|Day's range||198.05 - 198.05|
The General Court of the European Court of Justice has annulled an EU decision that involved Apple’s subsidiaries in Ireland. Four years ago, the European Commission said that Ireland had failed to collect €13 billion in taxes from Apple — roughly $15 billion. According to the press statement, “the Commission did not succeed in showing to the requisite legal standard that there was an advantage for the purposes of Article 107(1) TFEU [Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union].”
Logitech has released new versions of its MX peripherals in Mac-friendly finishes, as well as a new K380 wireless Bluetooth keyboard designed for Apple devices. The MX Master 3 for Mac is a very slightly altered twist on the MX Master 3 -- consisting mostly of a new paint job that actually pretty closely resembles the old one.
Apple's (AAPL) Greyhound has hit the right chord with viewers. The movie's success strengthens Apple TV+'s position in the increasingly competitive streaming market.
Tim Cook has been the CEO of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) since 2011, and this article will examine the executive's...
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The coronavirus stock market, like Covid-19 itself, is something never experienced before. Get used to it.Since March, when the global pandemic became an American catastrophe, the U.S. economy has been a shadow of its 2019 self. Yet some of the most-followed measures of equity set records while an explosion in infections showed no sign of peaking and the 14.7% unemployment rate in April was the worst since the Great Depression. The seeming contradiction of simultaneous exuberance and disaster reflects a durable change in the way investors look at U.S. companies even as wishful politicians yearn to return to an old normal.The market’s best performers are champions of remotely engaged commerce quite different from most of the companies comprising the favorite benchmarks, which lag by comparison. There’s nothing surprising about the five biggest contributors to the stock market’s resilience this year because they happen to have the greatest weighting in the Bloomberg U.S. Large-Cap Price Return Index, and their products and services facilitate online communication and transactions: Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc. and PayPal Holdings Inc. Another smattering of high-profile U.S. companies such as Zoom Video Communications Inc., Netflix Inc., Roku Inc. and Twitter Inc. have also had rising stock prices during the pandemic because of the popularity of the services they offer to people working and playing at home.But the top 10 winners among the largest 500 U.S. companies during the second quarter increasingly are setting the course as a new breed of stay-at-home stocks, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. New York City-based Datadog Inc., up 142%, provides tools for monitoring infrastructure, application performance and log management for cloud computing firms and music-streaming companies. San Francisco-based cloud-computing powerhouse Twilio Inc. is up 145%. Stockholm's Spotify is up 113%.San Francisco-based Square Inc., up 100%, and San Jose-based PayPal, up 82%, provide digital and mobile payment services, enhancing online payments. DocuSign Inc., up 86%, provides electronic signature solutions, reducing the need for in-person contract signing meetings. Santa Monica-based Snap Inc., up 98%, provides social media services, enabling communication throughout the Internet. Every one of these companies can be a customer of Sunnyvale, California-based CrowdStrike Holdings Inc., up 80%, which provides cybersecurity platforms to protect against attacks.Palo Alto, California-based Tesla Inc. appreciated 106% in the second quarter and became the largest automaker earlier this month with a market capitalization of $278 billion. Climate change and Covid-19 paved the way for this avatar of the technology-driven economy, characterized by remote engagement and artificial intelligence. With its battery-powered, zero-emission vehicles,Tesla is the undisputed leader in online sales, touchless delivery and perpetually downloaded vehicle enhancements.Shares of the 500 largest U.S. companies measured by market capitalization gained 44% between late March and mid-June after declining 24% when the pandemic first struck. Although the market remains higher than at almost any point prior to 2020, the S&P 500 rally this year is unlike any preceding it, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Since March, fewer than 10 of the biggest companies hit their 52-week high on a daily basis. The figure was 31 in 2019, 27 in 2018, 40 in 2017, 24 in 2016 and 21 in 2015, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The only way the S&P 500 could advance with so much disappointment throughout corporate America is with a small group of exceptional companies led by Tesla.During the two years prior to 2020, when the U.S. expansion became the longest on record, the stock market’s top 10 performers included medical equipment designer DexCom Inc., apparel store Lululemon Athletica Inc. and restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. Such diversity was similar during the past decade when biotechnology, industrial, energy, restaurant and medical equipment providers also led the market, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Ordinary investors, many of whom own exchange-traded funds, will continue to benefit from their familiar and substantial holdings of Tesla and the five tech giants. As ETFs increase their investment in the stay-at-home group of firms, the seemingly narrow rally will become broader.The American stock market in the second quarter also bore no resemblance to its counterparts around the world, especially among the developed countries in Asia and Europe that have had more success containing Covid-19. As a result, the best-performing companies in the MSCI AC Asia Pacific Index reflect the expectation that a return to business as usual is coming soon, and they include health-care suppliers, tourism, shipbuilding, technology and bicycle manufacturing. Similarly, the top 10 stocks in Europe include insurance firms, industrial companies and jewelry stores in addition to technology.For the first time, the U.S. stock market has gone its own way, led by investors who believe the coronavirus is here to stay.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Matthew Winkler, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Bloomberg News, writes about markets.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Afterpay has struck deals with Apple and Google to link its payment service to their mobile pay apps, and will offer its service in the US this month.
