Manhattan sees record number of vacant apartments amid coronavirus

European Economics Preview: Eurozone GDP Data Due

Flash quarterly national accounts data from euro area is due on Friday, headlining a busy day for the European economic news.

At 1.00 am ET, Statistics Finland releases consumer prices for July and economic output for June.

At 2.30 am ET, July producer prices data from Switzerland is due. Prices had decreased 3.5 percent annually in June.

At 2.45 am ET, the French statistical office Insee publishes final consumer prices for July. Inflation is expected to rise to 0.8 percent in July, as initially estimated, from 0.2 percent in June.

At 3.00 am ET, industrial production and retail sales figures are due from Turkey. Economists forecast output to rise 1.1 percent on year in June, reversing a 19.9 percent fall in May.

At 3.30 am ET, Dutch GDP data is due for the second quarter.

At 4.00 am ET, consumer prices and GDP are due from Poland. Economists forecast GDP to fall 9.6 percent sequentially in the second quarter, faster than the 0.4 percent drop in the first quarter.

At 5.00 am ET, Eurostat is set to publish euro area flash GDP estimate for the second quarter. According to preliminary estimate, the currency bloc contracted 12.1 percent.

In the meantime, euro area foreign trade data is also due. The trade surplus is forecast to rise to EUR 12.6 billion in June from EUR 9.4 billion in May.

U.S. government watchdog says top homeland security appointments were improper

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. government watchdog agency said on Friday that the appointments of two top homeland security officials in the administration of President Donald Trump were improper.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the appointments of Chad Wolf, acting secretary of homeland security, and Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary of homeland security, did not follow processes outlined in federal law and referred the issue to the department’s inspector general.

Stock Alert: Baidu Drops 6%

Shares of Chinese search engine Baidu, Inc. (BIDU) are down more than 6% Friday morning on the news of its streaming platform iQIYI is being probed by SEC on alleged fraud.

Thursday the company reported second-quarter results with earnings on an adjusted basis of $2.08 per ADS, that beat the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters at $1.38.

Revenues for the quarter decreased 1% year-over-year to $3.69 billion.

For the third quarter, Baidu expects revenues to be between $3.7 billion and $4.1 billion. The consensus estimate is at $3.97 billion.

BIDU is currently trading at $116.73. It has traded in the range of $82- $147.38 in the last one year.

Revive Essential Oil Recalls Wintergreen And Birch Essential Oils, Sore No More

Revive Essential Oil has recalled Wintergreen and Birch Essential Oils and Sore No More, Ache Away and Breeze Essential Oil Blends due to failure to meet child resistant packaging requirements.

The company said the products contain the substance methyl salicylate which must be in child resistant packaging as required by the Poison Prevention Packaging Act. The packaging of the products is not child resistant, posing a risk of poisoning if the contents are swallowed by young children.

No injuries have been reported. But the company have asked customers to immediately store the products in a safe location out of reach of children and contact for a free child-resistant replacement cap.

The items were sold exclusively online at from August 2018 through May 2020 for between $8 and $32.

New Jersey Plans to Use Mail-In Voting for November Election

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said he will order the November general election to be conducted mostly through mail-in voting in a system he called “a little bit more cumbersome.”

The general election format will be similar to that of the state’s July 7 primary. The state, in an unprecedented move, sent vote-by-mail applications to every registered voter — 6.2 million people, according to state data — and also opened some polling places.

This time, the state will “have more presence of secure drop boxes,” he said in a CNN interview on Friday.

The plan comes as President Donald Trump claims, without evidence, that widespread voter fraud will taint the election. In recent days, the U.S. Postal Service has removed sorting machinery from some facilities, causing slowdowns, according to union officials.

Murphy said for the Nov. 3 election — which includes the presidency, 35 Senate seats and all 435 House of Representatives seats — “everybody gets a ballot,” regardless of party affiliation. “If you do vote in person, you’ll have to do what we call provisional voting because the folks won’t necessarily know at the voting location whether or not you actually already mailed a ballot in.”

He called the process a “little bit more cumbersome, but it works.”

Murphy, a first-term Democrat, will detail the plan at a 1 p.m. news conference in Trenton.

Manhattan sees record number of vacant apartments amid coronavirus

The Big Apple is hollow at its core.

Vacant rental apartments in Manhattan hit an all-time high in July amid the coronavirus pandemic — a 122 percent increase from the same month last year, new data shows.

Last month, 13,117 apartments were available to rent, compared to just 5,912 in July 2019, according to the Elliman Report from real estate experts Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel.

The staggering number of vacancies in one of the country’s most expensive rental markets is the highest in 14 years of Miller Samuel’s record-keeping.

The report also shows the number of newly signed leases plummeted 23 percent from last July (6,460) to this July (4,949) — though the latter total is up from 3,171 new leases signed in June.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has sparked a mass exodus from New York City, with a vast number of city slickers seeking safety in the suburbs.

As the rental stock increases, rent prices are falling, the report said. The median rental price in Manhattan was $3,167 in July compared to $3,521 in July 2019.

Landlords are offering an average of 1.7 months of free rent to entice newcomers.

A similar report by StreetEasy last month found that Manhattan rents dropped for the first time since 2010.

But living in the city still costs a pretty penny — the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $4,620 and studios are fetching an average of $2,668.

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