Asian shares mixed amid dismal earnings, Wall Street slump
TOKYO (AP) —Asian shares are mixed today as reports of dismal company earnings add to pessimism over the widespread economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index is down 1.2% after Fitch Ratings downgraded its outlook for Japan to “negative” from “stable.”
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Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea’s Kospi is up 0.4% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 has slipped 0.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is up 0.5%, while the Shanghai Composite index is up 1.8%.
Yesterday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 fell 0.6% to 3,218.44 after a last-hour slide erased a small gain from earlier in the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.8%, to 26,379.28, and the Nasdaq composite lost 1.3%, to 10,402.09.
Fed wrestles with its next moves as virus stalls US economy
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve officials are grappling this week with the timing and scope of their next policy moves at a time when the raging viral pandemic has weakened the U.S. economy.
No major changes are likely when the Fed releases a statement today after its two-day policy meeting ends and just before Chair Jerome Powell holds a news conference. But the central bank is working toward providing more specific guidance on the conditions it would need to see before raising the short-term interest rate it controls, which is now pegged near zero.
4 Big Tech CEOs getting heat from Congress on competition
WASHINGTON (AP) — Four Big Tech CEOs are set to answer for their companies’ practices before Congress as a House panel caps its yearlong investigation of market dominance in the industry.
They are Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Sundar Pichai of Google and Tim Cook of Apple. Their industry has transformed society, linked people around the globe, mined and commercialized users’ personal data, and infuriated critics on both the left and right over speech.
Critics question whether the companies stifle competition and innovation, and raise prices for consumers.
The four CEOs are testifying remotely for a hearing today by the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust.
Democrats, GOP far apart on virus aid; Trump wants a deal
WASHINGTON (AP) — A day of shuttle diplomacy on Capitol Hill over a coronavirus aid package produced few results Tuesday, with stark differences between the $3 trillion proposal from Democrats and $1 trillion counteroffer from Republicans as millions of Americans’ jobless benefits, school reopenings and eviction protections hang in the balance.
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As top White House negotiators returned for a second day of talks, the leverage is apparent. They are meeting again in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. Republicans are so deeply divided over the prospect of big government spending that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is left with a severely weakened hand.
President Donald Trump said the Republican effort is “semi-irrelevant” as talks launch with Democrats.
GOP tucks $8 billion for military weaponry in virus bill
WASHINGTON (AP) — A new $1 trillion COVID-19 response package by Senate Republicans is supposed to give the government more weapons to battle the surging coronavirus pandemic. But GOP lawmakers have more than just the “invisible enemy” in mind.
The Republican measure includes billions for F-35 fighters, Apache helicopters and infantry carriers sought by Washington’s powerful defense lobby. Overall, the proposal stuffs $8 billion into Pentagon weapons systems built by defense contractors like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and General Dynamics — corporate titans that sit atop the Washington influence industry.
The bill, drafted by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby of Alabama, would deposit $2.2 billion in Pentagon shipbuilding accounts, boost missile defense systems in California and Alaska and deliver about $1.4 billion for C-130 transport planes and F-35 fighters manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp. Some of the F-35s could be delivered to an Air National Guard unit in Montgomery, Alabama.
Kodak lands loan to bolster US-produced drug supply
WASHINGTON (AP) — Eastman Kodak will receive a federal loan of $765 million to help reduce reliance on other countries for ingredients in generic drugs, an agreement President Donald Trump hailed Tuesday as a breakthrough in bringing more pharmaceutical manufacturing to the United States.
Kodak Pharmaceuticals will make critical pharmaceutical ingredients that have been identified as essential but have lapsed into chronic national shortage, as defined by the Food and Drug Administration.
The government loan will help support startup costs needed to repurpose and expand Kodak’s existing facilities in Rochester, New York, and St. Paul, Minnesota. Trump says the Kodak unit will have the capacity to produce up to 25% of the active pharmaceutical ingredients needed to make generic drugs in the United States.
AMC, Universal agree to shrink theatrical window to 17 days
NEW YORK (AP) — In a sign of how the pandemic is remaking Hollywood traditions, AMC Theatres and Universal Studios on Tuesday announced an agreement to shorten the exclusive theatrical window to just 17 days for the studio’s films.
The standard window of theatrical exclusivity typically runs about 90 days. Up until now, the largest chains have steadfastly refused to screen films that don’t give releases a lengthy and exclusive run in theaters before moving onto video-on-demand or streaming services. Studios, meanwhile, have increasingly sought to deliver new movies more quickly into the home.
The new deal covers Universal films — which include the “Fast & Furious” franchise, “Jurassic Park” movies and the “Despicable Me” series — in the U.S. over the next three years.
Victoria’s Secret owner to cut 850 corporate jobs
NEW YORK (AP) — The owner of Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works said Tuesday that it is cutting 850 office jobs, or about 15% of its corporate workforce.
L Brands, like other retailers, has been dealing with a sharp drop in sales after temporarily closing stores due to the coronavirus pandemic. L Brands, based in Columbus, Ohio, says it expects second-quarter revenue to have fallen 20% from a year ago.
The company is in the midst spinning off Victoria’s Secret into a separate company after a deal to sell it this year was scrapped. It plans to focus on running Bath & Body Works on its own.
Nissan expects second straight year of red ink amid outbreak
TOKYO (AP) — Nissan reported a 285.6 billion yen ($2.7 billion) loss for April-June, as the Japanese automaker’s sales crashed amid the coronavirus pandemic and it struggled to recover from the loss of its former star executive Carlos Ghosn.
Nissan Motor Co. racked up its first annual red ink in 11 years in the fiscal year that ended in March and said Tuesday it expects to stay in the red for the second straight fiscal year. It recorded a profit of 6.4 billion yen in the first quarter of the last fiscal year.
Nissan has announced plant closures in Spain and Indonesia, promising a turnaround driven by cost cuts and focusing on the Chinese, U.S. and Japanese markets.
Virgin Galactic shows off passenger spaceship cabin interior
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Passengers flying Virgin Galactic on suborbital trips into space will be able to see themselves floating weightless against the backdrop of the Earth below while 16 cameras document the adventures.
Highly detailed amenities to enhance the customer flight experience were shown in an online event revealing the cabin of the company’s rocket plane, a type called SpaceShipTwo, which is undergoing testing in preparation for commercial service.
There are a dozen windows for viewing, seats that will be customized for each flight’s six passengers and capable of adjusting for G forces, and, naturally, mood lighting.
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