China Adds $7 Billion to Banking System, Cuts Interest Rate

China’s central bank injected liquidity into the financial system via open-market operations for the first time since Feb. 17, ending the longest hiatus since December 2018. It also cut interest rates on the loans.

The People’s Bank of China will inject 50 billion yuan ($7.1 billion) into the banking system using 7-day reverse repurchase agreements, according to a statement Monday. It cut the interest rate to 2.2% from 2.4%.

The move comes after China’s top leaders signaled Beijing is preparing larger-scale stimulus to counter the economic fallout from the coronavirus. The PBOC re-emphasized it will keep liquidity sufficient to help the real economy while watching out for inflation risks.

“There’s no room for interbank liquidity conditions to tighten, and easier monetary policy will be needed to cope with the likely material increase in government bond issuances,” said Becky Liu, head of China macro strategy at Standard Chartered Plc.

Quarter-end liquidity requirements and tax payment deadlines were also factors, she said. “Injecting 7-day money into the system to meet such short-term needs is appropriate,” she said. The offshore yuan weakened slightly, while government 10-year bond futures briefly gained before paring.

With output crippled by factory shutdowns and transport curbs this quarter, China’s economy is now threatened further by a collapse in external demand due to the spread of the deadly disease around the world. That’s prompting a shift by policy makers who until now have stuck to a stimulus plan far more modest than those being rolled out by global counterparts.

The PBOC has previously said that market liquidity is sufficient. Earlier this month, Beijing added 100 billion yuan of liquidity into the interbank market with its medium-term lending facility. It also reduced the amount of cash lenders need to set aside as reserves, unleashing 550 billion yuan in long-term funds.

— With assistance by Lucille Liu

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The $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package is more than double the size of Obama's stimulus plan — but it may only salvage the economy for a few months

  • Republicans and Democrats put together a colossal $2 trillion economic relief package that provides emergency aid to both workers and businesses hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The measure is more than double the size of Obama's 2009 stimulus law aimed at jolting the economy and pulling it out of the Great Recession.
  • But it may only be a down payment toward restoring the nation's economic health if the outbreak stretches into the summer and continues paralyzing the economy.
  • "If we don't stem this cascade, there isn't any economic activity in the US that isn't endangered," a conservative economist told Business Insider.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Under extraordinary pressure to salvage an economy on the verge of collapse from the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration and top Democrats assembled the largest economic stimulus package in American history. The tedious process of lawmaking, which normally takes several months, was squeezed into only 10 days. 

The $2 trillion legislation is more than twice the size of President Obama's $830 billion stimulus package of 2009, which was designed to pull the nation out of its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Its colossal price tag didn't prevent Congress from swiftly passing the legislation this week, sending it to President Trump's desk where he signed it into law on Friday.

The relief package is unparalleled in its scope as well, reflecting the urgency of the crisis.

Hospitals will receive critical funding to combat the disease. Millions of Americans will get checks and dramatically expanded unemployment benefits. The measure will also provide distressed businesses and industries with hundreds of billions of dollars in zero-interest loans, tax breaks, and other emergency aid. 

But it may not be enough to prevent a recession many experts say is already underway. That increases the odds that lawmakers will have to build another government rescue package in the near future, especially if the outbreak stretches into the summer — rendering a colossal spending initiative as only a down payment.

Read more: A notorious market bear says stocks are still historically expensive after tumbling on coronavirus — and warns a plunge 'of about 50% from here' is still coming

"If you think of what we're in as a hole in the ground, it doesn't provide enough dirt to fill it up," Jared Bernstein, chief economist to former Vice President Joe Biden in the Obama administration, told Business Insider.

Other economists struck a note of caution. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum and a former Congressional Budget Office director during the Bush administration, said he had "no idea" whether another emergency relief bill was needed after this one, pending the outbreak's length.

"One of the things I like about some of the design here is we don't have to know. We don't have to be that smart," Holtz-Eakin told Business Insider.

The conservative economist, though, said "every business was endangered" as a result of the pandemic, and that the nation was potentially staring down its worst economic crisis since the depression of the 1930s.

"If we don't stem this cascade, there isn't any economic activity in the US that isn't endangered," Holtz-Eakin said. "It's unbelievable."

Washington and its new relationship with corporate America

The severity and duration of the pandemic is driving the federal government's response to shore up the economy.

The public health emergency caused by the coronavirus has shuttered restaurants, bars, hotels, and other businesses that power 70% of the economy through consumer spending. Many states ordered them closed in a bid to curb the number of infections.

"What you're looking at here is what economists call is a sudden-stop. Meaning a fast-acting shock to the incomes of households and revenues of firms," Bernstein said.

Layoffs are soaring as a result — 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, a figure that's likely much higher as state systems often shut out gig workers and contractors from receiving them.

With that chaotic backdrop, lawmakers crafted a relief package that's "throwing out a lot of money in all different directions because it's hard to target the money in a timely way," according to Diane Lim, a former economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers who now works at the Penn Wharton Budget Model.

