On Wall Street Wednesday, the S&P 500 index ended up 2% for its best day in three months to close at 3,398.96. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 1.6%, to 27,940.47.
The Nasdaq composite, which includes many tech stocks, rose 2.7% to 11,141.56. It had dropped 10% over the previous three days.
Senate GOP’s virus relief bill expected to fall in vote
WASHINGTON (AP) — A GOP coronavirus relief package is facing dire prospects in a Senate test vote.
Negotiators involved in recent efforts to strike a deal for a bill that could pass before the November election say they see little reason for hope. Instead, it appears all Congress will do is pass legislation to avoid a federal shutdown as lawmakers head home to campaign.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he is optimistic that Republicans will deliver strong support for the GOP’s $500 billion slimmed-down COVID-19 rescue package in Thursday’s procedural vote. But a filibuster is assured as Democrats indicate they will shelve the Republican measure as insufficient.
Scarcity of key material squeezes medical mask manufacturing
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — White House officials say the United States has all the medical supplies needed to battle COVID-19, but health care workers, hospital officials and even the FDA say that’s not the case.
Shortfalls of medical N95 respirators — commonly referred to as N95 masks — and other protective gear started in March, when the pandemic hit New York.
The American Medical Association’s president, Dr. Susan Bailey, says the tremendous pressure on the supply chain continues today. Mask makers say part of the problem is the Trump administration hasn’t committed enough long-term resources to making meltblown textile — the key ingredient in medical-grade masks.
HURRICANE LAURA-OIL PRODUCTION
Hurricane hit oil storage site, but no shortages expected
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette says Hurricane Laura did significant damage at a site holding about 30% of the nation’s store of emergency crude oil. But Brouillette said Wednesday that the three other sites were not damaged and have plenty of oil in case of an emergency.
The damaged site is in West Hackberry, Louisiana, where Strategic Petroleum Reserve caverns hold nearly 8.2 billion gallons of crude oil in 21 huge caverns deep underground.
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve was created after the 1973 energy crisis. Two sites in Louisiana and two in Texas currently hold about 27.2 billion gallons of crude. The oil is held in caverns hollowed out of salt domes — mountainous salt deposits that are almost entirely underground.
The four sites include a total of 70 such caverns. Together, they can hold nearly 30 billion gallons of oil.
Brouillette also says that although refineries in Lake Charles are still shut down, there’s no shortage of gasoline, jet fuel and other products.
No virus aid before election? Pessimism before Senate vote
WASHINGTON (AP) — Top Republican senators made pessimistic predictions Wednesday about securing a bipartisan coronavirus relief package before the November election, signaling instead they will just try to pass legislation that would avoid a federal shutdown as lawmakers head home to campaign.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he was “optimistic” that Republicans would deliver strong support for the GOP’s $500 billion slimmed-down COVID-19 rescue package in a test vote Thursday. But he declined to say whether his majority would be fully on board. Democrats have indicated they will shelve the Republican measure as insufficient, leaving lawmakers at an impasse.
There’s no indication yet that bipartisan talks that crumbled last month will restart. Lawmakers closely tracking recent efforts to strike a deal that could pass before the November election said they saw little reason for hope.
Luxury goods giant LVMH cancels $14.5B deal for Tiffany
NEW YORK (AP) — Luxury goods giant LVMH is ending its takeover deal of jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co., saying the French government had requested a delay to assess the threat of proposed U.S. tariffs.
Wednesday’s announcement came after the deal’s value had been eroded by wider industry troubles caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Paris-based conglomerate said that both the French government and Tiffany had requested that the closing of the deal be postponed by a few months. The French government, it said, wanted to assess the impact of the possible U.S. tariffs on French goods.
As a result, LVMH said, the $14.5 billion deal — which would have been biggest ever in the luxury market and was scheduled to close Nov. 24 — will be canceled.