Business week: rethinking office plans

What’s up? (July 18-24) Delta variant generates uncertainty A new peak in coronavirus cases, driven by the highly infectious Delta var...


A new peak in coronavirus cases, driven by the highly infectious Delta variant, rocked investors and businesses last week. On Monday, fears of what an increase in cases, mostly among the unvaccinated, would mean for the global economic recovery led to the worst decline in the S&P 500 month. But on Tuesday, the actions bounced. The recent epidemics are also prompting executives to rethink their plans to reopen offices. Apple, for example, said it would delay plans to return to the office by at least a month, on October 1 at the earliest. But not all companies have come to the same conclusion. Morgan Stanley’s chief legal officer urged the bank’s outside law firms to call their lawyers back to the office.

The summer games, delayed for a year, started in Tokyo Friday with a hushed ceremony in an almost empty stadium. More residents of Japan and a lot public health experts were in favor of canceling the event, which is taking place during the state of emergency in the country after a peak in Covid-19 cases. Depending on who matters, Tokyo spent between $ 8 billion and $ 12.6 billion more than expected on games. And at least 75 people with Olympic credentials, including six athletes, have tested positive for Covid-19 since arriving in Tokyo. The expectations of a huge windfall for Japan’s Largest Marketing Company decreased as sponsors canceled or reduced their promotional campaigns and events. But NBCUniversal, which owns the exclusive rights to broadcast the Games in the United States, is still expect full participation for advertisers. According to an estimate of the data research firm Kantar Media, advertisers are expected to spend $ 2.25 billion to appear alongside coverage of the Olympics, a 20% increase from the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Highly contagious Delta variant outbreaks have so far not hampered the takeover of airlines. Customer spending on airlines briefly exceeded 2019 levels this month, according to Facteus, a research firm that monitors online payments. Ticket prices and the number of people screened by the Transportation Security Administration are also on the rise, and American, Southwest and Delta all reported second-quarter profits. (United reported a loss but predicted it would return to profitability in the third quarter.) But all is not clear for the aviation industry. None of these companies would be close to profitability without the $ 54 billion in federal assistance that helped pay employee wages during the pandemic. Passenger volumes are still declining from previous times, and carriers are grappling with delays and staff shortages as they increase rapidly.

Robinhood, the stock trading app, is expected to start trading on the Nasdaq market by the end of the week. The company, which allows users to trade for free using a simple interface, plans to price its stock at a range that could value it up to $ 35 billion. Robinhood’s plans for its IPO are unusual in that it will sell up to a third of its shares directly to its customers through its application, an initiative intended to respect a promise to “democratize investment”. This move can also introduce volatility, as there is no guarantee that these investors will not immediately dispose of the shares when the share begins to trade. But the biggest risk for Robinhood may be regulatory. Last year the company agreed to pay a fine of $ 65 million on charges that he misled customers about his activities. Last month he agreed to pay a $ 70 million fine on issues like misleading information and system crashes, and he is facing nearly 50 chases on his decision to restrict trade during GameStop’s commercial frenzy.

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