Read more: Legendary investor Laszlo Birinyi nailed the 11-year bull market at every turn. He shares his 7-part strategy for thriving during a prolonged crisis — and says a quick recovery from the coronavirus is 'wishful thinking.'

The federal intervention this time goes beyond anything enacted in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, one produced by a collapsing housing bubble that bankrupted large financial institutions. That disaster led Obama to sign a stimulus bill in February 2009 to jolt economic activity through new federal spending on healthcare, education, and tax credits for families.

A 2013 government study found the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was successful in creating millions of jobs and cutting unemployment. But economists say the recovery after the Great Recession was restrained by a lack of ambition in Congress.

"One of the problems in the response last time is that many in Congress, especially Republicans, just grew tired of fiscal stimulus and we stopped it too soon," Jason Furman, Obama's former top economist, previously told Business Insider. "I would not like to see that happen this time."

Lim said given the scope of the federal response so far, she believed "once this is all over, there will be a larger role of government in this country."

In some ways, the government is already expanding its role to control the levers of American capitalism — at least for now.

Businesses with 500 or fewer employees are set to get zero-interest bank loans financed by the government to keep worker on payrolls for two months and covering fixed expenditures like rent. Loans could be forgiven if workers aren't laid off, though some of the spending could be paid back if conditions aren't met.

"The key feature there is you put the money into the business. It allows the business to survive the pandemic and we emerge the other side with the infrastructure of the economy intact," Holtz-Eakin said.

Elements of the relief package triggered significant backlash among progressives. Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York on Friday blasted Republicans who sought emergency federal aid to large businesses to prevent them from going bankrupt.

That makes up a $500 billion pot of money within the legislation. The government will inject around $60 billion of it into the airline industry, which critics derided as a bailout of companies that enjoyed hefty profit margins for years.

Holtz-Eakin pushed back on the idea it constituted a bailout, saying the money was equivalent to putting companies on "life-support."

"There's no evidence of mismanagement, bad products, poor practices, malfeasance," he said. "These were perfectly sound companies operating responsibly with good labor forces and they got hit by a virus."

'This is a drop in the bucket for what we need'

States and municipal governments received $150 billion in new federal funding in the relief bill to fight the outbreak. But they're likely to need "another trip to the stimulus well," Bernstein said.

Many states are expected to get economically slammed as a surge of people seek unemployment benefits and tax revenue drops due to lower business activity.

"States can't run budget deficits," Bernstein said, adding, "they depend on the federal government at a time like this."

Constructing new mechanisms to dispense benefits and enforce new programs touching nearly every aspect of American society could also prove an administrative challenge for the Trump administration — one that will determine whether the law is successful.

New York has emerged as an epicenter of the outbreak, registering over 44,000 coronavirus cases — or 7% of the global total — on Friday. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has already criticized the bill, saying the $3.5 billion allocated for the state is nowhere near enough to address the emergency.

"This is a drop in the bucket for what we need," Cuomo said.

Democrats vowed on Friday to push for a fourth round of government aid to further expand benefits for workers and provide more funding for hospitals. But it was not readily apparent that Republicans would sign onto the effort.

Read more: The 'trade of the century': 2 hedge-fund managers break down a simple investing strategy built to profit from wreckage caused by the coronavirus

Lim said another round of emergency relief would likely be more "targeted" instead of the fiscal bonanza of the $2 trillion legislation.

She expressed concern that traditional unemployment benefits — which vary from state to state — could leave out undocumented workers who make up a significant share of workers in the leisure and hospitality industry.

Lim said policymakers, though, will develop a firmer grasp of which workers are being financially ravaged by the pandemic after a month or so.

"We should understand a little bit more about where the health risk is and where the economic cost is greatest," she said.

Do you have a personal experience with the coronavirus you’d like to share? Or a tip on how your town or community is handling the pandemic? Please email [email protected] and tell us your story.

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10 successful startups founded during 2008 Great Recession

How badly has coronavirus hurt the economy?

Director of economic policy studies at AEI, Michael Strain, discusses how much more financial damage the coronavirus pandemic can wreak on our economy and how much longer America can remain at a standstill before the lockdown becomes worse than the virus itself.

American workers took a hard hit after the 2008 recession, but a wave of new startups emerged from the financial downturn.

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Amid a coronavirus shutdown that pushed 3.28 million people to file unemployment claims in one week, many are expecting the world to be forever changed after the pandemic, which may mean more opportunities for entrepreneurs with ideas for tools and services that can help people adapt to new trends.

A person wearing protective masks due to coronavirus fears walks past a boarded up business in Philadelphia, on March 24. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Ken Lin founded personal finance company Credit Karma in the middle of the 2008 recession.

"As the recession took hold, the economy was tough, funding was scarce and there was widespread distrust from consumers," Lin told FOX Business. "I learned in those early days to focus on the long-term. Building and scaling an impactful business requires a drive beyond making money. Having the passion to deliver on your company's purpose will fuel you through the trying times."

