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Can You Catch Covid From Cash? ACDP Scientists Say Virus Can Persist for 4 Weeks - Bloomberg
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Apple’s Battle Royale With Epic Games About to Start for Real - Bloomberg
The legal fight between Apple Inc. and Epic Games Inc. kicks into full gear on Monday with decisions that will influence the future of app stores in the U.S. and how the world’s largest technology platforms make money from developers. U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers will decide whether to force Apple to let battle royale video game Fortnite back into the App Store with Epic’s in-house payment option. She will also rule if Apple can block third-party apps using Epic’s Unreal Engine development software. Most legal experts expect the judge to extend her temporary injunction for Unreal Engine, but not reinstate Fortnite in the Apple App Store. “Epic faces an uphill battle,” said Mark Lemley, a professor at Stanford Law School. “Apple’s pricing policies are problematic, and antitrust law should probably do something about it. But courts are very reluctant to dictate who a company, even a monopolist, has to do business with.” Character actors from the Epic Games Inc. Fortnite video game dance during the E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg The decisions will have far-reaching consequences especially as authorities across the globe examine whether tech giants including Apple and Alphabet Inc.’s Google have broken antitrust rules. On Monday, the judge will consider if Epic is likely to succeed on the merits of its antitrust claims and whether the company will suffer irreparable harm if she doesn’t issue an injunction. At stake is Apple and Google’s ability to charge fees of up to 30% to developers using their app stores. Consumers spent $50 billion worldwide on the App Store and Google Play in the first half of 2020, according to Sensor Tower estimates. That generates billions of dollars in highly profitable revenue for the companies. Some developers deride this an unfair and unwarranted tax. Epic and its Founder Tim Sweeney have led the backlash this year. Tim Sweeney, CEO and founder of Epic Games Photographer: Mike Coppola/Getty Images Google may change its policies if the Fortnite case ends up favoring Apple, said Lewis Ward, an analyst at researcher IDC. No matter the outcome, Epic has gained a lot of goodwill among gamers and other developers. “In the larger court of public opinion, in the U.S., my sense is that Epic is generally viewed as the good guy here, and Apple is viewed as the bad guy,” Ward said. “It has raised the profile of Epic from an already well-respected game company to one that has a philosophy or a vision of where the games industry should go over time,” Ward added. “That vision is one that is more aligned with how the internet began, which was open and free and cheap.” Read more: Epic’s Battle With Apple and Google Has Roots in the Pac-Man Era The impact on Epic’s business so far has been “fairly negligible,” said Doug Clinton, co-founder at Loup ventures -- tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue. While players can no longer download Fortnite on their Apple devices, many of them have simply shifted their playing to consoles and PCs. Fortnite climbed SuperData’s rankings of top-grossing titles among console games in August, reaching third place. It ranked sixth in July, before the legal spat between Epic and Apple began. Financially, Apple doesn’t have much to lose by kicking Fortnite out. The company has taken in about $350 million in revenue from Fortnite since the game launched on the iPhone in 2018, according to Sensor Tower data. Apple pulled in sales of more than $250 billion in its latest fiscal year. Read more: Spotify, Match Launch Coalition to Protest App Store Rules If the court forces Apple to keep distributing Unreal Engine, that could be positive for the iPhone maker. The decision would let other games that use the tools continue distributing their software via Apple’s platform, resulting in a 30% cut for each sale or in-app purchase. However, Apple argues that the continued distribution of Unreal Engine by what it considers to be a rogue developer could harm consumer security. There are broader risks for Apple from the case, though. If Epic continues to paint Apple as the bad guy to younger iPhone and iPad owners who play Fortnite, that could twist the perception of these users toward Apple as a whole. If Epic wins key decisions, that would make it more difficult for Apple to impose its App Store payment system on other developers, curbing a high-margin source of revenue. The lawsuit might also spur Apple to continue tweaking its store. While the company isn’t budging on its 30% cut, it has loosened some restrictions recently, letting a small handful of apps avoid the fee. Read more: Apple Loosens App Store Rules a Bit After Developer Backlash
Covid Death Toll Nears 1 Million, But Real Number May Be Double - BloombergQuint
The world will officially record 1 million deaths from Covid-19 in the next few days, but the real tally might be almost double.
