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Credit…Jerry Garrett for The New York Times
After several years of rapid growth, Tesla’s sales in the United States appear to have slowed in 2020, partly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to fresh data on new-car registrations.
In 22 states that represent about 65 percent of the new-vehicle market, 130,844 new Teslas were registered last year, an increase of less than 2 percent from 2019, according to Cross-Sell, a market research firm.
The pandemic dampened sales for all automakers in the spring and summer, and forced companies to halt most production halts in North America. Tesla’s plant in Fremont, Calif., was idled from late March until the middle of May. Last year was also the first full year when purchases of Tesla cars no longer qualified for a federal tax credit.
The company’s sluggish sales in the 22 states, a group that includes California, Florida, New York and Texas, came despite the addition of fourth car to Tesla’s line up, the Model Y, which appears to be taking sales from its top seller, the Model 3.
Registrations of the Model 3 fell 35 percent last year in the 22 states Cross-Sell tracks, to 67,638 from 103,810 cars in 2019. Sales of the Model Y began early in the year, and by August were outpacing those of the Model 3.
“The Model Y is performing very well, really competitive with the Model 3,” said Meagan Saxon, director of partnerships at Cross-Sell.
In the final three months of 2020, 22,267 Model Ys were registered in the 22 states. At the same time, Model 3 sales totaled just 14,823 cars, a decline of almost a third from the fourth quarter of 2019. The Model Y is a roomier hatchback version of the Model 3 sedan.
Cross-Sell provides a rare glimpse into Tesla’s U.S. registrations because the automaker does not break out sales by region or country. The company recently reported its worldwide deliveries rose 36 percent to 499,550 cars in 2020. That increase was largely a result of rapid growth in China, where a new Tesla factory began producing Model 3s a year ago. Tesla is also growing in Europe, although it is facing increasing competition from new electric cars introduced by Volkswagen, Volvo and others.
Tesla is expected to report its fourth-quarter financial performance on Wednesday.
Cross-Sell purchases vehicle registration data from 22 states that offer it for sale. California, where Tesla is based and where many people are much more willing to buy electric cars than other Americans, accounts for about 35 percent of the company’s U.S. sales.
Biden’s Top Economic Adviser Lays Out Immediate Relief Strategies
At a news conference on Friday, President Biden’s top economic adviser, Brian Deese, laid out a strategy for how the administration would deliver aid to individuals and small businesses in order to avoid economic failure.
So the president will ask the Department of Agriculture to consider taking immediate steps to provide nutrition assistance to hard-hit families. First, by increasing pandemic E.B.T. benefits by about 15 percent. This is the program that is aimed at supporting families who traditionally rely on the school lunch program. He will direct his administration to initiate a process, starting today, that would allow him within 100 days to issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay at least a $15 minimum wage, and provide emergency paid leave to workers. In previous rounds of relief, too much of the support that has been dedicated to small businesses has left out the smallest businesses, mom-and-pop businesses that don’t have existing connections with a financial institution, and in particular, Black, Latino, Asian and Native American-owned businesses were shut out completely. And a lot of that is because the outreach and communication from the federal government was either unclear or just nonexistent.
At a news conference on Friday, President Biden’s top economic adviser, Brian Deese, laid out a strategy for how the administration would deliver aid to individuals and small businesses in order to avoid economic failure.CreditCredit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times
President Biden’s top economic adviser warned on Friday that the United States economy is in a “precarious” position and that the country would face a far more painful and protracted recovery if Congress did not agree to provide more aid.
The comments from Brian Deese, the director of Mr. Biden’s National Economic Council, came as the White House unveiled a series of executive actions intended to help workers and families struggling during the pandemic. The orders are the Biden administration’s latest attempt to use the power of the presidency to take immediate action to help the economy ahead of what is expected to be a long debate with Congress over another stimulus package.
“We’re at a precarious moment for the virus and the economy,” Mr. Deese said during a White House press briefing. “Without decisive action, we risk falling into a very serious economic hole, even more serous than the crisis we are in.”
Mr. Deese noted that 10 million jobs that were lost during the pandemic still have yet to be recovered and that families need immediate help.
The measures announced on Friday are focused on those who have been hit hardest by the pandemic. They direct the Treasury Department to find ways to ensure that people who did not get their stimulus payments receive the money. The orders also seek to increase the weekly value of food stamps and boost the emergency benefits that families get to replace the free meals that students would otherwise receive at school.
A separate action would also begin the process of ensuring that federal employees and those who work for government contractors receive a minimum wage of $15 an hour.
Mr. Deese said the executive actions are not a replacement for legislation. He will hold a call with a group of Republican and Democratic senators on Sunday to discuss relief legislation, and he said Mr. Biden has instructed his advisers to continue bipartisan discussions.
Mr. Biden has called for a $1.9 trillion relief package that would provide $1,400 direct payments and allocate billions of dollars to help states reopen schools and deploy vaccines. The proposal has already met swift resistance from Republicans in Congress.