EU judges have quashed a European Commission order for Apple to pay back €14.3bn in taxes to Ireland in a landmark ruling that deals a big blow to competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager’s efforts to crack down on low-tax regimes in the bloc. The ruling hands a big legal victory to Apple and reduces the prospect of opening up other low-tax arrangements for multinationals around the EU to state aid scrutiny by Brussels. The EU’s second-highest court on Wednesday said that Brussels did not succeed in “showing to the requisite legal standard” that the tech giant had received an illegal economic advantage in Ireland over its taxes.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- For SoftBank Group Corp. Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son, selling a stake in Arm, the British semiconductor firm that kicked off his tech spending splurge, cannot have been part of the plan. At least, not yet.When SoftBank agreed to buy the Cambridge, England-based firm for 24 billion pounds ($32 billion) four years ago, the expectation was that it wouldn’t return to the markets in the foreseeable future. Son’s vision was framed in decades, not years. A sustained period nestled within SoftBank would allow the chip designer to invest for the long-term, substantially improving its value.Yet SoftBank is considering an initial public offering or stake sale as soon as next year, the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News reported on Monday. In October, Arm CEO Simon Segars mooted 2023 as the earliest date.The accelerated timeline follows a slew of writedowns prompted by poor-performing investments made by SoftBank’s Vision Fund venture arm in WeWork, Uber Technologies Inc. and others. The Vision Fund lost almost $18 billion in its last fiscal year. Activist Elliott Management Corp. seized upon its tribulations to build a stake in SoftBank, calling for improved governance. Son responded with debt-cutting plans and a potential 2 trillion yen ($19 billion) share buyback.The cash raised from an Arm IPO would be only one benefit. A successful deal would be a much needed win for Son: something to convince the world that he’s still got what it takes.Arm is valued internally at its acquisition cost. Listing the shares publicly would give better visibility into what people think it’s worth. That might benefit both the paper returns at the Vision Fund — which holds 25% of the business — and SoftBank’s own shares, which trade at a discount to the value of its constituent investments.The problem is that, right now, Arm doesn't look quite ready to return to the markets.The company licenses semiconductor designs to chipmakers whose silicon goes into almost every smartphone in the world. Revenue, mainly from royalties, jumped more than threefold between 2009 and 2015. When SoftBank bought the British firm in 2016, it was atop the crest of Apple Inc.’s success with the iPhone.QuicktakeHow Global Smartphone Sales Growth Ground to a HaltBut the acquisition coincided with the peak year of global smartphone sales. The pace of growth at Arm has since slowed. Revenue increased just 1% in the 12 months through March 2019, the most recent year for which data is available. When he announced the deal, Son predicted that the number of Arm-based chips shipped each year would rise from 15 billion to 71 billion within five years. That number looks all but unattainable: It hit just shy of 23 billion chips last year.At the same time, investment in research and development means that profitability has also dipped. Paring back such spending could lead to a rapid increase in profit that would boost the IPO financials. But cutting back too quickly would also risk wasting the spending to date. Some new chip architecture is overdue by Arm’s standards (the last generation was released in 2011). The next offering will likely include features geared towards machine learning, and augmented and virtual reality. For now, investors buying in this time around are taking more of a bet that Arm’s R&D will bear fruit.That might be enough to get a listing done. There’s strong appetite for tech IPOs even amid the broader market volatility, and Arm is well positioned to capitalize in the long term as fifth-generation mobile networks mean that ever more computing power is built into cars, machines, factories and homes.But a substantial uplift on the purchase price could be a challenge. New Street Research estimates Arm could fetch a valuation of $44 billion were it to list at the end of 2021, a gain of roughly 40%. That would be a poor return compared to the benchmark Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index, which has climbed nearly 160% since the original acquisition.Buying Arm wasn’t easy. Son had to pay a punchy asking price and assuage U.K. worries about how the firm would be run. But selling a stake back to the stock market at a valuation that suits his own agenda may be harder.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.Tim Culpan is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
A lot of investors are treating Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) like a mature dividend stock these days. Apple's payouts have grown every year since the dividend policy was introduced in 2012. The dividend is also backed by Apple's unmatched cash machine and nearly $200 billion of cash reserves, plus long-term investments.
