New listings for homes are down 27% from a year ago, Zillow data finds
- In February, before the coronavirus outbreak had really taken hold in the United States, home values were up almost 4% annually, and the rate of growth was up from the prior month for the first time in nearly two years, Zillow found.
- As businesses shuttered, cities and states issued stay-at-home orders and record numbers of people filed for unemployment claims, the housing market also took a hit.
- Zillow found that the total inventory of homes for sale grew 2.5% from March 1 to April 5, which the company said "indicates homes have been sitting on the market for longer while buyers have pulled back." In Seattle, the first US city to experience a major coronavirus outbreak, total inventory is up almost 38% over the month because homes aren't selling.
No one’s getting new emoji in 2021 because of the pandemic
- The Unicode Consortium, the group behind emoji releases, announced today that it’s delaying its version planned for 2021, meaning that devices won’t receive new emoji next year and instead will get a release in 2022.
- The good news is that the emoji that were announced earlier this year, like the olive, beaver, and plunger, will still be available this fall.
- Unicode says the delay is happening because it relies on volunteers who are currently overwhelmed dealing with the pandemic.
- This means the deadline for submitting new emoji is also pushed back.
- Again, though, these won’t show up on devices until 2022.
- The group says it’s trying to determine whether it could release some emoji earlier than that if they’re “sequenced,” or emoji created from a combination of two emoji, thereby not requiring the encoding of new characters.
Why the 5G coronavirus conspiracy theories don’t make sense
- The virus is spreading in countries without access to 5G, the frequencies from 5G can’t harm your body, and COVID-19 is caused by a contagious virus that is in no way related to electromagnetic waves.
- Other facts that really bring this 5G conspiracy theory crashing back to the realms of reality is that the pandemic has hit counties like Iran, India, and Japan where 5G isn’t even in use yet.
- While some implementations of 5G use millimeter-wave (mmWave) band transmissions, a higher frequency of radio waves than 4G or 3G, regulators in the UK have recorded 5G electromagnetic radiation levels well below international guidelines.
- Many of the recent fringe theories appear to have originated from a Belgian newspaper that published a scientifically baseless claim that “5G is life-threatening” and tried to link the origins of the pandemic to the rollout of 5G technology in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the novel coronavirus originated.
Microsoft set to push Windows 10X and Surface Neo releases back until 2021
- Microsoft might not be able to release Windows 10X and its flagship hardware, the Surface Neo, within this calendar year.
- According to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay told some of his team members that the tech giant won’t be delivering the new platform and the dual-screen devices it’s meant for before the year ends.
- Further, the company won’t allow third-party manufacturers to ship devices running the OS, as well.
- It was planning to ship the Surface Neo, its first 10X flagship device, in time for the 2020 holiday season, but that might no longer happen.
- While the delay is most likely a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Foley says Microsoft also decided to prioritize getting the 10X running on single-screen devices like 2-in-1s before giving the public access to it.
Disney+ racks up 50 million subscribers in five months
- Disney+ hasn’t had much trouble attracting customers now that its honeymoon phase is over.
- Disney has revealed that its streaming service now has over 50 million subscribers in the five months since launch.
- That was helped by an attachment to the existing Hotstar service in the country, but it’s still no small feat.
- Multi-year offers, relatively low standard pricing and a promo from Verizon (Engadget’s parent company) also made sure many customers were committed for the long haul.
- And of course, Disney+ has the luxury of a healthy back catalog that includes Fox, Marvel, Pixar and all things Star Wars.
- Many people on annual plans will have to decide if it’s worth continuing service, and by then the catalog of exclusives will be large enough to provide a clearer sense of what to expect.
Bank of England agrees to finance UK government if markets turn sour
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government has made historic spending and tax cut pledges to try to shield companies and workers from potentially the biggest downturn in over a century, ramping up its borrowing plans by tens of billions of pounds.
- Governor Andrew Bailey has previously said the BoE will not engage in "monetary financing" - the permanent funding of government spending, linked to hyperinflation in post-World War One Germany and more recently in Zimbabwe.
- Market strategists at Citi estimate the government may need to sell a record £285 billion of bonds this year to finance new spending and refinance maturing debt, almost double what the DMO sold last year.
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government has ramped up borrowing by tens of billions of pounds in an effort to prevent the biggest economic downturn in more than 100 years.
Stakes never higher for OPEC+ as oil collapse looms
- The potential consequence of no deal is a further freefall in prices toward single figure dollars per barrel that would have far reaching and dramatic consequences for whole economies, industries and jobs.
- FGE said the output cuts that have been suggested of 10 million-15 million barrels a day appear "insurmountably huge" but that is the scale of reductions needed to restore a semblance of normality to the oil market in the face of the problem that COVID-19 has created.
- FGE expects May oil demand worldwide will only show a marginal recovery, down by 17 million barrels a day compared to a year earlier.
- Rystad Energy's head of oil markets Bjørnar Tonhaugen said the upcoming extraordinary meeting of oil-producing countries was "the only hope in the horizon for the market that could prevent a total price collapse and production shut-ins".
Virus-hit childcare group G8 freezes dividends, raises $301m
- Childcare giant G8 Education plans on suspending new dividends for the year and is raising $301 million to ride out a massive revenue hit from the coronavirus pandemic.
- The moves by Gold Coast-based G8, with 475 Australian centres under brands including Sandcastles and Bambino’s, echo companies fortifying their balance sheets as lockdowns and health concerns devastate business.
- It is being supported by some federal packages including one specifically aimed at covering childcare costs, which sees the government automatically pay 50 per cent of what revenues a centre had been earning before parents started withdrawing children in large numbers in early March.
- But the company, which posted a net profit of $62 million last year, also said it may sell off underperforming centres.
- The cash will buffer a balance sheet at a company whose debt levels have been a market concern – it paid out $29 million in finance costs last year.
Dehydrating Eggs at Home (2015)
- Over the years, people have used a variety of methods to preserve eggs — oiling, water glassing, dry storage, small-side-down storage, freezing, pickling … each of these techniques has its pros and cons.
- But I was particularly interested in dehydrating eggs, and set out to learn the best, safest, and easiest method of doing so.
- Dehydrated (powdered) eggs are a staple on almost every preparedness food storage list, but have you seen the prices?
- That’s a lot of money to spend for a few dozen powdered eggs, but I had to admit the compact nature of dehydration was attractive.
- With such an abundance of our own farm-fresh eggs, we decided to give home dehydrating a try.
- Despite the widespread, easy-to-find online information on dehydrating eggs, nearly everyone admitted salmonella was still a potential problem.
Stocks making the biggest moves after hours: Disney, Costco, Virgin Galactic and more
- Costco Wholesale — Shares of the big-box retailer tumbled 4% in extended trading after the company released sales results for March.
- Starbucks — The coffee chain saw its stock dip 2% in extended trading after an SEC filing was released that said comparable stores declined by 60% to 70% in the last week of March.
- Stitch Fix — The online personalized styling service's stock fell 1% in extended trading after the company withdrew guidance for the third quarter and fiscal year 2020 due to economic uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Six Flags Entertainment — The theme park company's stock jumped 2% in extended trading after Six Flags announced that it was increasing its revolving credit facility to $481 million to provide more liquidity and greater financial flexibility.