The chief executive of United Airlines told the company’s employees this week that the carrier — and other businesses — could make the coronavirus vaccine mandatory for all workers.
“The worst thing that I believe I will ever do in my career is the letters that I have written to the surviving family members of co-workers that we have lost to the coronavirus,” the executive, Scott Kirby told employees at a virtual town hall on Thursday, according to a transcript of the remarks. “And so, for me, because I have confidence in the safety of the vaccine — and I recognize it’s controversial — I think the right thing to do is for United Airlines, and for other companies, to require the vaccines and to make them mandatory.”
Some states, such as New York, have already made the vaccine available to flight attendants, pilots and other airline and airport employees. United has encouraged employees to get the vaccine as soon as they can.
Mr. Kirby’s comments, first reported by CNBC, do not reflect actual corporate policy. The airline would need to overcome logistical hurdles before requiring its tens of thousands of employees to get vaccinated and would need other businesses to join it in requiring vaccination, he said.
A spokesman for Delta Air Lines declined to comment on whether it will require the vaccine, but said the carrier is advocating that flight crews are considered essential workers for the purposes of vaccine distribution. American Airlines said on Thursday that it is encouraging its employees to get the vaccine, but won’t require it unless necessary for employees who fly to destinations where it is mandated.
“I know that it’s the way to ensure the safety of our employees, ensure the safety of our customers, as we fly around the world,” Mr. Kirby of United said on Thursday. “So, if others go along and are willing to start to mandate vaccines, you should probably expect United to be amongst the first wave of companies that do it.”
Over the past week, only about 700,000 people have passed through federal airport checkpoints each day, about 35 percent of last year’s levels, according to Transportation Security Administration data. The airline industry’s recovery rests on the widespread distribution of the vaccine.
Credit…Eric Thayer for The New York Times
On the eve of President Biden’s inauguration, the Federal Housing Finance Agency made a quiet announcement that speaks volumes about the changes coming to financial regulation. The agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, requested input on climate-change risk management, noting a “growing body of research” on the threat extreme weather poses to the economy.
The timing looks suspicious, but is fortuitous, agency representatives told DealBook. It may seem like an about-face from the agency run by Mark Calabria, a libertarian economist appointed by a president who dismissed climate science. But the move was not intended to please a new, green administration, they insisted. Extreme weather is an obvious problem for the housing market, as Fannie and Freddie found with mortgage defaults following Hurricane Harvey in Texas in 2017. Mr. Calabria has long been building up a research and data team, soon to include an environmental economist, they said.
The change in the White House could bring powerful new partners. The Treasury secretary nominee Janet Yellen said that she would appoint “someone at a very senior level” to create a hub in the Treasury focused on climate change and financial system risks. Many of Mr. Biden’s other nominees come with green credentials, forming “the largest team of climate change experts ever assembled in the White House.”
The move is “consistent with a sea change in how financial regulators will be thinking about risk,” said Mark Zandi, Moody’s chief economist. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Federal Reserve addressed climate risks in recent reports. Agencies can act quickly on climate initiatives now, given the new administration’s priorities.
“We have one of those rare moments of hope,” said Tim Mohin of the carbon accounting start-up Persefoni, who has seen climate risks go from a fringe notion to mainstream over 30 years working on sustainability in government and at companies like Apple and Intel. “There is no reason to go slow.”
By: Ella Koeze·Data delayed at least 15 minutes·Source: FactSet
Stocks dropped on Friday, with Wall Street coming off a record, as data showed a weakening economy in Europe due to pandemic restrictions.
The S&P 500 fell 0.3 percent, paring its gain for the week to 1.9 percent. In Europe, the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.6 percent, ending just short of a second consecutive weekly decline, while the FTSE 100 in Britain fell 0.3 percent. Most indexes in Asia also declined.
New data showed a persistent slowdown in Europe’s economies. According to the IHS Markit purchasing managers’ indexes, the British services industry suffered a steep contraction in January, while Germany’s manufacturing sector and France’s services industry also shrank more than economists had forecast.
Shares in Cineworld, the parent company of Regal Cinemas, the second-largest movie theater chain in the United States, dropped in London trading after the release date of “No Time to Die,” the 25th film in the James Bond franchise, was delayed for a third time late Thursday.
Intel tumbled more than 9 percent after the incoming chief executive, Patrick Gelsinger, said on Thursday that it would keep manufacturing its chips internally. He also said he wanted the company to regain its position as the “unquestioned leader in process technology.” Some analysts have suggested that Intel should spin off its manufacturing business amid stronger competition.
IBM fell nearly 10 percent after the company said revenue had dropped across all its business units, including cloud software.
Siemens, the large German manufacturing and engineering company, rose more than 3 percent after reporting better-than-expected earnings, aided by the economic recovery in China.
The country’s biggest banks have all released their financial results for the past year, and the data reflects the strange economic situation facing the Biden administration. Parts of the economy are booming, others are at a standstill, and the outlook is still uncertain.
