Financial Daily Dose 3.25.2020 | Top Story: Markets Jump On New Congressional Stimulus Deal Agreement

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Tuesday was one of those rare Bear Market good days. Renewed optimism about a forthcoming Congressional stimulus deal (including the estimated $2 trillion it encompasses) and more time to digest the Fed’s commitment to warding off economic disaster left traders in a buoyant mood. The Dow jumped a full 11%, and the S&P 500 was up more than 9% – NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch

Are you ready for the other shoe again? – WSJ

The Journal warns that many in the West, including at the White House and a handful of statehouses, are “drawing the wrong lessons” from China’s progress in “curbing the coronavirus pandemic”—a fateful turn, especially as some in the U.S. urge defying medical advice and ending business and social restrictions by Easter – WSJ and Bloomberg

Ratings agencies have begun the inevitable process of downgrading corporate and government bonds “as they reassess the ability of borrowers to repay their obligations amid the coronavirus slowdown.” That means “stripp[ing] away some pristine triple-A marks or mov[ing] other supposedly safe investment-grade bonds into junk territory” – WSJ

And the White House is mulling a 90-day deferral in tariff enforcement but getting pushback from domestic manufacturers struggling to stay in business – Bloomberg

Zuck & Co. are struggling to balance “skyrocketing usage” with a newly mobile workforce, “as its 45,000 employees work from home for the first time.” While the crush of users is daunting, it also presents an opportunity for Facebook to “change th[e] narrative” as a company with huge privacy and toxic content issues to an “essential communications and information tool during the outbreak” – NYTimes and WSJ

Amazon won a significant victory in its quest to wrest a $10 billion cloud computing contract away from Microsoft when the Pentagon promised to revisit its selection decision, but the ‘zon isn’t satisfied with the Pentagon’s reconsideration process and has asked U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith to order the DoD to “conduct a broader review than it has proposed” – WSJ

Apollo Global’s looking for deals in this time of market turmoil and has dished out $1 billion in recent weeks “pouncing on opportunities linked to 10 distressed companies” while tracking some 250 more “potential opportunities” – Bloomberg

A new SEC order will provide relief for the ailing mutual funds market by allowing funds to “tap their parent asset-management companies and other affiliates for funding” to deal with “large swings in redemptions” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic – WSJ and Bloomberg

The Fed appears to be conceding that surviving the coronavirus is at least as good as any stress test it could throw at big banks, and it may scrap them altogether this year – WSJ

Huge 8th Circuit win for the Union Pacific Railroad this week, which saw an appellate panel strike down a “thousands-strong class” of workers who “claim the company illegally forced them to disclose medical conditions and pulled some off the job” thanks to the presence of “too many individualized issues . . . for class treatment to be viable” – Law360

Uber is suing the City of Los Angeles over its data-collection efforts, challenging the transportation authority’s ability to require the company to “share real-time location data for its dockless scooters” – WSJ

Mega-franchisor Yum! Brands Inc. is suspending its share repurchase program and “working to assist some franchisees”—including through grace periods for certain near-term payments “as the coronavirus outbreak erodes sales” – Bloomberg

Some Law360 analysis explores the good and bad of robocalls in this time of a global health crisis, which have the power to convey essentially emergency-related information but also to enable scammers to “exploit the pandemic” – Law360

One of the unexpected benefits of the surge in social distancing? A veritable Drive-In renaissance. Hard to disagree with THAT – NYTimes

Stay safe,
MDR

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