The price of insuring $10 million of Sears bonds for five years just rose to a record $4.6 million annually last week, up from $3.3 million in September, per the WSJ.

Quick take: Insurers are smelling a bad deal with Sears, and today shares fell 5.23%.


Sears' underlying business model doesn't promise a turnaround from its disappointing performance in the last decade, either. It's true that the retail industry has seen better days as shoppers are increasingly turning to online shopping — but Sears has problems of its own:

  • Sears lost $8.2. billion since fiscal year 2011, with total sales falling about 40%, and its stock has been cratering for about a decade
  • Its CFO stepped down last year, and CEO Edward Lampert hired Citigroup and LionTree Advisors to help plan for the future
  • It has been selling its assets to fund its losses up to $2 billion annually, like the recent brand name Craftsman sale to Stanley Black & Decker for $900 million
  • Sears will also sell 109 Kmart and Sears stores this year, just like it sold 78 stores last year and 200 the year before

Why it matters: This trend of selling assets and stores is a short-term strategy to stay above water. This strategy may even undermine what could lead to long-term success : particularly for Sears, its household brand names like Kenmore, Sears Home Services, Sears Auto Centers, and Die Hard give the Sears name value, per Forbes. Shedding those brands may boost cash flow, but takes away from the value Sears has to offer in the first place.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 10,940,071 — Total deaths: 519,852 — Total recoveries — 5,705,326Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 2,732,639 — Total deaths: 128,651 — Total recoveries: 781,970 — Total tested: 33,462,181Map.
  3. Public health: The states where face coverings are mandatory Regeneron stops trial after drug fails to help patientsWhat we know about the coronavirus immune response.
  4. Business: Top business leaders urge the White House to develop mandatory mask guidelines.
  5. Politics: Herman Cain hospitalized for COVID-19 after attending Trump Tulsa rally — Biden downplays jobs number, rebukes Trump for ignoring health crisis.
  6. States: Texas mandates face masks in public spaces Florida reports more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases.

Ousted former U.S. attorney for SDNY to testify before House Judiciary Committee

Berman in October 2019 in New York City. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

Geoffrey Berman, the former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, is scheduled to testify to the House Judiciary Committee next week on the circumstances of his forced resignation, Politico reports, citing a congressional aide.

Why it matters: As the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, Berman oversaw high-profile cases that worried and angered President Trump and his inner circle, including an investigation into his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. His removal has added to allegations by Democrats that Attorney General Bill Barr has politicized the Justice Department under President Trump.

Stimulus outlook takes a hit even as coronavirus cases skyrocket

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pandemic is getting worse, and the question is whether the economic recovery will go with it.

Why it matters: America adding 7.5 million jobs over the last two months pales in comparison to 20+ million lost over the two months prior.