Live stock market monitoring during the coronavirus pandemic

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The devastation of the coronavirus pandemic became more evident on Thursday with more than 5.2 million workers added to the unemployment count.

The latest Labor Department figure, reflecting last week’s initial jobless claims, brings the four-week total to about 22 million, about the net number of jobs created over the nine and a half year period that started after the last recession and ended with the arrival of the pandemic.

He points out how the downdraft has spread to all corners of the economy: hotels and restaurants, mass retailers, manufacturers and white-collar fortresses like law firms.

“There’s nowhere to hide,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton in Chicago. “This is the deepest, quickest and widest recession we have ever seen. “

Facebook announced Thursday morning that it would start sending messages to people who liked, reacted or commented on false information about Covid-19 that the social network had deleted. The posts would also recommend credible information from the World Health Organization, the company said.

“This is a period of radical uncertainty, an order of magnitude greater than anything we are used to,” said Adam Tooze, historian at Columbia University and author of “Crashed,” a study of the vast global ripple effects of 2008. financial crisis.

Crises have a way of highlighting problems that are easy to ignore at the right time.

One obvious candidate is globalization, in which companies can move production to where it is most efficient, people can get on planes and go almost anywhere, and money can flow everywhere it goes. its maximum. The idea of ​​a global economy with the United States at its center was already crumbling, between the rise of China and the United States’ own shift to nationalism.

There are signs that the coronavirus crisis is exaggerating and may even cement these changes.

US stock futures rose and European markets rose slightly on Thursday as investors digested new government and corporate figures on the economic damage caused by the coronavirus epidemic.

Futures for the S&P 500 signaled a rise in the opening of the markets.

Thursday brings a new wave of bad economic news. Weekly US unemployment benefit data released on Thursday morning showed yet another massive job loss, and more businesses were expected to report the blow to their financial results in the first three months of the year.

European automakers are starting to gradually reopen factories in what will be an important test of whether it is possible to revive the economy without endangering the health of employees.

Volkswagen, which has already restarted limited production in some parts factories, announced Wednesday that it will reopen car assembly plants in Zwickau, Germany and Bratislava, Slovakia on Monday. Other VW factories around the world will follow later in April and May.

Daimler, the maker of Mercedes-Benz cars and trucks, said that next week it would reopen three German factories that make vital parts, like a Berlin-made system that controls the valves of internal combustion engines. The factories will initially operate for one shift per day as Daimler gradually restarts operations in Germany, the company said.

Volvo Cars has announced that it will reopen its factories and offices in Sweden on Monday. Sweden has taken a more relaxed approach to the virus, allowing primary schools and restaurants to remain open.

More than a million Europeans are working reduced hours or are unemployed due to car and parts plant closings, so restarting factories is crucial. But factories will also be laboratories to determine if the risk of infection can be controlled by using face masks, plastic barriers and other measures.

A struggling Chinese conglomerate talks to investors about its debt problems.

The leaders of United airlines On Wednesday, he wrote to the airline’s 100,000 workers, warning that staff cuts may take place and demand for air travel is expected to remain subdued next year.

“The challenge ahead for United is greater than that we have faced in our 94 years of pride,” wrote airline general manager Oscar Munoz and president J. Scott Kirby, in the letter posted on the company’s website.

Traffic in the first two weeks of April fell 97% from last year and the airline now plans to carry fewer passengers in May than in one day in the same month l ‘last year, the leaders wrote. And the decline is expected to continue even if health concerns persist and travel restrictions are lifted at different times around the world.

The airline said earlier Wednesday that it expects to receive $ 5 billion in federal funds to pay airline workers until September, but the stimulus should not prevent cuts beyond that, warned the leaders Thursday.

“The difficult economic outlook means that we have difficult decisions to make when we expect our airline and our overall workforce to be smaller than today, starting October 1,” they said. .

Leaders took a distinctly different tone from that of the CEO of American airlinesDoug Parker, who said in an interview with CNBC earlier today that he saw “indications that the world is ready to start traveling again.”

Catching up: here’s what’s going on.

The reports were provided by Alexandra Stevenson, Davey Alba, Neil Irwin, Nelson D. Schwartz, Liz Alderman, Keith Bradsher, Niraj Chokshi, Caitlin Dickerson, Miriam Jordan Jim Tankersley, Emily Cochrane and Emily Flitter Reed Abelson, Sapna Maheshwari, Ben Casselman , Noam Scheiber, Carlos Tejada and Mike Ives.

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