RALLY BURNS OUT
U.S. stocks had another volatile week as investors tried to extend a cautious rally based on optimism over the reopening of the economy, helped by a continued show of support from the Fed. The central bank on Monday announced changes to its lending facility so that it can buy individual corporate bonds in a bid to keep credit flowing. Retail sales for May came in midweek and blew past expectations, rising 18 percent for the biggest-ever month-over-month increase ever as more stores reopened. While still below pre-pandemic levels, the data showed that consumer activity is significantly up, though the big question remains whether that's a blip or signs of a broader recovery — and what happens when government stimulus money runs out. Then, late on Friday, an ominous warning sign from Apple that pushed markets into the red: the iPhone maker will close about a dozen stores across the South in states where COVID-19 cases are spiking.
NEW ERA FOR JUNETEENTH
This year's Juneteenth holiday — the unofficial commemoration of the abolition of slavery -- took on new meaning, and new urgency, amid a backdrop of tensions and protests over racial injustice across the country. A growing list of companies across industries made the day a paid company holiday: Nike, Target, Uber, Twitter, Square, Vox Media among them (Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told employees to cancel meetings for the day, though they'd still have to work). On the state level, the governors of New York and Virginia announced they'd make it a paid holiday for state workers. Sen. Kamala Harris is leading a group of Senate Democrats who are pushing for June 19 to become a national holiday via an act of Congress so, by next year's commemoration, it just might be.
STEREOTYPES IN BRANDING
After 131 years, Aunt Jemima is no more. Quaker Oats, part of Pepsi, is dropping the Aunt Jemima name and image from its pancake mix and syrup line that's been on shelves since 1889. Quaker Oats says it recognizes that "Aunt Jemima's origins are based on a racial stereotype." Separately, Mars plans to "evolve" its Uncle Ben's rice brand, ConAgra is reviewing its Mrs. Butterworth's syrup line, B&G Foods launched an "immediate review" of its Cream of Wheat packaging, and Colgate-Palmolive says it will rebrand a product line popular in Asia that's name translates to "Black people toothpaste."
TRUMP SOCIAL MEDIA FLAGGED
Facebook removed dozens of ads from President Trump's reelection campaign that depicted a symbol once used by the Nazis to label political prisoners in concentration camps. The ads included an inverted red triangle to warn against "Dangerous MOBS of far-left groups." Facebook, which rarely intercedes on political content, said the ads violated its policy against hate speech. Days earlier, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he was "disgusted" by the president's rhetoric related to the nationwide protests, though he continues to say that Facebook is not built to be an "arbiter of truth." Meanwhile, Twitter labeled a tweet from the president that showed a fake CNN chyron as "manipulated media," the first time the platform has used that label to flag a Trump tweet.
CEO TURNED EDUCATION PHILANTHROPIST
Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, are giving $120 million to the United Negro College Fund, Spelman College, and Morehouse College. It's the largest ever individual gift to historically black colleges and universities and comes as reports emerge that Hastings is the developer behind a mysterious luxury retreat that's being built in the foothills of Colorado's Rocky Mountains, which will act as a training facility for public school teachers.