• Dow 15,000 very likely as coronavirus pandemic hits U.S. economy: strategist
    Yahoo Finance

    Dow 15,000 very likely as coronavirus pandemic hits U.S. economy: strategist

    The coronavirus pandemic isn't done yet, bringing pressure to the stock market, pros say.

  • Banks were not prepared for flood of small business coronavirus loan applications
    Yahoo Finance

    Banks were not prepared for flood of small business coronavirus loan applications

    Banks were supposed to start processing loan applications on Thursday at midnight from small businesses under the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program, but they weren't prepared for the onslaught.

  • Feds to offer full-time work to all military reservists as part of COVID-19 response
    The Canadian Press

    Feds to offer full-time work to all military reservists as part of COVID-19 response

    OTTAWA — The federal government is planning to offer full-time employment to all reservists in the Canadian Armed Forces until the end of the summer.The move is intended to make sure the military has enough troops should it be called upon to respond to COVID-19, a natural disaster such as a flood, or both at the same time.It is also a way to help reservists and their families and communities better weather the economic damage that many Canadians are feeling due to COVID-19.Canada has around 25,000 army, navy and air force reservists, most of whom serve one day a week plus one weekend a month.However, reservists are often called upon to assist with natural disasters in Canada each year and can represent 20 to 30 per cent of military personnel deployed on any overseas mission.Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said earlier this week that military commanders were preparing to mobilize up to 24,000 troops, including reservists and Canadian Ranger patrols, to help with COVID-19.This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 3, 2020.The Canadian Press

  • U.S. Stocks Deepen Sell-Off After Jobs Report: Markets Wrap
    Bloomberg

    U.S. Stocks Deepen Sell-Off After Jobs Report: Markets Wrap

    (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks extended declines and the dollar gained after a plunge in hiring last month hinted at the extent of the pandemic’s toll on the world’s largest economy. Oil rallied on expected output curbs.The S&P 500 fell for the third time in four days as investors digested the abysmal jobs report that captured data in the period largely before government-mandated shutdowns went into widespread effect. As with record claims for unemployment, the latest numbers bear little information on the current state of the economy, making it difficult for investors to value financial assets.“No one has ever experienced anything like this,” Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Baird, said by phone. “We’re getting the shock numbers out and the markets tend to front-run bad news. In other words, a lot of the bad news is already built into the market.”The S&P 500 is down more than 2.5% in the week, largely holding a rally that propelled it 18% higher in three days last week. That came after the fastest 30% plunge on record as the pandemic forced the economy into a virtual standstill. While volatility has eased somewhat, stocks are still regularly notching daily moves that until recently would have been considered huge.Oil surged following reports large producers are ready to cut output. Crude jumped another 8% Friday after a record jump on news the OPEC+ coalition will hold a virtual meeting on Monday and that Russia is ready to cut production.In Europe, data showing an unprecedented slump in the region’s economy last month pushed the Stoxx 600 Index lower, though it also trimmed its retreat. Asian equities saw modest losses in most markets to cap a third weekly decline in four. The yen weakened alongside the euro, pound and Swiss franc. Treasuries drifted.With lockdowns for many economies around the world expected to go on for longer, data are showing the severity of the impact. Nearly 10 million people in the U.S. have lost their jobs in the past two weeks, while the virus continues to pressure corporate balance sheets. American Airlines Group Inc. will slash international flying as far out as the end of August as the pandemic batters travel demand through the normally busy summer season.“We are not going to have the real recovery in the market until what we think is the peak in the amount of infections and deaths,” Stephen Dover, head of equities at Franklin Templeton, said on Bloomberg TV. “We are going to continue to have very wide volatility until we can get over this uncertainty.”These are the main moves in markets:StocksThe S&P 500 Index fell 2.5% as of 1:59 p.m. New York time.The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dipped 1%.The MSCI Asia Pacific Index decreased 0.9%.CurrenciesThe Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index advanced 0.7%.The euro dipped 0.6% to $1.079.The British pound fell 1.2% to $1.2244.The Japanese yen decreased 0.5% to 108.48 per dollar.BondsThe yield on 10-year Treasuries fell two basis points to 0.57%.Germany’s 10-year yield decreased one basis point to -0.44%.Britain’s 10-year yield dipped one basis point to 0.31%.CommoditiesGold advanced 0.5% to $1,645.60 an ounce.West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 9.5% to $27.72 a barrel.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Small biz rescue off to slow start; some banks not ready
    The Canadian Press

    Small biz rescue off to slow start; some banks not ready

    NEW YORK — The federal government's relief program for small businesses is off to a slow start Friday, with only some businesses able to apply and several banks either not accepting applications or seeing long waits to do approvals.Millions of small businesses are expected to apply for these desperately needed rescue loans from the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program, which was put in place to help them retain workers and pay bills during the coronavirus pandemic. Roughly 5,200 loans valued at $.8 billion have been processed so far, said Jovita Carranza, administrator of the Small Business Administration., on Friday afternoon.The program is being overseen by the SBA but banks are handling the application process. Some large lenders like Wells Fargo, Huntington Bank and Bank of America were ready to go at the program’s outset. BofA said its gotten 28,000 applications so far. But JPMorgan Chase only started accepting applications Friday afternoon after saying earlier that it wouldn’t.Ted Stein, who operates a small software business in West Virginia, filled out an online form Thursday through PNC Bank, saying he was interested in applying. On Friday, a bank representative told Stein he was unaware that the form was on its website. After Stein explained to him where to find it, the representative told Stein the bank wasn’t accepting applications and that he should keep checking his online account for guidance in the coming hours and days, Stein said.“It was almost comical, but heartbreaking. It’s tragicomedy, I guess," he said.Even those banks accepting applications were limited in who they could accept. Bank of America said the loans were available to customers who had business deposit accounts and business loans with the bank.The program is part of the $2 trillion relief package signed into law last week, which was billed as a way to help local businesses that often form the fabric of communities stay afloat. The program will give businesses low-interest loans of about 2.5 times their average monthly payroll. The loans will be fully or partially forgiven if businesses show that the money was used to retain or rehire employees and pay some overhead expenses through June 30.Despite the hiccups Friday, the loan program got praise from former Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, who served in the Obama administration."It is ok to make some mistakes here” because the key need is for speed, Lew said in an interview on CNBC.“For these small businesses, it is a matter of life and death,” Lew said, adding that if the businesses can’t rehire workers it will impede the effort to get a recovery started once the virus is contained.Going into the program's launch Friday, the banking industry had been trying to temper expectations about how many businesses will get the cash they need on Friday. Banks large and small will have to process these loans as quickly as possible in order to get their customers a slice of the program.The banks have moved employees into new departments — a logistical challenge given many employees are working remotely — just to potentially keep up with the flood of applications. Not only that, but thousands of their employees are either sick or quarantined because of the virus.Although Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said money could be disbursed as early as Friday, at least some banks seemed to be hedging any bets on being able to deliver cash that quickly. When Jordan Gurrieri submitted his application to Bank of America, the receipt he got said, “we will process your application as soon as possible.”Gurrieri, co-founder of New York-based app developer Blue Label Labs, called the process “rough.” It took him more than 30 minutes to submit his application to Bank of America, more than three times what some other owners have reported.While Congress could approve more money later on, the program as it stands is expected to run out quickly. That could mean applicants who have the financial and legal expertise of a larger organization might be able to maximize their benefits, not leaving much for smaller businesses, especially those who wait or have problems applying.Congress made the program as wide as possible. An expansive definition of “small business” in the law means that it will be open to much more than just Main Street shops as lenders start processing applications. Bankers recommend applying for the loans through the bank they already have accounts with to speed along the process as quickly as possible.Independent contractors and the self-employed are not eligible to apply until April 10 under guidance from the Treasury Department. By then, banks could be overwhelmed with applications.“It’s hard for me to say this: There is only $350 billion in this fund. Every big restaurant and hotel chain is going to be going after this money. It’s not going to last,” said Ron Feldman, chief development officer at ApplePie Capital, which has been helping businesses get ready to apply.“If you want to get this loan, speed is your friend,” Feldman told 2,000 franchise industry officials on a conference call this week.____Ryan J. Foley reported from Iowa City, Iowa. Ken Sweet and Joyce Rosenberg reported from New York.Marty Crutsinger contributed to this report from Washington.Ken Sweet, Joyce M. Rosenberg And Ryan J. Foley, The Associated Press

  • Zentalis Pharmaceuticals Jumps in Debut After Expanded U.S. IPO
    Bloomberg

    Zentalis Pharmaceuticals Jumps in Debut After Expanded U.S. IPO

    (Bloomberg) -- Zentalis Pharmaceuticals Inc., a clinical-stage cancer treatment developer, rose as much as 50% in its trading debut after raising about $165 million in an initial public offering.The company’s shares opened at $25.20 Friday, 40% above the $18 offer price. The shares were up 41% to $25.41 at 1:49 p.m. in New York trading, giving the firm a market value of $880 million. Zentalis sold 9.18 million shares on Thursday at the top of a marketed range, after expanding the size of the offering from 7.65 million shares.The listing by New York-based Zentalis was the second in the U.S. since Covid-19 was declared a pandemic. Chinese software company WiMi Hologram Cloud Inc. went public this week after downsizing its share sale to raise $26.1 million, down from its earlier target of $37.7 million.IPOs in the U.S. had come to a halt after the pandemic triggered a global stock rout in mid March. Companies and advisers have been reluctant to launch a listing amid the extreme market volatility.Along with software, biotech listings in the past year have been among the most reliable performers, in contrast to disappointing results for many higher-profile companies including Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc.“Biotech, biopharma will be the sector that opens the IPO market back up and we will see more SPACs,” said Jordan Saxe, head of health-care listings at Nasdaq, referring to special purpose acquisition companies. “The mentality of the investors is much more long term versus a more short-term quarter-to-quarter view.”Saxe estimates that 30 to 35 biotech companies will go public this year, raising about $3.5 billion, assuming social distancing aimed at curtailing the spread of the pandemic ends by June. Last year, 46 biotechnology companies completed their IPOs on U.S. exchanges and raised $5.46 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Zentalis focuses on discovering and developing drugs that targets the fundamental biological pathways of cancers. Its oral treatment for breast cancer, in partnership with Pfizer Inc., is in clinical trials, according to its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissions.The offering was led by Morgan Stanley, Jefferies Financial Group Inc., SVB Leerink Holdings LLC and Guggenheim Securities LLC. Zentalis is trading on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol ZNTL.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Ontario forecasts thousands of COVID-19 deaths even in best case
    The Canadian Press

