3.20.2020

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Need to Know
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Coronavirus Impact Escalates
Editor's Note: We typically run three top stories but the impact of the coronavirus pandemic is nearly unprecedented and quickly evolving. Below is our summary of the key events heading into the weekend. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the state's 40 million residents to stay at home, leaving only for food, exercise, and emergencies. Yesterday's order is the most sweeping move by a state to fight the spread of the new coronavirus. Separately, Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) are under fire for selling over $1M in stock each after receiving January Senate Intelligence Committee briefings, while downplaying the coronavirus threat in public. The pair denied the allegations. Edit: Since the story broke at least two more Senators, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and James Inhofe (R-OK), have been accused of trading on inside knowledge. The details (what types of stocks were sold, etc.) vary for each case. Loeffler has said she didn't know about the trades - her assets are managed by a third party - until weeks after they were made. Read the developing story here.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) revealed details of a GOP stimulus package meant to counter the economic disruption of the new coronavirus. Building off a White House pitch, the centerpiece of the massive $1T plan is direct payments to Americans of $1,200 (married couples get $2,400). The payments would begin to phase out for individuals making above $75K, dropping to zero above $99K. Families would receive $500 per child, regardless of income. McConnell has vowed to keep the Senate in session until a plan is passed, and negotiations with Senate Democrats have started. The House would still need to approve the package. 

Some analysts have predicted an economic recession caused by the pandemic on par with the 2008 recession, or worse. The package under negotiation is similar to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Obama-era stimulus that cost more than $830B but helped reverse negative GDP growth in the second half of 2009.

The economic impact has already begun to appear in unemployment numbers. State-by-state jobless claims rose dramatically as self-distancing and lockdown policies went into effect, while nationwide claims rose by more than 30% week over week. Analysts expect the numbers to continue to rise as companies furlough workers and pause operations.  

The markets finally saw a day without (a relatively) huge swing. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 188 points (1.0%), with the S&P 500 (0.5%) and Nasdaq (2.3%) following similar trajectories. 

The news comes as the number of confirmed cases in the US passed 10,000, coming in at 14,250 as of this morning, with 205 deaths (real-time map). More than 244,500 cases have been confirmed worldwide. Italy reported 3,405 deaths from the virus, overtaking China as the country with the highest death toll despite half as many confirmed cases.

US officials have said the country is roughly two weeks behind Italy, though it remains to be seen whether deaths will continue to accelerate as in Italy, or plateau, as in South Korea. The latter swiftly deployed widespread testing; the US has lagged in the development and deployment of test kits, but appears on track to have a daily test capacity of 100,000 by the end of March.

In the small country of Monaco, Prince Albert II announced he had tested positive for the virus, making him the first known head of state to contract the disease. 

The World Health Organization said it will launch a multinational clinical trial to accelerate the search for coronavirus treatments. Finally, here's a guide to some of the highest-potential treatments being tested to slow or prevent the disease.
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Market volatility strikes hard.
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Threats to the global supply chain have hit the markets hard. Major markets have seen big cuts, sometimes amounting to 10% in a day. That's no joke. 
 
So why is everyone in panic mode? This time, it's the coronavirus. But when events like these come and go, one fact remains true: the wealthiest 1% invest in real estate because it can weather the storm much better and doesn't coincide to the same extent with the fall of the stock market.
 
DiversyFund’s alternative investment platform was created exactly for unexpected events like this and to protect market instability. Diversifying your portfolio is the key to long term success. Investing in commercial real estate has always been a safe option especially during downturns, as they’re not typically affected by them. Discover how to protect your assets with DiversyFund today.

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In the Know
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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> Cannes Film Festival in France postponed until June or July (More) | Monaco Grand Prix, one of the most prestigious auto races in the world, is canceled (More)
> Metropolitan Opera to lay off all of its musicians and chorus due to the coronavirus outbreak; The Met is the largest performing arts organization in the US (More)
> Playboy Magazine to end publication after 66 years in print; company will focus on digital media growth (More)
Science & Technology
> Researchers propose new design for nuclear-fusion reactors using high-powered magnets; design was inspired by a science fair project (More) | The difference between fusion and fission (More)
> At request of European leaders, Netflix reduces streaming quality in Europe, freeing up bandwidth as millions begin to work from home (More)
> Antarctic investigation into the disappearance of nearly 1 million king penguins rules out land predator, disease, and mass migration causes; scientists believe penguins may have died as food sources moved farther out into the ocean (More)
Business & Markets
> Shares of rideshare giant Uber surge 44% after CEO states the company has adequate cash on hand to weather coronavirus crisis (More)
> Oil prices up more than 20% Thursday, best single-day surge on record, after a historic drop Wednesday (More)
> Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation approves banking license for online payment company Square (More)
Politics & World Affairs
> Israeli protestors march against shut down of parliament and courts, accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of using pandemic to keep power (More)
> Election 2020: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D, HI-2) drops out of race for Democratic presidential nomination, endorses Joe Biden (More)
> The US cancels annual G-7 meeting as many European countries close their borders; will replace the conference of the world's biggest economies with a June teleconference (More)
Weekend Reads
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Naked and Very, Very Afraid
Outside | Blair Braverman. A former participant gives the inside scoop on the Discovery Channel series "Naked and Afraid," which may be the only reality television show that takes its title literally. (Read)
Two New Moms Return to Work
Harvard Business Review | Caitlyn Collins. The story of two Sarahs, both educated, professional, and new mothers. One lives in Stockholm, Sweden and the other in Seattle, making the challenges each face returning to the workforce dramatically different. (Read)
The Accusations Were Lies
New York Times | Sarah Viren. What happens when the anonymity of campus sexual harassment probes is weaponized against a professor? (Read, $$)
 
 
Fight market instability with diversification.
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How can you ensure your assets are protected during an economic crisis? One word: diversification. With DiversyFund, it has never been easier to access a diverse portfolio in commercial real estate.
 
DiversyFund’s tech-enabled platform allows the everyday investor to diversify their portfolio in minutes. DiversyFund offers alternative investing online like no other. They professionally manage your portfolio, have zero management fees, and do everything in-house: allowing their goals to be aligned with their investors. Fight against market volatility and protect your assets. Get started with just $500 and start investing with DiversyFund today!

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Etcetera
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A balcony concert breaks out amid quarantined Barcelona.
... and other unusual ways people are socializing while self-distancing. ($$, NYT)
Talk show host Conan O'Brien will start streaming his show from an iPhone.
How to cultivate (not teach) creativity in your children.
A captivating photo series of humans distorted by nature.
A guide to the men's NCAA tournament that could've been.
Tap into these free livestreams of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
NASA fixes its InSight lander by having it hit itself with a shovel.
Clickbait: How pets are handling their parents working from home.
Historybook: Fred "Mister" Rogers born (1928); KFC founded by Colonel Harland Sanders (1930); HBD Pat Riley (1945); HBD Spike Lee (1957); John Lennon and Yoko Ono marry (1969).
You made it. Have a great weekend (and wash your hands).
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"All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we're giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world."
- Fred "Mister" Rogers
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