|Good morning and welcome to the many new faces who joined from our MacBook Pro giveaway yesterday. Congrats are in order to the winning duo: x and y. Our only request is that you use these computers to book a long vacation as soon as it’s safe to do so.|
And if we’ve learned anything from Fast & Furious, it’s that you should keep doing something until it stops working. So let’s give away two more computers today. Here are the details:
- When you share the Brew today using your unique referral link, you get entered into a raffle to win a MacBook Pro.
- If you win a computer, we’ll select someone you referred to win one, too. And the more you share, the better chance you have (1 referral = 1 ticket).
– 11.70 bps
|*As of market close|
- Economy: Americans are making bread and not much else. U.S. manufacturing production in March suffered its biggest monthly drop since 1946. Makers of cars and auto parts took the biggest tumble, down 28%.
- Stimulus: The IRS launched a website to help you track your stimulus payment. And it appears as though the $350 billion in small business loans is close to running dry. More than $296 billion in loans had been approved by yesterday afternoon, the SBA disclosed.
|In the coronavirus era, new economic data is like looking at the cockroach you whacked with a magazine. It’s unpleasant, but you have to do it just in case. So we’ll deliver yesterday’s March retail sales numbers in the most digestible ways we can think of.|
- Generally, the sector was like a dolphin plunging into the sea—overall sales dropped 8.7% monthly, the biggest dip since the government started keeping track in 1992.
To break it down, let’s start with the bright spots. March grocery sales bounced almost 27%.
- Health and personal care stores and general merchandise stores also fared well, growing sales 4.3% and 6.4%, respectively.
Some economists said grocery’s surge may not last now that we’re all stocked up on kimchi. But grocery has long been considered recession-proof, and with restaurants closed there’s reason to believe demand will stay strong.
Now for the darker spots
Before we get there, remember that March hit the retail sector with a double whammy: 1) stores shuttered to comply with government orders and 2) layoffs from other industries hurt consumer spending. But again, we’ll try to keep it pleasant.
- Clothing sales were like a maple leaf drifting off its bough…halfway to the ground. They dropped 50%.
- Furniture/home furnishings and food services/drinking places were like a pair of pelicans diving for fish, both dropping nearly 27%.
Big picture: March may have come out like a lion, but we all know April is the cruelest month. Barclays Chief U.S. Economist Michael Gapen told Bloomberg, “the April data is likely to be even worse because for a good half of March, things were still open.”
|The iPhone SE is back and if you know what the “SE” stands for then congrats on your job at Apple. Clocking in at a refreshingly svelte $399, it brings back some fan favorite design elements with a few notable exceptions.|
- Apple’s A13 Bionic chip, the same one found in the latest iPhone 11 and 11 Pro.
- Portrait mode, but don’t try it on your pet.
- A home button with Touch ID and haptic feedback.
And what’s not…
- 5G connectivity, more on that later.
- Face ID, which could be a plus because, you know, masks.
- The smaller size of past SE models.
Apple will likely unveil its flagship iPhone 12 line this fall and yes, they will be 5G compatible.
Bottom line: Apple is releasing cheaper phones for the first time since 2016 because 1) budget-conscious buyers aren’t upgrading flagship models as often and 2) they attract new consumers into the services ecosystem Apple’s intent on growing.
|The beginning of earnings season highlighted just how bumpy the road ahead will be for the U.S.’ major banks—let’s hope they peed before getting in the car.|
A white glove lineup including JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs disclosed this week that they bolstered their rainy day funds by a combined $20 billion in Q1.
- Why? With so many households and businesses on the brink due to COVID-19 layoffs and closures, a deluge of loan defaults looks inevitable. Banks, from their consumer to investment divisions, are doomsday prepping.
And execs think those piles they set aside to account for bad loans could get even bigger next quarter, further proof Wall Street has its doubts that the $2.2 trillion relief package D.C. just doled out is enough to steady everyday Americans’ finances.
With that in mind, BofA, Citi, and Goldman all copped to profit drops north of 40% in Q1 yesterday. Q2 might look tanner, but not much better.
|Not to get all sciencey on you, but H2O is pretty important when it comes to staying hydrated and healthy.|
You might say that’s a no-brainer, but we bet you didn’t know what happens when you drink Hint: Their delicious, fruit-infused water transports you from the living room to a place where watermelons cascade down waterfalls and blackberries emerge from the mist.
Not only does Hint make us feel like we’re sheltering in paradise, this water provides refreshment without any sugar, diet sweeteners, calories, or preservatives. Having “The Talk” with soda was the easiest breakup we’ve ever had.
