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Samsung Profit Forecast Hints at a Limited Impact From Coronavirus

Samsung Electronic, a bellwether company for the electronics industry, delivered a profit forecast above analysts’ expectations Tuesday.

The 2.7% rise in first-quarter operating profits provides one of the first corporate indicators of how large an impact the coronavirus pandemic will have both on the global technology market and the broader economy.

The global shift to remote working lifted demand for Samsung-made memory chips that power data centers and cloud computing, analysts say.

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Got an Airplane in Your Portfolio? Get Ready for a Long Descent

Heard on the Street’s Jon Sindreu writes that aircraft values have plummeted since the start of the Covid-19 crisis, but likely have much further to fall.

Aircraft aren’t worth what they were just three months ago. This looks like just the beginning of a long, uncomfortable landing.

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Popular commercial-jet models have shed between 5% and 15% of their market value compared with the start of the year, fresh estimates by research firm Ishka suggest, with the wide-body Boeing BA 777 among the hardest hit. Judging by the combined 9/11 and SARS crisis of the early 2000s, when even Boeing’s bestselling 737 lost a quarter of its value, they could easily end up falling three times as far.

It may be a rude awakening for all the asset managers who tried to escape low interest rates by piling into apparently low-risk planes.

The unpleasant truth is that few aircraft will recover their value when the current crisis is over. Boeing’s decision this week to offer buyouts to employees may signify not just an effort to ride out the outbreak, but also a belief that plane production needs to be lower for years because demand for flying will take time to come back.

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China Travel Bookings Rise 50% Over Holiday

Travel bookings during China’s three-day tomb-sweeping holiday were up 50% from the weekend before, boosting beleaguered hotels and travel companies after two months of restrictions.

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The data from Trip.com, China’s largest company, showed that hotel bookings increased 60%. Fliggy, an online travel service operated by Alibaba Group Holding, said train reservations doubled and hotel bookings rose 30%.

“We are seeing signs of recovering now from the domestic market in China,” said Jane Sun, Trip.com’s chief executive. The company’s April tour bookings are three times the March number, according to a .


Some Landlords Say Only 25% of Paid April Rent

Some enclosed mall and shopping center landlords say only 25%-30% of their retail tenants have paid their April rents thus far, according to three owners with properties around the country. Many centers have closed, either voluntarily or by local mandates to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Landlords say tenants such as banks, pharmacies and grocery stores have paid their rents, but they are having a hard time with other discretionary tenants, some of which have the balance sheet strength to pay their rents.

Tenants are typically given a grace period of about five to 10 days to make good on their rents before the landlord sends a letter notifying them that they have defaulted on their rent obligations.

Companies continue to tighten information-technology budgets, rolling back spending on new hires, software and hardware, as they contend with a drop in business caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In March, U.S. employers cut 19,000 information-technology jobs, even as more businesses have come to rely on tech support for remote-work, e-commerce and other business continuity tools, IT trade group said in a report Friday.

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Based on an analysis of the latest Labor Department data, the report also found:

  • The March data follows a slowdown in February, when when employers added 40,000 new IT jobs, down from 370,000 in January.
  • The unemployment rate for IT jobs held roughly steady at 2.4%, compared with 4.4% for all occupations.
  • The number of job postings for IT positions last month remained roughly unchanged, at about 359,000, with most openings specifying remote work as a requirement.
  • By contrast, demand was down for project managers and software developers—a category that includes workers with skills in and other advanced capabilities.