Markets improve…Congress mulls lifeline…VW pauses production
UNDATED (AP) – Share prices have bounced back after a brutal sell-off that gave the U.S. stock market its worst loss in more than three decades. Paris, London, Hong Kong and Sydney logged solid gains on Tuesday while Tokyo’s benchmark was flat. Monday’s 12% drop for the S&P came as voices from Wall Street to the White House said the coronavirus may be dragging the economy into a recession. Huge swaths of many economies are coming close to a standstill as businesses and travel shut down.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Congressional lawmakers and administration officials are pushing for a massive economic lifeline to keep American households and businesses afloat. Democrats say at least $750 billion will be needed. And top White House officials briefing Senate Republicans at the Capitol say a similar-sized package needs to pass, some suggesting in a matter of days. The rush to inject cash and resources into the economy is an effort unlike any since the 2008 economic crisis.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – New Zealand’s government announced it will spend billions of dollars supporting companies as it tries to shore up an economy headed for recession because of the new coronavirus. The stimulus package is equivalent to 4% of GDP. A large chunk of the new spending will go to businesses that can show they have lost more than 30% of their income as a result of the downturn. Other money will go toward health costs, income support, and the airline industry. The country has so far been largely spared from cases of COVID-19 but the vital tourism industry has been hard hit.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – German automaker Volkswagen says it is shutting down most of its European plants for two weeks due to the virus outbreak. Volkswagen officials are saying that the situation with the outbreak is so uncertain that the company can’t give a reliable earnings outlook for this year. The company made 14 billion euros profit last year, an increase of 15%.
NEW TRIPOLI, Pa. (AP) – Distilleries are putting their spirits to work to help fill the shortage of hand sanitizers due to the coronavirus outbreak. Green Mountain Distillers is Morrisville, Vermont, is giving away a hand sanitizing solution and Durham Distillery in Durham, North Carolina, is donating one to hospitality colleagues, using high-proof alcohol and other ingredients. A Pennsylvania distillery owner grew so disgusted by the skyrocketing price of hand sanitizer online that he’s also converted his operation. And is selling it for whatever people want to pay.