Good morning.

I received an email yesterday from Karlyn Bowman of the American Enterprise Institute, who is one of the most reliable analysts of polling data I know, pointing out an interesting trend in recent tracking polls. Across a variety of them—Axios/Ipsos, Gallup, Harris—employers are consistently getting kudos for their performance during the pandemic.

The Axios/Ipsos poll, for instance, asked people how much trust they had in various organizations “to look out for the best interests of you and your family.” In its latest wave, 72% said they had either “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in their employer, compared to 60% for local government, 53% for state government, and 34% for the federal government. The employer result has remained above 70% since March, while all levels of government have seen sharp declines. And in the Gallup poll, 77% gave their employer strong … Read the rest

The traditional mass return to the workplace failed to materialise in London on Tuesday, with passenger numbers on the tube and buses rising more slowly than usual for the end of summer.

Transport for London reported 8% more tube entries and exits, and 6% more bus journeys, in the morning rush hour compared with a week ago.

But with traffic normally rising sharply in September, London Underground passenger numbers were 72% below pre-Covid levels – a worse proportion than the 70% drop last week – while bus usage were 53% below 2019 levels.

Figures for national rail passengers were yet to be collated, with some operators anecdotally reporting slight rises but no step-change.

Rail operators are planning to add more trains to the timetable next week, and will be looking nervously at the figures. Industry sources said there was frustration that ministers had not unequivocally asked people to travel and … Read the rest

This is the web version of the Bull Sheet, Fortune’s no-BS daily newsletter on the markets. Sign up to receive it in your inbox here.

Good morning, Bull Sheeters. European stocks and U.S. futures are climbing again as a host of economic indicators point to an improving economic outlook and a recovering labor market. The S&P 500, meanwhile, is well on pace to score its greatest rally of all time.

Let’s see where investors are putting their money.

Markets update


  • The major Asia indexes are mixed in afternoon trading, with Japan’s Nikkei up nearly 0.5%.
  • Saudi Aramco shares are down 0.9% in morning trade. That’s after a report that Saudi crude imports to the U.S. hit a 35-year low in August.
  • Australia managed to dodge recession during the global financial crisis, but it hasn’t been so lucky this time round, with GDP falling by a record 7%
Read the rest

Nearly one in four home purchases this year will be backed by the “bank of mum and dad” – up from fewer than one in five in 2019 – as buyers struggle with the economic fallout from the Covid-19 crisis.

Financial help provided by the bank of mum and dad, encompassing parents, grandparents, other family and friends, will be a driving force behind the recovery of Britain’s housing market. Those able to assist will lend an average of £20,000 towards a deposit on a home, said researchers from insurer Legal & General (L&G) and economics consultancy Cebr.

The coronavirus pandemic has compounded some of the challenges that first-time buyers were already facing.

Not only are many of them potentially facing an uncertain economic future, but mortgage lenders – worried about house prices and borrowers possibly falling into negative equity – have been withdrawing their low-deposit home loans. These are the … Read the rest

Claiming the mantle of the “law and order” candidate, President Donald Trump is offering himself as the leader best positioned to keep Americans safe, a day after Democratic rival Joe Biden assailed him over the deadly protests that have sprung up on his watch.

Trump is diving head-first into the latest eruption in the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice with a trip Tuesday—over the objections of local leaders—to Kenosha, Wisconsin, which has been riven by protests since the Aug. 23 shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, seven times in the back by police. Trump has defended a teenage supporter accused of fatally shooting two men in Kenosha last week and accused the former vice president of siding with “anarchists” and “rioters.”

Wisconsin’s Democratic governor, Tony Evers, who deployed the National Guard to quell demonstrations in response to the Blake shooting, pleaded with Trump to stay away for fear of … Read the rest

Pret a Manger is to cut nearly 2,900 jobs after the desertion of high streets due to the coronavirus pandemic sent its sales plummeting, fuelling concerns about the economic impact of sustained remote working.

Hours after the business lobby group the Confederation of British Industry warned that cities could become “ghost towns” unless the government acts, the sandwich chain said it had been ravaged by the loss of passing trade.

The group reopened 367 of its 410 UK shops last month but sales have been 60% lower than last year, leading to the expansion of a programme of cuts that was previously expected to affect 1,000 people, with 30 branches set to close.

Pret’s chief executive, Pano Christou, said: “I’m gutted that we’ve had to lose so many colleagues. Although we’re now starting to see a steady but slow recovery, the pandemic has taken away almost a decade of … Read the rest

Good morning. We’ve arrived at the final trading day of what’s been a historic August run on stocks. And the rally shows no signs of fading as Asian stocks, led by a bullish investment from Warren Buffett, push global equities into the green.

Let’s see where investors are putting their money.

Markets update


  • The major Asia indexes are mixed in afternoon trading, with Japan’s Nikkei leading the way, up 1.3%.
  • Japanese investors are cheering Warren Buffett this morning. His Berkshire Hathaway announced over the weekend it’s acquired stakes in five major Japanese trading companies, including Mitsubishi and Sumitomo Corp, worth $6 billion.
  • TikTok owner ByteDance says it will now abide by China’s updated technology export restrictions guidelines, making any potential sale of the viral video platform a bit more complicated transaction for an American suitor.


  • The European bourses opened in positive territory with Germany’s
Read the rest

Britain faces an unemployment crisis. Last week’s news of 7,000 job losses at Marks & Spencer was a cruel reminder of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. And more redundancies are on the horizon.

As news comes in each day of more companies laying off staff, alarm bells should be ringing in Downing Street. It is not enough for the chancellor to tell us to buckle up and prepare for hard times ahead. Without urgent action we face the prospect of mass unemployment on a scale not seen since the 1980s.

I was young during the 80s, and I remember the despair of people kicked out of work. I am glad that most people in the workforce now have never experienced that. I had hoped this country would never have to learn about it again: that young people wouldn’t experience the lifelong effects of being dumped out of the labour … Read the rest

No tech company from California’s famed startup basin, Silicon Valley, has gone public since last year. That could be because some high-profile 2019 Silicon Valley IPOs like Uber and Lyft flopped. But investors have short memories, and this week a half-dozen startups from the Valley filed to go public. About another half-dozen tech startups from other regions also announced their IPO plans this week.

Here are some key statistics and pros and cons investors may want to weigh vis-à-vis Palantir, Asana, Snowflake, and the rest of the upcoming class of late 2020 tech IPOs. Each company’s description includes a link to its S-1 filing. All financial data is from 2019 unless otherwise indicated.

Palantir Technologies

Symbol: PLTR
2019 revenue: $743 million
Revenue growth: 25%
Gross margin: 67%
Net loss: $580 million

Founded in 2003, Palantir created software to help defense and intelligence analysts sort through massive amounts of information … Read the rest

More than 3 in 4 managers in UK businesses feel that ‘collaborative’ workspaces are now be more suitable for their post-lockdown business models when compared to a fulltime staffed office, according to a new survey.

The study found that 77% agreed that more causal workspaces designed to facilitate meetings and collaborative working (such as a coworking space) would have significant advantages for their business over a fulltime, staffed office.

Just 7% of managers disagreed that they could see the benefits of a collaborative workspace over a fulltime office. The study comes as many businesses are making tough decisions about how their teams will operate in the future due to social distancing and the changed economic landscape.

The study also surveyed another 1,000 general workers at UK businesses to find out how employees have been coping with working at home through the pandemic. 56% said that the way in which their … Read the rest