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Betty Liu, Executive Vice Chairman for NYSE Group, explains:

What kind of unicorns could come out of this economic downturn?

So, that's an interesting question, because inevitably in any crisis, they're going to be new ideas to solve problems. Those new ideas will likely lead to new companies and those new companies will likely become unicorns, the next generation of unicorns. So, if you think about it, Uber was born during the last recession. If you go back a few more decades, Hewlett Packard was born during the Great Depression. General Motors was founded during a recession in 1908. There was one study that was very interesting, it found that back in 2009, more than half of the Fortune 500 companies were founded during a recession or a bear market.

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Betty Liu, Executive Vice Chairman for NYSE Group, provides her perspective:

What's been the role of the retail investor over the past few months?

So, US equity market volumes have been pretty high, remarkably high since the end of February 2020, and much of that is being attributed to the rise in retail investment activity. In fact, on peak market days, retail investors can account for up to a quarter of all market activity.

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Microsoft has been looking at ways its technology and resources can help address some of the challenges journalism faces, and the company shared some of the initial work. It includes a new community-based pilot program that looks at ways to provide journalists and newsrooms new tools, technology and capacity, and expand reach for local news outlets. It also includes a new pro bono program, also in pilot form, to provide legal support to journalists and smaller newsrooms, and an expansion of AccountGuard to help protect journalists from cyberattacks. The company will build on top of work already under way by Microsoft Research and the Microsoft Defending Democracy team that's designed to tackle issues such as disinformation. To read more about the Journalism Initiative, visit Microsoft on the Issues.

Betty Liu, Executive Vice Chairman for NYSE Group, explains:

Why have SPACs been so popular recently?

Well, that's because companies are embracing newer ways to tap the public markets outside of the traditional IPO. You've heard me talk about direct listings, for instance. And now SPACs are having a very big year, this year. In fact, nearly a third of all US IPO proceeds raised have been raised through SPACs in the first half of 2020.

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Betty Liu, Executive Vice Chairman for NYSE Group, provides her perspective:

What are analysts expecting, going to the second quarter earnings season?

So, this earnings season has just started this past week, you saw banks kick off their reports. And as you can well imagine, analyst estimates are pretty much all over the place. And part of that is because a good number of companies did not provide guidance. Now, according to some estimates, some analysts estimates, we could see an earnings season decline or earnings decline as much as 44% this time around. That would be one of the biggest declines since 2008, the prior crisis.

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Betty Liu, Executive Vice Chairman for NYSE Group, provides her perspective:

Over the past few weeks, more companies have been going public. Why is that?

Well, as you might recall, back in March, when we first saw the pandemic erupt, the markets were extremely volatile. And in fact, we triggered the market wide circuit breakers a total of four times between March 9th to 18th. At that time, you had some companies tap the capital markets to raise funds for short term funding needs, but there weren't a lot of IPOs. Now the markets are a little bit more calm, so to speak, and that means that the IPO window is opening. You've seen companies like Albertson's, Dun & Bradstreet and Lemonade go public in just the last few weeks.

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Betty Liu, Executive Vice Chairman for NYSE Group, provides her perspective:

What role does diversity play in investing?

So, diversity has played an increasingly important role in investing. In an earlier episode, I talked about ESG - that's environmental, social and governance - and ESG factoring more into investment decisions. Diversity is a key component of ESG. It's seen as crucial in looking at good governance and good decision making. So, a growing number of investors are looking at diversity as a metric to show whether or not this company is worthy to invest in.

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Betty Liu, Executive Vice Chairman for NYSE Group, explains:

How has the housing market reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic?

So, as you can well imagine, when stay-at-home orders are put in place, the housing market just dried up. Sales fell dramatically. Existing home sales in the month of April dropped nearly 18%. However, home prices actually continue to still rise. The median price for an existing home in the United States was $286,000. That was a rise of 7.4% from April of 2019.

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