Will coronavirus cause working from home to be commonplace?
Five on Friday

Welcome To Isolation-Land

It’s been another rollercoaster week on Wall Street, and it seems all we can talk about is the coronavirus and its impacts, but don’t forget to have some fun

#FedCuts

In an emergency move last Sunday, the Federal Reserve announced it was dropping its benchmark interest rate to zero.

How did the market react?

On top of this, the Fed also announced that it was launching a new $700 billion round of quantitative easing, which means that new money will be introduced into the U.S. treasury. Even the most out-of-touch mountain hermit could have told you that this was not going to ease tensions on Wall Street, which continued to be a rollercoaster all week, despite some respite on Tuesday. Some relief could arrive in the form of the $1 trillion stimulus package that The White House and Congress is scrambling to pull together to promote growth in an economy increasingly damaged by the coronavirus pandemic. The bill will seek to keep the worst-affected industries such as airlines afloat. There is some debate though that any bailout should be reserved for companies making active sacrifices in order to stay afloat. It really is anyone’s guess right now as to what point will be ‘bottom’ for the market, but one thing is for sure: it’s going to get worse before it gets better. 

Bet you didn’t know

The Wuhan province in China (ground-zero for the coronavirus) reported exactly ZERO cases on Wednesday for the first time. I thought it was time for some good news. 

#IsolationParty

People might be isolating themselves right now, but that doesn’t seem to be impacting alcohol sales in stores. 

Ain’t no party like a pandemic party? 

Isolation is tough, there’s no doubt about it, and spending my country’s national holiday indoors with a can of Guinness was about as un-Irish as I’ve ever felt. But it seems that alcohol brands are still selling, which was evident in the sector’s market performance on St. Patrick’s Day this week. Jack Daniel’s parent Brown Forman (NYSE: BF.B) and Boston Beer (NYSE: SAM) both jumped more than 14% on Tuesday, while Corona Beer’s parent, Anheuser Busch (NYSE: BUD), also rose. In fact, Corona reported that sales have risen 5% despite misinformation surrounding the brands’ association with the virus. It would seem that as long as grocery and liquor stores remain open, we shouldn’t expect aggregate beer volumes to be meaningfully impacted. I can vouch for this personally, as my friends and I bought beers and conference-called on Zoom (NASDAQ: ZM) this week, in what was one of my weirder social experiences.

Bet you didn’t know

Alcohol sales actually thrive during hard times historically, which makes sense. Even without its busiest day of the year, Guinness parent company Diageo’s (NYSE: DEO) stock remained relatively flat.

#AppleFine

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is certainly not fine right now, but it has been fined a record sum by French antitrust regulators.

Why is Apple in trouble again? 

We’ve got a bit of a love/hate relationship with Apple here in Ireland. On the one hand, we appreciate that their European HQ is based on our south coast, they bring a lot to the local economy, and a large portion of us have iPhones. On the other hand, we are their European HQ and we don’t have an official Apple Store, and they could at least consider paying us the $13 billion in tax that’s owed… The French took their annoyance a step further, handing out a record $1.2 billion fine to the tech giant after finding Apple guilty of creating cartels within its distribution network and abusing the economic dependence of its outside resellers. This is the second fine imposed by France after Apple was fined $30 million in January over accusations that it deliberately slowed old iPhones with software updates. But look on the bright side: at least they also announced a new iPad Pro and Macbook Air on Wednesday — oh wait, all Apple Stores are closed until March 27th…

Bet you didn’t know

If you ask Siri why Apple doesn’t pay its taxes, it will respond: “I’m sorry, I do not understand the question”. Pleading the 5th I see, very sneaky Apple…

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#MicrosoftsSlackEffort

Remote workers across the world were disappointed to see Microsoft Teams crash for several hours, just when they needed it most. 

What happened to Microsoft Teams?

When a devastating virus is ravaging the population and social isolation becomes our key weapon to combat it, it’s only natural that remote-working companies such as Zoom and Slack (NYSE: WORK) should up their game to help. Somebody forgot to tell Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) though because apparently, the multi-trillion-dollar giant can’t keep up with $10 billion Slack. Ironically, it was through Slack that a coworker sent me an article stating that Microsoft Teams had crashed on Monday. According to CNBC: “A spike in connectivity issues was seen at 9 am GMT as millions of Europeans tried to log on to work from home.” Disgruntled workers, already forced to endure the horrors of working in proximity with their family and housemates for an extended period of time, took to social media to voice their concerns. Although this might seem a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things, it is also a glowing endorsement of Slack, which appeared to have handled the influx of users without issue.

Bet you didn’t know

A 2017 study by popular blog Remote Global predicted that by 2020, roughly 50% of all workers in the U.S. would be working from home in some capacity. I don’t think this is what they had in mind. 

#AndFinally

No matter where you are in the world, or what’s going on, I can promise you one thing: you’re having a better week than one unnamed British-based husband. The unnamed man is the subject of a wonderful New York Post headline: “Cheating husband catches coronavirus on trip to Italy with mistress”. The unnamed patient, in his late 30s — described as “well-heeled and with a high-flying job” — told his wife he was away on a business trip within the UK, and when he returned home he began showing symptoms of the deadly bug. Tests confirmed that he was in fact infected, with the man confessing to doctors what he’d been up to in Italy, and that his wife had no idea. Well apparently, she found out, and refuses to self-isolate with her adulterer husband, and who can blame her? The man is expected to survive the infection, but I doubt the same can be said for his marriage. I would call it ‘poetic justice’ if the coronavirus wasn’t quite so serious.

Is it ok to laugh?

I will admit that this story was the chuckle that me and my imaginary isolation-friend Jeremy the Frog needed during these tough times. There’s no denying the seriousness of the outbreak, but in these tough times, we all need a bit of a laugh. 

Bet you didn’t know

Some feel-good stuff to round up this week’s newsletter: A 103-year-old Chinese grandmother has made a full recovery from COVID-19 after being treated for 6 days in Wuhan, China.

The Week In Numbers

18%

was how much the price of oil plummeted on Wednesday in its third-worst day on record.

$440 million

is how much Fox spent on streaming firm Tubi, it was announced on Tuesday.

$100 billion

worth of aid for paid leave packages was signed off by President Trump this week.


MyWallSt operates a full disclosure policy. MyWallSt staff currently holds long positions in companies mentioned above. Read our full disclosure policy here.

Jamie Adams
Jamie Adams
Jamie is the Content Editor here at MyWallSt. His favorite stock is Apple, which is also the first stock he ever bought. Jamie is not only a big fan of its products, but he believes that the tech giant has a whole lot more to give the world, and hasn't even scraped the surface of its potential.