    Ontario forecasts thousands of COVID-19 deaths even in best case

    TORONTO — The death toll from COVID-19 in Ontario could be kept below 15,000 if stringent isolation measures aimed at curbing the pandemic prove effective, health authorities said on Friday as the military prepared to move into northern Quebec to help remote communities there cope.In a sobering presentation, a top health official said projections indicate coronavirus would have killed as many as 100,000 people in Ontario had restrictions not been put in place."If we do everything that we can think of, everything that already has been done stays in place (and) all of the other measures which are being considered put in place, I think we could reduce the death toll in Ontario to somewhere between 3,000 and 15,000," said Dr. Peter Donnelly, head of Public Health Ontario.Donnelly said the figures would likely be shocking to many people and safety measures that have had a brutal impact on the economy might need to be in place for many months at best.Latest data indicate close to 12,000 Canadians have contracted the virus. Of those, 152 have died, but the numbers could be much higher given gaps in reporting methods.Ontario released its worst-case projections for the COVID-19 as its known caseload continued climbing, with more than 460 new cases and 18 more deaths reported. The province has now seen 3,255 cases and 67 deaths.Overall mortality among those 80 years and older in the province has reached 20 per cent of coronavirus cases in Ontario, about 10 per cent for those over 70. A hard-hit nursing home in Bobcaygeon, Ont., reported another four deaths among residents, bringing the toll to 20 at the 65-bed facility.Canada's top public health official, Dr. Theresa Tam, said the country has been seeing a sharper increase in deaths but the health-care system has been coping. The national death rate stands at about one per cent of those who've tested positive.British Columbia had previously projected its worst case would lead to a shortage of about 182 intensive care beds and at least 38 ventilators. But it has also said distancing measures appear to mitigated that threat.Donnelly said Ontario was more closely tracking the hard hit United States than B.C.In an interview late Thursday with The Canadian Press, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said her estimate from three weeks ago that between 30 per cent and 70 per cent of Canadians will likely become infected hasn't changed."Having 70 per cent of people get COVID is not the end of the world," Hajdu said. "It is, though, if it all happens at once and that's what we're trying to prevent."Experts say the flu-like illness poses a threat to the elderly and those with compromised health. The best way to curb the spread is to wash hands frequently and stay at least two metres away from others. Hospitals have reported shortages of personal protective gear for medical staff, while front-line doctors fret about having to choose who lives and who dies owing to potential shortages of crucial ventilators.In tribute to health-care personnel, all ships in B.C. waters planned to sound their horns at 7 p.m. local time. Toronto's CN Tower has been lighting up blue in a similar show of solidarity, while people in other places have taken to banging on pots or pans.The pandemic — in particular the stay-at-home measures implemented to try to mitigate its spread — has taken a brutal toll on the economy and jobs.Trudeau said the government would provide additional aid to low-income people through the GST credit this month rather than next. Qualifying adults will receive up to $300, plus $150 for each child.Globally, the pandemic has infected more than one million people and killed close to 55,000, according to latest official tracking figures. China, where the virus is believed to have originated, has gradually been seeing life return to normal after draconian lockdown measures curbed the spread.Italy, with almost 14,000 deaths and Spain with about 11,000, have been hit hardest. The United States, however, leads the world in cases — a quarter of a million to date — and has reported more than 6,000 deaths.-With files from Joan Bryden in Ottawa and other Canadian Press reporters across the countryThis report by The Canadian Press was first published April 3, 2020.Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

  • Here's the difference between jobless claims and the unemployment rate
    Yahoo Finance Video

    Here's the difference between jobless claims and the unemployment rate

    In the latest edition of Yahoo U, Yahoo Finance’s Brian Cheung joins the On The Move to break down the difference between jobless claims and the unemployment rate.

  • The Latest: Canadian military prepping Quebec to fight virus
    The Canadian Press