US WILL BE REOPENED FROM CORONAVIRUS SHUTDOWN RESPONSIBLY: MIKE PENCE

Lin said there is "never a perfect time to start a company," and it's important to "allocate resources" from the outset.

The Credit Karma founder also said there have been many times over the years during which his company had to choose between doing the right thing for its members or increasing its bottom line, and it always chose its members.

"This is an unprecedented time and all Americans are being impacted — some more severely than others. … As a business owner, your customers and their trust are paramount. You need to be willing to sacrifice short term profit gains to protect your customer," he said.

The founders of some of today's most major companies did exactly that between 2008 and 2010.

WhatsApp, 2009

Yahoo veterans Jan Koum and Brian Acton created encrypted messaging app WhatsApp in 2009 as a way for people around the world to message each other quickly.

(iStock)

The app gained popularity in countries that do not have access to the same cell network capabilities as the U.S. because it can operate on Wi-Fi.

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Facebook purchased the app, which now has more than 2 billion global users, for a jaw-dropping $19 billion in 2014.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
FB FACEBOOK INC. 156.79 -6.55 -4.01%

Venmo, 2009

College friends Iqram Magdon-Ismail and Andrew Kortina launched digital payment app Venmo in 2009 as a way for peers to exchange cash digitally and without lofty transfer fees.

In this photo illustration, the Venmo logo is seen displayed on an Android mobile phone. (Photo Illustration by Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Payment processor Braintree bought Venmo for $26 milllion in 2012, and digital payment giant PayPal then acquired Braintree for $300 million in 2013.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
PYPL PAYPAL HOLDINGS INC. 93.48 -7.15 -7.11%

Groupon, 2008

Entrepreneur Andrew Mason founded Groupon, a website that promotes companies by offering deals on their products and services to consumers, in the middle of the 2008 recession.

"During a difficult time, Groupon was able to deliver performance-based marketing solutions to connect businesses and brands with their customers," Stephen George, who was one of Groupon's first five employees in 2008 and is now the CEO of experimental marketing platform Surkus, told FOX Business.

Rich Williams, CEO of Groupon in 2016. (Ashlee Espinal / CNBC / Groupon)

"With discounts, incentives and product discovery, Groupon provided a way for companies to get exposure and consumers to ease back into discretionary spending. In times of market uncertainty, technology companies that provide efficiency, cost-savings and transparent value to all parties are the ones that thrive," he said.

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The company is valued at $726 million.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
GRPN GROUPON INC. 1.28 +0.26 +25.49%

Instagram, 2010

Engineers Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger created Instagram in 2010 as a visuals-focused form of social media that is centered around images and videos.

The social media app now has more than 400 employees, according to its About page, and more than 120 million users.

Facebook bought the app in 2012 for $1 billion.

Uber, 2009

Businessmen Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp founded Uber in 2009 after they couldn't find a taxi ride on a cold night in Paris.

The rideshare giant has since expanded internationally across various platforms, including food delivery service, bike and scooter share service and temporary work staffing service.

(iStock)

Uber is valued at $47 billion.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
UBER UBER TECHNOLOGIES INC. 27.28 -0.84 -2.99%

Pinterest, 2010

Entrepreneurs Ben Silbermann, Evan Sharp and Paul Sciarra came together in 2010 to create Pinterest, a website and app that resembles a digital scrapbook.

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More than 300 million people use the platform every month, according to Pinterest's About page.

Evan Sharp, Pinterest co-founder and chief product officer, poses for a photo beside a wall of pegs symbolizing the company logo at Pinterest headquarters in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

The company is valued at $8.6 billion.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
PINS PINTEREST INC. 14.94 -0.26 -1.71%

Slack, 2009

Photo website Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield created Slack, a work messaging app, in 2009.

Slack has experienced a huge increase in demand since the COVID-19 outbreak led more companies and businesses to send employees home, according to a March 25 tweet threat from Butterfield.

"When the possibility of millions of deaths is slowly starting to sink in, it’s hard to say an otherwise normal CEO thing like 'the macro environment is creating significant tailwinds for the business,' and it felt completely impossible to extrapolate out from this present moment," Butterfield tweeted.

He added in a later tweet that at the end of the third and fourth quarters of 2019, Slack "added around 5,000 net new paid customers." By late March, halfway through the first quarter of 2020, the app "had added 7,000," and by Tuesday, it "crossed the 9,000 mark."

Slack is valued at $15.9 billion.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
WORK SLACK TECHNOLOGIES INC. 28.58 +0.10 +0.35%

Square, 2009

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and businessman Jim McKelvey started Square, a merchant services and mobile payment service, in 2009.

The platform is used by more than 30 million companies to complete financial transactions.

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Square is currently valued at more than $23 billion.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
SQ SQUARE INC COM 53.34 -2.69 -4.80%

GV, 2009

Venture capitalist Bill Maris founded GV, formerly Google Ventures, the venture capital arm of Alphabet Inc., in 2009.

GV has invested in a number of startups that were also founded during or directly after the 2008 recession including Uber, Slack and Cloudera.

