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Trust in business is enjoying a moment

September 25, 2020, 10:06 AM UTC

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Good morning.

Another survey out this morning, this one from Weber Shandwick, shows trust in business is enjoying a moment. While trust in government has plummeted during the COVID crisis, business remains at the top of the list of institutions that Americans trust to take the right actions to bring the pandemic under control. Some 63% of survey respondents said businesses were taking the right actions to address the pandemic, compared with 50% for state government, and 44% for federal government. Let’s hope the moment isn’t wasted.

Separately, Target is gearing up to hire 130,000 temporary workers for the holiday season. That’s on par with last year, but the jobs will be different. With e-commerce sales up nearly 200% in the last quarter, and 90% of Target’s online orders being filled at stores, curbside pick-up will become this year’s hot holiday job. You can read Phil Wahba’s story here.

Also, Bernhard Warner’s story on why UBS—the once scandal-plagued Swiss bank—is now COVID-proof, is worth reading here.

And since it is Friday, some feedback, from SZ:

“Thank you for your continued promotion of stakeholder capitalism. If this momentum continues, future generations may view the change akin to Ford’s moves on minimum wage and the 40-hour work week. Call me an optimist, but if corporate lobbying re-aligns around ESG, federal action on climate change would be its most consequential outcome.”

I agree. Having the business community take the lead on climate change can only be a good thing. More news below.

Alan Murray


TikTok confusion

(Deep breath.) China's ByteDance says it will own 80% of TikTok Global. Oracle, its apparently-soon-to-be-partner, says ByteDance will have "no ownership" of the new entity. President Trump says the deal won't go through if ByteDance has anything "to do with it." Meanwhile, ByteDance has applied for an export license from the Chinese authorities—will Beijing agree to Oracle inspecting TikTok's source code, as per the proposed deal? And the U.S.'s ban on TikTok downloads is due to belatedly kick in on Sunday, but a court wants the government to either further delay the ban or respond to Tiktok's attempt to block it with an injunction. CNBC

WeChat appeal

The Justice Department has asked for the suspension of a preliminary injunction against the government's WeChat ban, which was also supposed to take effect last Sunday but did not. The department rejects WeChat owner Tencent's proposal to, well, do a TikTok and create a new U.S. entity with a U.S. cloud partner, and have Tencent retain ownership of WeChat. Reuters

Junk bonds

Investors are fleeing U.S. junk bond funds over concerns about the country's economic recovery. The amount pulled out of funds that buy U.S. high-yield bonds in the week ending Sept. 23 was $4.86 billion, the biggest figure since mid-March's $5.6 billion. Increased volatility is expected in the lead up to the Nov. 3 election. Obviously. Financial Times

Amazon unveilings

Amazon unveiled a bunch of stuff yesterday, and here's Fortune's rundown of the wares: a dystopian-sounding surveillance drone for the home; some auto security systems that are already compatible with Tesla's cars; and a cloud gaming service called Luna that doesn't have any exclusive titles yet. Fortune


Vaccine immunity

AstraZeneca and Sanofi have different strategies in handling the issue of liability, when it comes to their prospective coronavirus vaccines. AstraZeneca is offering its potential vaccine to European governments more cheaply than its rival (let's please remember no one has a proven vaccine yet, and that might not change for a long while), and in exchange the governments will take on some of the payout risk in the event that the vaccine produces unexpected side-effects after approval. Reuters

FDA trial

Yale's Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and Albert Ko write for Fortune that the FDA seems subject to political meddling at the moment, to a degree that people are trusting it less on the issue of vaccine approval. Bizarrely, they write, "while the public trust of drugmakers is soaring, trust in a potential vaccine is plummeting—raising concerns over the public acceptance of these prospective breakthroughs…The FDA is on trial along with the vaccines themselves." Fortune

Financial literacy

The pandemic has made it clear that Americans need to improve their financial literacy, Charles Schwab Foundation president Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz writes for Fortune. The foundation conducted a survey that shows most Americans believe the lack of financial literacy "contributes to bigger social issues in America, including poverty, lack of job opportunities, and wealth inequality." Fortune

Pandemic pivots

As Fortune's Anne Sraders reports, some leaders speaking at yesterday's Most Powerful Women Summit detailed how their businesses have pivoted during the pandemic. Airbnb has high hopes for its new online Experiences, and also notes an uptick in long-term status as people work from home. Meanwhile, Peloton sees the future involving more flexibility about remote working. Fortune

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.