    The Latest: Canadian military prepping Quebec to fight virus

    The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.TOP OF THE HOUR:—Trudeau warns U.S. not to block 3M from sending respirators to Canada.—Family unable to attend 13-year-old British boy's funeral.—U.S. military has flown 3.5 million swabs test for coronavirus from Italy to Tennessee.—Chancellor Angela Merkel urging Germans to stay home over Easter.___TORONTO — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the Canadian military is being sent to northern Quebec to help communities prepare to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.Trudeau says the federal government received the request from the Quebec government. Quebec has more than 6,100 confirmed cases, including 61 deaths. Canada has more than 11,756 cases including 152 deaths.___BATON ROUGE, La. — Nearly 10,300 people in Louisiana have tested positive for the COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus, according to figures released by Louisiana’s health department. The state has the nation’s third-highest rate of coronavirus infections per capita, authorities say.About 17% of Louisiana residents confirmed to have the virus are hospitalized, and nearly one-third of those have respiratory problems requiring a ventilator, the data shows.Friday brought another jump in Louisiana’s death toll from the coronavirus disease.The state said 370 virus-related deaths were confirmed, an increase of 60 from a day earlier.Gov. John Bel Edwards said modeling used by the White House suggests more than 1,800 Louisianans could die from the virus, with the state reaching its worst period of deaths around April 10. The Democratic governor has warned the hard-hit New Orleans region is projected to run out of ventilators by Tuesday and hospital beds five days later.___ROME — Italians are wondering if they will have to wear protective masks when the national lockdown is eventually eased. But authorities say it’s too soon to give a definite answer.Civil Protection agency head Angelo Borrelli noted he doesn’t wear a mask during daily briefings since he keeps a safe distance from others at the news conference.Said Borrelli: “As for masks, I can’t tell you anything, we don’t know the evolution” of the coronavirus outbreak. He added: “Today it’s not necessary for those who keep their distance and follow the rules” of the government stay-at-home decree.___GENEVA — The head of the International Monetary Fund says the recession sparked by the coronavirus pandemic is “way worse” than the 2008 global recession.IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva is describing the situation as “a crisis like no other.”“Never in the history of the IMF have we witnessed the world economy coming to a standstill,” she said. “We are now in recession, it is way worse than the global financial crisis and it is a crisis that requires all of us to come together."Georgieva says 90 countries have already approached the institution for emergency financing. She is calling on countries to prioritize health expenditures and to make sure doctors, nurses and other health workers are paid. She adds that the world’s most fragile countries must be protected, noting that “$90 billion have flown out” and damaged emerging economies.___GENEVA — The head of the World Health Organization is decrying reports of an increase in domestic violence in some countries as many couples and families hole up at home to fight the coronavirus outbreak.WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is warning the risk of “intimate partner violence” is likely to increase, and added: “There is no excuse for violence.”Tedros says women in abusive relationships, and their children, are now more likely to be exposed to violence, pointing to extra stresses families face linked to job losses and other economic strains.___LOS ANGELES — Three members of California law enforcement have died of the coronavirus.The Riverside County sheriff’s office says Friday that Deputy David Werksman died the day before. Riverside Deputy Terrell Young also died of the virus on Thursday. In Santa Rosa, police Detective Marylou Armer died Tuesday and was the first police officer or deputy to succumb to the virus in the state.Hundreds of law enforcement personnel nationwide have tested positive for the virus.___WASHINGTON, D.C. — The District of Columbia is predicting that the wave of COVID-19 coronavirus infections will peak locally in late June and that 93,000 Washington residents will be infected by the end of the year. The death toll is expected to range from 220 all the way up to 1,000.The current number of identified infections in Washington stands at 757, with 15 dead.___BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel is urging Germans to stay home over Easter and says it would be “absolutely irresponsible” for her to set a date now for the loosening of restrictions meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus.Germany has largely shut down public life and banned gatherings of more than two people in public. Those restrictions will apply until at least April 19 and are to be reviewed after Easter.Merkel, speaking in her first video message after emerging from two weeks of quarantine at home, says this will be a “very different” Easter and impressed on her compatriots that “even short trips inside Germany, to the seaside or the mountains or relatives, can’t happen over Easter this year.”___ROME — Italy’s increase both in new cases of COVID-19 and deaths of infected patients is similar to the previous day’s increase.Epidemiologists and other health experts have described for several days now a kind of plateauing in the numbers, welcome news compared to the steep increases that alarmed the world earlier in Italy’s outbreak.The general levelling off of the daily increases in new cases has bolstered cautious assessments that Italy’s national lockdown, now in its fourth week, is bearing fruit in containing the new coronavirus.Civil Protection agency chief Angelo Borrelli announced Friday that the nation’s death toll stood at 14,681. Total cases number nearly 120,000. Growing seemingly relentlessly was the list of dead doctors caring for COVID-19 patients, with the toll reported to be at 77.___ATHENS, Greece — Greek health authorities say the country's confirmed positive cases of the new coronavirus have climbed to a total of 1,613. Six new deaths were recorded, reaching a total of 59.The positive cases include 119 people on a passenger ship with 380 people on board, chartered by a Turkish company to carry workers of various nationalities to Spain for a construction project.Civil Protection Deputy Minister Nikos Hardalias says the passengers who had tested negative were being transferred from the ship to hotels ahead of their repatriation. The 119 who tested positive are to remain on board in quarantine for 14 days.___TORONTO — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it would be a mistake for the United States to block 3M from sending respirators to Canada.3M said Friday the Trump administration has requested 3M cease exporting respirators that they currently manufacture in the U.S. to Canada and Latin America. The company says there are significant humanitarian implications of ceasing respirator supplies to health care workers in Canada and Latin America, where 3M is a critical supplier of respirators.Trudeau noted the U.S. also receives essential medical supplies and personnel from Canada and says they are making that point to the Trump administration. He says that message is getting through.The prime minister says he is confident that the close and deep relationship between Canada and the U.S. will hold strong and that will not have to see interruptions in supply chains in either direction.___LONDON — A 13-year-old British boy who died from the new coronavirus has been buried at a ceremony his family was not able to attend.Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab died Monday at London’s King’s College Hospital. He is the youngest known victim of the pandemic in Britain.He was interred Friday in a Muslim burial ground in Chislehurst, south London. Mourners wearing face masks stood apart from one another to observe social distancing rules as the boy’s coffin was lowered into the ground by four people wearing in protective body suits and face masks.None of Ismail’s immediate family could attend because they are in isolation after two of his six siblings developed symptoms of the virus.Family friend Mark Stephenson said Ismail’s younger brother and older sister have developed mild symptoms including a fever and loss of taste.He said Ismail’s family was “devastated” at not being able to attend the funeral but had been “very moved by the warmth and very positive messages of support from people” after his death.___WASHINGTON — A senior U.S. general says the military has now flown 3.5 million swabs used to test for the coronavirus from Italy to Memphis, Tennessee.Lt. Gen. Jon Thomas is deputy commander of the U.S. military’s Air Mobility Command. He says a shipment arrived Thursday night and another one is scheduled to arrive Friday with 500,000 more swabs for national distribution.He says there will be another shipment next week.Thomas also says the military is preparing for the possibility that it will be needed to transport infected patients. He says there have been no requests for transport yet.Medical professionals from the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine are training medics at Joint Base Charleston on the use of an isolation system that can be used on aircraft to transport infected patients.The system is a containment unit that would protect aircrew and other medical personnel while also allowing them to provide care during the flight.___WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's top economic adviser on Friday lamented rising unemployment in America due to the new coronavirus.Larry Kudlow says government checks are on their way and predicted the economy would rebound quickly. He says COVID-19 and stimulus efforts only interrupted what was a strong U.S. economic boom.Kudlow spoke after the government reported that the U.S. unemployment rate jumped to 4.4% in March from a 50-year low of 3.5%. The job loss of 701,000 was the worst since the depths of the Great Recession in 2009 and foreshadows what's to come."Those numbers and those hardships are going to get worse before they get better," Kudlow told reporters at the White House.Earlier on "Fox News Channel," Kudlow predicted that upcoming economic numbers will be equally negative."This is a very deep contraction. The numbers are going to come in very badly," Kudlow said.He added: "There's also no question that we are providing more relief and assistance for unemployment than ever before in our nation's history."He said regular unemployment checks are going out now and that the extra $600 in unemployment money has been given to the states for distribution.Kudlow said tax rebate checks part of the $2.2 trillion rescue package signed into law March 27 will likely arrive in a couple weeks.___MEXICO CITY — Social distancing measures and calls for Mexicans to remain in their homes have not produced a drop in violent crime.There had been hope that the measures implemented in late March to slow the spread of COVID-19 would lead to a significant decrease in criminality. But President Andrés Manuel López Obrador says that has not been seen in the numbers.López Obrador blamed the stubbornly high murder rate on “confrontations between gangs. They continue disputing territory, clashing amongst themselves."He said they were not seeing, as some have suggested, higher incidence of domestic violence because people have been confined to their homes in a stressful situation.As of Friday, 50 people had died in Mexico of COVID-19 and more than 1,500 had tested positive for coronavirus.___MOSCOW — An international media freedom watchdog says the autocratic ex-Soviet nation of Turkmenistan is largely silent about the coronavirus pandemic.The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders has corrected its previous report earlier this week about an outright official ban of the word “coronavirus,” saying the term was not censored in the Turkmen media.At the same time, the group reaffirmed that the gas-rich Central Asian nation has put its citizens in danger by deterring the spread of information about the new coronavirus.The desert Central Asian nation that neighbours Iran so far has reported no cases of the new coronavirus. Iran has reported more than 50,000 cases.Turkmenistan is one of the world’s most closed countries and ranked last in the RSF's 2019 World Press Freedom Index.Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has ruled the country since 2006 through an all-encompassing personality cult that styles him as Turkmenistan’s “arkadaq,” or protector.The president is a former dentist and last month ordered the cleaning of public areas with a traditional plant called “harmala” to protect against infectious diseases.___UNITED NATIONS — United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says warring parties in 11 countries have responded positively to his appeal for a global ceasefire to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.But there are enormous difficulties in turning words into peace, Guterres says, and fighting has escalated in major conflicts including Yemen, Libya and Afghanistan.Guterres is calling on all governments, groups and people with influence “to urge and pressure combatants around the world to put down their arms.” He says the need is urgent because COVID-19 is now headed to all conflict areas.Guterres told a briefing at U.N. headquarters in New York on Friday that his appeal 10 days ago was rooted in the recognition that “there should be only one fight in our world today: our shared battle against COVID-19.”The U.N. chief cited a growing number of endorsements for the cease-fire from 70 countries, civil society, religious leaders including Pope Francis, and more than one million people in an online appeal.He said parties to conflicts in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Colombia, Libya, Myanmar, the Philippines, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen have also expressed their acceptance.But Guterres said: “There are enormous difficulties to implementation as conflicts have festered for years, distrust is deep, with many spoilers and many suspicions.”___WASHINGTON — The District of Columbia has announced 104 new positive infections of the new coronavirus. That brings the total 757 with 15 deaths.Mayor Muriel Bowser has issued a stay-home order for Washington’s approximately 700,000 residents. Neighboring Maryland and Virginia have done the same.Bowser has declared a state of emergency, shuttered all schools and ordered all non-essential businesses to close. White House and Capitol tours have been cancelled and the National Zoo, Smithsonian museum network and Kennedy Center have closed.___MOSCOW — The Russian capital has imposed its first fines for violating self-quarantine orders.Yevgeny Danchikov is head of Moscow's city services department and was quoted by state television Friday saying three people were fined 4,000 rubles ($57) each after video surveillance cameras recorded them leaving their residences.The violators had been diagnosed with symptoms of coronavirus infection but allowed to recuperate under quarantine at home. Moscow has imposed a general lockdown requiring most people to say home except to shop for food and medicine or go to workplaces if required.___Follow AP news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreakThe Associated Press

  • US sheds most jobs in a decade, ending record hiring streak
    The Canadian Press

    US sheds most jobs in a decade, ending record hiring streak

    WASHINGTON — A record-long streak of U.S. job growth ended suddenly in March after nearly a decade, as employers slashed hundreds of thousands of jobs because of the viral outbreak that has all but shut down the U.S. economy. The unemployment rate jumped to 4.4% from a 50-year low of 3.5%.The job loss of 701,000 reported Friday by the government — the worst since the depths of the Great Recession in 2009 — is still just a small indication of what's to come. For the April jobs report that will be released in early May, economists expect as many as a record 20 million losses and an unemployment rate of around 15%, the highest since the 1930s.The enormous magnitude of the job cuts is inflicting far-reaching damage on economies in the United States and abroad, which are widely believed to be sinking into severe recessions. As rising numbers of people lose jobs — or fear they will — consumer spending is shrinking. That pullback in spending, which is the primary driver of the economy, is intensifying pressure on those businesses that are still operating.Economists are holding out hope that an extraordinary series of rescue actions from Congress and the Federal Reserve will help stabilize the U.S. economy in the months ahead. The key goals of Congress' just-enacted $2.2 trillion relief package are to quickly put cash in people's hands and incentivize companies to avoid job cuts or quickly recall laid-off employees.Still, even factoring in the government's intervention, Joel Prakken, chief US economist at IHS Markit, predicts that the economy will sharply contract in the April-June quarter — by a 26.5% annual rate, the worst on records dating to just after World War II.The federal relief package, which includes an extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits on top of the usual state benefits, will ideally enable the millions of newly jobless to pay their rent and other bills. But it won't make up for the vast array of spending that Americans typically engage in that has now been lost — from eating out and paying for gym memberships to buying new furniture, autos and electronic gadgets. Indeed, Oxford Economics says that for the April-June quarter, that pullback will likely cause the sharpest quarterly drop in consumer spending on record.The job losses during March were likely even larger than what was reported Friday because the government surveyed employers before the heaviest layoffs hit in the past two weeks. Nearly 10 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in the final two weeks of March, far exceeding the figure for any corresponding period on record.Last month's job loss was derived from surveys of employers that were conducted in mid-March. The enormous layoffs that were reported over the past two weeks occurred only after those surveys had been completed. They will be reflected in the jobs report for April.This was an ugly jobs report, showing that the pain in the economy started in early March, well before the spike in the weekly initial jobless claims data,” said Joseph Song, an economist at Bank of America Securities. “It is going to get much worse in coming reports.”Brad Hershbein, senior economist at the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, said that last month's job loss likely reflected nervousness among businesses that had cut back on hiring even before the flood of layoffs.One sign of how painfully deep the job losses will likely prove to be: During its nearly decade-long hiring streak, the U.S. economy added 22.8 million jobs. Economists expect the April jobs report being released in early May to show that all those jobs could have been lost.Lower-income service workers bore the brunt of the job cuts in March, with restaurants, hotels and casinos accounting for roughly two-thirds of the cuts — a loss of 459,000 jobs. Retailers shed 46,000.Yet the layoffs have also begun to creep into many other corners of the economy. Doctor's offices sliced 12,000 jobs, the most on records dating to 1972. Law firms cut 1,700. Banks and real estate companies also cut jobs. The nearly full point increase in the unemployment rate from February to March was the sharpest monthly rise since 1975.There were some quirks in the jobs report that suggest it may be harder than usual for the government to track the impact of the virus. The government said the unemployment rate would have been nearly 1 percentage point higher if many workers who were told to stay home because of the coronavirus — most of whom aren't being paid — had been properly classified as temporarily laid-off. Instead, many of those workers said they still had jobs.Even with that quirk, the number of people who said they were on “temporary lay off” soared to 1.8 million, the highest since September 2009, in the immediate aftermath of the Great Recession.A key determinant of the economy’s future will be whether businesses can survive the shutdown and quickly rehire those workers who consider themselves to be temporarily laid off. If so, that would help the economy snap back and avoid the type of weak recovery that followed the past three downturns.But if the virus outbreak forces businesses to stay closed into the late summer, many may go bankrupt or won’t have the money to rehire their old employees. That would mean that many workers who now consider themselves on temporary layoff could lose their jobs.So far, some large and small businesses are still paying for health care benefits and keeping in touch with their newly laid-off workers, a slightly hopeful sign amid the flood of job cuts.More than 90% of the U.S. population is now living under some version of a shutdown order, which has forced the closure of bars, restaurants, movie theatres, factories, gyms and most other businesses. Some hotels are closed; others are largely empty. Fast-food chains are either closed or providing only drive-through service, costing thousands of jobs.Christopher Rugaber, The Associated Press

