Stocks climb…Fed rolls out $2.3 trillion plan to stabilize economy…Record 16.8 million have sought US jobless aid
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are climbing in early trading on Wall Street after the Federal Reserve launched its latest unprecedented effort to support the economy through the coronavirus outbreak. The central bank said it took actions to provide up to $2.3 trillion in loans to households, local governments and small and large businesses as the country tips into what economists say may be the worst recession in decades. The S&P 500 is on track for a gain of more than 12% for the holiday-shortened week. That would be its best performance since 1974. U.S. stock markets are closed tomorrow for Good Friday.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve is taking additional steps to provide up to $2.3 trillion in loans to support the economy. The money will be provided to American households and businesses as well as local governments as they deal with the coronavirus. The Fed says among the actions it is taking is the activation of a Main Street Business Lending Program that was authorized by the CARES Act, the largest economic rescue program ever approved by Congress. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says the Fed’s role is to “provide as much relief and stability as we can during this period of constrained economic activity.”
WASHINGTON (AP) – With a startling 6.6 million people seeking jobless benefits last week, the United States has reached a grim landmark: Roughly one in 10 workers have lost their jobs in just the past three weeks. The figures collectively constitute the largest and fastest string of job losses in records dating to 1948. They paint a picture of a job market that is quickly unraveling as businesses have shut down across the country because of the coronavirus outbreak. More than 20 million Americans may lose jobs this month.
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump’s urgent request for $250 billion to supplement a business “paycheck protection” program for firms crippled by the coronavirus outbreak has hit a roadblock in the Senate. Democrats stalled the legislation today, demanding protections for minority-owned businesses as well as matching money for health care providers and state and local governments. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to fast-track Trump’s request, but Democrats refused to provide unanimous consent. That doesn’t mean the legislation is dead. Democrats and Republicans agree it’s urgently needed. The program, which involves direct subsidies to companies to keep employees on payroll, is being quickly depleted as businesses rush to apply for the aid.
LONDON (AP) – A report by aid group Oxfam says that around half a billion people could be pushed into poverty as a result of the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic unless richer countries help them. The fight against poverty could be pushed back by a decade and by as much as 30 years in some areas, including Africa and the Middle East. The report was based on research at King’s College London and the Australian National University. It warns that between 6% and 8% of the global population could be forced into poverty as governments shut down entire sectors of their economies to manage the outbreak.