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Wall Street is set for an upbeat start to the week.
U.S. stock futures rallied and global markets were higher on Monday, bolstered by a call in China for investors to start buying shares.
European markets were 1 to 2 percent higher, after a strong session in Asia in which the Shanghai Composite index soared 5.7 percent. On Wall Street, futures pointed to a strong start to Monday’s trading session later in the day.
In other markets, the price of 10-year U.S. Treasuries fell, a sign that investors are more willing to take on risk, and oil futures rose nearly 2 percent. Gold was 0.2 percent higher.
The rise in China’s stocks was fueled by a call in state media for more retail investing. A front-page editorial in the state-run China Securities Journal urged investors to take advantage of “bullish market expectations” coming out of the pandemic.
Other Asian markets followed the rise in China’s stocks. Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.8 percent, and the Kospi in South Korea gained 1.7 percent.
In Britain, shares in house builders rose after a report suggested that Rishi Sunak, the chancellor of the Exchequer, was considering a stimulus measure that would reduce property tax payments for homeowners. Mr. Sunak is expected to give an overview of the British economy and new stimulus measures on Wednesday.
China dominates medical supplies, in this outbreak and the next.
When the outbreak subsides, those factories may struggle to survive. But China has laid the groundwork to dominate the market for protective and medical supplies for years to come.
Factory owners get cheap land, courtesy of the Chinese government. Loans and subsidies are plentiful. Chinese hospitals are often told to buy locally, giving China’s suppliers a vast and captive market.
Once vaccines emerge, demand will plummet. Factories will close. But Chinese companies are likely to have the lowest costs by far and be best positioned for the next global outbreak.
For years, China’s leaders have worried that the country depended too much on foreign sources for everything from medical supplies to microchips to airliners. It has used subsidies, economic targets and other government inducements to emerge as a powerhouse in important industries.
The policies have often proved effective in building industries that can withstand losses and tough foreign competition. Medical supplies may be similar. — Keith Bradsher
With department stores disappearing, malls could be next.
Malls were already in trouble before the pandemic, as shopping had moved increasingly online. But a string of bankruptcy filings by major retailers like Neiman Marcus and J.C. Penney in recent months could hasten their decline.
As many as 25 percent of the nation’s nearly 1,200 malls could shut down amid the fallout from the coronavirus, said Deborah Weinswig, founder of Coresight Research, an advisory and research firm that specializes in retail and technology.
The traditional suburban mall has been built around big department stores that anchored smaller clothing and specialty stores.
Department stores account for about 30 percent of the mall square footage in the United States, with 10 percent of that coming from Sears (which filed for bankruptcy in 2018) and J.C. Penney, according to Green Street Advisors, a real estate research firm.
As the department stores struggle or shut down, other retailers are no longer able to feed off the foot traffic that those large anchors used to generate.
Many small mall retailers have clauses in their leases — so-called co-tenancy clauses — that allow them to pay reduced rent or even break the lease if two or more anchor stores leave a location.
That could lead to even more mall vacancies and few options to fill the empty storefronts during a pandemic when shoppers are already nervous about being in enclosed spaces. — Sapna Maheshwari and Michael Corkery
What Hong Kong’s pandemic experience taught Uber about other cities.
In late February, Uber executives were set to gather in San Francisco to form business plans for the year as the coronavirus steadily spread beyond China. While some executives who were initially invited had been told to stay home, the remaining few huddled at Uber’s headquarters to make plans for the inevitable pandemic.
One of them, Susan Anderson, who managed Uber’s business in Australia, New Zealand and North Asia, delivered bad news: In Hong Kong, Uber trips had declined rapidly as the coronavirus took hold.
Months later, Uber is facing its greatest crisis: keeping the ride-hailing business afloat when many people are still staying home. Coronavirus totals in the United States, Uber’s highest-revenue market, continue to grow, challenging cities and local businesses that are trying to reopen. And rides, not surprisingly, are only haltingly returning to a semblance of what they were.
Hong Kong, on the other hand, has recovered from the pandemic faster than most other cities where Uber operates. The outbreak has been less severe there than in the United States, and many commuters have gone back to work. Although Uber’s business in Hong Kong is small and doesn’t generate much revenue, the foothold gave the company a preview of how quickly its business would slip away during the pandemic — but also a best-case example of what its recovery elsewhere could look like.
“If the world looked like Hong Kong, we would be in great shape,” Uber’s chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, said during a March call with financial analysts. At the peak of the outbreak in Hong Kong, rides declined 45 percent, Uber said. — Kate Conger and Tiffany May
The #vanlife business is booming.
Dozens of new companies are popping up to rent or sell retrofitted sleeper vans, some now with yearlong waiting lists. Apps are surfacing to help these van dwellers find legal parking. Big R.V. park conglomerates are starting to eye the new interest and figure out ways to capitalize.
The last few months have felt chaotic, and the van living sell is that there can be stability in constant motion. “What we say is: We build your escape,” said Leland Gilmore, the founder of Benchmark Vehicles, which makes custom vans. “These are little escape vessels, escape pods.”
Mr. Gilmore typically sells custom vans for $100,000 to $300,000, not including the cost of the van, which is usually a $40,000-and-up Mercedes Sprinter. Demand has nearly doubled since lockdowns began, he said, and Benchmark Vehicles just hired three more people.
Vanlife has been an influencer trend on Instagram for years. It usually involved a good-looking young couple in a van posting gauzy portraits of each other and sweeping scenes of the places they visited. The fantasy life they sold is freedom and simplicity, a radical reduction in burden — but not comfort. For these are not backpackers looking tired and worn, with massive calves and wild hair. Vanlife is an aesthetic trend, closer to the tiny-home movement, yet even richer, lusher and typically sexier.
Ss the pandemic has worn on, it is a fantasy more people are finding themselves having. — Nellie Bowles
Catch up: Here’s what else is happening.
Uber plans to announce Monday that it will buy the meal-delivery company Postmates for about $2.65 billion. The takeover is a consolation prize after missing out on buying the far larger Grubhub.
Reporting was contributed by Keith Bradsher, Mohammed Hadi, Nellie Bowles, Kate Conger, Tiffany May, Sapna Maheshwari, Michael Corkery, Niraj Chokshi, Mike Isaac, Erin Griffith and Kevin Granville.
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