A woman walks below a Google sign on the campus in Mountain View, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

The firm says it manages more than $4.5 billion.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
GOOGL ALPHABET INC. 1,110.26 -52.66 -4.53%

Cloudera, 2008

Google, Yahoo! and Facebook engineers Christophe Bisciglia, Amr Awadallah and Jeff Hammerbacher created Cloudera in 2008.

The Silicon Valley-based software company and data warehouse is currently valued at more than $2 billion.

Cloudera office in Palo Alto / Cloudera

The company is valued at $2.2 billion.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
CLDR CLOUDERA INC 7.81 -0.35 -4.29%

"The pandemic we are dealing with is sending ripples throughout the business world," Lin said. "When we start to rebuild, there are a few trends I hope will continue."

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"We're seeing companies prioritizing doing good over profit and captains of industry are leveraging their strengths to aid the current situation with the strongest example being Dyson building respirators. And as employees are kept out of work, companies are ensuring their workers are taken care of, whether they are working or not. It's the right thing to do and that's a trend that is long overdue."

A number of major companies and businesspeople have partnered up in efforts to produce and donate resources from cash to ventilators as the country's health care infrastructure struggles to keep up with the virus.

Work-from-home apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, social media apps, food delivery services from Blue Apron to GrubHub, telehealth apps and online education resources have become major contributors to society in just months, starting trends that may continue into the future.

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This post contains material from a previous FOX Business article.

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Coronavirus | Why has the stock market been so volatile?

How long will the bear phase last?

The story so far: On Friday, even after the Reserve Bank of India announced a slew of measures to boost the economy in the time of a pandemic, shares fell 1% to close at 29,416 points. The stock market has seen a lot of volatility with the benchmark Sensex having fallen as much as almost 40% from the highs it touched in January.

Where was the Sensex in January?

On January 20, the Sensex touched an all time intra-day record high of 42,274 from where it fell a massive 16,635 points to touch a 52-week intra-day low of 25,639 points on March 24. This assumes significance as a fall of over 20% is typically looked upon as a bear phase in the markets. While the 30-share barometer has recovered 4,177 points or 16% from the lows, it is still experiencing a lot of volatility with underlying weakness. Incidentally, the India VIX index, which is considered a measure of near-term volatility in the market, has surged more than six times this year, rising from 11.7 in December to the current levels of 70.4. The intensity of the fall can be further gauged from the fact that the current month has seen the indices hitting their lower circuit breaker of 10% on two occasions while registering some of the biggest single-day falls as well.

What is the reason for the huge plunge?

The single biggest reason of the ongoing volatility and fall is the global coronavirus pandemic. In India, the number of coronavirus cases stand at a shade below 1,000 (as on March 28) even as the country is in the midst of a 21-day lockdown as part of the government’s attempts to curb the spread. The pandemic has led to concerns that global economic growth will get deeply affected. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has already said that the world has entered a recession that is as bad or worse as 2008 when the global financial crisis happened. In India, investor concerns have led to foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) selling equities worth nearly ₹60,000 crore in the current month, the highest ever single month sales by overseas investors.

Is selling happening across all sectors?

An across-the-board selling frenzy has gripped the markets with no sector insulated from the sell-off. Banking and financials, however, have borne the brunt as investors believe that the economic impact of the pandemic will lead to a rise in bad debts of such entities. Sector heavyweights such as HDFC, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, State Bank of India, IndusInd Bank and Bajaj Finance, all part of the Sensex, have fallen significantly with some currently trading near multi-year lows. Automobile stocks have also been among the worst hit as most plants are shut on account of the lockdown. Some of the pharmaceutical and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) stocks have been able to stem the fall to a limited extent though they are currently significantly lower compared to their highs.

Is anything being done to address investor concerns?

Globally, governments and regulators are taking initiatives in the form of stimulus measures to support the economy. For instance, the U.S. Senate and House have approved a $2-trillion coronavirus relief package. Earlier, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced a $700-billion stimulus package. In India, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) reduced the key interest rate sharply by 75 basis points and allowed equated monthly instalments (EMIs) to be deferred by three months. The repo rate has been reduced by 75 bps while the reverse repo rate has been cut by 90 bps. Further, the cash reserve ratio has also been reduced that will release ₹1.37-lakh crore liquidity. Cumulatively, the RBI measures will lead to an infusion of ₹3.74-lakh crore into the banking system. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), on its part, has relaxed many compliance requirements while tightening the norms for short selling and margins to ensure the smooth functioning of the equity markets.

What is the outlook?

The consensus estimate is pessimistic due to the lack of any positive triggers. While policy makers worldwide are trying to provide stimulus, the uncertainty around the pandemic has made investors risk averse. They feel that since the current crisis is not due to a liquidity crunch, as was the case during the Lehman crisis, it is difficult to counter it with mere liquidity infusion. Most analysts expect the pandemic to affect corporate earnings over the next few quarters. Global financial major Morgan Stanley has lowered its year-end Sensex target by a little over 11% to 32,000, from the earlier 36,000, even as it believes that the current bear phase in the stock market is close to its bottom. Analysts are unanimous in their view that the pandemic will hit India’s growth rate and hence risky assets like equities are seeing a sell-off from investors across categories.