(Bloomberg) -- The world will officially record 1 million deaths from Covid-19 in the next few days, but the real tally might be almost double that. Actual fatalities from the worst pandemic in a century may be closer to 1.8 million -- a toll that could grow to as high as 3 million by the end of the year, according to Alan Lopez, a laureate professor and director of the University of Melbournes global burden of disease group. The coronaviruss rapid spread and ability to transmit in people who show no signs of the disease have enabled it to outrun measures to accurately quantify cases through widespread diagnostic testing. One million deaths has meaning by itself, but the question is whether its true, Lopez said in an interview. Its fair to say that the 1 million deaths, as shocking as it sounds, is probably an underestimate -- a significant underestimate. Even in countries with sophisticated health systems, mortality is difficult to accurately gauge. Tens of thousands of probable Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. werent captured by official statistics between March and May, a study in July found, frustrating efforts to track and mitigate the pandemics progression. The dearth of accurate data undermines the ability of governments to implement timely strategies and policies to protect public health and promote economic recovery. If the mortality from Covid-19 reaches 3 million as Lopez predicted, it would rank the disease among the worlds worst killers. An undercount in deaths could also give some people a false sense of security, and may allow governments to downplay the virus and overlook the pandemics burden. India has confirmed more than 5.4 million Covid-19 cases, but accounts for only 90,020 of the 967,164 deaths reported globally to the World Health Organization as of 4:47 p.m. Geneva time Wednesday. The country, which has the highest number of infections after the U.S., lacks a reliable national vital statistics registration system to track deaths in real time. Meanwhile, in Indiana in the U.S. researchers found that although nursing home residents werent routinely tested for the virus, they represented 55% of the states Covid-19 deaths. Worsening Virus Trends Are Raising Alarms for Stock Investors Yes, cases are reported daily everywhere, but as soon as you get to the next tier down, like how many were admitted to hospitals, there have just been huge gaps in the data, said Christopher J. Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle. Medical data, including duration of illness and symptoms, help to ascribe a probable cause of death, he said. Patients with heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other chronic conditions are at greater risk of dying from Covid-19. Some governments, including Russia, are attributing the cause of deaths in some of these patients to the pre-existing condition, raising questions about the veracity of official mortality data. In July, Russia recorded 5,922 fatalities due to Covid-19. At least 4,157 other deaths were linked to the coronavirus, but not included in the tally because of how the nation defines such deaths. Overall, it recorded 29,925 more deaths in July than in the same month of 2019. The WHO laid out guidance for classifying coronavirus deaths in June, advising countries to count fatalities if patients had symptoms of the disease regardless of whether they were a confirmed case, and unless there was a clear alternative cause. A Covid-19 fatality should be counted as such even if pre-existing conditions exacerbated the disease, said the organization. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released similar guidelines. Still, it may take health workers certifying deaths time to adopt the methodology, the University of Melbournes Lopez said. His research has received funding by Bloomberg Philanthropies, set up by Michael Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP. Doctors often are learning as they go along, so theyre not certifying all the deaths that are due to Covid as Covid deaths, Lopez said. Although the pandemic has altered mortality patterns worldwide, not all of the changes are a direct result of the pandemic, he said. Physical distancing measures may have reduced road fatalities and deaths caused by influenza. In Japan, which has been scrutinized for its lack of widespread testing and relatively lax containment efforts, deaths fell by 3.5% in May from a year earlier even as Covid-19 cases peaked. The pandemic actually works in contradictory ways to affect mortality, Lopez said. Likewise, the economic cost of the pandemic -- which may top $35.3 trillion through 2025 -- will be driven more by changes in peoples spending patterns than number of deaths and government-mandated lockdown measures, according to Warwick McKibbin, a professor of economics at the Australian National University and a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. We estimate this outbreak is going to cost tens of trillions to the world economy, McKibbin said in an interview. The change in economic outcomes is caused by individuals changing their behavior, not because the government mandated a shutdown. Worldwide, the growth in the number of daily deaths has eased since spiking in March and April, helped by improved medical care and ways to treat the disease. But as