Asian shares bounce after Wall St dive, recession warning
UNDATED (AP) — Shares reversed early losses in Asia on Tuesday after the U.S. stock market plunged to its worst day in more than three decades and huge swaths of many economies came to a standstill, with businesses and travel shut down due to the virus outbreak.
Monday’s 12% drop for the S&P, its worst day in more than 30 years, came as voices from Wall Street to the White House said the coronavirus may be dragging the economy into a recession.
As Congress eyes economic package, Democrats seek $750B
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is rushing to develop a sweeping economic lifeline for American households and businesses suddenly capsized by the coronavirus outbreak.
Democrats say at least $750 billion will be needed, with Senate party leader Chuck Schumer calling for “big, bold, urgent federal action.” And top White House officials say a similar-sized package needs to pass.
A separate package already passed by the House — with sick pay, free testing and emergency food — could get a Senate vote as early as Tuesday.
The rush to inject cash and resources into the economy is an effort unlike any since the 2008 economic crisis.
Hit by virus, US airlines seek aid far exceeding post-9/11
UNDATED (AP) — U.S. airlines are asking the federal government for grants, loans and tax relief that could easily top $50 billion to help them recover from a sharp downturn in travel due to the new coronavirus.
Airlines for America, the trade group representing the carriers, posted its request for financial help on Monday. It is asking for $29 billion in federal grants, with $25 billion for passenger airlines and $4 billion for cargo carriers.
The airlines are also seeking up to $29 billion in zero-interest loans or loan guarantees, and they want federal excise taxes on fuel, cargo and airline tickets to be suspended through the end of next year.
EU funds firm developing virus vaccine amid US interest
BERLIN (AP) — The European Union on Monday announced a multimillion-dollar investment in a German company that is working on a potential vaccine for the new coronavirus amid reports that the U.S. government was interested in acquiring the firm.
The funding is part of a coordinated EU response to COVID-19, making use of public and private funding to support research.
The EU’s executive body did not mention possible American interest in CureVac but said it will provide up to 80 million euros ($89.4 million) in support so that it can “scale up development and production of a vaccine against the coronavirus in Europe.”
Amazon seeks to hire 100,000 to keep up with surge in orders
NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon says it needs to hire 100,000 people across the U.S. to keep up with a crush of orders as the coronavirus spreads and keeps more people at home, shopping online.
The online retailer will also temporarily raise pay by $2 an hour through the end of April for hourly employees. That includes workers at its warehouses, delivery centers and Whole Foods grocery stores, all of whom make at least $15 an hour.
Amazon said this weekend that a surge of orders is putting its operations under pressure. It warned shoppers that it could take longer than the usual two days to get packages.
Cinemas across U.S. close for pandemic
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. movie theaters nationwide are preparing to shut down after President Donald Trump announced new guidelines urging against gatherings of more than 10 because of the coronavirus pandemic, while Hollywood moved to rush some new releases onto home entertainment platforms.
Regal Cinema’s the national’s second largest theater chain, said Monday that would close all cinemas.
The coronavirus pandemic also cracked Hollywood’s traditional theatrical window. Universal Pictures on Monday said it will make its current and upcoming films available for on-demand rental, becoming the first major studio to turn directly to home viewing in light of the virus.
Nordstrom to shutter all its stores to limit virus spread
NEW YORK (AP) — Nordstrom says it will temporarily close all of its stores for two weeks starting Tuesday as it tries to limit the spread of the new virus.
The Seattle-based upscale chain operates 380 stores including 116 department stores. It is the latest retailer to announce temporary closures and joins such chains such as Nike, Everlane, Apple and Abercrombie & Fitch in closing its doors.
Like most of the other chains, Nordstrom says it will be providing pay for its employees during the period.
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric has won court approval to raise $23 billion to help pay its bills over destructive California wildfires.
The approval comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom dropped his opposition to a financing package designed to help the nation’s largest utility get out of bankruptcy.
The milestone moves PG&E closer to its goal of emerging from one of the most complex bankruptcy cases in U.S. history by June 30.
Newsom has said he fears P&E is taking on too much debt to be able to afford an estimated $40 billion in equipment upgrades needed to reduce the chances of its electricity grid igniting destructive wildfires in the future.
The utility’s outdated system triggered a series of catastrophic wildfires in 2017 and 2018 that killed so many people and burned so many homes and businesses that the company had to file for bankruptcy early last year.
ARKANSAS PAPER MILL
Chinese company abandons $1.8B Arkansas paper mill plan
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A Chinese company has abandoned its plan to build a massive paper mill in southwestern Arkansas that had already been delayed by trade tensions.
Sun Paper told Gov. Asa Hutchinson and economic development officials in a letter dated Sunday that it would not move forward with its plan to build a mill in Arkadelphia. The company cited “continued political friction and economic instability,” and the coronavirus outbreak as reasons for walking away from the project.
The announcement comes after Arkadelphia officials announced that the community was marketing the 1,000-acre site planned for the mill to other potential projects.