Tech stocks rise, offsetting other losses…US firms return virus loans amid threat of penalties…Oil and virus woes hit Houston hard
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are flipping between small gains and losses on Wall Street as depressing data on the economy continues to roll in. Banks are falling but technology stocks are gaining. After being down as much as 23% for the year on worries about the pandemic’s economic hit, tech stocks in the S&P 500 have erased all their losses are now up roughly 1% for 2020. Energy stocks are falling as oil prices give up some of their gains from earlier in the week.
WASHINGTON (AP) – More than 40 public companies are pledging to return money to the government’s small business coronavirus fund now that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (mih-NOO’-shin) is threatening criminal prosecutions for violating the rules of the program. The administration has given companies until May 14 to give back money without penalty. The Small Business Administration is pushing out unprecedented federal assistance at a rapid clip, but the pace of the program has raised questions about how thoroughly applications are vetted. Loans given to big publicly traded restaurant chains and the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers stoked an outcry. The large loans left less money available for small businesses that applied.
HOUSTON (AP) – Oil busts aren’t new for Houston, known as the energy capital of the world. But Houston is now in uncharted territory – grappling with an oil downturn in the middle of a pandemic. The coronavirus has shut down much of Houston’s economy, slashing jobs and revenue. The city could have a budget deficit of about $200 million. At the same time, the price of oil plunged as demand plummeted due to the worldwide lockdown. A third of Houston’s economy depends on oil. Economists say this one-two punch from COVID-19 and the collapse in oil prices will make it much harder for Houston to recover financially.
NEW YORK (AP) – Taxi drivers, motorcyclists and sushi-making robots are among the unlikely couriers distributing food and supplies to New Yorkers impacted most by the coronavirus pandemic. They’re keeping families fed, doctors protected and lifting the spirits of those on the front lines. Taxis have helped deliver more than 6.5 million meals to food-insecure individuals since the state issued stay-at-home orders in March, and payment from the city for those services are helping keep drivers financially afloat. Motorcyclists are delivering masks, gowns and other protective equipment to hospital workers. A Japanese restaurant in Manhattan purchased a sushi-making robot so its executive chef could be freed up to deliver maki rolls to hospitals.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Tribeca is taking audiences back to the drive-in this summer. Tribeca Enterprises, IMAX and AT&T said Wednesday that they are partnering to launch “Tribeca Drive-In,” a summer programming series of new and classic films, music and sporting events. It’ll take place in drive-in theaters and “other exclusive venues” nationwide starting on Thursday, June 25. The lineup will be announced in the coming weeks. The organization says that they will work with local vendors to support small businesses and tailor the experience to each community.