resurgences flare in Europe and North America ahead of winter and the flu season, Covid-19 fatalities may rise sharply again. It took nine days for cases in the U.K. to double to 3,050 in mid September, compared with the previous doubling time of five weeks, the BMJ journal said last week. Covid-19 patients aged 75 to 84 are 220 times more likely to die from the disease than 18-to-29-year-olds, according to the CDC. Seniors over 85 years have a 630 times higher risk of dying. The older age of fatal Covid-19 cases has made some people think theyre old people, theyre going to die anyway, said Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. I have a really hard time with that, Osterholm said in an interview. Thats an unfortunate and very sad way to come to understand this pandemic. Many of those people who died are very important loved ones to so many of us that its hard to just dismiss it as its just a number. ©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day - Bloomberg
Oracle and ByteDance tentatively agree to the Treasury's TikTok terms. Wall Street struggles to keep up in China's mutual fund boom. And Hong Kong draws critics who say more stimulus is needed. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about t…
Oracle and ByteDance tentatively agree to the Treasury's TikTok terms. Wall Street struggles to keep up in China's mutual fund boom. And Hong Kong draws critics who say more stimulus is needed. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today. The Treasury Department, TikTok owner ByteDance and Oracle have tentatively agreed to terms for Oracle’s bid for the U.S. operations of the social-media service, according to people familiar with the matter. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sent Bytedance a revised terms sheet late Wednesday and the company and Oracle accepted it, the people said. They described the changes as addressing national security concerns about the transaction and asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has asked gaming companies to provide information about their data-security protocols involving Chinese technology giant Tencent, people familiar with the matter said. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. has sent letters to companies, including Epic Games, Riot Games and others, to inquire about their security protocols in handling Americans’ personal data, said the people, who asked not to be named. Tencent, the world’s largest gaming company, owns Los Angeles-based Riot and has a 40% stake in Epic, which is the maker of the popular video game Fortnite. Asian stocks looked set for modest gains on Friday amid a dollar retreat and after U.S. equities pared the worst of their losses. Treasuries edged higher. Futures in Japan, Hong Kong and Australia pointed higher. The S&P 500 dropped for a second day, though it found some support after bouncing off its 50-day moving average. Technology shares were the biggest decliners, with Apple, Facebook and Microsoft weighing on the Nasdaq Composite. Data showed the number of Americans applying for jobless benefits resumed its decline. Crude oil climbed above $40 a barrel. Elsewhere, natural gas prices tumbled the most in almost two years after a bigger than expected increase in stockpiles revived concerns that the glut of the fuel will increase. Gilts climbed after the Bank of England policymakers said they were exploring negative rates. From BlackRock to Vanguard, global asset managers are now learning just how fierce the local competition will be in China’s $3.4 trillion mutual fund industry. Funds backed by international firms raised $470 billion from retail investors in the first eight months of the year, less than half the $967 billion haul of their 100-plus Chinese rivals, according to data compiled by Morningstar and Bloomberg. Of the top 10 biggest funds raised this year, only two were backed by foreign companies. Foreign companies are having to grapple with how little their size and global reputation matter in a market infamous for investors jumping from fund to fund in search of the next big thing. Domestic rivals have pressed their home-field advantage, picking up a lion’s share of almost $6 billion in fees generated in the first-half alone. The locals are more adept at tapping star stock pickers who live-stream on platforms such as Alipay, giving fund picks and explaining basic investing concepts and social-media influencers who can boost a fund manager’s popularity with a single endorsement. That’s turning into a fledgling distribution network rivaling that of banks. Hong Kong’s government is drawing fresh criticism from economists and business advocates who say a third round of virus relief stimulus don’t go far enough. While Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s latest spending plan will draw from the city’s fiscal reserve of $976.6 billion ($126 billion) in July, that cash pile is still seen by economists as large enough to support still more stimulus. The urgency for more fiscal support was underscored Thursday by data showing Hong Kong’s unemployment rate sitting at 6.1% in August, with joblessness continuing to rise in the hard-hit consumption and tourism sectors. Yet the latest signals from Lam’s administration, including the comparatively small round of virus relief announced this week, suggest