Good morning! Was this email forwarded to you? (Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,180 words, 4.5 minutes )
🎙 "Pack it up, pack it in, let me begin. I came to win, battle me, that's a sin." See who said it and why it matters at the bottom.
Americans say they are getting less concerned about leaving their homes and taking part in large group activities, according to the latest installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.
Why it matters: As states start to relax shelter-in-place orders and allow more businesses to open, data show there is increasing appetite for the kind of activities that could help spur the economy down the road to recovery.
By the numbers: In week 8 of the poll, which took place May 1–May 4, 36% said they viewed attending a gathering of friends and family outside the house as a large risk, down significantly from 53% three weeks ago.
Details: Only 33% of respondents said they perceived returning to their "normal pre-coronavirus" routine as a large risk to their health or well-being.
The intrigue: There was a clear split along political lines, as Democrats were twice as likely as Republicans to see gatherings as risky.
Between the lines: The decline in worry has moved largely in concert with an increase in respondents' ability to find items like toilet paper, soap and hand sanitizer, which were in short supply early in the coronavirus pandemic.
Driving the news: At least 12 countries loosened quarantine restrictions on Monday, as did several U.S. states, including California, which will allow some retailers to reopen as it scales up its tracing program.
What it means: "With fewer people reporting shortages or the inability to find essential items, there is a sense that things are on the upswing," Chris Jackson, public polling lead at Ipsos, tells Axios.
The number of U.S. mortgages in forbearance increased again in the last full week of April, but new requests slowed significantly from the pace earlier this year, data released Monday by the Mortgage Bankers Association showed.
What's happening: Forbearance requests as a percentage of servicing portfolio volume fell for the third consecutive week, from 1.14% to 0.63%, and calls about forbearance accounted for the lowest percentage of total calls since the survey began in early March.
How it works: The decline in requests and approvals for forbearance suggests that homeowners are still largely able to pay their mortgages, Jaret Seiberg, a researcher at financial services company Cowen Inc., says in a recent note.
Between the lines: "Forbearance is not forgiveness, so homeowners know that they are going to have to pay this money some day," Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist at LendingTree, tells Axios.
Germany's top court ruled the European Central Bank's quantitative easing program was unconstitutional and gave the ECB three months to comply with German law. (Bloomberg)
The Trump administration privately projected a steady rise in the number of coronavirus cases and deaths over the next several weeks, reaching about 3,000 daily deaths on June 1. (Washington Post)
An internal Chinese report finds backlash over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak has pushed global anti-China sentiment to its highest since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. (Reuters)
U.S. factory orders posted a record drop in March with new orders for manufactured goods down 10.3%, a seasonally adjusted $445.8 billion, the biggest month-to-month fall in records dating to 1992. (WSJ)
Retailer J. Crew's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing Monday "is likely the first of many companies to restructure in- or out-of-court in the next one to two years," S&P Global Ratings analysts warn in a new report.
Driving the news: J. Crew is the eighth debt-issuing retail and restaurant company to default on its debt this year, equaling the total from all of 2019 in just over four months, S&P notes.
What's happening: Ratings agencies S&P, Fitch and Moody's have been slashing retail companies' credit ratings as their debt levels rise and income streams dry up because of the coronavirus pandemic.
It gets deeper: A record high 412 companies are now rated B3-negative or lower by Moody's, a rating equivalent to B- by S&P and Fitch, and well-below investment grade.
Concern about President Trump's tariffs on U.S. imports of Chinese goods hit its highest level on record in April, as the coronavirus pandemic caused more Americans to fear the tariffs' impact on household finances, according to the latest survey from CivicScience.
Where it stands: The tariffs remain a massive tax on American businesses and individuals at a time when Congress and the Fed are expending trillions of dollars to offset the negative economic shock of the virus.
Reality check: The tariffs have wiped out the lion's share of average American households' savings from the 2017 tax cut, as Bloomberg noted in June.
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Quote: "Pack it up, pack it in, let me begin. I came to win, battle me, that's a sin."
Why it matters: Boston rapper Everlast, who fronted rap group House of Pain, converted to Islam in 1996.