Financial Daily Dose 4.16.2020 | Top Story: Pandemic life: retail sales plummet and jobless claims soar in U.S.

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New numbers out this week show that retail sales fell 8.7% in March, a staggering figure that still “doesn’t capture the full impact of the sudden economic freeze on the retail industry.” The decline was “by far the largest in the nearly three decades the government has tracked the data” – NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and Marketplace

Wall Street reacted much as expected to news that harsh – NYTimes and Bloomberg

Today’s initial jobless claim figures won’t help the cause.  Most expect an additional 5.5 million (at least) to join the ranks of the unemployed, a total that should push the jobless rate to 20%–“essentially wiping out all the job gains since the last recession” – Bloomberg and NYTimes and WSJ and MarketWatch

Just days ago, the technoscenti were speculating that Apple’s iPhone SE update would fall victim to the pandemic. Apple proved them wrong yesterday with a digital unveiling of its new affordable iPhone model, set to hit virtual shelves in a week or so at the low (for Apple) price of $399 – NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch

Post-bailout U.S. airlines: have cash, need fliers – WSJ

Fascinating Journal piece on how the pandemic is hastening the already rapid erosion of personal privacy, as the need for contact tracing and activity monitoring is “ushering in a new era of digital surveillance and rewiring the world’s sensibilities about data privacy” – WSJ

Amazon will suspend all of its French operations after a court ruling finding that the company “had failed to adequately protect warehouse workers” against the coronavirus threat and that it “must restrict deliveries to only food, hygiene and medical products until it addressed the issue” – NYTimes

Go ahead and add the SF Fed’s Mary Daly to the “no V-shaped recovery” crew – WSJ

Equifax has reached an agreement with the Indiana AG to resolve claims “that the credit reporting giant put profits ahead of data security in the run-up to a massive 2017 data breach.” Equifax will pay $19.5 million as part of the settlement – Law360

Things in the here and now are awfully dismal. So let’s go REALLY big picture by stepping back 13.8 billion years and marveling that [thanks, perhaps, to neutrinos?] the Big Bang ended up making anything instead of nothing at all – NYTimes

Stay safe,

MDR

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