Stocks little changed amid mixed news
NEW YORK (AP) – Stock indexes are little changed in afternoon trading on Wall Street as investors weigh a mixed batch of economic reports. The U.S. economy shrank at a 5.0% rate in the first quarter and another 1.5 million laid-off workers applied for unemployment benefits last week, but orders for durable goods rebounded. Gains in financial, energy and technology stocks are offsetting losses in companies that rely on consumer spending, utilities stocks and elsewhere.
WASHINGTON (AP) – A government watchdog says nearly 1.1 million relief payments totaling some $1.4 billion went to dead people in the government’s coronavirus aid program. More than 130 million so-called economic impact payments were sent to taxpayers as part of the $2.4 trillion coronavirus relief package enacted in March. The Government Accountability Office, Congress’ auditing arm, cited the number of erroneous payments to deceased taxpayers in a report published today on the government programs. The IRS asked in May for the money back from the deceased taxpayers’ survivors. Some legal experts have said the government may not have the legal authority to require that it be returned.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is halting elective surgeries in its biggest counties and is pausing the state’s aggressive reopening as it deals with a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. The number of patients admitted with COVID-19 has more than doubled in just two weeks. Texas has emerged as one of the nation’s biggest coronavirus hot spots, reporting more than 11,000 new cases in the past two days alone. Abbott has taken a newly urgent tone about the worsening trends and is now telling the public they should stay home. The surgery ban issued today applies to Dallas, Harris, Travis and Bexar (behr) counties.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – The union representing actors at Walt Disney World says the company should also postpone welcoming back guests at its Florida parks. They are scheduled to reopen next month after being closed since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Actors’ Equity Association says it’s unclear how Disney World could “responsibly” reopen as coronavirus cases continue to soar in the Sunshine State. The news comes a day after Disney said it would delay reopening its California theme parks. The union represents about 600 actors at Disney World.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – The Splash Mountain ride at Disney parks in California and Florida is being recast. Disney officials say the ride will no longer be tied to the 1946 movie “Song of the South,” which many view as racist. Instead, the revamped ride will be inspired by the 2009 Disney film “The Princess and the Frog,” which has an African-American female lead. Disney calls the new concept inclusive and says it will speak to the diversity of the millions of people who visit Disney parks each year. The changes to the ride will be made at Disneyland in California and the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida.