Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian shares mostly higher, tracking Wall St rally

TOKYO (AP) — Shares were mostly higher in Asia today after the Nasdaq composite touched a fresh record as enthusiasm about reopening the economy pushed Wall Street still higher.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 closed 0.4% lower. South Korea’s Kospi was flat. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 1.7%, while the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.4%.

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Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 jumped 2.4%, tracking Wall Street’s recent gains. The market was closed on Monday for a public holiday.

Shares rose in Taiwan and Singapore.

Yesterday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 1.2% to 3,232.39. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.7%, to 27,572.44.

The Nasdaq composite, which is more heavily weighted to the big technology stocks that held up the best earlier this year, gained 1.1%, to 9,924.74. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks rose 2%.

US-ECONOMY-RECESSION

A US recession began in February in the face of coronavirus

WASHINGTON (AP) — A group of economists charged with deciding such things has determined the U.S. economy has indeed entered a recession, ending the longest expansion on record.

A committee within the National Bureau of Economic Research trade group says the recession started in February. That’s when employment, income and spending peaked.

It then all started falling sharply as the coronavirus outbreak shut down businesses across the country. That marked the start of the downturn after nearly 11 full years of economic growth.

The committee also acknowledges that the depth of the economic downturn so far played a role in its decision.

The group defines a recession as “a decline in economic activity that lasts more than a few months.”

FEDERAL RESERVE-MAIN STREET

Fed acts to broaden appeal of ‘Main Street’ lending program

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve is expanding the range of companies that will qualify for its soon-to-begin Main Street Lending Program, in which the Fed will lend directly to individual companies for the first time since the Great Depression.

Under the changes announced Monday, the Fed will lower the minimum amount companies can borrow, from $500,000 to $250,000. And it’s raising the maximum loan, from $200 million to $300 million, for companies that want to expand existing loans. The Fed will also extend the program’s loan repayment period from four years to five. In addition, borrowers won’t have to make principal payments for the first two years.

All told, the changes appear intended to make the Main Street loans more appealing to businesses and banks as they seek to recover from a deep recession.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-NURSING HOMES

Connecticut gov orders review of nursing homes

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has ordered an independent, third-party review of how Connecticut’s nursing homes and assisted living centers prepared for and responded to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Democrat said Monday that proposals will soon be solicited from third-party experts. In the meantime, he expects to meet with state lawmakers to determine the full scope of the review, which will include input from the operators of the long-term care facilities, unions representing the workers, patients, health experts and others.

Lamont says the facilities have been “the tragic center” of fatalities across the country. He adds: “If there’s a chance that there could be a second surge later on this summer, more likely in the fall, we want to be ready.”

VIRUS OUTBREAK-CLEAN HOTELS

As business trickles back, hotels compete on cleanliness

UNDATED (AP) — Marriott, Hilton and other big hotel companies are used to competing on price or perks. Now they are competing on cleanliness.

Hotels are making visible changes in the wake of the pandemic, from masked clerks to prepackaged breakfasts at their buffets. They’re hiring medical and cleaning experts and sharing details of their new regimens.

Hotels are hoping to soothe jittery travelers and win back some business from rivals like home-sharing giant Airbnb. Airbnb has its own cleaning plan and says guests may prefer its homes to crowded hotels. But some experts say guests may go with hotel chains at first, since Airbnb could have a harder time making sure hosts comply with cleaning guidelines.

Hotels are still mostly empty; in the U.S., occupancy stood at 37% the week ending May 30, down 43% from the same period a year ago, according to STR, a data and consulting firm.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MISSOURI

Health department: No COVID-19 cases from Missouri salon

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Health officials say none of the clients and coworkers of two hair stylists at a Missouri hair salon who tested positive for COVID-19 had confirmed cases of the disease.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department says the incubation period for those exposed at a Great Clips salon has passed. The two stylists tested positive in May, potentially exposing 140 clients and six co-workers to COVID-19.

Of those, 46 people who were potentially exposed took tests and were negative, while all others potentially exposed were quarantined for the duration of their incubation period.

The director of the Springfield health department says Great Clips required people to wear masks and used other preventative measures, such as separating salon chairs and staggering appointments.

CATHAY PACIFIC

Cathay Pacific proposes $5 billion bailout led by government

HONG KONG (AP) — Financially battered Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific Airways has proposed the government help fund a $5 billion recapitalization plan to help it recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Cathay Pacific says in a stock exchange filing today that the plan calls for it to issue shares to raise more than $4.3 billion. Of that total, $2.6 billion would be issued to a government entity called Aviation 2020.

The airline also would receive a $1 billion loan from Aviation 2020. Cathay Pacific proposed the bailout as it struggles to survive the near collapse of regional travel due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

VIRUS OUTBREAK-UAE

UAE capital extends virus lockdown another week

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The capital of the United Arab Emirates has extended an emirate-wide lockdown for another week over the coronavirus pandemic.

The lockdown has prevented people from leaving their area in Abu Dhabi.

Movement also has been restricted into Abu Dhabi from the rest of the UAE, a federation of seven U.S.-allied sheikhdoms also home to Dubai.

The lockdown comes as the rest of the UAE is trying to reopen its non-oil economy after the pandemic devastated its tourism and airline industry. The UAE has had nearly 40,000 cases of coronavirus infection.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-CHINA-GLOBAL DONOR

China’s companies emerge as global donors in virus pandemic

BEIJING (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic has marked the debut of Chinese companies as global humanitarian donors alongside their American, European and Japanese counterparts.

Companies including e-commerce giant Alibaba, video service TikTok and tech brand Tencent are providing hundreds of millions of dollars of medical supplies, food and cash in dozens of countries.

The assistance gives donors a chance to repair China’s image and gain credit with President Xi Jinping’s government, which faces criticism that their secrecy and delays in responding to the virus that emerged in central China in December made the outbreak worse.

Philanthropy in China has grown as its economy has flourished but has been focused until now mostly at home.

BON APPETIT-JOURNALISTS-PROTEST

Bon Appetit’s top editor resigns after offensive photo

NEW YORK (AP) — The editor-in-chief of Bon Appetit has resigned after a photo of him dressed in a stereotypical Puerto Rican costume surfaced on social media.

Adam Rapoport says he had blind spots as an editor and the magazine deserves better.

Several staffers who star in the magazine’s popular YouTube videos are also calling for equal pay for employees of color.

Media companies are facing a moment of reckoning around racism as protests against police brutality against black people spread across the U.S., touching off broader conversations about race.

Top editors have resigned from several publications following uproars about insensitive or offensive articles and headlines.

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