Financial Daily Dose 3.20.2020 | Top Story: Fed Doubles Down on QE Commitment and Markets Hold Steady for a Change

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The Federal Reserve is adding to its commitment to buy government bonds, announcing on Thursday that it would also buy up $150 billion in Treasury securities—all of which confirms the central bank’s commitment to a return of QE on a scale not seen since before 2010 – WSJ

Checking in with markets only at the closing bell revealed slight gains on Wall Street but would’ve have papered over another wild day of trading, with traders weighing “fresh evidence of economic decline against efforts in the United States and Europe to offset the damage.” – NYTimes and WSJ

Maybe it’ll hold for a change on a Friday? – Bloomberg and NYTimes and WSJ

A sharp rebound in oil prices, which had fallen some 20% just a day before, likely helped the cause on Thursday, at least. (The Energy Dep’t formally requested to purchase up to 30 million barrels for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to aid domestic producers that appears to have paid off for now) – WSJ and Bloomberg

While we’re talking crude, the U.S. let it be known that it’s considering “intervening” in the current Saudi Arabia/Russia standoff that drove oil prices to the basement this week – WSJ

We’ve got details of the new Senate-led proposal for a third COVID-19 stimulus bill, a “$1 trillion economic stabilization plan to help workers and businesses weather a potentially deep recession” that focuses on “hundreds of billions of dollars in loans to big corporations and small businesses, large corporate tax cuts and checks of up to $1,200 for taxpayers” – NYTimes

Not that it should come as any surprise given the financial news of the past 2 weeks, but man, the impact of COVID-19 takes on an especially stark reality when viewed in terms of the surge in unemployment claims – NYTimes and WSJ and Marketplace

Of course, understanding the true scope of the rising joblessness crisis assumes that you actually have the numbers – WSJ

Ahem. . . . The hedge funds I was telling you about? – WSJ

The Journal takes a hard look at the US food supply in this time of crisis and finds that abundance isn’t the issue—it’s the logistics of distribution that’s especially challenging in times like these – WSJ

Homeowners and renters alike are hoping that a broad patchwork of federal, state, and even local action (with help from the judicial and executive branches along the way) will be enough to “ward off foreclosures and evictions” in the coming weeks and months and “avoid a housing squeeze like the one that followed the mortgage-fueled financial crisis of 2008” – NYTimes

German industrial engineering giant Siemens revealed succession plans this week, setting early next year as the exit point for current CEO Joe Kaeser. Deputy CEO Roland Busch will take the helm by February 2021, “cementing the company’s shift from a conglomerate into a business more focused on digital transformation” – WSJ

Blue Apron, which had been “declining amid stiff competition from fellow meal-kit pioneer HelloFresh SE and retail giants like Kroger Co. and Walmart Inc.” is finding itself in a virus-driven renaissance as “Americans look for alternatives to shuttered restaurant dining rooms and barren grocery store shelves” – Bloomberg and Barron’s

Microsoft’s Teams software—its answer to Slack and Zoom collaboration tools—saw massive gains this week, “underscoring the huge demand for work-at-home tech solutions amid the COVID-19 pandemic” – MarketWatch

Swedish financial regulators have hit Swedbank with a record $400 billion krona fine (a bit shy of $400 million U.S.) for its AML failures in its Baltic operations – Law360

Some Law360 analysis on that Delaware Supreme Court case this week that reversed a Chancery Court’s “rejection of federal-court-only charter mandates for certain Securities Act disputes” suggests that the court may have inadvertently opened “a Pandora’s box of corporate bylaw mischief over arbitration rights and other litigation forum and class restrictions” – Law360

The Times gives us these varied tales of digital socializing in the time of COVID. No promises that you won’t be hate reading some of these, but hey, even that counts for amusement these days – NYTimes

Have as close to a good weekend as possible. Stay safe. Stay distant. We’ll see you back here next week.

MDR

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