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sales Spike

As US Gun Sales Spike, Remington Files For Bankruptcy – NPR

Bolt action rifles sit on display at the Remington Arms Co. booth at the National Rifle Association annual meeting in 2015 in Nashville, Tenn.

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images


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Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bolt action rifles sit on display at the Remington Arms Co. booth at the National Rifle Association annual meeting in 2015 in Nashville, Tenn.

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Remington Arms Co. has filed for bankruptcy protection in federal court in Alabama as it seeks to restructure for the second time since 2018 amid ongoing legal and financial challenges.

The 204-year-old U.S. gun-maker, among the best-known brands of firearms, filed for Chapter 11 protection Monday at a time when heightened anxieties linked to the coronavirus pandemic, a slowing economy and ongoing national protests following George Floyd’s killing have led to record-high U.S. gun sales.

In fact, the FBI reported in June it conducted 3.9 million firearm background checks, a proxy for gun sales. That eclipsed the previous record in March of 3.7 million criminal checks to see if a gun could be legally possessed or purchased.

Amid Protests And Virus Fears, Firearm Background Checks Hit All-Time High

However, Remington’s challenges began long before the recent uptick in gun sales, and its bankruptcy filing appears to have come as talks with a potential buyer fizzled out in recent weeks.

The Wall Street Journal reported the gun-maker had been in “advanced talks” to sell to the Navajo Nation, but the talks collapsed.

According to court filings, Remington estimates it has between 1,000 and 5,000 creditors, and lists both its assets and liabilities as between $100 million and $500 million.

Remington’s previous bankruptcy filing came two years ago during a period of slumping gun sales. As NPR reported in 2018, firearms industry-watchers were observing a downturn they dubbed a “Trump slump” — a phenomenon in which sales fall dramatically during administrations perceived to be pro-gun.

Remington Declares Chapter 11 Amid 'Trump Slump' In Gun Sales

It was also a time when gun safety advocates ratcheted up pressure on retailers and investors to distance themselves from the industry following the 2018 Valentine’s Day shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school in which 17 students and staff were killed.

A Supreme Court ruling in 2019 allowed families of those killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., to move forward with lawsuits against Remington. The families claim the company was liable in victims’ deaths as the manufacturer and marketer of the Bushmaster assault-style rifle used in the 2012 massacre that killed six adults and 20 children.

During its 2018 bankruptcy filing, Remington was allowed to shed $775 million in debt, The New York Times reported. As part of its restructuring, the business transferred ownership to former creditors, including Franklin Templeton Investments and J.P. Morgan Asset Management, according to the newspaper.

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sales shine

U.S. new home sales shine in June; business activity picks up – Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sales of new U.S. single-family homes raced to a near 13-year high in June as the housing market outperforms the broader economy amid record low interest rates and migration from urban centers to lower-density areas because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: A new home is seen under construction in Los Angeles, California, U.S. July 30, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The upbeat report from the Commerce Department on Friday followed on the heels of data this month showing a surge in homebuilder confidence in July, and an acceleration in home construction and sales of previously owned houses in June.

The coronavirus crisis has led companies to allow employees to work from home. The emergence of home offices and schooling has fueled demand for spacious homes in small metro areas, rural markets and large metro suburbs. Housing market strength could help to shore up the retail sector as homeowners buy furniture, garden equipment and other supplies

“Housing has a strong immune system,” said Michelle Meyer, chief U.S. economist at Bank of America Securities in New York. “The shock disproportionately impacted the lower-income population who are less likely to be homeowners.”

New home sales rose 13.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 776,000 units last month, the highest level since July 2007. May’s sales pace was revised upward to 682,000 units from the previously reported 676,000 units.

New home sales have now recouped losses suffered when non-essential businesses were shuttered in mid-March to slow the spread of the respiratory illness. New home sales are counted at the signing of a contract, making them a leading housing market indicator.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales, which account for about 14% of housing market sales, rising 4% to a 700,000-unit pace in June. New home sales accelerated 6.9% from a year ago in June.

But a resurgence in new COVID-19 infections, which has forced some authorities in the hard-hit South and West regions to either shut down businesses again or pause reopenings, could slow the housing market momentum.

In addition, the labor market recovery appears to have stalled, with the number of Americans claiming unemployment benefits rising last week for the first time in nearly four months. A staggering 31.8 million people were receiving unemployment checks in early July.

Job losses have disproportionately affected low-wage workers, which could explain why the housing market is doing much better than other sectors of the economy, which slipped into recession in February.