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Coronavirus has changed our world. Here's how to keep your job in the months ahead

US unemployment claims soar as coronavirus slams economy

Last week’s jobless claims hit a record-breaking 3.28 million. FOX Business’ Lauren Simonetti with more.

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Would anyone have ever seen March 2020 coming?

Very few.

WHAT SOCIAL DISTANCING CAN TEACH RETAILERS

Which businesses will live to see March 2021? Hopefully a lot, but certainly not all.

So who will survive? How do you survive? How do you prepare for a future nobody saw coming? Here’s what I’m seeing:

The future belongs to the agile.

Yes, the future hinges on resources—whether they be from a government bailout, cash reserves or good fortune. But if there’s a single lesson I’m learning from the train wreck of this month, it’s that the landscape is changing faster than ever, agility is the key to survival, and that maintaining agility gets harder every day.

Not long ago, I came home from a run and decided to get some stretching in, since I’m moving toward an age where that’s mandatory.

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As I struggled to reach my toes, my toddler came into the room, saw me, proceeded to tie herself into a human pretzel (as only a toddler can do), laughed at me and left the room. After I got over being humiliated by a 3-year-old, it dawned on me,

“Every day I am alive, I get less flexible.”

For my own sake and the sake of my businesses, I have decided to declare war on that truth. And you should too, particularly given the new reality of a COVID-19 world.

It’s an uphill battle. Even the best entrepreneurs fall prey to losing their agility. Given the rate of change in our world, that’s a problem. Just over 40 years ago, nobody had even heard of a Sony Walkman. Now, some of those reading this article will have to Google that term to see what the forerunner to the iPod was. The irreplaceable iPhone? It’s less than 14 years old. Uber? Not even 12 years old.

I’ve long believed that the No. 1 quality that separates the very best entrepreneurs and team members from the rest is agility – the ability to change with the times, shift at a moment’s notice, and pivot when needed.

It’s not something that can be taught. Even worse, it’s a quality that naturally atrophies over time, not just within ourselves, but also in our organizations.

Whether you’re talking about an entrepreneurial spirit or a growing business, everyone has a harder time being agile as time marches on.

DESPITE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC COMPANIES ARE STILL HIRING

So what do we do to fight off the atrophy? I’ve had the opportunity to interview thousands of candidates for jobs, as well as sit elbow-to-elbow with some of the best leaders and smartest entrepreneurs of our day. Here are some of the lessons I’m learning from them in my fight to maintain my agility.

1. Stay personally agile

I used to think stretching was a waste of time, and time is too precious to waste. Turns out I was wrong. Stretching actually gives you more time.

Many studies have shown that regular stretching can have an anti-aging effect and can have an ROI of extra days added to your life. But don’t just stretch your body, stretch your mind. Apps like Lumosity offer quick daily mental challenges that will keep your mind flexible. Doing sudoku before bed (but not in my bed) keeps my problem-solving gears well-oiled. Given that nearly half of Americans have been ordered to stay inside right now, stretching the body and mind might be more critical than ever.

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As a leader in your home or work, if people on your team see you as a regular stretcher, it will inspire them to do more on their own. If you are stretching and showing more flexibility than younger people around you, you’ll stoke a fire in your company to get serious about staying flexible.

2. Stay organizationally agile

We get less flexible every day. In other words, we calcify. And once a person, and especially an organization, begins to calcify, the days of growth and innovation are numbered. This is a real danger for our company. We are at the front of our industry, but only as long as we continue to innovate.

In the days of living with COVID-19, the necessity of fighting the virus has been the mother of invention in companies everywhere. Teams are being forced to do work remotely, to throw away old methods, and try new technology.

School systems that have put off going remote are having to learn new ways. And I believe that many of the very real, but short term pain of these changes will end up being a long-term win for organizational agility.

How are you leveraging this moment to try new methods?

We purposefully wage war on calcification at our company. One of our nine core values is “Ever-Increasing Agility,”  and we talk about those values at every meeting, thanks to a great lesson from the management team at the Ritz-Carlton. We use the hashtag #EverIncreasingAgility in our emails to highlight someone’s ability to pivot. Because of this war on calcification, you never hear the phrase, “that’s the way we’ve always done it” in our office. And because of that commitment, our team was able to move to remote work with a flip of a switch.

3. Keep company with the agile

Maybe you don’t remember the stretchy superhero. He was as flexible as can be and could stretch for what seemed like miles. And I’d love to be his friend.

The level of the company you keep determines the level of your success. This is true on both a personal level and a professional level.

I’ve learned that if I surround myself with agile people, I think younger, faster and better. That’s been the best benefit of working on a team that is predominantly millennials.

It’s why I (used to) fly from Houston to Atlanta to be around the CEOs in The Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs.

What are you doing to surround yourself with the most pliant, agile people you can find? If you will, you’ll get more flexible instead of less.