  • Designer Rebecca Minkoff's Female Founder Collective and UBS team up for next phase of Project Entrepreneur
    Yahoo Finance Video

    Designer Rebecca Minkoff's Female Founder Collective and UBS team up for next phase of Project Entrepreneur

    Designer Rebecca Minkoff’s Female Founder Collective and UBS have teamed up for the next phase of Project Entrepreneur, aimed at accelerating and funding women-led businesses. Rebecca Minkoff joins Yahoo Finance’s On The Move panel to discuss the collaboration.

  • WHO Warns on Easing Limits; France’s Deadliest Day: Virus Update
    Bloomberg

    WHO Warns on Easing Limits; France’s Deadliest Day: Virus Update

    (Bloomberg) -- The World Health Organization warned countries not to ease lockdowns too soon. France reported 588 new fatalities, marking its deadliest day since the outbreak began. Spain’s health minister said a projected slowdown of the contagion is within reach.Italy saw the number of new coronavirus cases and deaths stabilize, Germany’s Angela Merkel ended her self quarantine, while U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson still has symptoms and will continue to self-isolate.In the U.S., New York state recorded its biggest daily jump in deaths and hospitalizations, and cases now top 100,000, Governor Andrew Cuomo said. The World Health Organization warned countries not to ease lockdowns too soon.Key Developments:Global cases top 1 million; deaths reach 55,000: Johns HopkinsQuickTake: When and how does the pandemic end?Singapore to close most workplaces, schoolsAsian Development Bank sees global cost as high as $4.1 trillionThe world’s hotspots risk festering with all eyes on the virusThe EU state where hospitals are as scary as the coronavirusWHO Urges Countries to Keep Lockdowns (2 p.m. NY)Lifting restrictions too quickly could lead to a resurgence of the disease and the economic impact could be even more severe and prolonged, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing in Geneva.“We don’t want to end up in a cycle of lockdown followed by release, followed by another lockdown followed by release,” said Mike Ryan, head of health emergencies at the WHO. Countries need to make a massive investment in testing and contact tracing because the only way to get rid of the disease truly is to hunt it down, he said.The WHO also conceded slightly on its guidelines for wearing masks, saying there has been a healthy debate on the matter. Homemade mouth coverings may help slow transmission in some places, and the WHO would support governments that decide to require that they be worn, Ryan said. However, medical masks and N95s shouldn’t be worn by the general public because they need to be reserved for frontline health workers who are putting their lives in danger, he said.Spanish Pandemic Slowing: Health Minister (1:23 p.m. NY)Spain’s target of seeing the coronavirus epidemic slow by April 5 is “within reach,” according to Health Minister Salvador Illa.“Given the data seen so far this week, and while we await for what may happen over the weekend, the target is within reach,” Illa said in a press conference in Madrid Friday.Italy Coronavirus Cases, Deaths Stabilize (12:33 p.m. NY)Italy saw the number of new coronavirus cases and deaths stabilizing on Friday, as officials express optimism that a four-week lockdown is beginning to check Europe’s worst outbreak.Fatalities over the past 24 hours rose 766, compared with Thursday’s 760 deaths, to 14,681, civil protection authorities said at their daily news conference in Rome. They reported 4,585 new infections compared with 4,668 the previous day. Italy now has 119,827 total cases, just ahead of Spain’s 117,710.The pace of both new deaths and new infections has flattened out over past days, even as the containment measures shuttering all non-essential activities and banning most movement take a heavy toll on the economy.N.Y. Scours State for Unused Ventilators (12:14 p.m. NY)New York Governor Andrew Cuomo deployed the National Guard to take unused ventilators and other equipment from clinics and private firms ahead of the apex of the coronavirus.Cuomo said he has exhausted all options to get supplies, and believes the federal government doesn’t have enough inventory to meet the needs. The number of people hospitalized from Covid-19 reached 14,810 on Friday, with 3,731 ICU patients who need ventilators.People are “going to die” for lack of equipment, the governor said Friday at a press briefing.N.Y. Reports Most Deaths in a Day (11:20 a.m. NY)New York state suffered its highest number of deaths in a single day from the coronavirus, with more than 500 fatalities as the total number approached 3,000 statewide, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday.Cuomo said the state also had more than 10,000 new cases in a single day,passing 100,000 in confirmed infections.“The curve continues to go up,” he said during a briefing in Albany.The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, which has been converted into hospital, will now take only Covid-19 patients, he said. The original plan was for the convention center to free hospitals by taking non-virus patients.Russian Police Detain Activist Doctor (9:21 a.m. NY)Russian police detained a doctor who has been critical of the Kremlin’s ability to handle the country’s growing coronavirus crisis.Anastasia Vasilyeva, the leader of the Alliance of Doctors union, was held overnight after she delivered protective gear to a regional hospital about 250 miles northwest of Moscow on Thursday.Video posted by her group on Twitter showed a group of police officers surrounding her and dragging her into a police station. Regional police didn’t answer calls to the press office.While the Kremlin insists it is ready for the epidemic and even sent a plane with humanitarian aid to the U.S. this week, doctors around the country have complained of a shortage of equipment to handle the crisis.U.K. Reports Deadliest Day Yet With 684 Coronavirus Deaths (9:11 a.m. NY)The U.K. reported its deadliest day yet, with an increase of 684 coronavirus fatalities, bringing the total to 3,605. , Some 38,168 people have tested positive for the virus, according to the Department of Health and Social CareSingapore Confirms 65 New Covid Cases, Cluster at Cricket Club (9:07 a.m. NY)The Ministry of Health has confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19 infection in Singapore as of 12pm on April 3, of which nine are imported and 56 are local with no recent travel history abroad. New clusters include one at the Singapore Cricket Club.Europe Suspends Import Duties on Medical Gear to Fight Pandemic (9:00 a.m. NY)The European Union let its member countries suspend import duties on medical equipment needed to fight the pandemic. The European Commission approved requests by all EU governments to waive the bloc’s tariffs on goods such as masks, testing kits and ventilators.Face Coverings Help as Virus Can Spread by Talking, Fauci Says (8:46 a.m. NY)Americans can use face coverings to lower their risk of getting the virus in cases where they inadvertently come within six feet of someone, one of Donald Trump’s top medical advisers said. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, acknowledged during a Fox News interview Friday morning that the U.S. will soon expand its recommendations and suggest Americans consider wearing face coverings in public.Switzerland Doubles Aid for Virus-Hit Businesses to $41 Billion (8:30 a.m.)Switzerland doubled the amount of state credit guarantees for businesses to 40 billion francs ($41 billion). The initial tranche of government-backed loans, made available last month, met with strong demand and government ministers pledged to increase liquidity to firms grappling with a fall off in demand.Low Testing Rates Leave Quarter of World ‘Blindfolded’ on Virus (8:14 a.m. NY)Low testing rates in India, Indonesia and Pakistan risk leaving them unsure about the extent of coronavirus transmission in their countries. All three nations -- which together hold about 25% of the global population -- crossed 1,500 cases this week. They have tested the lowest number of residents per million, according to official data for six nations in Asia compiled by Bloomberg.Europe Holds Off on Looser Bank Accounting Rules for Now (7:58 a.m. NY)European Union officials studying further accounting measures to help the banking sector deal with the coronavirus pandemic are keeping their powder dry for now. In a draft statement seen by Bloomberg, diplomats said they stand “ready to take further actions” to mitigate the impact of the virus, including “possible additional non-legislative or legislative measures.” For now, though, legal changes like softening the impact of new accounting rules don’t appear necessary, according to an official involved in the talks who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.U.K.’s Johnson Is Still Ill and Isolating With Coronavirus Fever (7:56 a.m. NY)British Prime Minister Boris Johnson still has a high temperature and remains in isolation, one week after testing positive for coronavirus. Johnson made the announcement in a video posted on Twitter on Friday, saying that even after 7 days, “alas I still have one of the symptoms, a minor symptom: I still have a temperature. In accordance with government advice I must continue my self-isolation.”Germany Mulls Additional 300 Billion Euros in Loans: Tagesspiegel (7:43 a.m. NY)The German government is considering plans to offer companies 300 billion euros in aid via bank loans that wouldn’t require a credit check, Tagesspiegel reports, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.GSK, AstraZeneca in Talks to Help U.K. Government on Virus Tests (7:42 a.m. NY)U.K. pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline Plc and AstraZeneca Plc are in talks to set up a lab to explore new ways of testing for the coronavirus to help overcome shortages of diagnostic materials, according to a person with knowledge of the plans.Merkel Returns to Work Virus-Free After 12-Day Quarantine (7:42 a.m. NY)German Chancellor Angela Merkel returned to work on Friday, ending a 12-day self-enforced quarantine after at least three tests showed that she was free of the coronavirus. The German leader took to her apartment in Berlin on March 22 after being informed that a doctor who had administered a precautionary immunization against bacterial pneumonia two days earlier had later tested positive.Ukraine Tightens Restrictions to Slow Spread of Coronavirus (7:36 a.m. NY)The Ukrainian government extended restrictions on people’s movements after the number of confirmed coronavirus cases ballooned fivefold in a week. Authorities expect its spread in the eastern European country to peak in the second half of April, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said.Airbus Weighs Cut to Narrow-Body Output as Virus Idles Fleets (7:21 a.m. NY)Airbus SE is poised to slash production of its A320-series jetliner as the coronavirus outbreak stunts travel demand and disrupts supply chains, people familiar with the matter said.NYC Mayor Says U.S. Is Unprepared for Coming Hospital Surge (7:21 a.m. NY)New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the U.S. is “not in a position” to deal with the hospital crisis that will happen when cases of the new coronavirus surge. The nation has days, not weeks, to prepare, de Blasio said Friday in an interview on MSNBC. He urged the federal government to create a national enlistment of medical personnel.Polish Official Seeks to Extend President’s Term Due to Virus (7:17 a.m. NY)Poland should extend the current president’s term by two years to avoid holding the election during the pandemic and the economic crisis that’s likely to follow, Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Gowin said on Friday. To extend President Andrzej Duda’s term, parliament would have to change the constitution. That would require opposition support.Becton Dickinson Gets Emergency Authorization for Covid-19 Test (7:08 a.m. NY)Becton Dickinson and BioGX said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted Emergency Use Authorization for a new diagnostic test that will enable hospitals to screen for coronavirus on site and get results in under three hours.Europe Faces Longer Lockdown With Over Half of Global Deaths (6:57 a.m. NY)The number of coronavirus deaths in Italy, Spain, France and Germany surpassed 31,000, with all four countries on almost complete lockdown as leaders struggle to bring the outbreak under control. Deaths mounted across the four European nations, which between them have almost 60% of total fatalities and more than a third of the global tally of 1 million confirmed cases. The grim figures give governments little leeway to ease restrictions in a human and economic crisis that is straining continental unity.France Fails to Harness Full Virus Testing Capacity: Le Point (6:49 a.m. NY)France is failing to harness the country’s full capacity to increase coronavirus testing because of a 2013 law that bans veterinary labs from analyzing human samples, Le Point reported, citing the heads of regional laboratories that focus on animal health, food safety, and water quality.IMF Says Zimbabwe Needs Aid Urgently to Ease Humanitarian Crisis (6:44 a.m. NY)The International Monetary Fund has warned that Zimbabwe needs urgent aid as the coronavirus exacerbates the impact a food shortage following the worst drought in nearly four decades. The southern African nation needs hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid in coming months to fend off a humanitarian crisis that’s likely to leave more than half of the population hungry, the Washington-based institution said.Germany’s Seehofer to Propose Tighter Border Checks: Spiegel (6:29 a.m. NY)German officials are to discuss proposals for tightening border checks, Spiegel reports, citing people familiar with the matter. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is proposing to tighten border rules to include Poland, the Czech Republic, Belgium and the Netherlands as well as airports. Seehofer also wants to quarantine all passengers arriving by plane.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Raytheon CEO Sees 'Two-Year Tough Spell' Ahead Due to Virus Pandemic
    Bloomberg

