Stock markets surge on signs of progress: live updates


Wall Street is expected to open higher as global markets increase.

Investors on Friday found reason to rejoice despite a disastrous Chinese economic report, driving up global markets and signaling the start of a strong trading day on Wall Street.

Futures for the S&P 500 increased by about 3%. European markets were also trading 3 to 4% after an optimistic day in Asia.

Although the global economy remains under siege, investors were looking for signs of progress. Some have looked at a report from the medical news site STAT that a Gilead Sciences drug has shown an early – and so far unproven – promise to fight the coronavirus. According to STAT, the antiviral drug remdesivir helped patients with severe symptoms recover quickly in a clinical trial at a Chicago hospital. Boeing said it was resuming production of commercial aircraft. China has reported for the first time in decades that its economy has shrunk, but the number was even better than some had anticipated.

In the United States, President Trump told governors on Thursday that he could start reopening businesses in their state by May 1 or before.

Prices for US Treasury bonds fell on Friday morning, suggesting that investors were prepared to take more risks.

The G.D.P. Chinese official shrinks for the first time since 1976.

They also illustrate how difficult it will be to get the world economy back on its feet.

China is trying to restart its vast $ 14 trillion economy, an effort that could give the rest of the world a much-needed boost. But the spread of the virus in Europe and the United States has greatly reduced the world’s appetite for Chinese products. This could lead to plant closings and the departure of workers.

New data on Friday gave the first concrete indication of the severity of the damage caused to European automakers by coronavirus blockages, and it was just as serious as expected.

New car registrations in the European Union fell 55% last month from a year earlier, said the European Association of Automobile Manufacturers, as dealerships closed and buyers were stuck at them. Owners registered 570,000 new cars during the month, up from 1.3 million in March 2019.

Sales almost evaporated in Italy, the European country that locked out the earliest, down 85%. Spain and France also saw declines of around 70%.

Car manufacturers who depend on southern Europe for sales also suffered the most. Fiat Chrysler sales fell 77%. PSA, whose brands include Peugeot, Citroën and Opel, suffered a 68% drop in sales.

German automakers BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen fared slightly better, with declines of less than 50%.

Three more months: that’s how long Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s largest and most profitable airline, could continue to operate before seeking government support as its operations are hampered by the coronavirus pandemic.

The airline has lost more than $ 500 million since January and has suspended more than 90% of its passenger operations. But the common carrier hopes to continue earning money for the time being by increasing its cargo activity, its managing director, Tewolde GebreMariam, said on Thursday. This would include the transport of goods between Africa and Europe and Asia and the distribution across Africa of medical and humanitarian supplies to fight against the virus given by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, United Nations agencies, and others.

But that will not support the airline beyond July, Tewolde said, adding that he was not sure government officials would offer financial support given all the “pressing priorities” they had to handy.

With 85 confirmed cases and three deaths on Thursday, Ethiopia declared a state of emergency to fight the pandemic. About 8.5 million of the country’s 110 million people also face severe acute food insecurity. The World Health Organization has warned that Africa may be the next epicenter of the virus, with cases expected to reach 10 million within three to six months.

Tewolde, however, remained optimistic about the airline’s ability to ultimately rebound, saying it had not canceled any fleet orders with Boeing or Airbus. He also denied reports of staff on leave, saying the airline still had 14,000 employees on its payroll. “We firmly believe that short term shocks like this should not derail us from the long term strategy,” he said.

Cathay Pacific will lay off nearly 300 flight attendants in the United States.

Another sign of how the pandemic is ravaging the aviation industry, the Hong Kong flagship announced on Friday that it will fire its flight attendants based in the United States.

“In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic which has virtually stopped travel around the world, Cathay Pacific has made the difficult decision to close its American cabin crew bases,” the airline said in a statement, adding that it had 286 flight attendants based in the United States. working in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

“After careful consideration of local conditions, we have started to restore operations to certain sites where work has been suspended,” said Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun in a letter to employees before the announcement. This week, the company brought about 2,500 state employees to work, most of them focused on defense production operations.

Of the approximately 160,000 Boeing employees worldwide, there are at least 66 confirmed coronavirus infections. At least 124 other people have recovered from the infection.

Boeing employees returning to work in the coming week will find new health and safety precautions, such as staggered departure times and dispersed work areas, the company said. But a company spokesperson, Charles Bickers, said Boeing would not test the virus for its employees.

Catching up: here’s what’s going on.

The reports were provided by Daisuke Wakabayashi, Davey Alba, Jack Ewing, Abdi Latif Dahir, Simon Marks, Karen Weise, Marc Tracy, Elaine Yu, Kevin McKenna, Nelson D. Schwartz, Kate Conger, Katie Thomas, Erin Griffith, Emily Flitter, Alan Rappeport, Brooks Barnes, Keith Bradsher, Niraj Chokshi, Vindu Goel, Carlos Tejada and Mike Ives. Yiwei Wang and Coral Yang contributed to the research.


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