In any organization, the same truth holds. Everything rises and falls on the team and agility is no exception. When hiring, be extraordinarily committed to hiring only people who show tremendous agility.

At our office, we incorporate questions about agility into our interviewing process. And the more we hire team members who can pivot, the more our team improves.

4. Reward agility

Peter Drucker is credited with saying, “What’s measured improves.” How can you set measurements for your stretching?

On a personal level, it might be the literal measurement of how far you can stretch your body. It might be setting goals for trying a certain number of new things each year. If you measure it, you’ll see yourself reverse the aging and calcification process.

At our office, we do an annual fitness challenge. Now, we are doing it virtually. And yes, even now, because mental and physical fitness may be more important than ever.

Last year, we included a mind-strengthening challenge with the app Lumosity. We gave the biggest prize to the individuals who showed the most improvement of their mental agility during the challenge.

We also measure creativity and keep count of new ideas as we strive for #EverIncreasingAgility. And we use our core values in our staff reviews to assess compensation.

How can you set measurable goals for your team’s flexibility? Measure it, and it will improve. Improve, and your team will have a real advantage as the landscape changes in the future.

5. Beware of SOS or "Shiny Object Syndrome"

Agility does not mean flighty vision. The future belongs to those who remain stubborn about their vision, but stretchy when it comes to methods.

A natural consequence of stretching is the temptation to lose focus on your company’s key offering. The panic of COVID-19 has likely tempted a lot of leaders to consider whole new ventures.

I call this dark side of the entrepreneurial spirit SOS, or "shiny object syndrome."

Too often, businesses start out strong but try to expand their offerings in directions that do not align with the business’ core mission.

I experienced this firsthand in the early days of starting the Vanderbloemen Search Group. Early on, we were asked to expand our offerings to include vision consulting, and because it was a fascinating opportunity, we looked into it.

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We were also asked to do real estate mergers for large churches, which piqued my curiosity. But thanks to some wise direction from a consultant, we drilled down on the singular focus of helping faith-based organizations build their best team ever. Having that singular focus has acted as an anchor for us as we’ve grown.

I’m still working on touching my toes, but I’m getting a little better every day. It makes me feel and act younger and makes me run better and faster. The same can be true for you and for your company.

Declare war on losing agility. Stretch yourself and stretch your team. You will find your success stretching farther, faster, and longer than you ever thought possible, no matter how much the world changes.

William Vanderbloemen is the CEO of Vanderbloemen, which serves teams with a greater purpose by aligning their people solutions for growth: hiring, compensation, succession and culture. Through its retained executive search and consulting services, Vanderbloemen serves churches, schools, nonprofits, family offices, and Christian businesses in all parts of the United States and internationally. Follow him on Twitter @wvanderbloemen.

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Dozens Clash on Hubei Border After China Lifts Virus Quarantine

Dozens of people clashed on the Hubei border after the Chinese government lifted a two-month quarantine on the epicenter of the country’s coronavirus outbreak, highlighting the challenges of undoing the unprecedented measures taken to contain the disease.

The conflict began Friday morning on a bridge connecting Hubei and neighboring Jiangxi province as policemen from both sides argued over how to verify if people were allowed to enter Jiangxi, according to local media reports.

Videos of the incident that circulated online showed a chaotic scene as citizens from Hubei joined the fracas, standing on police cars and overturning vehicles. One clip showed the Hubei residents demanding an apology from the Jiangxi police for setting up a checkpoint on the border.

Ma Yanzhou, the highest-ranking Communist Party official in the Hubei county involved, was seen shouting into the crowd with a megaphone in an attempt to calm people. Order resumed on the bridge at about 5 p.m. on Friday, according to Beijing News.






The two counties on either side of the clash issued a joint statement on Saturday, saying checkpoints between them would be removed and no special documentation would be needed to cross.

The heightened tensions underscore the pent-up frustrations of people released from lockdowns and the discrimination they may face reintegrating into communities. Hubei residents endured weeks of being cut off from the rest of China before the quarantine was lifted on Wednesday, while many outside the province still fear people who are arriving from there could bring the highly contagious pathogen with them.

On Saturday, state-run People’s Daily posted a commentary on its app admonishing those involved in the clash, saying that placing restrictions on or singling out Hubei natives “hurt their feelings.”

Read more: China to Lift Lockdown Over Virus Epicenter Wuhan on April 8

“We should show good rapport with Hubei people when they are returning to work,” the article said. “The reason is simple — they are our compatriots.”

Hubei reported that new infections dropped to zero on March 19, a dramatic plunge from the height of an epidemic that’s infected more than 80,000 Chinese and killed over 3,200. But with the virus accelerating its spread globally and local media reporting that unrecorded cases are being discovered daily in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, China is struggling to balance the risk of a second wave of infections with easing restrictions so that its economy can get back on track.

From Jan. 23, China locked down Wuhan and its surrounding areas, effectively restricting the movements of 60 million people. The measures stopped air and rail travel and restricted those who could leave by car, while harsher measures banned large gatherings and sought to keep residents in their homes.

