Trial Balance

Real Estate Rethink, GDP, and Liquid Death: Trial Balance

The CFO team looks ahead to NABE's business conditions survey while wondering about the best way to "murder your thirst."
Real Estate Rethink, GDP, and Liquid Death: Trial Balance
Photo: Dilen_ua

With playoffs and layoffs set for ESPN and their high earners this week, it’s clear the ongoing issues surrounding the economy and labor are continuing to reach every corner of industries. And this week in finance looks to be a little hectic. The Federal Reserve, in response to Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse, is considering measures to eliminate the exemption that allows certain midsize banks to conceal losses on securities. And Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s debt spending bill development is coming to a crucial point.

Also, it’s National Allergies Awareness week. If pollen tends to ruin your day, remember to pick up some tissues, stay hydrated, and skip the car wash.

(The Trial Balance is CFO’s weekly preview of stories, stats, and events to help you prepare.)

Part 1: Autonomy and Death

This week, reporter Adam Zaki looks into the essence and development of employee autonomy, and whether it is a skill that is learned, developed, innate, or something else. As flexible work continues to drive employee retention and satisfaction, how that flexibility is granted is still up in the air. (4/27)

Additionally, Zaki speaks with Liquid Death CFO Nicholas Manolelis about his company’s recent explosion of success, their edgy marketing campaigns, and the CFO’s role in building a revolutionary and “deadly” brand. (TBD)

Part 2: Economic Calendar

Monday — The National Association for Business Economics (NABE) releases its April Business Conditions Survey results. The webinar featuring a discussion of the results is at 3 p.m. 

The SEC’s Small Business office hosts its annual government-business forum on small business capital formation. 

One of the premier cybersecurity events is held this week in San Francisco, The RSA Conference. Sessions will address hacking, supply chain security, phishing scams, threat response, and many, many other enterprise security challenges.

Tuesday — FASB holds a meeting of its Private Company Council, addressing, among other issues, disaggregation of expenses, accounting for and disclosure of software costs, joint venture formations, and stock compensation disclosures. The meeting will be live-streamed.

Looking for signals on the health of the U.S. housing market? The S&P Case-Shiller home price index for 20 cities is released, as well as the March price index for U.S. new home sales. Economists are projecting price dips.

The Conference Board reports on consumer confidence after data from its Leading Economic Index report last week showed worsening U.S. economic conditions.

Wednesday — How will the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank affect U.S. bank supervision and FDIC deposit insurance? The Peterson Institute for International Economics hosts a webinar featuring Duke Law School’s Sarah Bloom Raskin and Harvard’s Daniel Tarullo.

Time for March durable goods orders and retail and wholesale inventories data, released before the stock market opens.

Thursday — The first-quarter U.S. GDP number hits the wires. Estimates vary. The Philadelphia Fed survey of foresters says 1.3% growth; the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model estimate is 2.5%. Other projections are within that range. One certainty: we won’t beat China’s first-quarter performance. 

The Loan Syndications and Trading Association holds its two-day Private Credit Industry Conference on Direct Lending and Middle Market Finance, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Friday — The Federal Reserve releases its data on U.S. finance company receivables outstanding and receivables flows for real estate, motor vehicles, equipment, and other loans.

The Fed’s favorite measure of U.S. inflation, the core PCE price index, is slated for release. Economists project only a slight drop in March, to 4.5%. Quarterly percentages for growth in personal income, spending, and employment costs are also expected to be near flat.

Earnings this week — Get ready for a flurry of earnings news. More than 200 public-company reports are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. Financials are due from industrial icons GM, General Electric, 3M, Dow Chemical, Boeing, and Caterpillar; consumer spending bellwethers United Parcel Service, McDonald’s, Mastercard, Nestlé, and Hasbro; beverage giants Coca Cola and PepsiCo; high-fliers American Airlines and JetBlue; and tech giants Amazon, Microsoft, and Alphabet.

Part 3: Real Estate Rethink

Due to the shift to remote and hybrid work brought on by the pandemic, most companies have more office space than they need. William A. Lovis III, a managing director of consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal, offers CFOs ways to reorganize and optimize office real estate. 

“Why haven’t more companies revisited their real estate strategies? For one, it’s not a ‘noisy’ problem,” said Lovis. “Organizations gravitate to handling what they consider more pressing issues first. But it’s an expensive problem.” (April 25)

Quote/Stat of the Week

“Layoffs are the ultimate in short-term thinking, and they’re usually handled badly. You’re not thinking of the long-term best interests of the company or the people.” – Steve Jobs

Stat of the Week


(The difference between the defending champion Golden State Warriors’ salary cap as they contend for a title again this year, and the Houston Rockets, who definitely are not).