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8 hours ago

Stocks Owned by Passive Funds Fared Worse in the Markets Selloff

Stock sectors with the heaviest amount of passive ownership—by index funds and sector-focused ETFs—fell even more than the broad market during the selloff this year, a study found.

Jun Zhu, a portfolio manager at Leuthold, analyzed data from the early weeks of the rapid market slide prompted by the pandemic.

Stocks with the highest ownership levels by passive funds fell nearly 3 percentage points more than those most likely to be owned by active managers (40.4% versus 37.5%). Ms. Zhu studied the peak-to-trough period of Feb. 19 through to March 23.

香蕉视频苹果下载“Stocks with high passive ownership in the sectors with the greatest selling pressure underperformed,” she wrote. Examples include financial stocks, real-estate holdings, the energy sector and consumer-discretionary stocks. The sole exception to the rule appeared to be health care, which lost “only” 30.3% during the meltdown period, compared with 60.7% for energy companies or 45.2% for the financial services sector.

9 hours ago

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15 hours ago

SpaceX's Elon Musk Plays Down Coronavirus Dangers as NASA Moves to Protect Astronauts

Entrepreneur Elon Musk has roiled social media and the international space community by railing against what he calls excessive social-distancing mandates even as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, his major customer, resorts to extraordinary measures to protect astronauts against Covid-19 contagion.

In a series of irate messages on Twitter, the chief of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. has equated strict mandatory state lockdowns with "de facto house arrest" and urged authorities to "give people back their freedom." Such sentiments conflict sharply with some of the painstaking precautions used by NASA, which is slated to fly two veteran astronauts into orbit on SpaceX hardware later this month, to protect that crew against transmission of the virus. Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are being carefully shielded from the pandemic: wearing face masks, avoiding most NASA employees and traveling to training sessions only on board the agency's own planes.

Long before the novel coronavirus spread, NASA routinely provided some brief quarantine protections for astronauts ahead of blastoff in order to protect crews already on board the international space station from infection. But now, agency officials said, the latest crew members routinely wear masks and gloves during launch-preparation meetings, as do NASA personnel. The agency is minimizing the size and frequency of such sessions and at some point before the historic mission, even family members will be off limits to the crew. Slated for May 27, the launch is intended to be the first time a U.S.-built rocket and capsule transporting Americans to the international orbiting laboratory since the retirement of NASA's space shuttle fleet in 2011. Since then, the agency has had to pay for rides on Russian rockets and capsules.

香蕉视频苹果下载Despite Mr. Musk's tweets, SpaceX officials said company engineers and technicians also are wearing personal protection gear while limiting their contacts with the astronauts. Government and SpaceX officials are urging space aficionados to watch the liftoff from home instead of flocking to the Florida launch site. NASA chief Jim Bridenstine has emphasized his agency has temporarily closed many offices, is taking the pandemic very seriously and still worries that Covid-19 could derail preparations for the long-anticipated launch.

Corrections & Amplifications

香蕉视频苹果下载An earlier version of this blog post incorrectly gave the name of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as the National Aeronautics Administration. (Corrected on May 3)

15 hours ago

Some Insurers Flex Balance Sheets to Help Hospitals, Doctors Amid Pandemic

With fewer claims to pay out, some health insurers are using their improved balance sheets to help struggling providers香蕉视频苹果下载 secure loans, pay claims earlier and, in some cases, underwrite patients’ outstanding bills. And they have good reason to ensure providers survive the pandemic: “There is a risk that there is a smaller provider network after this,” said Brad Ellis, a senior director at Fitch Ratings. “So health insurers are trying to maintain the network.”

香蕉视频苹果下载Here's what a few of the insurers are doing:

  • Blue Shield of California has set aside $200 million to act as a guarantor on loans for hospitals, doctor’s offices and clinics and to purchase expected insurance claims in advance. The company also is helping certain fee-based providers switch to fixed monthly payments to ensure a steadier stream of income, and it is underwriting some patients’ financial obligations to improve cash flow.
  • CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit health-care insurer that operates in the Baltimore metro area, is spending $110 million to provide interest-free financial support to hospitals and independent providers. The funds will have to be repaid at a later time.
  • UnitedHealth Group, the parent company of the nation’s biggest health insurer, has accelerated about $2 billion of payments to help alleviate pressure on doctors and hospitals. It also is offering as much as $125 million in small-business loans to health-care providers in which it holds a stake, according to an April 15 earnings statement.