Stocks continue their plunge…FCC proposes fines for phone companies that shared user data…GM to add 1,200 workers in Michigan
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks continue to fall in afternoon trading on Wall Street. Major indexes are on track for their worst week since October 2008 as the spreading coronavirus threatens to derail the global economy. The benchmark S&P 500 index has now lost 14% since hitting a record high just 10 days ago. The rout has knocked every major index into what market watchers call a “correction,” or a fall of 10% or more from a peak. Financial and health care stocks are among today’s biggest losers. Bond prices soared again as investors sought safety, pushing yields to record lows. Crude oil prices sank 5%.
TOKYO (AP) – A deepening health crisis has become an economic one, too, as the coronavirus outbreak saps financial markets, empties shops and businesses and puts major sites and events off limits. Economists have forecast global growth will slip to 2.4% this year, the slowest since the Great Recession in 2009, and down from earlier expectations closer to 3%. For the United States, estimates are falling to as low as 1.7% growth this year, down from 2.3% in 2019. But if the disease known as COVID-19 becomes a global pandemic, economists expect the impact could be much worse, with the U.S. and other global economies falling into recession.
NEW YORK (AP) – The Federal Communications Commission has proposed roughly $200 million in fines combined for the country’s four major phone companies for improperly disclosing customers’ real-time location. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says the fines amounted to $91 million for T-Mobile, $57 million for AT&T, $48 million for Verizon and $12 million for Sprint. Location data makes it possible to identify the whereabouts of nearly any phone in the U.S. Federal law requires that telecommunications carriers protect the confidentiality of some customer data, including location information.
DETROIT (AP) – General Motors is adding 1,200 jobs at two Michigan factories to build midsize SUVs and two new luxury sedans. GM says its Lansing Delta Township plant will get a third shift and 800 more workers to build the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave SUVs, which have three rows of seats. The Lansing Grand River plant will get a second shift and 400 more workers to build two new Cadillac sedans, the CT4 and CT5. A GM spokesman says employees laid off at other GM factories will fill the new jobs first, then workers will be added.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The House has approved a bill to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products. The bill would place new restrictions on the marketing of e-cigarettes and ban flavors in tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes. The bill also would place a new excise tax on nicotine. The House approved the bill 213-195 today, sending it to the Senate, where approval is considered unlikely. The White House said in a statement that President Donald Trump’s administration opposes the bill.