Some critics saw the quarantine as a heavy-handed approach following earlier failures to act quickly enough to stem the spread. As the virus spread globally, other countries including Italy, the Philippines and India have begun nationwide lockdowns.

Though Hubei’s quarantine may have averted hundreds of thousands of cases, according to the World Health Organization, it put coronavirus patients in the province at a much higher mortality rate than other regions. Hospitals were overwhelmed by patients and suffered a dearth of supplies, forcing them to turn away people with other critical illnesses.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who claimed personal responsibility for the decision to lock down Hubei, urged officials to help the province get back to normal quickly during a visit to Wuhan earlier this month.

Hubei last week started allowing some residents in lower-risk areas to leave the province for work. Wuhan was excluded from the relaxed rules. People have to get a “green code” certification proving they are in good health in order to leave, though specific requirements for traveling domestically are still unclear.

— With assistance by Sharon Chen

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Trump Seeks Advice From Fink, Wall Street as Outbreak Worsens

President Donald Trump said he’s consulting with Larry Fink, BlackRock’s chief executive officer, and other Wall Street executives as the White House considers how to assist companies amid the worsening coronavirus outbreak.

“People like Larry Fink we’re talking to, that’s BlackRock — we have the smartest people, and they all want to do it,” Trump told reporters Friday at the White House. “This, to them, they love this country, they all want to do it, so we’re speaking to people like that and they’ll be able to work it out.”

Trump made the comments about assistance from Wall Street after describing the financial peril faced by airlines, including Delta Air Lines Inc. and United Airlines Holdings Inc.

Trump signed the largest stimulus package in U.S. history on Friday, a $2 trillion bill intended to rescue the coronavirus-battered economy.

The measure provides a massive injection of loans, tax breaks and direct payments to large corporations, small businesses and individuals whose revenue and income have plummeted under “social distancing” restrictions meant to slow the virus’ spread.

The U.S. has become the worldwide epicenter of the pandemic, with more than 100,000 people infected as of Friday, surpassing China.

Trump has raised the prospect of easing coronavirus restrictions on most Americans by the Easter holiday after a record 3.3 million Americans had filed for unemployment.

Federal officials are considering a plan to rank U.S. counties as low, medium, or high risk, with the hope of providing state and local officials corresponding guidance for what distancing measures they should implement — and which can be lifted and where.

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One Corner of U.S. Oil Market Has Already Seen Negative Prices

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In an obscure corner of the American physical oil market, crude prices have turned negative — producers are actually paying consumers to take away the black stuff.

The first crude stream to turn upside down was Wyoming Asphalt Sour, a dense oil used mostly to produce paving bitumen. Mercuria Energy Group Ltd., a trading house, bid negative 19 cents per barrel in mid-March for the crude, effectively asking producers to pay for the luxury of getting rid of their output.

“These are landlocked crude with just no buyers,” said Elisabeth Murphy, an analyst at consultant ESAI Energy. “In areas where storage is filling up quickly, prices could go negative. Shut-ins are likely to happen by then.”

Brent and West Texas Intermediate, the benchmarks closely followed in Wall Street, are hovering above $20 a barrel. But in the world of physical oil — where actual barrels change hands — producers are getting much less as demand plunges due to the lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus.






Oil traders believe other crude streams are likely to see negative prices soon at the well-head as refiners reduce the amount of crude they process, leaving some landlocked crude without easy access to pipeline trapped.

Several crude grades in North American are already trading inside the single digit territory as the market tries to force some output to shut-in. Canadian Western Select, the benchmark price for the giant oil-sands industry in Canada, fell to $4.58 a barrel on Friday. Southern Green Canyon in the Gulf of Mexico is worth $9.33 a barrel, Oklahoma Sour is changing hands at $6.75, Nebraska Intermediate at $9.75, while Wyoming Sweet prices at $4 a barrel.

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Eli Lilly CEO: Developing potential coronavirus treatment at 'lightning speed’

Eli Lilly CEO: Developing antibody coronavirus therapy

Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks on partnering with AbCellera to co-develop a coronavirus therapy to help people who are sick or at risk and drug supply chains.

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Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks said the pharmaceutical industry is working at "lightning speed" to develop a coronavirus treatment, and that Lilly is doing its part by collaborating with biotechnology firm AbCellera to create an antibody therapy to treat COVID-19.

"Across the industry … everybody is working around the clock, and I think at lightning speed and in ways we never have before," Ricks told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Friday.

CORONAVIRUS 'SOCIAL DISTANCING' GETTING NEW GUIDELINES FROM TRUMP ADMINISTRATION

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LLY ELI LILLY & COMPANY 130.74 -3.61 -2.69%

Ricks said the potential treatment would work by acquiring a blood sample from some of the early survivors of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and isolating antibodies, which is the way the body attacks viruses and infusing them into people who are sick.

“It’s an exciting approach and one of many approaches across the industry to help with this horrible situation,” he said.

