Financial Daily Dose 3.19.2020 | Top Story: Second COVID-19 Relief Package Now Law But Market Chaos Remains

columns of courthouse or government building

Late action by the Senate to pass a second COVID-19 relief package (that the White House soon signed) may [key word may] help markets yo-yo back upward today after a dismal Wednesday driven by crazy-low oil prices (West Texas Intermediate at just $21/barrel) and a spate of automaker factory closings – NYTimes and WSJ and Marketplace and Law360

More government assistance appears to be in the works, with Congress and the White House weighing a remarkable $2 trillion in bailout proposals that could provide “direct payments to individuals and small businesses, along with aid for airlines and other affected industries” in an attempt to blunt the effects of an unprecedented economic and health crisis – NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and Law360

Battered by a failed first attempt at reassuring trouble European economies, the European Central Bank has kicked off a new set of stimulus measures (including massive bond purchasing) to counteract the economic impact to the Eurozone caused by the pandemic – NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch

For its part, the Federal Reserve has announced a new lending facility “to backstop the money-market mutual-fund sector” as part of the expanding scope of its efforts to “calm turmoil sparked by the novel coronavirus epidemic” – WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch

Among other things, the coronavirus outbreak has laid bare the dangers of the U.S.’s embrace of the gig economy in recent years—especially for workers with “few protections like guaranteed wages, sick pay and health care, which are benefits that are critical in a crisis” – NYTimes

So, what to do? The Dealbook, building on the lessons of the Great Recession, thinks that a no-interest “bridge loan” for all American businesses and self-employed/gig worker is the only way to go – NYTimes

We hesitate to even discuss it, but yeah, there’s definitely a correlation between bear markets and recessions. So, you know, buckle up – NYTimes

Keep an eye on major U.S hedge funds—including Bridgewater, Citadel, and Millennium—in the coming weeks and months.  A COVID19-driven rush of redemptions, especially from sovereign wealth, is hitting at the same time as massive volatility and a full-on credit crunch, and the results for these funds could be devastating – WSJ

Are ventilators the new Sherman tanks and B-24 bombers of this global war against COVID-19? They might be, if Mary Barra has her way – Bloomberg

Amidst all of this mess, federal and state banking regulators have given Square the okay to proceed with opening a bank in Utah—a move nearly 3 years in the making for the fintech company that’s received major opposition from “some bank lobbyists and community groups, who objected to Square’s decision to pursue a charter for a so-called industrial loan company,” which are exempt from Federal Reserve oversight – WSJ and Law360

In a closely watched case, Delaware’s Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed a Chancery Court decision and held that state corporation law provides “flexibility and wide discretion” for “organizing, governing and financing businesses,” thus allowing companies to adopt federal forum selection clauses for Securities Act litigation – Law360

Diversion’s the name of the game these days, no? How about a hop across the pond for one of the UK’s driest wits, Richard Ayoade, who’s joined for this episode of his Travel Man series by the always delightful Paul Rudd for an unconventional 48 hours in Finland. I mean, why not – TravelMan

Stay safe,

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