Update on the latest business

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks bounce higher on Wall Street a day after big rout

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are broadly higher in afternoon trading on Wall Street, recouping some of their losses a day after the market had its biggest rout since mid-March.

The S&P 500 was up 0.5% a day after dropping 5.9%. The benchmark index is still headed for a weekly loss following three weeks of solid gains. Small-company stocks and bond yields moved broadly higher, signs that pessimism about the economy was easing.

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Technology companies account for a big slice of the gains. Financial, health care and industrial companies are also helping to lift the market, while utilities and household goods makers lag. Companies that were among the biggest losers Thursday are big gainers Friday, including airlines and cruise lines.

FEDERAL RESERVE-CONGRESS

Fed says ‘full range of tools’ in play to counter pandemic

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve is promising to use its “full range of tools” to pull the country out of a recession brought on by a global pandemic, signaling that it would keep interest rates low through 2022. In its semi-annual monetary policy report to Congress, the central bank said Friday that the COVID-19 outbreak was causing “tremendous human and economic hardship across the United States and around the world.”

The Fed’s report comes two days after a policy meeting where the central bank kept it benchmark interest rate at a record low of zero to 0.25% and signaled that it planned to keep it there through 2022. The Fed said it would continue to buy billions of dollars of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities to support the financial market. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will testify before congressional committees for two days next week, starting Tuesday, on the new report.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-SOCIAL DISTANCING-POLL

Poll: Americans maintain virus precautions as states reopen

WASHINGTON (AP) — Most Americans say they are wearing masks. They are still by and large avoiding restaurants. And the vast majority are still staying at least six feet from others. A new poll finds most Americans aren’t ready to abandon precautionary measures in response to the coronavirus, even as states and metropolitan areas relax restrictions. The findings come from the third COVID Impact Survey, conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago for the Data Foundation.

The survey finds 90% of Americans report wearing a mask, and most are postponing social activities, avoiding crowds and avoiding contact with high-risk people. But Americans weren’t as committed to the idea of using an app or website to help identify or track infections. Public health officials say it’s important to remain vigilant.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-CALIFORNIA REOPENING

California wine tasting rooms, hotels welcome back tourists

SAN DIEGO (AP) — California wineries started uncorking their bottles and welcoming people back to their tasting rooms Friday as the state’s $145 billion tourism industry gears up with hotels, zoos, museums and aquariums also allowed to reopen.

With COVID-19 cases in the state still growing, the tourism industry is trying to balance how to implement safety measures to control a pandemic without ruining the fun.

Hotels will limit people lounging by pools and nix breakfast buffets for now. There will be no double-decker safari buses packed with tourists rolling through the San Diego Zoo, nor animal shows that draw crowds.

The zoo instead is using its buses to hold moving shows that will glide past people standing on green circles to keep them six feet apart. Every visitor over the age of two will be required to wear face coverings.

Wine tasting rooms also are encouraging masks and making room for physical distancing. Many are requiring appointments for tastings.

LOS ANGELES-HOMELESS

Homelessness deepens in Los Angeles County, jumps 13%

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The problem of homelessness continues to get worse in Los Angeles County. The number of homeless people counted over the past year jumped nearly 13% to more than 66,000 and officials fear another spike due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The majority of those experiencing homelessness were found within the city of Los Angeles. Hundreds live downtown in encampments that line blocks in the Skid Row neighborhood.

January’s annual tally came before the COVID-19 outbreak paralyzed the economy and pushed scores into unemployment. The county instituted a moratorium on evictions amid the pandemic. When it expires, many more could find themselves without homes.

BRITAIN-ECONOMY

UK economy shrinks 20% in a month to fall back to 2002 level

LONDON (AP) — The British economy has seen nearly two decades worth of growth wiped out as a result of the lockdown measures put in place as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The Office for National Statistics revealed Friday that the economy shrank by a colossal 20.4% in April, the first full month that the country was in its coronavirus lockdown. All areas of the economy were hit during the month, in particular pubs, education, health and car sales. The monthly decline, unprecedented in both scale and speed, had been expected given that much of the economy was shuttered as part of the lockdown, which was put in place on March 23.

BREXIT

UK delays post-Brexit border checks as virus slams economy

LONDON (AP) — The British government said Friday it will delay bringing in full border checks on goods coming from the European Union to relieve pressure on businesses hammered by the coronavirus pandemic. But the U.K. once again ruled out delaying its full economic break with the bloc beyond the end of this year.

The U.K. left the now-27-nation bloc on Jan. 31, but remains part of its single market for trade and other economic structures during a transition period that lasts until Dec. 31. After that, British firms trading with the EU will face customs checks, border inspections and — unless there is a free trade deal — tariffs.

BRITAIN-FACEBOOK-GIPHY

UK regulators investigate Facebook’s purchase of Giphy

LONDON (AP) — British regulators have opened an investigation into Facebook’s recent purchase of Giphy over concerns that it will stifle competition. The Competition and Markets Authority said Friday it’s examining the deal over concern it will result in “substantial lessening of competition in any market or markets in the United Kingdom.”

The social network acquired Giphy last month in a deal reportedly worth $400 million. Giphy is a popular tool for creating the animated images known as GIFs that pepper conversations around the internet.

Facebook has said it wants to integrate Giphy into Instagram but the authority ordered the companies to keep their businesses separate during the investigation. At the time of the deal, about half of Giphy’s traffic came from Facebook’s apps, which also include Messenger and WhatsApp.

TWITTER-CHINA-DISINFORMATION

Twitter removes China-linked accounts spreading false news

LONDON (AP) — Twitter has removed a vast network of accounts that is says is linked to the Chinese government and was pushing false information favorable to the country’s communist rulers. Beijing denied involvement Friday and said the company should instead take down accounts smearing China.

The U.S. social media company suspended 23,750 accounts that were posting pro-Beijing narratives, and another 150,000 accounts dedicated to retweeting and amplifying those messages. Twitter said the network was engaged “in a range of coordinated and manipulated activities” in predominantly Chinese languages. Those activities included praise for China’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and “deceptive narratives” about Hong Kong pro-democracy protests.

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