    Raytheon CEO Sees 'Two-Year Tough Spell' Ahead Due to Virus Pandemic

    Apr.03 -- Raytheon Chief Executive Officer Gregory Hayes says combining with United Technologies Corp. will create a "technology powerhouse" and that he is planning for a two-year "tough spell" because of the coronavirus epidemic. He speaks with Bloomberg's Taylor Riggs and Mike McKee on "Balance of Power."

  •  'Companies didn’t create this, they weren’t mismanaged... This was created by a virus:' Rep. Kevin McCarthy
    Yahoo Finance Video

    'Companies didn’t create this, they weren’t mismanaged... This was created by a virus:' Rep. Kevin McCarthy

    Stocks drop drastically after unemployment hits 4.4%. House Minority Leader (R) California Rep. Kevin McCarthy addresses the latest job cuts numbers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • Bloomberg

    Boris Johnson Is Still Ill and Isolating With Virus Fever

    (Bloomberg) -- U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in isolation with a high temperature, more than a week after testing positive for coronavirus.Johnson made the announcement in a video posted on Twitter on Friday, as the latest official figures showed 3,605 people had died from the disease in the U.K. by April 2. The increase of 684 deaths was the biggest daily rise so far. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said later that two nurses and two health care assistants had died in the past day, an indication of the toll the pandemic is beginning to take on the health service.The premier has been locked away in his Downing Street apartment for seven days. “I still have a temperature,” he said in his video. “In accordance with government advice I must continue my self-isolation.”Johnson’s Virus Fight Banks on British Love for Health ServiceWith deaths still rising the premier is anxious to drum home his message that Britons must obey government orders to stay in their homes as much as possible. On March 23, Johnson ordered a national lockdown, closing schools, stores, restaurants and leisure facilities. Under emergency laws, police have the power to fine individuals who flout the rules and break up gatherings of more than two people in public.Royal AddressWith the economy under threat and daily life on hold, Queen Elizabeth II will address the nation in a special broadcast on Sunday.Johnson’s health advisers have pointed to “green shoots” of optimism in the country’s battle with the virus, but they still expect the death toll to rise in coming days. That’s because it takes time for the shutdown measures to have an impact on slowing infection rates and reducing daily admissions to hospital.Johnson, 55, felt unwell on March 26 and took a test for the virus, which confirmed he had the illness. The following day he announced he was in isolation.The premier appeared on his doorstep on Thursday night to join in a mass nationwide round of applause in support of state health-care workers. With good weather forecast for the weekend, Johnson used his video on Friday to reiterate his demand that people stay at home, even if they and their children were feeling “stir crazy.”PM’s Plea“There may be just a temptation to get out there, hang out and start to break the regulations,” Johnson said. “I just urge you not to do that. Please, please stick with the guidance now.”After the Jokes, Johnson’s War with Coronavirus Gets PersonalIn a sign that the government is worried Britons may lose discipline and head outside during the good weather that’s forecast, Johnson’s message was reiterated by all three officials in Friday’s government coronavirus: Hancock, England Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam and Chief Nurse Ruth May.Johnson’s government has been battling criticism over its handling of the pandemic, especially its failure to conduct wide testing and a shortage of face masks and other protective equipment for National Health Service workers. Some 35,000 frontline NHS staff are off work due to the virus, but most have not yet been tested to see if they have it.Hancock said more than 7,000 NHS frontline staff have now been tested, and that 2,000 intensive care beds remained available nationwide. He’d previously said the government had added 2,500 intensive care beds since the crisis began, suggesting the NHS is already using more capacity than it had going into the pandemic.Positive TestHancock denied that care homes have been told that sick elderly residents won’t be admitted to hospital for treatment.“It is absolutely not a blanket rule that people shouldn’t go to hospital from care homes,” he said. “Hospital is there for people for when they need it, when the doctors advise they go.”The health secretary also tested positive for the virus last week but returned to work on Thursday, promising to deliver 100,000 virus tests per day by the end of the month. Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, has also been in self-isolation with symptoms.British government guidelines state that individuals should isolate for seven days after developing symptoms of a new persistent cough or a fever. If the high temperature continues, people should remain in isolation for longer until it returns to normal, according to the guidelines. If just a cough remains, they are allowed to come out of self-isolation.The government is running three clinical trials on potential treatments for the virus, with an initial focus on currently-licensed medicines, among them hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug U.S. President Donald Trump has previously touted, as well as an HIV treatment.(Updates with death of two nurses in second paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Food Supply Chain Slows Around the World on Trucking Bottlenecks
    Bloomberg

