Asian shares jump after Dow sees biggest gain since 1933
BANGKOK (AP) — Shares leaped in Asia today after the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged to its best day since 1933 as Congress and the White House reached a deal on injecting nearly $2 trillion of aid into an economy ravaged by the coronavirus.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index jumped 8%, while Hong Kong added 3.3% and Sydney climbed 5.5%. Markets across Asia were all up more than 2%.
Tokyo share prices were lifted by the decision to postpone the 2020 Olympics to July 2021 in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. futures turned higher after lawmakers said they had bridged their differences over the stimulus package. The future for the Dow rose 1.1% and the contract for the S&P 500 picked up 0.4%.
That followed a stunning 11.4% surge in the Dow overnight on Tuesday.
Trump, Congress agree on $2 trillion virus rescue bill
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House and Senate leaders of both parties have agreed on unprecedented emergency legislation to rush sweeping aid to businesses, workers and a health care system slammed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The urgently needed pandemic response measure is the largest economic rescue measure in history. It’s intended as a weeks- or months-long patch for an economy spiraling into recession and a nation facing a potentially ghastly toll.
Top White House aide Eric Ueland announced the agreement in a Capitol hallway shortly after midnight, capping days of often intense haggling and mounting pressure. The package still needs to be finalized in detailed legislative language.
Trump hoping to see US economy reopened by Easter amid virus
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he is hoping the United States will be reopened by Easter as he weighs how to relax nationwide social-distancing guidelines to put some workers back on the job during the coronavirus outbreak.
Trump says he is already looking toward easing the advisories that have sidelined workers, shuttered schools and led to a widespread economic slowdown.
Trump’s optimism contradicts the warnings of public health officials on the direction of the crisis, with many calling for stricter — not looser — restrictions on public interactions.
Governors across the nation, both Republicans and Democrats, some struggling to manage hot spots of the outbreak and others trying to mitigate a further spread, are rejecting the president’s accelerated timeline. They continue to impose tighter restrictions on travel and public life.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-FEDERAL RESERVE
Fed to suspend some bank supervision during viral outbreak
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve says it will suspend some of its bank supervisory activities to give banks more leeway in dealing with financially strapped customers.
The Fed said Tuesday that it will cease all examinations for banks with less than $100 billion in total assets. For larger banks above that threshold, the Fed will postpone most of its examinations, based on how burdensome the scrutiny would be for each bank.
The Fed is encouraging banks to work with borrowers who are unable to pay all their debts because of the coronavirus, which has crippled the economy and caused potentially millions of layoffs.
CORONAVIRUS DRUG-SPECIALTY STATUS
Potential coronavirus treatment granted rare disease status
WASHINGTON (AP) — The pharmaceutical giant that makes a promising coronavirus drug has registered it as a rare disease treatment with U.S. regulators.
The status can be worth millions of dollars in tax breaks and competition-free sales.
Experts who have studied the so-called “orphan drug” program say Gilead Science’s request — and the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to grant it Monday — seem inappropriate given the rapidly expanding threat of the outbreak. But an analyst calls the filing “pretty standard.”
The FDA said the disease fits the criteria for a rare disease at this point.
Gilead did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday.
Business Fallout: Nike cites jump in online sales in China
UNDATED (AP) — Nike CEO John Donahoe says the company moved swiftly to leverage its digital platforms in China after it closed more than 5,000 stores there due to the outbreak, most of which have since reopened.
Digital sales in China jumped 30% in the third quarter ending Feb. 29, even as overall sales in the country fell 4%.
Facebook, meanwhile, reported increased demand for its services, but said its advertising business has suffered.
Global coronavirus-related shutdowns are to blame despite the fact that usage is soaring while people are stuck at home, isolated from friends and family. And manufacturers are reconfiguring operations to help produce desperately needed medical gear.
Ford said Tuesday that it’s working with GE and 3M on masks.
Malfunctioning EpiPens could harm patients, companies say
UNDATED (AP) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning the public about dangerous malfunctions involving a limited number of EpiPens, the emergency injectors for severe allergic reactions.
The FDA issued the warning Tuesday after drugmakers Pfizer and Mylan notified medical providers in a letter, which said the problems could cause death or serious injuries.
When held against the thigh, they’re supposed to automatically inject the hormone epinephrine to stop runaway allergic reactions. The malfunctions can prevent or delay the devices from injecting epinephrine or cause them to eject it prematurely.
Pfizer manufactures the potentially life-saving auto-injectors for Mylan, which sells them.
Teams and leagues drawing up employee game plans on fly
UNDATED (AP) — Major sports leagues and teams across the globe are being forced to write a new game plan on how to pay employees and keep the franchises solvent in the wake of a coronavirus pandemic that has all but stopped revenue and brought competition to a halt.
Major League Baseball, the NFL and NBA have not made employee cuts at this point. NASCAR announced major cuts across the board Tuesday. The NHL is cutting salaries for league employees 25% starting next month.
Individual teams seemingly are having a hard time making up their minds on pay cuts. The New Jersey Devils of the NHL and Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA — who have the same co-owners, flip-flopped in the past two days. Employees making over $100,000 had their salaries cut by 20% on Monday. The decision was rescinded Tuesday.