“Expanding iPhone trade-in programs highlighted by our AlphaWise consumer survey can unlock $147 billion of value and fund one-third of iPhone purchases over the next three years. We raise our… price target to $419 from $340,” said Morgan Stanley.
In line with rumors that surfaced earlier this month, SiriusXM (NASDAQ: SIRI) officially confirmed this week that it will acquire podcasting platform Stitcher from E.W. Scripps (NASDAQ: SSP). The satellite radio company has been aggressively expanding into streaming in recent years, including its $3.5 billion acquisition of Pandora Media that closed last year. SiriusXM is trying to better compete with Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Spotify (NYSE: SPOT), which collectively dominate both music streaming and podcasting.
With Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) shares trading at all-time highs and briefly flirting with $400, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty reiterated her outperform rating and boosted the firm's price target from $340 to $419 on Monday. While Apple's iPhone trade-in program isn't new by any stretch, Huberty has crunched some numbers and argues that the offering is a "sustainable competitive advantage" that could be underappreciated by investors. Trade-ins have become an important way for Apple to remove friction around the upgrade process while offsetting part of rising prices.
These companies' stocks have soared this year. Will they live up to investors' expectations?
In recent years, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A)(NYSE: BRK.B) CEO Warren Buffett has taken a lot of criticism for underperforming the benchmark S&P 500. According to Berkshire Hathaway's 2019 shareholder letter, the broad-based S&P 500 has gained a cool 19,784%, including dividends paid, over the past 55 years. Comparatively, Berkshire Hathaway's per-share market gain has totaled (drum roll) 2,744,062% over the same period.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- For a long time, U.S.-based internet giants entertained the idea of finally accessing the world’s biggest market and tapping into a base of more than 1.3 billion potential consumers. Now, just as the door to China appears firmly shut, the next giant market is opening up.Alphabet Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai is ready to realize India’s potential with the one way executives know best: a big fat check. The American search-engine giant said its Google unit plans to spend $10 billion over the next seven years on operations, infrastructure and investments as a “reflection of our confidence in the future of India and its digital economy.”American corporate leaders from Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook and Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos to Facebook Inc.’s Mark Zuckerberg have all known that India could be the next big thing. Pichai, himself Indian-born, hasn’t sat idly by, either.Their entry has been slowed by lack of broad-based demand for services offered only in English, a national market fragmented by whimsical local taxation, and an inadequate road and warehousing network that would facilitate quick e-commerce logistics.Favorable Chinese treatment, and protectionism, allowed Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. to develop super-apps that deliver a smorgasbord of offerings from instant messaging to news and deliveries to financial services. No U.S. giant offers anywhere near the breadth and depth of services as their Chinese counterparts.Indian oil billionaire Mukesh Ambani has designs on doing in his home country just what the Americans couldn’t do in theirs. Four years ago, he upended the telecommunications sector with a new entrant that offered free voice calls and really cheap data. Suddenly, hundreds of millions more Indian consumers had a mobile phone in their hands and a reliable, affordable internet connection. Ambani followed that up by getting Facebook to buy a 10% percent stake in Jio Platforms Ltd. — Ambani’s holding company for telcos, media and other digital assets — for $5.7 billion. With Facebook now owning a stake in Jio, it makes sense for Google to look for its own telco dance partner, be it Bharti Airtel Ltd. or Vodafone Idea Ltd. — the only two meaningful competitors to Jio’s wireless service that are still left in the fray.Google’s big move is well-timed. The nation’s largely state-owned banking system was in bad shape even before Covid-19. After the inevitable pandemic-linked losses, institutions will be grateful to limp again and digital commerce will present a new growth avenue. When Indian consumers need loans, they’ll be giving consent to lenders to digitally piece together their credit history by pulling scraps from everywhere. Suppliers of goods and services will also want to tap cheaper working capital by sharing a real-time snapshot of their cash flows.Indian banks are at a disadvantage in the coming shakeup. Information collection, analysis and distribution is exactly what the U.S. internet companies do best. Jio with Facebook, Google (with or without a chosen partner), and even Amazon.com could have deeper insights into consumer and supplier habits than the traditional financiers. A Jio or Google-backed finance app could dish out a loan faster than a banker could pull out a ballpoint pen. That would leave the state-owned lenders offering little more than their vast balance sheets for credit creation.Not only is India finally getting the fast mobile coverage it sorely needs, its payments infrastructure is also ready. Pichai has built a payments service specifically for India, using the local platform that allows any two parties, holding accounts at different banks, to send and receive money instantly without knowing anything more than each others’ virtual IDs. The revamped network is so modern and innovation-friendly that Google has asked the U.S. to consider emulating it.Jio has garnered much of the recent attention, helped by a splashy fundraising spectacle that adds up to half of the investment in global telecom deals this year. But Google’s payment app as well as WalMart’s PhonePe have been quietly scaling up. Now, when Indian consumers want deliveries, entertainment, or a loan there’s a good chance they’ll be searching Google. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andy Mukherjee is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies and financial services. He previously was a columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He has also worked for the Straits Times, ET NOW and Bloomberg News.Tim Culpan is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
A Congressional Democrat has called on Apple and Google to prevent smartphone apps from compromising national security by sharing data with foreign entities “including China and Russia”, as viral video app TikTok faces a potential US ban over its Beijing ties. In letters sent on Tuesday to Apple chief executive Tim Cook and Google chief executive Sundar Pichai, Stephen Lynch, the Democratic congressman who chairs the House oversight subcommittee for national security, wrote: “As industry leaders, Apple and Google can and must do more to ensure that smartphone applications made available to US citizens on their platforms protect stored data from unlawful foreign exploitation, and do not compromise US national security.”
