Update on the latest business

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Wall Street heads lower, but still on track for weekly gain

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are headed lower on Wall Street following a mixed showing in overseas markets.

The S&P 500 fell 0.3% Friday, but it’s still on track for a weekly gain. Hong Kong’s main index fell 5.6% after China made more moves to limit political opposition in the former British colony. China also abandoned its longstanding practice of setting economic growth targets. European markets shook off some early weakness and were mostly mixed.

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Oil prices headed lower after six straight gains, which weighed on energy stocks. Trading was subdued ahead of the Memorial Day holiday in the U.S. 

VIRUS OUTBREAK-CALIFORNIA-JOBS

California’s April jobless rate higher than Great Recession

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s unemployment rate nearly tripled to 15.5% in April. The nation’s most populous state has lost more jobs in one month than it did during the two-and-a-half year Great Recession a decade ago. The unemployment rate increased 10.2 percentage points since March. It’s the largest one month increase since 1976 when the state began using its current formula to measure job losses. Nationwide, the unemployment rate reached 14.7% as all 50 states plus the District of Columbia reported increased job losses. The numbers reflect survey results from the week of April 12. The numbers are likely far higher now.

AP POLL-VIRUS OUTBREAK-ECONOMY

AP-NORC poll: Many in US won’t return to gym or dining out

WASHINGTON (AP) — Much of the country remains unlikely to venture out to bars, restaurants, theaters or gyms anytime soon, despite state and local officials increasingly allowing businesses to reopen. That’s according to a new survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Just 42% of those who went to concerts, movies, theaters or sporting events at least monthly before the coronavirus outbreak say they’d do so in the next few weeks if they could. Only about half of those who regularly went to restaurants, exercised at a gym or traveled would go back if they could. That hesitancy could muffle any recovery from the sharpest and swiftest economic downturn in U.S. history.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-TOURISM

Global tourism upended

UNDATED (AP) — Cities and even countries thrive on tourism and no one knows how soon people will feel comfortable traveling again.

Spain’s National Statistics Institute said Friday that hotel occupancy was “nil,” in April. Spain is Europe’s second most popular tourist destination, after France. At the same time, governments are trying to shore up major industries and small businesses alike. Japan’s central bank will provide some 30 trillion yen ($280 billion) to banks for financing small and medium-size businesses battling economic hardships brought on by the pandemic.

Cyprus on Friday outlined plans for the phased resumption next month of commercial flights from a select number of countries with low COVID-19 infection rates to jump-start its vital tourism sector.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-VEGAS CASINOS

Disinfected dice: Las Vegas casinos getting ready to roll

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Las Vegas casinos are getting ready to reopen with a different look.

One day soon, dice will roll again, cards will be dealt and slot machines will beckon. But poker rooms will be closed. There will be free parking, but no valet service. Bartenders, blackjack dealers and waiters will wear masks. Dice will be disinfected between shooters, chips cleaned periodically and card decks changed frequently.

Nevada’s governor hasn’t set a restart date, but resort owners have submitted health and safety rules to state regulators in anticipation of the end to the shutdown. A workshop with operators and the state Gaming Control Board is set Tuesday. Many properties are aiming a June 1 restart.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-BRITAIN-VACCINE

UK to start huge vaccine test; China reports promising hints

LONDON (AP) — British researchers testing an experimental vaccine against the new coronavirus are moving into advanced studies and aim to immunize more than 10,000 people to determine if the shot works. Friday’s announcement comes as Chinese scientists report promising hints from first-step safety tests of another vaccine candidate made in a similar way. About a dozen potential vaccines are in early stages of human testing or poised to start. Scientists have never created vaccines from scratch this fast and it’s far from clear that any will ultimately prove safe and effective.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MALARIA DRUGS

Big study casts more doubt on malaria drugs for coronavirus

UNDATED (AP) — A large new study suggests that malaria drugs pushed by President Donald Trump as treatments for the coronavirus not only do not help but also are tied to a greater risk of death and heart rhythm problems. Friday’s report in the journal Lancet involved nearly 100,000 patients around the world. It was not a rigorous test of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, but is by far the largest look at their use in real world settings, spanning 671 hospitals on six continents. Researchers estimate that the death rate attributable to use of the drugs, with or without an antibiotic

VENEZUELA-AT&T

Venezuelan high court orders DirecTV property seized

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela’s high court has ordered the immediate seizure of all DirecTV property, days after the U.S. firm abandoned its services in the South American nation, citing U.S. sanctions. The Supreme Court ruling on Friday told the nation’s telecommunications agency to seize satellite dishes.

Days earlier AT&T suddenly cut off pay TV services, saying U.S. sanctions prohibit its DirecTV platform from broadcasting channels that it is required to carry by the administration of Nicolás Maduro. The abrupt move cut off roughly 10 million people in Venezuela from receiving TV services.

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