a reluctance to further deplete Hong Kong’s war chest. “Stimulus has been smaller than expected so far,” said Alicia Garcia Herrero, chief economist for Asia Pacific with Natixis. “More — and more clever stimulus — is needed.” As Nissan struggles to recover from a boardroom scandal surrounding Carlos Ghosn and a sales slump that threatens its alliance with Renault, China is emerging as its best bet for a turnaround. Thanks to an early mover advantage and strategic partnership with Dongfeng Motor in 2003, Nissan is one of the strongest Japanese passenger carmakers in China. It ranked fourth — excluding multipurpose vehicles — in June with a 6.7% share after Volkswagen’s two joint ventures and General Motors’s tie-up with SAIC Motor. Former Chairman Ghosn, who was arrested in 2018 on financial misconduct charges and fled in a dramatic escape to Lebanon at the end of last year, called China a “new frontier” when he unveiled Nissan’s push into Asia’s largest economy almost two decades ago. Now, the world’s biggest automobile market is looking more like a key line of defense as China’s economy returns to growth. What We’ve Been Reading This is what’s caught our eye over the past 24 hours: And finally, here's what Adam's interested in this morning "Cash on the sidelines" is an often-heard refrain in market circles. For the folks over at LGT Capital Partners, that pile of cash is helping spur their enthusiasm to bet on further gains for equities. They calculate that institutional investor cash positions peaked at about $3.3 trillion in May and since have been reduced only marginally by $285 billion. The firm has added to stock positions, trimmed fixed-income allocations, while retaining a large overweight in gold. They say most investors are not positioned for the economic recovery to continue to pick up. This, coupled with the high levels of cash waiting to enter the market, boosts the chances of a positive reaction in equity market, they argue. Thursday's data was encouraging, showing a gradual improvement in the U.S. labor market, as the chart shows. We'll be keeping a close eye on how that cash is being deployed going into the final quarter of 2020. Adam Haigh is an editor covering global markets for Bloomberg News in Sydney.
Iceland Has Very Good News About Coronavirus Immunity - BloombergQuint
Iceland Has Very Good News About Coronavirus Immunity
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The emergence of a handful of people reinfected by SARS-Cov-2 including individuals in Hong Kong, Italy and the U.S. has sparked panic over the future course of the pande...
Thailand Seeks Safe Way of Reopening Borders to Boost Economy - BloombergQuint
Thailand Seeks Safe Way of Reopening Borders to Boost Economy
(Bloomberg) -- Thailand is cautiously looking at plans to reopen its borders as it struggles to survive an extended period without international visitors, who account for about two-thirds of the co...
TSMC Pares Gains After $72 Billion Surge to Start the Week - Bloomberg
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. kept up its record-breaking streak Tuesday, briefly becoming the world’s 10th most valuable corporation before paring gains.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. kept up its record-breaking streak Tuesday, briefly becoming the world’s 10th most valuable corporation before paring gains. Taiwan’s biggest stock was up around 1.2% in Taipei, after rising as much as 9.9% and going beyond $410 billion in value, leapfrogging U.S. giants Johnson & Johnson and Visa Inc. in the process. Daily stock moves are capped at 10% in Taiwan’s equity market. It’s difficult to overstate the influence that TSMC wields on Taiwan’s financial markets. Making up almost a third of the local benchmark, it has single-handedly pushed the Taiex past a record that had stood for three decades. Its rally is attracting foreign flows into Taiwanese equities, increasing demand for the local currency. The Taiwan dollar rose 1% Tuesday to the strongest since April 2018. The latest boost to TSMC’s shares came after Intel Corp. warned last week that its 7-nanometer chips are behind schedule and it may outsource their production. The U.S. chipmaker is expected to funnel new business to TSMC, given its global lead in silicon fabrication and track record of making semiconductors for the world’s largest tech corporations. Intel’s struggles are buoying stocks in Asian suppliers of made-to-order chips. Samsung Electronics Co., which is investing heavily in its own foundry business, jumped as much as 5.8% Tuesday, its biggest intraday gain in almost two months. Chinese rival Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. climbed 6.6% in Hong Kong. “Samsung Electronics’ position as a foundry partner is expected to rise. Korean investors anticipate that Samsung could produce Intel’s CPU and discrete GPU,” Hana Financial Investment analysts wrote in a note. But “to narrow the gap with TSMC, it is essential for Samsung to expand its Austin fab.” A report on Monday suggested that Intel had placed orders with TSMC for 180,000 units of 6nm chips for 2021. Meanwhile, brokerages including Nomura Holdings Inc. and Credit Suisse Group AG upgraded TSMC to the equivalent of buy. — With assistance by Sohee Kim (Updates with share price and analyst comment from first paragraph)