My contention is that using Alexa to control multiple lights simply by speaking a couple of words is convenient and quite fun. My wife maintains that the intellectual might of the world’s most valuable companies could be more usefully expended in other areas than innovating on the light switch, which is reliable, has zero latency and rarely talks back. Virtual assistants have come a long way in the past few years but they still have their foibles.
(Bloomberg) -- SoftBank is exploring options for selling part or all of its stake in Arm Holdings Inc., either through a private deal or a public stock listing, according to people with knowledge of the matter.If it pursues a listing, the chip-design company could go public as soon as next year, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private. That would accelerate a timeline SoftBank Group Corp. founder Masayoshi Son laid out in 2018, estimating an initial share sale for Arm some time around 2023, a goal repeated in October by Arm Chief Executive Officer Simon Segars.No decision has been made, and SoftBank could ultimately choose to hang onto the company, which is wholly owned by SoftBank Group and its Vision Fund. Son and his deputies began considering options in part because of the improving market for semiconductor companies, said two of the people. A deal would also fit into SoftBank’s current strategy to unload many of its holdings and boost the stock price through buybacks.Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is advising on a potential deal, according to the Wall Street Journal, which reported the news earlier Monday. Representatives for Arm, Goldman Sachs and SoftBank declined to comment.Arm was the U.K.’s largest listed technology company, receiving royalties from companies such as Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. for chip designs used in the world’s most popular mobile phones and tablets. When Son bought it for $32 billion in 2016, change came fast. The company added about 2,000 employees and made plans for a new 48 million pound ($60 million) U.K. office building.The chip designer is still currently valued by SoftBank at its acquisition price, according to the Japanese company’s latest quarterly filings. But semiconductor stocks have been on a tear. Nvidia Corp.’s market value topped Intel Corp.’s last week for the first time, powered by soaring demand for graphics chips in data centers and other fast-growing technology fields.Arm would need ample time to make preparations for a listing if it goes that route. Marcelo Claure, the chief operating officer at SoftBank, said in an interview with the Financial Times published Monday that he doesn’t expect Arm to be public in the next 12 months.If it pursues a listing, it’s unclear whether Arm would go public in the U.K. or the U.S., where it has been slowly shifting many of its key executives in recent years. If it does so in the U.K., the 25% free-float needed would make it one of the biggest tech IPOs in years.SoftBank’s shares have more than doubled from a low in March, taking the Tokyo-based company’s market value to $127 billion, with record equity buybacks and a series of wins helping the stock recover from setbacks in 2019 led by its investment in WeWork. SoftBank sold part of its stake in T-Mobile US Inc. last month, part of a broader $42 billion push to unload assets to finance stock buybacks and pay down debt.Arm, which is owned by SoftBank and its $100 billion Vision Fund, is looking to cut costs and improve earnings, said one of the people familiar with the matter. The company lost 42.8 billion yen ($400 million) in the fiscal year that ended in March. It’s also planning to transfer its data and device-management business to parent SoftBank to focus on its main semiconductor operations. The Internet of Things Services Group was billed by Arm as a key initiative to expand into managing information from millions of new devices being connected to the internet.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
In the latest pandemic-related twist for Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), the company has asked many of its store employees to work remotely. Amid the recent surge in coronavirus cases across many states, some Apple stores have again shut their doors. In a video circulated among these retail employees, Apple's senior vice president of retail and people, Deirdre O'Brien, asked workers to serve customers over the phone or online.