    Food Supply Chain Slows Around the World on Trucking Bottlenecks

    (Bloomberg) -- Truckers hauling food are facing delays across the globe in the latest disruption to supply chains snarled by the coronavirus pandemic.They’re enduring lengthy wait times in Europe because of restrictions that have been imposed to control the virus’s spread. In South America, local laws have at times conflicted with country-wide ordinances that deem hauling food an essential service, leaving supplies sometimes stuck in storage. In parts of Africa, the shuttering of public transportation means drivers aren’t even able to make it into work. And huge spikes in demand have caused lags for loading at some U.S. warehouses.Just about everywhere, drivers’ access to critical services has been reduced or even cut off. It’s getting harder to find places to eat with restaurants shut down and rigs too big to go through drive-thru lanes. A decent place to sleep, shower, even use a clean toilet is becoming difficult to track down.Faced with these difficulties, some truckers in places like Brazil, one of the world’s biggest food exporters, have even refused to take on new trips in recent weeks.The problems highlight the vulnerability of the complicated process needed to take goods from farm to table. Almost all food and agricultural products are transported by road at some point, whether that’s from a field to a grain terminal, a processing plant to a port, or from a wholesaler to a store.“We’ve never had anything of this magnitude and this widespread,” Derek Leathers, chief executive officer of Werner Enterprises, one of the top five U.S. truckload carriers, said, referring to strains on the trucking system. “But we are open for business, and we need to stay that way.”Bob Stanton, a 62-year-old truck driver with three underlying health conditions, said he’s frightened of catching Covid-19 and only has a half can of disinfectant spray left. He doesn’t know where to go for testing if he were to develop symptoms, and he’s afraid of being caught far from his Illinois home if he gets sick. Despite that, he rebuffed the idea of using vacation time to ride out the virus storm.“If I take a couple of weeks’ vacation, you all starve,” he said. The 20-year trucking veteran had just taken sugar to Memphis, cereal to Chicago and was waiting to be loaded in Batavia, Illinois, for cargo going to a Walmart Inc. distribution center in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.“I’m out here trying to keep you all fed.”The severity of the problem depends on where in the world you are.In the U.S., pressures on drivers have taken a toll, but for the most part, the supply chain is flowing, just with small pockets of slowdowns. Trucks crossing the border from Germany to Poland were seeing wait times of 10 hours or more, meaning meat would come to market with time knocked off the “best before” dates, though some delays have eased. In India, vegetable oils are getting stuck at ports because of a shortage of trucks coming in.Many drivers in Uganda depend on public transportation to get to their places of work. That transport has been shuttered under the nation’s lockdown measures. Mary Kamugisha runs Step Supermarket in Buwate, a suburb of the capital, Kampala. She’s now relying largely on motorcycle taxis, known as bodabodas, for deliveries.“Supplies are running low,” she said. “Deliveries by suppliers aren’t made because their drivers can’t access their places of work.”Some of the disruptions have already started to ease as governments work to ensure that food transport is covered under lockdown allowances for essential businesses and policy makers do more to help support truck drivers. Pennsylvania has reopened truck stops after briefly closing them statewide. The European Commission has worked to create “green-lane” crossings at border checks to minimize delays. Special lanes for truckers have also been used in parts of Malaysia.Argentina, the worlds’ top exporter of soybean meal, is another example of progress. While federal regulations labeled food transport an essential service, local mayors were putting up restrictions. They blocked access to roads, afraid that truckers would spread the virus to their towns. The problem was acute in farming regions, halting grain terminals from delivering supplies to ports. Marcelo Torresi, who runs a 5,000-metric-ton elevator in Bustinza, Santa Fe province, said those issues have started to clear up, and port-bound trucks are now loading.Businesses are also working to help support truckers. Some clients are providing drivers with bottled water and snacks to help ease the blow from restaurant closures, said Steve Wells, the chief operating officer of Baltimore-based trucking company Cowan Systems.And in the U.S., traffic is light with most people staying at home. With few passenger cars, trucks are actually making faster transit times, which is helping mitigate the delays for loading and unloading.Some problems could be more long-lasting.Canadian carriers are driving empty trucks to the U.S. to pick up food items to transport back north, said Stephen Laskowski, president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance. Normally, they’d be full of manufactured goods from Canada to deliver to the U.S., but that need has dwindled, he said.The issue with one-way hauls has also popped up in parts of the U.S., Europe and Asia, and it’s raising freight costs for food. With manufacturing slowing, it’s unclear how long before this gets resolved.Demand for trucks in the U.S. has increased while efficiency has gone down due to longer distances traveled and the empty one-way hauls. That’s prompted farm groups to call for relief on rules that restrict driving hours and weights.On top of all that, there’s also the risk that the drivers who traverse hundreds of miles in a single day are getting exposed to the virus and could fall ill, sparking the possibility of labor shortages.Charles Stallings, 46, hasn’t stopped driving his usual run between Iowa and California. But his routine has changed. He wears a mask and puts on gloves when he leaves his cab to fuel up. He uses his own pen to sign paperwork and doesn’t touch the one chained to the clipboard. When he gets back in the cab he sanitizes everything, including his hands, the steering wheel and seat.“As long as I’m out here in my truck and my world, I’m safe,” he said. “I really put a focus on the minute I get out of this truck and what I touch and how I touch things.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • OPEC+ Urges Cuts to Stem Rout as Trump Meets U.S. Producers
    Bloomberg

    OPEC+ Urges Cuts to Stem Rout as Trump Meets U.S. Producers

    (Bloomberg) -- The OPEC+ oil cartel is pressing to form a global coalition to cut output and stem the historic rout in crude prices, with a deal balancing on a key meeting later Friday between U.S. President Donald Trump and American oil executives. Crude surged on the efforts.Trump first touted the idea of global cutbacks on Thursday, and it now looks to be gaining traction. Vladimir Putin, in a meeting Friday with Russia’s oil-industry bosses, said trimming global oil production by about 10 million barrels from first-quarter levels is possible. That figure was first mentioned by Trump on Thursday as he called for a coordinated effort.Putin said Russia is in “close contact” with Saudi Arabia, and had contacts with the U.S.A meeting of OPEC+ members, including Russia, has been hastily scheduled for Monday as the coronavirus pandemic knocks out as much as a third of global demand. At the same time, the oil-price slump threatens the budgets and political stability of oil-dependent nations, the existence of the U.S. shale industry and millions of jobs in a sector already in turmoil.There remains obstacles. It would require agile and complex diplomacy at a time when governments are focused on the fight against the virus itself. And there’s no indication Trump will bow to Saudi and Russian demands that the U.S. and other countries join the cuts. Trump’s meeting on Friday afternoon will be with executives who are battling among themselves as to what the administration should do.Oil extended its surge in New York on Friday with U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures rising 13% before paring gains to about 5%.A deal with non-OPEC+ nations including the U.S. would set a historic precedent. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has been managing supply since 1960, but its power has waned since the shale revolution turned the U.S. from importer to major producer. International Energy Agency head Fatih Birol said Saudi Arabia should organize a G20 meeting to address the glut.While there is no sign of a truce on the ground -- Saudi Arabia is sticking to a pledge to ramp up exports -- the diplomatic situation has evolved quickly. For several days, Saudi Arabia had been wrong-footed by Russia as Moscow sounded open to talks and blamed the price collapse on the kingdom. By changing tack and saying publicly it’s ready to cut, the kingdom put the onus back on Moscow. There’s still no official word from the Kremlin on its position.It’s a battle of wills -- and egos -- between Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. And Trump is watching, trying to force them into a deal without committing to too much himself. Even if an accord can be struck, a cut of 10 million barrels a day would barely dent the glut of oil that has been created by the economic fallout from the pandemic. Traders estimate the lost demand could be as high as 35 million barrels a day.A 10 million-barrel reduction “may be a good start,” Birol said in an interview on Friday. Nevertheless, “in the second quarter we may well see a stock build of over 15 million barrels a day. This is the reason, I think, we need to do more.”In some corners of the market, physical prices have gone negative and some producers are expected to start suspending output as there’s not enough space to store the excess crude. Tankers have filled up fast as ships are being used as storage rather than transport.Painful Price WarFor many in the petroleum industry, Saudi Arabia and Russia have no choice but to cut.“In our view there is no OPEC+ choice involved, the rhetoric is window-dressing, the market will deliver cuts,” said Paul Sankey, a veteran oil analyst at Mizuho Bank Ltd.Oil-producing nations around the world are feeling the pain of the price war, which started a month ago after Russia refused to take part in deeper cuts. Saudi Arabia aggressively discounted its crude days later, in a move to seize customers from Russia’s traditional markets.Shale producers in the U.S. are struggling and national finances in multiple countries are under pressure. Russia, for example, is now expecting oil prices at $20 a barrel this year and will ramp up borrowing to make up for a budget shortfall.Saudi Arabia will also have to make deep budget cuts as oil accounts for the vast majority of its revenue. The kingdom’s next move in the price war could come as soon as Sunday, when it sets official prices for its crude exports. The operation could be postponed, however -- as it was last month -- to avoid prejudicing the Monday meeting.(Adds Putin comments in the second and third paragraphs, and updates oil prices in New York in the sixth)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Governor to take ventilators for NYC as hospitals buckle
    The Canadian Press

