Asian stocks sink after IMF says global economy will shrink
BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stocks skidded today after the International Monetary Fund said the global economy will suffer its worst year since the Great Depression of the 1930s due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.5% and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo declined 0.5%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was off 0.7%.
The S&P-ASX 200 in Sydney lost 0.4%while India’s Sensex opened up 2.5%.
Tuesday on Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index climbed 3.1% to 2,846.06. The benchmark index surged 12% last week, though it is about 16% below its all-time high set in February.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 2.4% to 23,949.76.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-TRUMP ECONOMIC COUNCIL
New Trump advisory groups to consult on reopening US economy
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he’s enlisting advisers from nearly all sectors of American commerce, the medical field and elected office to help shape his plans to reopen the coronavirus-battered economy.
The panel of advisers, whom Trump said he will consult by phone, will operate separately from the White House task force that’s leading the administration’s public health strategy to contain and mitigate the pandemic, though there is expected to be some overlap.
The panel, which the White House has dubbed the Great American Economic Revival Industry Groups, includes more than 50 executives and leaders from agricultural, defense and financial service industries, as well as leaders from unions, professional sports, think tanks and more.
The list of executives includes Apple’s Tim Cook, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and hedge fund manager Ken Griffin, all individuals with whom Trump has long-standing relationships. Trump also named some individuals who have been critical of him in the past, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban.
Trump halts WTO payments
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says he is halting U.S. payments to the World Health Organization pending a review of its warnings about the coronavirus and China.
Trump says the outbreak could have been contained at its source and spared lives had the U.N. health agency done a better job investigating reports coming out of China.
The president says the world depends on the World Health Organization to work with countries to make sure accurate information about health threats are shared in a timely manner.
Trump claims the organization failed to carry out its “basic duty” and must be held accountable.
But Trump says the U.S. will continue to engage with the organization in pursuit of what he calls meaningful reforms.
Major airlines line up to split $25 billion in payroll aid
UNDATED (AP) — The nation’s biggest airlines have tentatively agreed to terms for $25 billion in government aid to pay workers and avoid massive layoffs in an industry that has been slammed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The assistance will include a mix of cash and loans, with the government getting warrants that can be converted into small ownership stakes in the leading airlines.
Ten airlines — including Delta, American, United and Southwest – fell in line after objecting to some of the Treasury Department’s demands. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday that the department would work to finalize the deals and hand over the money as quickly as possible. He said talks were continuing with other carriers.
The airlines entered 2020 riding a decade-long hot streak in which together they earned tens of billions of dollars due to strong travel demand. They bought new planes, enriched shareholders, and hired thousands more workers.
ESPN asks top on-air personalities to take pay cuts
BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) — ESPN is asking some of its on-air personalities to take a 15% pay cut over the next three months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The pay cuts, which are voluntary, would apply to ESPN’s highest-paid broadcasters. They are designed to help deter further immediate furloughs that would affect network employees who might be more financially vulnerable. ESPN has already furloughed those who work on live events.
ESPN executives are taking 20%-30% salary reductions as part of cost-cutting measures instituted throughout Walt Disney Corp. ESPN has been re-airing games, “30 for 30” specials and NFL draft previews in the absence of live events.
Judge OKs PG&E plan to pay $19M in fees from victims fund
BERKELEY Calif. (AP) — The Northern California victims of catastrophic wildfires caused by Pacific Gas & Electric’s decaying electrical grid will have at least $19 million siphoned from a $13.5 billion fund for their losses to cover administrative costs.
A bankruptcy judge said he would approve drawing from the victims’ fund as part of a plan reviewed Tuesday during a court hearing. The decision came after PG&E and a committee representing the victims struck an accord on a $21.8 million budget for administering the $13.5 billion fund for the thousands of people who lost loved ones, homes and businesses during a series of deadly wildfires in 2017 and 2018.
PG&E will pay an additional $2.5 million to cover the fund’s administrative fees, but the rest of the money will come from the fund earmarked for the fire victims under the plan that won U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali’s blessing.