New customers can enjoy Hint for just a buck per bottle, plus free shipping straight to your door—no waiting in line or using your bathtub for amateur fruit infusion. Just use promo code “BREW” at checkout. Stay hydrated with Hint today.
|That’s what we’re headed for, according to an International Energy Agency (IEA) report released yesterday.|
How we got here: Lockdowns intended to limit the spread of the coronavirus crushed oil demand. Canceled vacations and business trips mean no need for fuel to propel planes. No one is commuting or attending events, so no one’s buying gas.
- IEA said the world is experiencing the biggest annual demand decline in history, with nearly a decade of demand growth set to be wiped out.
- Crude prices fell to their lowest point since 2002 yesterday.
Oil producers have tried to limit the fallout. On Sunday, OPEC+ reached a historic agreement to cut production in a last-ditch attempt to stabilize prices. That may help a little bit, but there is “no feasible agreement that could cut supply by enough” to counteract the demand collapse, the IEA says. Most analysts agree.
One stubborn optimist: Energy data provider Kayrros says the cuts are steep enough to avoid overwhelming storage capacity.
|Europe’s largest economy is ready to emerge from hibernation. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the country will begin to slowly ease lockdown restrictions—some shops can open next week and schools will return starting May 4.|
- The country has suffered more than 3,200 reported COVID-19 deaths. But Merkel said it’s achieved “fragile intermediate success” in controlling the pandemic.
This won’t be your Germany of 2019. The businesses that open will have to follow strict social distancing and hygiene precautions. Germans are strongly encouraged to wear face masks when riding public transportation or going shopping. And large public gatherings are still banned until Aug. 31.
Zoom out: Europe is beginning to recover. Spain’s construction and manufacturing workers are back in action, as are many stores in Austria and some in Italy. Kids under 11 are going back to school in Denmark.
A sobering bottom line, via Merkel: “It is a fragile situation in which caution is required, not exuberance.”
+ While we’re here…the WHO has set six conditions for relaxing coronavirus lockdowns. Extreme boredom isn’t one of them.
|How funny is that scene? Anyway, now that we’ve got your attention, this is your final reminder we are giving away two brand new computers today.|
The details: When you share the Brew today, you’ll have a chance to win a brand new MacBook Pro for you and someone who signs up because of you.
Even more detail: Each time you refer a friend, family member, or coworker to Morning Brew, you’ll get a ticket entered into a raffle for one of two MacBook Pros. 1 referral = 1 ticket.
- If you win a computer, we’ll select someone you referred to win one, too.
How to start: Click the share button below to grab your unique referral link. Then, tell everyone you know that they can 1) read business news that makes you smile even during a pandemic and 2) have a chance to win a new computer.
- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said state residents are required to wear a mask or a face covering in public when socially distancing isn’t possible.
- Best Buy will furlough 51,000 hourly store employees in the U.S.
- Bill Gates tweeted that President Trump’s decision to halt aid to the WHO during a global health crisis “is as dangerous as it sounds.”
- The LA Times said “advertising revenue has been nearly eliminated” as it announced furloughs for business-side employees.
- Zoom who? Houseparty said it added 50 million new users over the past month.
- Llamas, goats, and other farm animals will make an appearance on your company’s Zoom call for less than $100. What a bargain!
|Sneakers that feel good on your feet and better on your conscience. How ’bout you kick off your Earth Month celebrations by kicking back in a pair of sustainably crafted CARIUMA kicks? Their OCA low sneaker is made of pillowy, vegan insoles, so sporting a pair is a great way to support your feet while supporting Mother Earth. Take 15% off a pair before they sell out again.|
|A grab bag of fun recs for everyone. If you…|
- Want to throw up: Try the “100 workout.”
- Want to read fiction: Retail Brew writer Halie recommends The Tiger’s Wife, creative director Blake thinks you should read Murder on the Orient Express, copywriter Sydney thinks Let The Great World Spin is a beautiful read, and dailly writer Toby says The Art of Fielding is “real real good.”
- Want to cook: Learn from top chefs on YouTube.
- Need a haircut: Hire a virtual stylist here.
- Want to get smarter: Listen to Geoffrey Garrett, dean of UPenn’s prestigious Wharton School, explain what’s at stake for our globalized economy in the wake of COVID-19 on our podcast Business Casual. It’s like getting a degree from Wharton, but without the rich mahogany smell. Listen on Apple / Spotify / everywhere else.
*This is sponsored advertising content
YOU ALWAYS REMEMBER YOUR FIRST…
|In honor of the new iPhone, here’s a quiz on iPhones.|
We’ll give you a new feature introduced by Apple, you have to determine which iPhone was the first to carry it. Extra sticker for the year.
- Touch ID
- No headphone jack
- Face ID
YOU ALWAYS REMEMBER YOUR FIRST ANSWERS
- FaceTime = iPhone 4 (2010)
- Siri = iPhone 4S (2011)
- Touch ID = iPhone 5S (2013)
- No headphone jack = iPhone 7 and 7 Plus (2016)
- Face ID = iPhone X (2017)