    Governor to take ventilators for NYC as hospitals buckle

    NEW YORK — With coronavirus deaths surging in New York, the governor announced Friday he will use his authority to seize ventilators and protective gear from private hospitals and companies that aren’t using them, complaining that states are competing against each other for vital equipment in eBay-like bidding wars.“If they want to sue me for borrowing their excess ventilators to save lives, let them sue me,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. He added that he will eventually return the equipment or compensate the owners.The executive order he said he would sign represents one of the most aggressive efforts yet in the U.S. to deal with the kind of critical shortages around the world that authorities say have caused health care workers to fall sick and forced doctors in Europe to make life-or-death decisions about which patients get a breathing machine.The number of the people infected in the U.S. reached a quarter-million and the death toll climbed past 6,500, with New York state alone accounting for more than 2,900 dead, a surge of over 560 in just one day. Most of the dead are in New York City, where hospitals are getting swamped with patients and are facing shortages of ventilators.The move by Cuomo came as the outbreak snapped the United States’ record-breaking hiring streak of nearly 10 years. The U.S. government said employers slashed over 700.000 jobs in March, bringing a swift end to the nation's 50-year-low unemployment rate.The true picture, though, is far worse, because the government figures do not include the last two weeks, when nearly 10 million thrown-out-of-work Americans applied for unemployment benefits.Worldwide, confirmed infections surged past 1 million and deaths topped 55,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Experts say both numbers are seriously undercounted because of the lack of testing, mild cases that were missed and governments that are underplaying the crisis.Europe's three worst-hit countries — Italy, Spain and France — surpassed 30,000 dead, or over half of the global toll. The crisis there was seen as a frightening portent for places like New York, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, where bodies are being loaded by forklift into refrigerated trucks outside hospitals.Shortages of such things as masks, gowns and ventilators have led to fierce competition among buyers from Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere.A regional leader in Paris described the scramble to find masks a “worldwide treasure hunt," and the French prime minister said he is “fighting hour by hour” to ward off shortages of essential drugs used to keep COVID-19 patients alive.Cuomo warned on Thursday that New York could run out of ventilators in six days. He called for a co-ordinated national approach that would send supplies and people to different areas as their needs peak.More than 1,200 miles south, the situation grew more dire by the day in Louisiana, where nearly 10,000 people have tested positive and more than 300 have died.Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge has gone from one unit dedicated to coronavirus patients to seven. Nurse Christen Hyde said nurses call family members twice a day to update them on how their family members are doing, in some cases delivering bleak news.“To have to call a family member and tell them that their family member is not doing well and they are probably going to be passing soon is just devastating,” said Hyde, who has had four patients die.Among the patients, “the last thing that they see is us telling them that they are going to have a tube placed down their throat to help them breathe,” she said. “It’s awful. It’s horrible. It’s really affected me.”In Florida, hundreds of passengers on a cruise ship where four people died were finally being allowed to disembark after a days-long standoff. More than a dozen critically ill patients were taken to hospitals, while people healthy enough to travel were taken to the airport for chartered flights home.Some glimmers of hope emerged that Italy, with about 14,700 dead, as well as Spain and France might be flattening their infection curves and nearing or even passing their peaks in daily deaths.Still, "the work is extremely tough and heavy,” said Philippe Montravers, an anesthesiologist in Paris. “We’ve had doctors, nurses, caregivers who got sick, infected ... but who have come back after recovering. It’s a bit like those World War I soldiers who were injured and came back to fight.”France cancelled its high school exit exam known as the Baccalaureat, a first in the 212-year history of the test.Spain reported 932 new deaths, down slightly from the record it hit a day earlier. The carnage most certainly included large numbers of elderly who authorities admit are not getting access to the country's limited breathing machines, which are being used first on healthier, younger patients. More than half of Spain's death toll of nearly 11,000 has come in the last seven days alone.In a vast exhibition centre in Madrid that was hastily converted into a 1,300-bed field hospital, bed No. 01.30 held patient Esteban Pinaredo, age 87.“I’m good, I love you,” Pinaredo told his family via Skype. “I will run away as soon as I can."The facility's organizer, Antonio Zapatero, said Spain's nationwide lockdown must be maintained."Otherwise, this is what you are facing,” he said, pointing at the rows of beds.In some places in Europe, officials began talking tentatively about how to lift lockdowns that have staved off the total collapse of the health systems but have also battered economies.But Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking in her first video message after emerging from two weeks of quarantine at home, urged Germans to stay home over Easter, saying it would be irresponsible for her to set a date now for loosening restrictions that include a ban on public gatherings of more than two people.With forecast glorious spring weather likely to tempt stir-crazy families out of lockdown this weekend, the firm message across the continent remained: “Stay home.” Paris police set up roadblocks out of the city to stop those trying to escape for Easter vacation.Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who tested positive last week, said in a video message on Twitter that he is feeling better but still has a fever and will remain in isolation.For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with health problems, it can cause pneumonia. The World Health Organization said this week that 95% of the deaths in Europe were of people over 60.___Villenueve reported from Albany, New York. Leicester reported from Le Pecq, France. Associated Press writers around the world contributed.___Follow AP news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.Marina Villenueve, John Leicester And Aritz Parra, The Associated Press

  • Putin Echoes Trump’s Call for Oil Producers to Cut Output
    Bloomberg

    Putin Echoes Trump’s Call for Oil Producers to Cut Output

    (Bloomberg) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country is prepared to take part in deep cuts in oil production together with Saudi Arabia and other major producers to halt the slide in prices, echoing an announcement by his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump.“We are ready to reach terms with partners within the framework of OPEC+ and are ready to cooperate with the United States on this issue,” Putin said on Friday during a video conference with top government officials and oil executives. “I believe that it is necessary to combine efforts in order to balance the market and reduce output.”Russia sees a reduction in global oil production of about 10 million barrels a day as possible, and is ready to participate in this “on a partnership” basis, Putin said.Putin gave Russias’s first confirmation of its willingness to take part in cuts announced by Trump Thursday in a Tweet that drove Brent prices up as much as 47%.The Kremlin’s reversal reflects alarm at the sudden collapse in demand sparked by the coronavirus pandemic, which threatens a worldwide recession this year. As recently as two weeks ago, Putin was resisting any concessions in the stand-off with Saudi Arabia since Moscow pulled out of a supply-limit agreement with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries over demands for deeper cuts in output. That prompted Saudi Arabia to flood the market with oil, driving prices to an almost two-decade low amid a glut in supply because of a sharp fall-off in consumption.Putin, who spoke with Trump about the market on Monday, said Russia is in “close contact” with Saudi Arabia. Russia is comfortable with a price about $42 a barrel, and doesn’t want the cost of oil to be “too high or too low,” he said. He indicated that Russia would participate in an April 6 meeting of OPEC and other oil-producing nations.The output cuts need to last for several months until demand begins to recover from the slump brought on by coronavirus, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said. He lashed out at Saudi Arabia for ramping up production, a move that he said would lead to the “collapse” of the oil market.Russia and Saudi Arabia could reach a deal to restrict output at Monday’s meeting, according to Andrey Kortunov, director of the Kremlin-founded Russian International Affairs Council.It’s important that the U.S., the world’s largest oil producer, should participate, Kortunov said. Even if formally the Trump administration can’t commit to private companies scaling back output, it should facilitate that, said Kortunov. The rock-bottom prices have devastated U.S. oil producers, making swathes of the industry uneconomic. Trump is meeting industry officials Friday.Russia may agree to a three-way arrangement with Saudi Arabia and the U.S., said four people at Russian oil producers. For Putin, the likelihood of all sides making compromises should reduce the risk of appearing weak by agreeing to reduce oil production.Russia isn’t likely to cut as much as promised, according to Dmitry Perevalov, an oil trader who’s the former vice-president of producer Slavneft.“Maybe we will cut some oil output but no will be able to check up on it,” Perevalov said. “The price will go up and that’s the main thing for everyone.”Difficult TimesThe efforts that reductions would require are unprecedented and may have negative long-term effects for the oil industry, according to Dmitry Marinchenko, senior director at Fitch Rating.“Under earlier deals with OPEC, Russia has always reduced the output gradually, yet this time around, the cut needs to be made right away,” he said. Producers would probably need to shut down some wells, while reopening wells can be nearly impossible given Russia’s geological conditions, or prohibitively expensive.Economically, the impact of coronavirus is already wreaking such havoc that any oil deal will at best mitigate the damage. Russia is rewriting its budget to prepare for oil prices at $20 a barrel, according to people familiar with the discussions. Russia will ramp up borrowing by 1 trillion-1.5 trillion rubles ($13 billion-$19 billion) this year as a result, they said.“If the forecasts of a 15 million- to 20 million-barrel reduction in demand turn out to be right, then no production cut will help raise oil prices,” said Kirill Tremasov, head of research at Loko-Invest in Moscow and a former Economy Ministry official. “The Russian government is doing the right thing, preparing for difficult times and a low oil prices. There are no other options.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Pelosi Pares Goals for New Stimulus Bill With Eye on Faster Help

    (Bloomberg) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi scaled back her ambitions for Congress‘s next coronavirus stimulus package to focus on additional direct payments to individuals and expanded loans to businesses, possibly leaving an $800 billion infrastructure plan and other Democratic priorities for a later bill.“While I’m very much in favor of doing what we need to do to meet the needs of clean water, more broadband and the rest of that, that may have to be for a bill beyond this,” Pelosi said Friday on CNBC. “I think right now we need a fourth bipartisan bill -- and I think the bill could be very much like the bill we just passed.”Pelosi said the $350 billion included the last stimulus for small business to maintain payrolls for two months won’t be sufficient. She said the nation also will need an extension of the expanded unemployment benefits and additional direct payments to middle income individuals.“So I’d like to go right back and say let’s look at that bill let’s update it for some other things that we need, and again put money in the pockets of the American people,” she said.Legislation using the framework of the $2.2 trillion stimulus signed into law last week may have an easier time getting through Congress, which is already operating under the constraints of travel limits and social distancing. Lawmakers aren’t scheduled to be in session until at least April 20.Infrastructure on HoldPelosi and other top Democrats this week proposed including about $800 billion in new infrastructure spending, including funding for community health centers, access to clean water and broadband, in what’s being referred to as phase four of the response to the coronavirus pandemic that is grinding the economy to a halt.That has so far been met with resistance from House and Senate Republicans even though President Donald Trump this week called for a $2 trillion infrastructure package. GOP leaders also have cautioned against moving on another round of stimulus until the impact of the three packages already signed into law can be assessed.A key hurdle for infrastructure is figuring out how to pay for it. Neither Trump nor the Democrats have come up with a proposal, although there have been back-room negotiations for months. Pelosi said Thursday that discussions on an infrastructure proposal between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal would be accelerating.Pelosi made clear her pivot on the bill came because of both Thursday’s record weekly jobless claims report of 6.6 million and Friday’s March payroll estimate showing 701,000 jobs lost.Pelosi followed her CNBC interview with a statement Friday saying that Congress more immediately will need to build on the last relief package, known as the CARES Act.“The acceleration of the coronavirus demands that we double down on the downpayment we made in CARES by passing a CARES 2 package,” Pelosi said in her statement. “We must extend and expand this bipartisan legislation to meet the needs of the American people.”Pelosi said communities affected by the health and economic crisis “can’t afford to wait” on the additional relief that will be needed. Even amid the urgency of the virus response, Pelosi said she would continue working “on an infrastructure package for recovery that addresses some of the critical impacts and vulnerabilities in America that have been laid bare by the coronavirus.”Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican, has suggested adding his $287 billion surface transportation bill to a future stimulus measure, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hasn’t backed that idea yet.Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri this week also said the Senate should focus the next bill on tweaking the stimulus measure already passed. He also raised concerns about the cost of an infrastructure plan, speaking during a BakerHostetler webinar on Thursday.“I am sure you can argue that we could easily do $1 trillion worth of infrastructure in our country that would be beneficial to our economy in the long run,” Blunt said. “But at some point we have to think about what obligation do we have to keep our government debt at a level that it doesn’t jeopardize the future.”(Updates with Pelosi statement beginning in the ninth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Bank of America CEO Says Half a Million Customers Have Deferred Payments

