Stocks rise on virus treatment news…Fed says it will keep rates low…Small businesses move to head of loan line
UNDATED (AP) – Stocks around the world moved higher today following an encouraging report on a possible treatment for COVID-19. The S&P 500 rose 2.8% in afternoon trading on Wall Street. Stocks in Europe also jumped after Gilead Sciences said its experimental drug proved effective against the new coronavirus in a major U.S. government study that put it to a strict test. The news hit markets at the same time a report showed the U.S. economy shrank at a 4.8% annual rate in the first three months of the year, the worst showing since the financial crisis in 2008.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve is signaling that it will keep its key short-term interest rate near zero for the foreseeable future as part of its extraordinary efforts to bolster an economy that is sinking into its worst crisis since the 1930s. The Fed says it will also continue to buy Treasury and mortgage bonds to help keep rates low and ensure that companies can continue to lend easily to each other amid a near-paralysis of the economy caused by the coronavirus. The central bank did not specify any amounts or timing for its bond purchases.
NEW YORK (AP) – The smallest companies seeking coronavirus relief loans are moving to the head of the line. The Small Business Administration says that for eight hours ending at midnight Eastern time it will accept loans only from small lenders. The SBA says the step is being taken to ensure that small community lenders and their small business customers get access to the $310 billion program. There have been concerns about the nation’s smallest businesses being able to get loans because small banks – many of them with just a few hundred applications – have had to compete with big national banks submitting hundreds of thousands of loan requests.
UNDATED (AP) – Boeing says it will cut about 10% of its work force and slow production of planes as it deals with the ongoing grounding of its best-selling plane and the coronavirus pandemic. With air travel falling sharply because of the virus, airlines have delayed orders and deliveries of new planes, reducing Boeing’s revenue. The company announced the job cuts as it reported a loss of $641 million in the first quarter. It earned $2.15 billion in the same period last year. Revenue fell 26% to $16.91 billion. Boeing says jobs will be eliminated through a combination of voluntary exits and layoffs. They will be deepest in the division that makes airline jets, and less severe in the company’s defense and space unit.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The United States has added five of Amazon’s overseas operations to its list of “notorious markets” where pirated goods are sold. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative today added the Amazon domains in Canada, France, Germany, India and the United Kingdom to its annual blacklist. It cites complaints from U.S. businesses that consumers can’t easily tell who is selling items on the Amazon platforms and that the e-commerce company’s procedures for removing counterfeit goods “can be lengthy and burdensome.” The e-commerce giant dismissed the move as part of the Trump administration’s “personal vendetta? against it. President Donald Trump has clashed repeatedly with Amazon and its founder, Jeff Bezos.