Text size

Boxes of hardware at a Fastenal distribution center in Pennsylvania

Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Fastenal’s quarterly earnings report, which sent shares of the industrial distributor sharply lower on Tuesday morning, makes a difference beyond the implications for the stock itself.

Fastenal (ticker: FAST) is one of the earliest industrial companies to report numbers. Larger, better-known industrial companies start disclosing their third quarter earnings in a couple of weeks.

More important, Fastenal is a distributor of thousands of small, lower- priced items used by businesses around the U.S. every day. Its sales trends are a good, real-time indicator of what is going on at the shop-floor level. The figures offer clues for investors about the coming earnings season and about the health of the U.S. economy.

“I find Fastenal to be a great bellwether for the industrial side of the U.S. economy,” said Peter Boockvar, Chief Investment Officer at Bleakley Advisory

Read More

In the aftermath of Dak Prescott’s bone-chilling injury and reaction on Sunday, many have asked me about his business decision to turn down a multi-year offer from the Cowboys to instead play on a one-year contract with no security beyond it. Here are some thoughts.

We do not know what the Cowboys were offering, but we do know from their contract history that they prefer long deals—the longer the better—with guarantees only in the low-risk early years of the deal. They have previously signed star players to contracts with lengths up to 10 years, which are essentially one- or two-year contracts with team options following that. Amid that landscape, the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes agreed to a 12-year deal, one that only secures $63 million over the next three years (Ryan Tannehill is making $91 million over the same time frame). Wanting both a better deal from the Cowboys and

Read More

  • Some social media users have urged others to boycott Prime Day because of a theory that an influx of packages will affect the US Postal Service’s ability to handle mail-in ballots. 
  • That’s not the case, a USPS spokesperson told Business Insider. 
  • The post office processes packages and first-class mail on different machines — and the USPS is equipped to handle surges in parcel volume — the spokesperson said. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Amazon’s annual Prime Day event kicks off Tuesday, and some social media users have expressed concerns that the surge in packages could affect the US Postal Service’s capacity to handle mail-in ballots, given that the presidential election is just weeks away. 

But the Postal Service says those claims are unfounded. 

The post office processes mail and packages on different equipment, a Postal Service spokesperson told Business Insider via email.

Read More

Sorry, Devils fans. Hate to be the bearer of disappointing news if you’ve been waiting for general manager Tom Fitzgerald to make a big free-agent splash to speed up a franchise rebuild.

Not happening.

Not this year.

And maybe not next year.

Fitzgerald made that crystal clear in a Sunday morning Zoom call.

Sign up for Devils Insider: Get exclusive news, behind-the-scenes observations and the ability to text message directly with beat writers

The Devils have a plan to go for it once young centers Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes reach their prime, but not before even though they still are under $18.35 million under next season’s $81.5 million salary cap following three significant weekend acquisitions – defenseman Ryan Murray (4.6M) and left wing Andreas Johnsson ($3.4M) via trades, and goalie Corey Crawford ($3.9M) in a free agent signing

Those additions strengthen the Devils’ depth chart a lot –Murray is

Read More

A storefront decorated is with a Chinese national flag and red lanterns to celebrate the National Day in Beijing on Oct. 4.

Photographer: Yan Cong/Bloomberg

When the world’s financial markets hit turbulence, could you really turn to China’s yuan as a store of value?

The idea of the yuan as a refuge has gained some traction in recent weeks as it capped its best quarter in 12 years relative to the dollar. That label would put it on par with currencies traditionally deemed as safe in a market downturn, like the Japanese yen or Swiss franc.

In addition to dollar weakness, the yuan is being underpinned by a wide interest-rate premium over the rest of the world, as well as signs that China’s economy is recovering from the shock of the pandemic. But unlike a haven, China’s tightly-managed currency is gaining just as money flows into risk

Read More

“A year ago, I could spot a tourist and I’d tell them where to get a drink or a nice bite to eat around here,” he explains. “Now I can’t walk two blocks without someone asking me for a dollar.”   

As New York continues to struggle with the economic fallout from coronavirus containment measures, small-business owners across the city fear they may not be able to hang on much longer.

“It’s been tough. We saw a couple of restaurants and grocery stores leave already,” says Jan Lee, a property owner in Chinatown. “Now we’re looking at 500 jobs lost in the greater Chinatown area in grocery stores and restaurants.”

Lee says that if an uptick in Covid-19 cases occurs during the fall and winter, even more business will close before the end of the year.

Because the city and state are without the funds to bail out struggling business owners,

Read More

A pedestrian walks past a business that’s closing down in Boston, Sept. 2.


Steven Senne/Associated Press

Stephen Moore states that suspending personal and corporate income taxes for one year would create “plenty of jobs for the unemployed to fill” (“The Best Stimulus: 0% Income Tax,” op-ed, Oct. 7). But a lack of spending power by individuals and corporations isn’t what’s holding back the economy. The obstacle is Covid-19. Putting more money in the pockets of Americans who are working and already have sufficient money won’t induce them to fly in airplanes, stay at hotels, take cruises, visit amusement parks and movie theaters, attend concerts or dine at restaurants.

Robert Sommers

Jacksonville, Fla.

From all reported accounts, small-business owners affected by state lockdowns—and the individuals they had previously employed, now out of work for many months—are the folks who really need to benefit from

Read More

  • Reversing lockdown measures while cases remain elevated is unlikely to drive a robust economic recovery, the International Monetary Fund said in a Thursday blog post.
  • Researchers at the organization found that voluntary quarantining plays a substantial role in stifling a rebound as fears of contracting the coronavirus keeps consumers from boosting economic activity.
  • While lockdowns present some short-term costs, they “may lead to a faster economic recovery as they lower infections and thus the extent of voluntary social distancing,” the team wrote.
  • Addressing the health crisis “appears to be a pre-condition to allow for a strong and sustained economic recovery,” the IMF added.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Ending lockdowns while coronavirus cases remain elevated is unlikely to accelerate economic growth and poses new dangers, the International Monetary Fund said Thursday.

Researchers at the organization found that although quarantine orders contributed to the second quarter’s historic drop in

Read More

In an increasingly virtual world, three in four Americans agree that how a company presents themselves online is more important now than ever before.

In fact, the average American abandons 24 online purchases per year because a company’s website looks unprofessional, according to new research.

A new survey of 2,000 Americans and 500 American small business owners found that how a company portrays themselves online is becoming increasingly important.

Just in the past month, the average American hasn’t gone through with $61 worth of purchases due to a brand’s website giving them pause.

The study, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of GoDaddy, went on to show that 82% of Americans say they’re less likely to buy something from a company if their online presence is unprofessional or dated.

Six in ten Americans go so far as to say they are “disappointed” when they go to shop with a company and

Read More

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told CNBC on Wednesday he’s all but certain Congress won’t break up Big Tech companies despite a House subcommittee report that found Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google hold monopoly power.

Ballmer, who led Microsoft through an antitrust lawsuit in the early 2000s, also made some recommendations to those companies.

“If I’m in these guys’ shoes, I say, come on, let’s get down there and let’s regulate me and let’s get it over with so I know what I can do,” Ballmer said in a “Squawk Box” interview.

On Tuesday, the Democratic majority on the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust said the four tech titans need to be reined in by Congress and enforcers.

“I’ll bet money that they will not be broken up,” Ballmer told CNBC. 

“I also don’t think the case of Apple is the same as Google is the same as Amazon,” Ballmer

Read More