HISTORICALLY LOW MORTGAGES

Sky-rocketing coronavirus cases are casting a shadow over business activity, though output is stabilizing. A separate report on Friday from data firm IHS Markit showed its flash U.S. Composite PMI Output Index, which tracks the manufacturing and services sectors, rose to a reading of 50.0 this month from 47.9 in June. The increase ended five straight monthly declines.

A reading above 50 indicates growth in private sector output. IHS Markit said some service providers were struggling with the reintroduction of lockdown measures. The survey’s flash composite new orders index slipped to a reading of 49.5 this month from 49.9 in June.

Stocks on Wall Street were trading lower as U.S.-China tensions and fears over mounting COVID-19 cases weighed on investor sentiment, erasing all gains for the benchmark S&P 500 index so far this week. The dollar slipped against a basket of currencies. U.S. Treasury prices fell.

Still, the fundamentals for housing, which accounts for just over 3% of economy, remain favorable. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate is averaging 3.01%, close to a 49-year low, according to data from mortgage finance agency Freddie Mac. There are more first-time buyers in the market, with the average age 47 years.

“This demographic is less likely to have been impacted by unemployment, will be more financially secure and have a better credit history versus younger members of the population who are more likely to work on lower wages in retail and hospitality,” said James Knightley, chief international economist at ING in New York.

“Older home buyers are also more likely to be looking for an investment property or a vacation home.”

In June, new home sales soared 89.7% in the Northeast and jumped 18% in the West. They increased 7.2% in the South, which accounts for the bulk of transactions, and advanced 10.5% in the Midwest. The median new house price increased 5.6% to $329,2000 in June from a year ago. New home sales last month were concentrated in the $200,000 to $400,000 price range.

There were 307,000 new homes on the market in June, down from 311,000 in May. At June’s sales pace it would take 4.7 months to clear the supply of houses on the market, down from 5.5 months in May. More than 60% of the homes sold last month were either under construction or yet to be built.

Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Andrea Ricci

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Categories
Pending sales

Pending home sales staged a historic rebound in May, meaning the worst may have already come for the real-estate market – MarketWatch

Economic Report

Contract signings rose by the largest percentage ever between April and May

The number of Americans who signed on the dotted line to purchase a home increased by a record amount between April and May.


Getty Images/iStockphoto

The numbers: After two consecutive months of decline, the index of pending home sales soared 44.3% in May as compared with April, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday.

The monthly increase was the largest ever since the National Association of Realtors started the index in January 2001. “This has been a spectacular recovery for contract signings, and goes to show the resiliency of American consumers and their evergreen desire for homeownership,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, said in the report. “This bounce back also speaks to how the housing sector could lead the way for a broader economic recovery.”

The index measures real-estate transactions for previously-owned homes where a contract was signed but the sale had not yet closed, benchmarked to contract-signing activity in 2001.

Compared with a year ago, contract signings were still down 5.1%, a sign of how steep the declines in March and April were given the record monthly increase in May.

What happened: Every region saw a monthly increase in pending home sales, led by the West (up 56%) and the Northeast (up 44%). Only the South saw a year-over-year uptick in contract signings.

With the improved outlook on home sales, Yun said the National Association of Realtors now expects existing-home sales to reach 4.93 million this year and new home sales to reach 690,000.

The big picture: The rebound in pending home sales means that there likely won’t be repeats of May’s significant downturn in existing-home sales for months to come.

Together with last week’s new home sales report for May, which also measures contract signings, it appears that home buyers are eager to re-enter the housing market. As such, the typically busy spring home-buying seasons appears to have been delayed for most buyers rather than foregone outright.

Research has shown that the job losses related to the coronavirus pandemic have largely occurred for lower-paid workers who are less likely to be home buyers, so the people looking to purchase a home have weathered the recession well to this point. And record-low mortgage rates are proving to be a major incentive.

Still, buyers will face trouble finding homes to buy. Sellers are still somewhat reluctant to list their homes because of concerns about the coronavirus and the economy. Before the pandemic began, the U.S. already saw a very short supply of homes for sale. For buyers in today’s market, that means they can expect more competition and higher prices for the properties that are available.

What they’re saying: “New home sales took a similar upward turn last week, but today’s pending data is a more important indicator of market activity since it covers existing homes which made up roughly 80 to 90 percent of sales in recent years. This move confirms that May closings could represent a low-point for home sales, with June and July numbers looking much better,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com.

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA,
+2.32%

and the S&P 500
SPX,
+1.46%

were both up slightly in Monday morning trading on the heels of the housing data, despite a continued rise in COVID-19 cases.

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Categories
Existing-home sales

Existing-home sales drop in May, but signs point to a big rebound in the real-estate market this summer – MarketWatch

Economic Report

‘The leading indicators for home sales are soaring’

While the coronavirus prevented people from closing on home sales in droves back in May, real-estate activity has rebounded since then, economists say.