Employees of Eli Lilly prepare to start drive-thru testing for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, to Indianapolis area healthcare workers at the company headquarters in Indianapolis, Monday, March 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

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Ricks said the hope is to begin clinical trials as early as this summer and if that goes well, production would be expanded to use the potential treatment to help people who are sick. If production is expanded enough, he added, it can be used prophylactically to help those who are at risk.

Ricks said the potential treatment has not yet been studied in humans but is hopeful it could be fast-tracked.

"Drug development usually takes about 15 years from idea to the market," he said. "Here, we're talking about something like six to nine months."

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Bill Gates: State-by-state shutdown won't work

A version of this story first appeared in CNN Business’ Before the Bell newsletter. Not a subscriber? You can sign up right here.

London (CNN Business)Enthusiasm over record amounts of stimulus from governments and central banks has resulted in a three-day rally for US stocks, pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average into a new bull market.

You read that correctly: The Dow has rallied more than 20% from recent lows, technically ending the bear market it entered on March 11.
But massive uncertainty over the trajectory of the coronavirus pandemic remains — making it hard to cheer the gains without apprehension about what’s still to come.

    “We aren’t out of the woods quite yet,” tweeted Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial. He pointed out that the bear market in 2008 and 2009 saw a 27% rally before falling 56%.
    One big problem is investors still have no real insight into how corporate earnings will fare as large swaths of the world are locked down without an exit strategy, despite President Donald Trump’s desire to have the US economy up and running by Easter.

    “If you believe the economy will be [opening] back up soon, buy stocks now,” Nick Raich, CEO of The Earnings Scout, told clients Thursday. “However, if shutdowns persist into May and June, stock prices will need to reset even lower to reflect even more lost growth.”
    Bespoke Investment Group notes that volatility remains “extremely high,” while US oil has been sitting out the rally. West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark US contract, is trading below $23 per barrel, down 64% from its high in early January.
    “Oil isn’t the economic lynchpin it used to be, but it can’t be a good sign for the global economy if that asset is stuck in the low-$20s even as risk appetite recovers,” the research firm said.
    Excitement over the stimulus tsunami is already starting to wane. Dow futures are down more than 400 points, or 2.4%, while Europe’s Stoxx 600 index was 2.7% lower in early trading.
    Soon, investors will start demanding signs of progress in containing the virus, said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management. The United States now has more known novel coronavirus cases than China and Italy.
    “More success at a national level needs to become evident in Europe within the next week, and in the US within the next two weeks,” for UBS to feel good about its current predictions, Haefele told clients Thursday.

    The bill for saving the world economy is $7 trillion and rising

    The United States, Europe, Japan, China and India are unleashing trillions of dollars in government spending and newly created money as they desperately attempt to keep the global economy from sinking into depression.
    House set to vote Friday on $2 trillion stimulus as coronavirus crisis worsens
    Know this: The response to the coronavirus pandemic has been unprecedented in terms of speed and scale. Commitments from governments and central banks to date are close to $7 trillion, according to an analysis by CNN Business. The total includes government spending, loan guarantees and tax breaks, as well as money printing by central banks to buy assets such as bonds and stock funds.
    The figure includes the $2 trillion US relief package working its way through Congress and 30 trillion yen ($274 billion) in stimulus from Japan that could be approved next month. In Europe, CNN Business tallied stimulus efforts by the biggest economies: Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain.
    The combined effort dwarfs the response to the 2008 financial crisis, which smashed records at the time. But economists worry even the Herculean efforts undertaken so far won’t be sufficient should the crisis extend beyond June.
    “The [$2 trillion US] stimulus package is likely the bare minimum needed to offset the current drag from the outbreak,” Bank of America economist Joseph Song told clients Thursday. “The economy will likely need close $3 [trillion] in fiscal stimulus, if not more.”

    US life has changed dramatically. Here’s proof

    What does the world look like when cities and town rapidly shut down in an extraordinary attempt to control a deadly pandemic? Morgan Stanley is using real-time data on traffic and pollution to find out.
    The investment bank said in a research note this week that it had observed “clear signs that consumer behavior in the US has already changed drastically.”
    The metrics: On Wednesday, March 18, rush-hour traffic moved 36% faster than normal as roads cleared out, according to INRIX, an analytics firm. Researchers at Columbia University report that emissions of carbon monoxide over New York City have declined more than 50% below typical levels.
    In Seattle, the number of trips downtown during the morning rush hour declined nearly 40% by March 8. Traffic on Saturdays has been lower, too.
    Another sign of change: Deutsche Bank’s Torsten Slok points out that the number of passengers traveling through US airports this past Tuesday was 10% of normal in March.

    Up next

    The US House of Representatives will convene at 9 a.m. ET on Friday to consider the record-breaking $2 trillion relief package.
    Also today:

      • US personal income and spending data for February arrives at 8:30 a.m. ET.
      • The final reading of the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment survey for March posts at 10 a.m. ET.

      Coming next week: Bad news on the employment front is expected to continue with the US jobs report for March. Economists surveyed by Refinitiv predict that the US employers cut 293,000 jobs from payrolls.
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