On the one hand, Wall Street’s core business is thriving:
Goldman Sachs’s trading operation reported its highest annual revenue in a decade, a factor that helped the bank more than double its fourth-quarter profit.
JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley also reported big jumps in their investment banking and trading units after a huge year for bond issues, initial public offerings and M.&A. deals.
But other banks with big consumer-lending arms didn’t fare as well, with Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo lagging in terms of profit growth. The low interest rates that prompted companies to raise debt have hurt banks’ net interest income on consumer loans, which fell year-on-year for most lenders in their latest results.
Few bank bosses appear to think that Wall Street-focused businesses will perform as well this year, but worries about Main Street units seem less acute than last year.
In the fourth quarter, JPMorgan Chase released nearly $3 billion worth of reserves that it had built up to guard against loan defaults, while Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo released a combined $2 billion in the same period.
Over the course of the full year, those four banks still added around $50 billion to their provisions against credit losses, a sign that they remain on guard against a potential wave of defaults. In the meantime, loan demand is low and deposits are piling up.
What do banks plan to do with all that cash? “We have so much capital, we cannot use it,” Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan told investors. The bank’s cash pile has doubled over the past year, to more than $500 billion.
It’s a similar story at other banks, and now that they’ve been cleared by regulators to resume share buybacks, “we’re going to be aggressively buying back, and consistently,” said James Gorman, Morgan Stanley’s chief executive.
Analysts polled by FactSet expect the six largest banks to buy back nearly $70 billion in shares this year, up from $18 billion last year.
Credit…Mladen Antonov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
You know it’s bad when James Bond still can’t get out of the house.
“No Time to Die,” the 25th film in the Bond franchise, was delayed for a third time late Thursday, the surest sign yet that Hollywood does not believe the masses will be ready to return to movie theaters anytime soon. The $250 million movie will now arrive in theaters on Oct. 8, according to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
It had been scheduled to debut last April. As the coronavirus continued to surge, that plan was abandoned for a November debut. Most recently, the expected blockbuster had been set for an April 2 landing.
Studios, worried about plodding vaccination efforts in the United States, were already postponing major films (again). Universal and Amblin Entertainment, for instance, pushed “Bios,” starring Tom Hanks on a post-apocalyptic Earth, to Aug. 13 from April 16.
But the retreat of “No Time to Die” could prompt additional dominoes to fall. It had been the first mega-film scheduled for the post-vaccine era. That honor now goes to the Marvel prequel “Black Widow” (May 7), followed by Universal’s latest “Fast & Furious” installment (May 28). The problem: Nobody is particularly eager to test the market by going first — especially not after what happened to Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet.”
Warner Bros. had tried to jump-start moviegoing in September by releasing “Tenet,” even though many theaters were still closed and others were operating at limited capacity. The film collected $363 million worldwide, a very respectable total under the circumstances, but one that disappointed Hollywood nonetheless. (Mr. Nolan’s films typically collect more than double that amount.)
More recently, “Wonder Woman 1984” has taken in an anemic $143 million worldwide, with its instant availability online in the United States undercutting ticket sales, along with fear about the resurging virus.
Shortly after MGM announced the new date for “No Time to Die,” Sony Pictures shuffled its schedule, bumping “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” to Nov. 11 from June 11, and “Morbius,” starring Jared Leto as the Marvel pseudo-vampire to Jan. 21, 2022, from Oct. 8, where it would have competed with a certain British superspy.
Credit…John Shenk, via European Pressphoto Agency
Loon, a prominent subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, that aimed to use hot-air balloons to bring cellular connectivity to remote parts of the world, is shutting down.
Nearly a decade after it began the project, Alphabet said on Thursday that it pulled the plug on Loon because it did not see a way to reduce costs to create a sustainable business, reports The New York Times’s Daisuke Wakabayashi. Loon was one of the most hyped “moonshot” technology projects to emerge from Alphabet’s research lab, X.
The idea behind Loon was to bring cellular connectivity to remote parts of the world where building a traditional mobile network would be too difficult and too costly. Alphabet promoted the technology as a potentially promising way to bring internet connectivity to not just the “next billion” consumers but the “last billion.”
Google started working on Loon in 2011 and began a public test in 2013. Loon became a stand-alone subsidiary in 2018, a few years after Google became a holding company called Alphabet. In April 2019, it accepted a $125 million investment from a SoftBank unit called HAPSMobile to advance the use of “high-altitude vehicles” to deliver internet connectivity.
Last year, it announced the first commercial deployment of the technology with Telkom Kenya to provide a 4G LTE network connection to a nearly 31,000-square-mile area across central and western Kenya, including the capital, Nairobi. Before then, the balloons had been used only in emergency situations, such as after Hurricane Maria knocked out Puerto Rico’s cellular network.
However, Loon was starting to run out of money and had turned to Alphabet to keep its business solvent while it sought another investor in the project, according to a November report in The Information.