    (Bloomberg) -- Half a million of Bank of America Corp.’s 66 million customers have deferred loan payments because of financial fallout from the coronavirus.“The idea is to defer the payment, defer the impact,” Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan said in an interview Friday on CNBC. “We’re working with our customers who need help, who are losing their jobs. We have to preserve their ability to have cash flow.”The bank’s portal for small-business relief loans went live Friday morning and had 40,000 applications by the afternoon, according to a person familiar with the situation. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender is prioritizing 1 million of its existing small-business borrowers because they’ve already been vetted and can receive funds the fastest, Moynihan said.Other large banks including Wells Fargo & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. said they weren’t ready to start accepting applications in the unprecedented and quickly assembled initiative as lenders grappled with lack of detailed guidelines from the government.Separately, Moynihan said only 5% of trading employees are working from the bank’s offices.(Updates with loan application volume in third paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Citigroup Reaps $100 Million Windfall From Massive AAA CLO Trade

    (Bloomberg) -- Citigroup Inc. made more than $100 million trading a huge swath of the highest-rated collateralized loan obligations as market turmoil prompted asset managers in need of liquidity to unload securities at steep discounts.Citigroup bought roughly $2 billion of AAA rated CLO bonds in late March at around 90 cents on the dollar from PGIM, the investment management business of Prudential Financial Inc., according to people with knowledge of the matter. The bank was later able to sell them closer to par as prices recovered, said the people, asking not to be identified discussing a private matter.Representatives for Citigroup and PGIM declined to comment.Savvy Wall Street traders are already on the hunt for bargains as the coronavirus pandemic fuels significant price dislocations across credit markets. Eldridge Industries’ Todd Boehly has been scooping up higher-rated CLO debt that others were forced to sell, while investors including Highbridge Capital Management and Varde Partners are preparing funds to capitalize on turbulent markets.Citigroup’s deal helped provide liquidity for PGIM, the people familiar with the trade said. AAA bonds have been used by other sellers to boost capital in recent weeks, pushing spreads to extremes not seen since the financial crisis. Prices on the bonds, which pool leveraged loans, tumbled and spreads almost doubled to 500 basis points in one day alone. Buyers later resurfaced to purchase the beaten-down debt as spreads snapped back following measures by the Federal Reserve to keep credit flowing in the U.S. economy.Citigroup’s trade also comes as the market widely expects banks to use eligible AAA rated CLOs as collateral via another resource designed to prevent a credit freeze -- the Primary Dealer Credit Facility.The PDCF emergency lending program offers overnight and term funding to primary dealers, in exchange for eligible collateral, which also includes commercial mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations with the same top rating.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Trump Hosts Contentious Oil Meeting in Bid to Reverse Price Drop
    Bloomberg

    Trump Hosts Contentious Oil Meeting in Bid to Reverse Price Drop

    (Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump will convene an extraordinary gathering of the oil industry’s competing factions at the White House on Friday, as a global pandemic and oil-price war weigh on markets.Chief executives of the nation’s biggest refiners and producers are expected to discuss possible relief efforts from the administration, including potential cuts in U.S. production to bring the price of crude back from a historic plunge, according to people familiar with the matter.But there are deep divisions among the various factions over what should be done, especially on the question of possible tariffs on Saudi Arabian oil, which may force Trump to make a difficult decision that could hurt some executives who are among his most ardent supporters.Trump has sought to forge an agreement with Russia and Saudi Arabia to end their price war by cutting back on production, a move that could boost prices and help drillers and refiners located in states like Texas and Louisiana that are crucial to his re-election in the fall. Canada is also in talks with OPEC and the U.S. about the state of the global oil market.But it isn’t clear whether Russia and Saudi Arabia would agree to cut production unless the U.S. also takes part -- a move that would be unpopular with some U.S. producers. A meeting of OPEC+ oil cartel members is set for Monday and Vladimir Putin is also meeting with Russia’s oil-industry bosses.Trump’s discussion with U.S. producers is “going to be a productive meeting, it will be an exchange of views,” chief White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters on Friday.West Texas Intermediate crude suffered its biggest-ever quarterly decline in the three months through March. Even after the past two days’ rally, futures are still down 56% this year.Friday’s meeting is scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. in the Cabinet Room of the White House. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette and Kudlow are also expected to hold a separate call with independent refiners and producers following the White House meeting.One of the most contentious matters among the oil giants is whether Trump should slap tariffs on Saudi crude to get the kingdom to reduce its output.It’s an idea championed by Oklahoma oil man Harold Hamm, a Trump confidant on energy who will be part of the meeting Friday, as well as some Republican senators who say tariffs could help the president win concessions from Saudi Arabia and stabilize the global crude market.Tariff OptionTariffs are also a weapon of choice for the president, who has wielded it against China, foreign steel producers and during trade negotiations with Mexico and Canada. Within the oil industry, the idea has exposed deep rifts, with refiners and Northeast U.S. gas producers firmly opposed.“If they were to go down this route it would probably result in some refineries shutting down completely,” said Chet Thompson, head of the industry’s top trade group, the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers.Trump has indicated he already has a plan in mind for helping oil companies he says are being “ravaged” by a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia. He said he knows what to do to solve the problem, though he declined to reveal the strategy other than to say it’s “tough” and “I’d rather not do that.”Instead, the president said, he hoped Russians and the Saudis would strike an agreement to cut production.“It would be great for Russia. It would be great for Saudi Arabia. I hope they make that deal,” Trump told reporters Thursday. If they don’t, he said, there’s “another alternative.”Large, integrated industry giants such as Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., which will be represented in the meeting Friday, have typically opposed any kind of government intervention in crude markets. They have better access to capital and are more diversified than independent producers, making them more resilient to ride the rout.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Stocks fall on Wall Street, heading for another weekly loss
    The Canadian Press

    Stocks fall on Wall Street, heading for another weekly loss

    NEW YORK — Stocks are falling in early afternoon trading Friday, putting Wall Street on track for its third losing week in the last four.The losses came after the government reported that U.S. employers cut 701,000 jobs last month, the first drop in nearly a decade and the latest of what is sure to be many grim indicators of the toll the coronavirus is is taking on the economy as businesses, industry and travel shut down in an attemp to slow the spread of the outbreak.U.S. stock indexes held steady at first, then headed lower after the price of oil lost some of its momentum. That undercut a rally for energy stocks, which had been helping to keep the overall market’s losses in check.The S&P 500 was down 1.8% as of 12:42 p.m. Eastern time after earlier flipping between modest gains and losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 376 points, or 1.8%, to 21,033, and the Nasdaq was down 1.7%. Even those losses would be some of smaller daily pullbacks since the sell-off began in mid-February.The relatively muted reaction “is actually a bit of a silver lining for investors at this point,” said Peter Essele, head of portfolio management for Commonwealth Financial Network.“It shows that markets have already factored in dismal economic numbers for at least the next few weeks,” he said.Businesses have shut down across the country and the world as people stay home in hopes of slowing the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. Friday’s report likely doesn’t even fully capture the extent of the recent job losses, which have been accelerating by the day, because it collected data from before stay-at-home orders were widespread.“There is far worse to come,” said Eric Winograd, senior economist at AllianceBernstein.Economists say next month’s report may even show the economy has wiped away the last of the 22.8 million jobs created during its nearly decade-long hiring streak. On Friday,The S&P 500 is down 25% since its record set in February, reflecting the growing assumption that the economy is set to slide into a sudden, extremely sharp recession. Part of that decline also reflects the market’s expectations for stunning job losses, such as those included in Friday’s jobs report.But the panic selling that dominated the first few weeks of the sell-off has calmed a bit since Washington unleashed massive amounts of aid to help markets and the economy. The Federal Reserve has promised to buy as many Treasury securities as it takes to keep lending markets running smoothly, and Congress approved a $2.2 trillion rescue plan for the economy.“Together, these actions are staggering and unprecedented and will go some distance toward helping to cushion the economic blow of this health crisis and help get the country to the other side,” said Rick Rieder, chief investment officer of global fixed income at BlackRock.For the week, the S&P 500 is on track for a 2.5% loss, following up a 10.3% surge and a 15% drop in the prior two weeks.Now, markets are waiting to see when the number of new coronavirus infections peaks. Only that can give some clarity on how long the economic downturn will last and how deep it will be.Businesses that were just hanging on before the outbreak because of the then-strong economy may not survive. Commonwealth Financial Network's Essele pointed to retail chains and malls in particular.“It’s a bit of a brush fire that we’re going to get,” he said. “The strong will survive on the other end of this.”The United States has more than 245,000 confirmed cases of the virus, which leads the worldwide tally of more than 1 million compiled by Johns Hopkins University.For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.More than 55,000 people have died, but over 219,000 have recovered.Markets got a bit of a lift Friday from another gain in oil prices.Benchmark U.S. crude climbed nearly 5% to $26.55 per barrel, adding on to its nearly 25% surge the prior day on expectations that Saudi Arabia and Russia may dial back their price war.The world is awash in oil as demand for energy collapses, and President Donald Trump said the rivals may be close to cutting back on production to prop up oil’s price.That helped propel some energy stocks higher, including a 5.4% rise for EOG Resources, though the gains faded through the morning. Benchmark U.S. oil had been above $28 per barrel earlier in the morning.Energy stocks in the S&P 500 overall were down 3% after being higher earlier in the morning.Stan Choe And Damian J. Troise, The Associated Press

  • Coronavirus pandemic spurs a chocolate and frozen pizza sales boom in America: Nestle USA CEO
    Yahoo Finance

    Coronavirus pandemic spurs a chocolate and frozen pizza sales boom in America: Nestle USA CEO

    It's all about comforting chocolate while sitting home worried about the coronavirus.