Apple (AAPL) closed the most recent trading day at $381.91, moving -0.46% from the previous trading session.
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. is readjusting operations as Covid-19 cases continue to spike in the U.S. and some other parts of the world.The Cupertino, California-based technology giant is pushing retail staff to work remotely as the virus forces the company to shut some of its stores again, according to a video message sent to employees. It is also shipping Covid-19 test kits to employees’ homes, and told staff in a memo that a full return to U.S. offices won’t occur before the end of the year.In a video shared with Apple retail employees over the weekend, Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of retail and people, pressed employees working at stores that have closed again to begin working from home to serve customers buying or seeking support for products online or over the phone.“If your store is closed, please sign up for Retail at Home, please talk to your manager, because we really need to make sure that we shift our teams to greet our customers remotely in this time,” O’Brien told staff in the video. “We may need to be working remotely for some period of time.”The Apple executive said that given the increase in customers looking to buy or service products online during the pandemic, some consumers are experiencing “significant wait times.”“This is not the experience that we want to have for our customers,” O’Brien added. “So we really want to make sure that we are moving to where our customers are, to help them during this very challenging time. As you know people are really dependent upon their devices, especially right now.”In March, Apple launched a program to let retail workers switch to online roles while most of Apple’s stores were shut across the world.Read more: Apple Asks Store Workers to Take On Tech Support RolesIn the video, O’Brien also told staff that, beginning later this month, they will get name tag lanyards for use in store that they can customize with their own Memoiji, Apple’s system for users to create virtual avatars of themselves on the iPhone. This will help retail staff be more recognizable while they wear face masks, she said.Of Apple’s 271 U.S. retail locations, more than 90 have had to close again due to Covid-19 spikes. The company has also shut some stores again in the U.K. and Australia. For locations that remain open, the company is requiring face masks for customers and employees as well as temperature checks upon entry. “The way we have been managing the protocols has been really effective,” O’Brien said in the recent video.The company has also started a program that allows retail and corporate employees working remotely to take Covid-19 tests at home. The tests will be shipped to employees, and then the kit can be sent to a testing site for processing. Last month, Apple started letting corporate employees returning to its offices take on-site Covid-19 nasal swab tests.The company has also shared new information on its plan to return to offices. In a memo to staff last month, the company said, “We currently do not anticipate a full return before the end of the year” for offices in the Americas, but that it does “anticipate full resumption will take place over the coming months based on local conditions” for “many” offices in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe.Read more: Apple Tells Staff That First Phase of HQ Return Begins June 15Apple recently spent several billion dollars on a new Silicon Valley campus and has hardware-development processes that rely on working from the office.The company is bringing staff back to its main office in phases, with the first phase having begun in mid-June. That phase was for employees who can’t effectively do their jobs from home, such as those working on future hardware products. In its recent note to employees, the company wrote that “we’ll begin to welcome back team members who prefer to work from the office or those with projects that require them to be in the office, while continuing to significantly limit total occupancy.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Apple is carving out a new all-time high, and Disney is being forced to shut down its Hong Kong resort.
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. shares rallied on Monday, and the advance lifted the company’s market capitalization above Microsoft Corp. for the first time in more than a year.The stock rose as much as 4.5% in its fourth straight daily advance, giving the e-commerce and cloud-computing company a valuation of about $1.66 trillion, or about $30 billion more than Microsoft’s market capitalization. According to an analysis of Bloomberg data, Amazon last exceeded Microsoft in size in February 2019.Recent gains in Amazon have come amid a growing consensus that it will be a major winner from the pandemic, which has accelerated a shift to online retail and fueled demand for cloud-computing services. Earlier, Cowen raised its price target to the highest on the Street, citing the continued “demand surge” from the pandemic, “in particular as the U.S. faces staggered and sometimes halted re-openings.”Among U.S. stocks, Amazon’s rally means it is second only to Apple Inc. in size; the iPhone maker’s market cap leads at $1.73 trillion. A rally in mega-cap tech and internet stocks has also resulted in Google-parent Alphabet Inc. eclipsing $1 trillion in market cap recently.Globally, the list is topped by Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s national oil company, which currently has a market cap of about $1.78 trillion.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The second quarter's marketwide earnings are going to be rough -- that's not in dispute. The only question is: How bad? Whereas only the final month of the first quarter of 2020 was crimped by coronavirus lockdowns in the United States, the entire three-month stretch we just wrapped up has been mired by the pandemic.