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Northeast Sees Signs That Covid Hospitalization’s Pace Is Easing

PriceSmart December 2020 Net Merchandise Sales Rise 2.8% – Quick Facts

PriceSmart, Inc. (PSMT), an operator of U.S.-style membership shopping warehouse clubs in Latin America and the Caribbean, said Friday that its net merchandise sales for the month of December 2020 rose 2.8 percent to $372.6 million from $362.3 million in the same period last year.

However, foreign currency exchange fluctuations impacted net merchandise sales negatively by 3.1 percent, or $10.5 million, compared to the year-ago period.

There were 47 warehouse clubs in operation at the end of December 2020, compared to 45 warehouse clubs in operation at the end of December 2019.

For the four weeks ended December 27, 2020, comparable net merchandise sales for the 43 warehouse clubs open at least 13 1/2 full months decreased 1.7 percent when compared to the same period last year.

Foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations impacted comparable net merchandise sales negatively by 2.9 percent, or $9.2 million, compared to the same period last year.

Net merchandise sales grew 6.1 percent to $1.21 billion from $1.14 billion for the four months ended December 31, 2019. Foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations impacted net merchandise sales negatively by 3.4 percent, or $38.0 million versus the same period in the prior year.

Experian Plc Q3 Organic Revenue Up 7% – Quick Facts

Experian plc (EXPN.L) reported that its third quarter performance was better than it projected. Organic revenue growth was 7% and total revenue growth was 10% at constant exchange rates.

Experian plc estimates fourth quarter organic revenue growth will be in the range of 3-5%, against a strong prior year comparative. For the full year ending 31 March 2021, the Group expects benchmark EBIT in the range of $1.36 billion – $1.38 billion.

Experian will release full year results on 19 May 2021.

IBM Q4 Profit Beats Street View, But Shares Down 7% As Revenue Misses

International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) Thursday reported an earnings for the fourth quarter that trumped Wall Street estimates. However, the company’s shares slipped 7% in extended trading session after revenues failed to surpass expectations.

Armonk, New York-based IBM reported fourth-quarter profit of $1.36 billion or $1.51 per share, down from $3.67 billion or $4.11 per share last year.

Excluding items, IBM’s adjusted earnings were $2.07 per share for the period, down from $4.71 per share last year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $1.79 per share. Analysts’ estimates typically exclude special items.

IBM’s fourth-quarter revenues slipped 6 percent to $20.37 billion from $21.78 billion last year. Analysts had a consensus revenue estimate of $20.67 billion for the quarter.

Total cloud revenue was $7.5 billion, up 10 percent.

“We made progress in 2020 growing our hybrid cloud platform as the foundation for our clients digital transformations while dealing with the broader uncertainty of the macro environment,” said Arvind Krishna, IBM chairman and chief executive officer. “The actions we are taking to focus on hybrid cloud and AI will take hold, giving us confidence we can achieve revenue growth in 2021.”

Looking forward, the company said it expects to grow revenues for the full year 2021 based on the current foreign exchange rates.

IBM closed Thursday’s trading at $131.65, up $1.57 or 1.21%, on the Nasdaq. The stock, however, slipped $8.80 or 6.68%, in the after-hours trade.

Exports rise a tad, imports surge in December

India’s exports rose marginally to $27.2 billion in December, while imports surged 7.6% to $42.6 billion, official data showed.

Merchandise exports were valued at $27.1 billion in December 2019.

“The trade deficit for December 2020 was estimated at $15.44 billion as against the deficit of $12.49 billion in December 2019, an increase of 23.66%,” according to the data.

India’s overall exports (merchandise and services) in April-December 2020-21 were estimated at $348.5 billion, showing a negative growth of 12.7% YoY. Overall imports fell 25.9% to $343.3 billion.

ATF prices raised for fourth time in 2 months

Petrol, diesel remain unchanged

Jet fuel, or ATF, price on Saturday was hiked by 3% — the fourth increase in two months — on firming international oil prices, while petrol and diesel rates remained unchanged after hitting new highs.

Aviation turbine fuel (ATF) price was raised by ₹1,512.38 per kilolitre (kl), or 2.96%, to ₹52,491.16 per kl in the national capital, according to a price notification of state-owned fuel retailers.

This is the fourth increase in price since December 1. Rates had gone up by 7.6% (₹3,288.38 per kl) on December 1, by 6.3% (₹2,941.5 per kl) on December 16 and by ₹1,817.62 (3.69%) on January 1.

The increase in ATF price, which makes for close to 40% of the running cost of an airline, will put additional burden on airlines that have been struggling to return to normal business after COVID-19 lockdown had halted their operations.

Seeing Doug Emhoff as Second Gentleman Upends Masculinity—For the Best

The response to one of the most patriarchal and overtly racist presidents in history didn’t just lead to the election of Vice President Kamala Harris, who is the first woman and person of color to serve in the role—it also led to the country getting to know Doug Emhoff, the first (of hopefully many) Second Gentlemen in this nation’s history.

Northeast Sees Signs That Covid Hospitalization’s Pace Is Easing

The pace of Covid-19 hospitalizations in the Northeast is showing some preliminary signs of easing, adding to hopeful indicators in the Midwest, where the latest viral wave began.

In the Northeast, the number of people currently hospitalized with Covid-19 was 21,494 as of Sunday, up 0.8% from a week earlier, the smallest seven-day percentage increase since Sept. 25, according to Covid Tracking Project data.

The trend, which could still worsen again, comes as the virus now rages across the Sun Belt and as many states are fumbling through the first few weeks of the vaccine rollout.

Based on U.S. Census Bureau definitions for each region, hospitalizations are up 6.1% in the past week in the South; up 4% in the West; and down 4.2% in the Midwest.

Even if hospitalizations start to retreat in some areas, they’re still at dangerously high levels. And the pandemic by many measures has never been worse.

The U.S. added 272,087 Covid-19 cases on Sunday, pushing the seven-day average to a record 253,420, according toJohns Hopkins University. As of early Monday, at least 374,572 have died, Johns Hopkins data show.

According to the Covid Tracking Project:

  • No states posted record cases on Sunday, but weekends are typically slower reporting periods.
  • Arizona leads the nation in people currently hospitalized with the virus per capita, with 685 per million residents.