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What We’re Reading

Covid habits:

Americans are smoking more during the coronavirus pandemic because they are spending less on travel and entertainment and have more opportunities to light up. They are also switching back to traditional cigarettes from vaping devices in the wake of federal restrictions on e-cigarette flavors.

Executives at Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc. pointed to the trends Tuesday and said they have been significant enough to slow the yearslong decline in U.S. cigarette sales. Altria now expects U.S. cigarette unit sales to fall by 2% to 3.5% this year compared with its previous projection of a 4%-to-6% decline.

Winter flu:

The experts were divided as to what role influenza will play in the fall. A harsh flu season could flood hospitals with pneumonia patients needing ventilators. But some said the flu season could be mild or almost nonexistent this year.

Normally, the flu virus migrates from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere in the spring — presumably in air travelers — and then returns in the fall, with new mutations that may make it a poor match for the annual vaccine.

But this year, the national lockdown abruptly ended flu transmission in late April, according to weekly Fluview reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. International air travel has been sharply curtailed, and there has been almost no flu activity in the whole southern hemisphere this year.

Fund flows:

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Finding news:

The attention to the SEO principles of headline writing and distributing content on places like Facebook and Google helped push its content far and wide. “There’s a lot of news out there that people don’t know they want to read,” says a former Business Insider reporter. “The whole mindset at BI is that the traditional media doesn’t know how to do digital. They don’t know how to make readers want to read something.”

Kindle:

Amazon’s second largest business was decimated when Apple digitized the music industry. CD sales had been important to Amazon, but they were dwarfed by book sales. Jeff [Bezos] took the lessons from iPod/iTunes and applied them to Kindle.

Steve Kessel was running Amazon’s media business in 2004 (books/music/DVD’s). Books alone generated more than 50% of Amazon’s cash flow. Jeff fired Steve from his job and reassigned him to build Kindle. Steve’s new mission: destroy his old business.

Homes:

The U.S. homeownership rate, led by young buyers, jumped to the highest since 2008, signaling that the housing boom underway before the pandemic has only accelerated.

The rate was 67.9% in the second quarter, according to a Census Bureau report Tuesday. It was the fourth straight increase, climbing from 65.3% in the previous three months. The homeownership rate for buyers under age 35 rose to 40.6%, the highest in almost 12 years.

Have a good weekend, stay safe.


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