Even with its bankruptcy exit still not final, J.C. Penney is attracting new national brands to get ready for a holiday shopping season that’ll begin earlier than usual.



J. C. Penney at Collin Creek Mall in Plano last year during the holiday shopping season. That store is still open but is among the 150 stores closing soon.


© Staff Photographer/Nathan Hunsinger/The Dallas Morning News/TNS
J. C. Penney at Collin Creek Mall in Plano last year during the holiday shopping season. That store is still open but is among the 150 stores closing soon.

Penney’s new brands are mostly in its home department, which is where Americans have been spending money during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Plano-based Penney plans to exit bankruptcy this year so it has to stay in the game. It responded to Amazon Prime Day with its own Cyber Days Monday through Wednesday.

Retailers including Walmart, Target, Best Buy and others are moving up Black Friday discounts to compete with Prime Day. The two-day Prime Day was delayed from its usual mid-summer dates as even Amazon was overwhelmed with new demand from shoppers who were staying at home due to the coronavirus. This year, Amazon’s Tuesday and Wednesday U.S. sales are expected to exceed $6 billion, up from $4.4 billion last year, according to eMarketer.

In a statement, Penney CEO Jill Soltau said her team is “working to secure partnerships with new national brands and to expand our product offerings as part of our efforts to provide compelling merchandise and deliver an engaging shopping experience to our customers.” She has declined interview requests during the bankruptcy.

Among Penney’s new brands announced Monday are Schott Zwiesel wine glasses and Luminarc glassware, Cambridge flatware and Nordic Ware cookware. Those brands are also sold at specialty stores Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table and Bed Bath & Beyond and direct competitor in the mall, Macy’s. New brands include Taste of Home cooking magazine bakeware, which is also sold at Macy’s and

COVID-19-driven financial market volatility is expected to negatively impact solvency levels of Bahraini insurers this year, according to a new AM Best special report, adding to the challenges faced by the kingdom’s (re)insurance sector — the smallest among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

The Best’s Special Report, “COVID-19 Adds to Challenges for Bahrain’s Fragmented Insurance Market,” notes the Bahraini (re)insurance market is very competitive, with a large number of companies vying for a limited amount of premium.

The report explains Bahraini insurers typically take more asset risk than their peers in mature markets. In particular, exposures to equities and real estate are generally higher among Bahraini insurers than among insurers in developed economies. As a result, their performance is heavily influenced by investment results and prone to volatility driven by financial market movements.

While the good solvency buffers of the large Bahraini insurance companies will allow them to absorb these types of financial market shocks, there is concern as to how insurers with lower solvency levels will cope with additional stresses in the short term, particularly in the event of a second wave of COVID-19 infections later in the year.

To access the full copy of this report, please visit http://www3.ambest.com/bestweek/purchase.asp?record_code=301861.

AM Best is a global credit rating agency, news publisher and data analytics provider specializing in the insurance industry. Headquartered in the United States, the company does business in over 100 countries with regional offices in New York, London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

Copyright © 2020 by A.M. Best Rating Services, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201007006000/en/

Contacts

Luca Patron
Financial Analyst
+44 20 7397 0304
[email protected]

Ghislain Le Cam, CFA, FRM
Director, Analytics
+44 20 7397 0268
[email protected]

Index Exchange is adding new positions to its C-suite, naming former Amazon executive Lori Goode as its CMO and former Criteo executive Jess Breslav as chief customer officer.

The supply-side platform is building out its leadership team as the industry faces a long road ahead, said CEO Andrew Casale, especially in adapting to the deprecation of third-party cookies and Apple’s IDFA, which make ad targeting much harder.

“We’ve got to pivot quite a few behaviors in the next, say, 15 months or less to be completely ready, but I think we’re going to get it done,” said Casale.

Breslav worked at Criteo, the publicly traded ad-tech company, for seven years, most recently serving as executive managing director, Americas.

“I am proud to join a team that has continued to show a strong and sustainable approach to driving growth, and I look forward to helping Index double down on that commitment,” Breslav said in a statement.

Index Exchange had previously managed its direct customers, publishers and media companies, and its indirect publishers on the buy-side separately. Now those two customer sets will be managed together under the CCO role, which will help handle the increase in deal activity on the exchange between publishers and big brands during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“That kind of collaboration between our direct customer and our indirect customer has never been in higher demand. And so this will allow us to create a far more seamless experience end-to-end across the transaction,” Casale said.

Goode spent the past five years as head of marketing and training for Amazon Advertising. Prior to that, she spent two years at Facebook and more than six years at Microsoft.

“I could not be more excited to join a team so committed to driving business growth for publishers and marketers alike, and

In its weekly release, Baker Hughes Company BKR reported an increase in the U.S. rig count.

More on the Rig Count

Baker Hughes’ data, issued at the end of every week since 1944, helps energy service providers gauge the overall business environment of the oil and gas industry.

A change in the Houston-based oilfield service player’s rotary rig count affects demand for energy services like drilling, completion and production, provided by the likes of Halliburton Company HAL, Schlumberger Limited SLB and Transocean Ltd. RIG.

Details

Total US Rig Count Increases: The count of rigs engaged in the exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the United States was 266 in the week through Oct 2 versus the prior-week count of 261. Thus, the tally increased for three weeks in a row. The current national rig count is, however, below the year-ago level’s 855.

The number of onshore rigs in the week ending Oct 2 totaled 251 compared with the prior-week count of 246. Notably, the count of rigs operating in inland waters was one, same as the prior-week tally. Moreover, in the offshore resources, 14 rigs were operating, also flat with the prior-week count.

US Adds 6 Oil Rigs: Oil rig count was 189 in the week through Oct 2, compared with 183 in the week ended Sep 25. Investors should also note that the current tally of oil rigs, far from the peak of 1,609 attained in October 2014, is below the year-ago 710.

Natural Gas Rig Count Falls in US: The natural gas rig count of 74 was lower than the prior-week count of 75. Moreover, the count of rigs exploring the commodity is below the prior-year week’s 144. Importantly, per the latest report, the number of natural gas-directed rigs is 95.4% below the all-time high

News that President Donald Trump has been infected with a virus that’s killed more than 200,000 of his fellow Americans has further unsettled investors and business leaders who were already on edge ahead of the November election.



Donald Trump standing in front of a television screen: A man wearing a face mask walks near a TV screen reporting about U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump during a news program with a file image of Trump at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. Trump said early Friday that he and Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus, a stunning announcement that plunges the country deeper into uncertainty just a month before the presidential election. The Korean letters read: "President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19." (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)


© Lee Jin-man/AP
A man wearing a face mask walks near a TV screen reporting about U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump during a news program with a file image of Trump at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. Trump said early Friday that he and Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus, a stunning announcement that plunges the country deeper into uncertainty just a month before the presidential election. The Korean letters read: “President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19.” (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

It’s a truism that investors hate uncertainty. But this year had been unusually chaotic, even before the leader of the world’s largest economy and his wife tested positive for Covid-19. The diagnosis deals a new psychological blow to a recovery that was already losing steam. Lack of certainty could be just as damaging economically as anything else this year.

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The data: An index published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis that tracks economic policy uncertainty spiked to record highs in May as the pandemic rampaged across the United States. The index, which is based on newspaper stories that discuss uncertainty, changes to the tax code and disagreement among forecasters, has been elevated for most of the year. Not even the global financial crisis produced as much uncertainty.

“Every uncertainty measure we consider rose sharply in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Most measures reached all-time peaks,” the group of economists who created the index wrote in a working paper published