Getty Images

The numbers: Sales of previously owned homes slid 9.7% in May as the coronavirus pandemic continued to weigh on the U.S. real-estate market.

Existing-home sales occurred at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 3.91 million, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday. It was the lowest level for existing-home sales since July 2010.

Compared with last year, sales were down 26.6% in May.

“Home sales will surely rise in the upcoming months with the economy reopening, and could even surpass one-year-ago figures in the second half of the year,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, said in the report.

What happened: On a regional basis, sales fell most notably in the Northeast, where they were down 13%. Every region saw a decrease in sales last month.

There was a 4.8-month supply of homes for sale in May, down from a 4-month supply in April. Typically, a 6-month supply of homes is considered indicative of a balanced market. Compared to a year ago, though, housing inventory was down 19%.

Additionally, the median existing-home price last month was $284,600, up 2.3% from May 2019.

The big picture: The continued downturn in home sales in May was widely expected, given that the pending home sales report for April represented the largest decline since the National Association of Realtors began tracking the data in 2001.

The pending-home-sales report reflect real-estate transactions where a contract was signed but the sale had not yet closed, and it is considered to be a barometer for future existing-home-sales reports. The existing-home-sales report, meanwhile, measures transaction closings.

Read more:Mortgage rates drop to another record low — here’s why Americans may not want to wait too much longer before locking rates in

Consequently, the downturn in pending home sales in March and April served as a warning that May’s existing home sales numbers would be down considerably. “The report will probably not show significant improvement until June data are reported in July,” TD Securities wrote in a research note.

May’s report aside, most signs point toward a rebound in the housing market following the downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of applications for mortgages to purchase homes reached an 11-year high last week, and purchase mortgage application activity overall has fully rebounded from its coronavirus-related dip. Pending sales activity has continued to rise as summer has rolled in, with many economists arguing that most people who wanted to buy a home simply delayed their purchase because of the coronavirus rather than forgoing it entirely.

But not all parts of the country will necessarily see the same rebound. Research from Realtor.com shows that demand for homes may be much higher in the suburbs and rural areas than in cities, based on the number of views that online listings for homes in the suburbs have been getting.

And the downturn in the supply of homes for sale could prove problematic for buyers. Simply put, if there aren’t many homes to buy, sales activity will be constrained.

What they’re saying: “Any disappointment should be fleeting; this is old news, and the leading indicators for home sales are soaring,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said in a research note. “The summer will be strong.”

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA,
+0.59%

and the S&P 500
SPX,
+0.65%

were both up slightly in Monday morning trading despite the downturn in May existing home sales. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note
TMUBMUSD10Y,
0.711%

was down slightly, however.

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Categories
sales smash

The Last of Us Part 2 sales smash record to become Sony’s fastest-selling PS4 game ever – VG247

By Cian Maher,
Sunday, 21 June 2020 18:20 GMT

The Last of Us Part 2 sales have smashed the record for Sony’s fastest-selling PS4 exclusive, knocking Naughty Dog’s previous record holder by the wayside.


The news comes from a report published by GamesIndustry.biz, which concludes that The Last of Us Part 2 sales have knocked 2016’s Uncharted 4 off its perch as the fastest-selling PS4 exclusive of this console generation.

Sales from its opening week have been approximately 1% higher than that of Uncharted 4 — although the GamesIndustry report specifically clarifies that digital sales are not factored into this statistic, meaning that The Last of Part 2 may have smashed the record by an even wider margin.

the last of us part 2

Launch sales for The Last of Us Part 2 have been roughly 76% higher than those of the series’ inaugural title. Alongside this, The Last of Us Part 2 has become the UK’s fastest-selling boxed game of 2020 so far, raking in approximately 40% more cash than this year’s previous sales juggernaut, Animal Crossing: New Horizons — which, interestingly, has finally fallen out of the top 10 after holding a consistent place there since its launch back in March.

At the moment, Ring Fit Adventure is the second-bestselling game for this week. As the report notes, it’s the third week in a row it’s had to settle for the silver medal.

In related news, it seems a lot of people are pretty impressed with The Last of Us Part 2’s rope physics. On top of that, The Last of Us Part 2’s facial animations — which are systemic in non-cinematic cutscenes, meaning that they are algorithmically defined as opposed to being the result of facial capture — have been described as “like nothing that anyone has ever seen in games.”

Also, remember how you could play Crash Bandicoot on a random PS1 in Uncharted 4? Well, in true Naughty Dog fashion, there are a couple of clever little self-referential Easter eggs in The Last of Us Part 2.

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sales stay-at-home

P&G sales boom as stay-at-home consumers do more laundry – Financial Times

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