Stocks fall…Nearly 3 million apply for unemployment aid…EU: Virus drug approval possible by summer
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are falling again on Wall Street as investors rethink earlier hopes for a relatively quick economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The S&P 500 was down 1.2% after the first 15 minutes of trading, following similar losses in Asia and even sharper drops in Europe. Treasury yields also fell in a sign of increased pessimism. Wall Street is pulling back on earlier bets that the reopening of economies around the world can lead to a quick bounce back from the current, severe recession. Another possible flare-up in tensions between the world’s largest economies is also hitting markets.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Nearly 3 million laid-off workers applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week as the viral outbreak led more companies to slash jobs even though most states have begun to let some businesses reopen under certain restrictions. Roughly 36 million people have now filed for jobless aid in the two months since the coronavirus first forced millions of businesses to close their doors and shrink their workforces, the Labor Department said Thursday. Still, the number of first-time applications has now declined for six straight weeks, suggesting that a dwindling number of companies are reducing their payrolls.
LONDON (AP) – The European Medicines Agency is predicting that there could be licensed drugs to treat the new coronavirus in the next few months and that a vaccine might even be approved in early 2021, in a “best-case scenario.” The head of the European regulator’s vaccines department said in a media briefing today that approving medicines to treat COVID-19 might be possible “before the summer,” citing ongoing clinical trials. He said that if some of the current vaccines being tested prove to be effective, they could be licensed in the beginning of next year.
PARIS (AP) – French pharmaceutical group Sanofi says it will make its COVID-19 vaccine available in all countries when it is ready. The statement today came hours after the company’s CEO said the United States will get first access. Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson’s comments prompted angry reaction from the French government, saying the move would be “unacceptable.” Sanofi said that “we have always been committed in these unprecedented circumstances to make our vaccine accessible to everyone.” Sanofi added that its cooperation with U.S. agency BARDA allows the company “to initiate production as early as possible while we continue to develop and register the vaccine.”
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump of illegally profiting off the presidency through his luxury Washington hotel. The lawsuit brought by the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia claims Trump has violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution by accepting profits through foreign and domestic officials who stay at the Trump International Hotel. The hotel located just blocks from the White House quickly became a hot spot for lobbyists and foreign officials after it reopened in 2016 shortly before Trump was elected president.