and life is art, drama, music and most importantly, people.”
Why it matters: Fazlur Khan, an architect who designed the Sears Tower, the tallest building in the world from 1973 until 1998, and the 100-story John Hancock Center, ushered in a renaissance in skyscraper construction during the second half of the 20th century.