Week InReview
Friday | Jul 31, 2020
The shift that shocked companies.
Tens of millions of Americans are working from home and many will never go back. Employers scramble to figure out what tools they’ll need to stay productive. Companies are quickly learning lessons about the varied necessities of remote work, from appropriate tools to new styles of management.

let's recap...
They’ve been billed as a solution to the rock-bottom interest rates weighing down the returns of America’s asset managers. Collateralized loan obligations  –  which package and sell leveraged loans into chunks of varying risk and return  –  promise safety and higher yields. And one industry more than any other has gone all in. (Bloomberg Markets | Jul 30)

The authorities are looking at ways to buttress a market that is the bedrock of the global financial system. (Financial Times | Jul 29) see also Wall Street's favorite Treasury trade is starting to unwind (Bloomberg Markets | Jul 29) and Jerome Powell’s price-fix is in (The Wall Street Journal | Jul 27)

The Securities and Exchange Commission has formed a new team to better respond to developing threats and market incidents during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. The unit, which includes specialized examiners, accountants, and quantitative analysts, will work to ensure the agency’s exam priorities are carried out and firms are better able to respond to business disruptions. (Bloomberg Law | Jul 28)

The world’s pile of debt with a negative yield – bonds that cost investors money simply by holding them – has climbed to near the $15 trillion mark, prompting investors to take on more risk. Potential returns across the bond market have become increasingly scarce, following the Covid-19 crisis and asset purchases by central banks. (Bloomberg Markets | Jul 27)

Hedge-fund fees had already been shrinking before the pandemic ripped through global markets. Now, they’re in terminal decline. (Bloomberg Businessweek | Jul 27)
Five takeaways from FOMC rate decision, Powell briefing
(Jul 29) — Here are the key takeaways from Wednesday’s Federal Open Market Committee rate decision and Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s press conference.
  • The FOMC statement was dovish, with the Federal Reserve saying it is committed to using its full range of tools to support growth amid the “tremendous” hardship from the virus. Powell repeated that the FOMC isn’t thinking about raising rates amid slowing growth.
  • Recent economic data have gotten worse, Powell said, citing high-frequency reports such as credit-card spending and hotel occupancy since mid-June. The outlook is highly uncertain, he said. With the Fed making no major announcements on Wednesday, Powell called on fiscal policy makers to provide additional support and said he welcomes Congress working this week toward more aid.
  • The chair said the Fed will wrap up its review of monetary policy strategy, tools, and communication in the near future. He allowed that tying asset purchases to timing or economic objectives are among the possible outcomes of forward guidance, but said he was not ready to disclose any details.
  • Powell, asked about former Fed economist Claudia Sahm’s critique of the economics profession, said “there’s been a lot of pain and injustice and unfair treatment that women have experienced in the workplace.” He added, “The Fed could have done more and should have done more.”
  • U.S. stocks climbed and the dollar fell after the Fed signaled continued stimulus to prop up the world’s largest economy. Treasuries were little changed.

Source: Steve Matthews, Bloomberg Government

See also:
The Federal Reserve left interest rates near zero and vowed to use all its tools to support the recovery from an economic downturn that Chair Jerome Powell called the most severe “in our lifetime.” (Bloomberg Markets | Jul 29)

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said that while U.S. banks are well capitalized, a temporary relaxation of their leverage ratios could help support credit in the economy. (Bloomberg Markets | Jul 29)
the cyber cafe
CISA develops Covid-19 tabletop exercise
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency developed a Covid-19 Recovery CISA Tabletop Exercise Package (CTEP) to assist private sector stakeholders and critical infrastructure owners and operators in assessing short-term, intermediate, and long-term recovery and business continuity plans related to the Covid-19 pandemic. This CTEP also gives organizations the opportunity to discuss how ongoing recovery efforts would be impacted by concurrent response operations to a potential “second wave” of global pandemic infections.

Major Windows 10 security flaw leaves PCs vulnerable
Windows 10 is suffering from a very serious security flaw that’s preventing the Windows Sandbox and Windows Defender Application Guard (WDAG) from opening — which is leaving some PCs vulnerable to attack. The security tools are not loading as intended; and until a permanent fix is issued, users can remedy the problem by restarting their computers.
—  TechRadar

Free global decryption tools have saved malware victims millions
More than four million victims of ransomware attacks have now avoided paying more than £600 million in extortion demands to cyber criminals in the first four years of Europol's "No More Ransom" initiative. The project now consists of 163 partners across cybersecurity, law enforcement, financial services, and more. S ee also North Korean hackers are behind the VHD ransomware
—  ZDNet
binge reading disorder
You can blame "load theory" for your brain being mush right now
Have you felt as if lockdown has you in a fog? The concept known as “load theory” explains why we’re feeling out of sorts. We have limited brain capacity, and focusing on one thing requires filtering out other stuff.

Got cooties? Soon your smartwatch or smart ring might tell you
Wearable devices with sensors that continuously gather your temperature, heart rate, and blood oxygen could become personal warning systems for Covid-19.

Six female leaders on the lifestyle they'll keep post-Covid
From connecting with neighbors to feeling more confident in setting boundaries, six executives share the surprising new habits they’ve found during the pandemic, and why they plan to keep them going once the storm has passed.
—  Fast Company
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