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.
The coronavirus epidemic has has put an end to China’s extraordinary growth, which has spanned nearly half a century – a brutal reminder of the enormous task ahead of world leaders trying to restart the world economy.
The Chinese National Bureau of Statistics said Friday morning that the country’s economic output fell 6.8% from January to March compared to the same period last year. It was the first economic contraction recognized in official statistics since 1976, when the country was in the last days of the cultural revolution, a national spasm of urban violence and torture.
The striking figures reflect China’s spectacular efforts to eradicate the coronavirus, including the closure of most factories and offices in January and February, as the epidemic sickened tens of thousands of people.
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.
Since the coronavirus epidemic reached the United States, Amazon – a company built on the promise that people will always want more, faster – had trouble responding to a spike in orders. Sometimes the products are in stock. Sometimes not. His popular page presenting today’s deals, once an important element, was buried. The company is even trying to reduce demand.
For consumers, the changes have created confusion as people turn online to protect themselves from the virus more than ever. The company informs its customers that certain products will arrive in weeks rather than hours or days. And the feeling of endless generosity on the site has eroded.
“It’s almost like a run to the bank, when there is a rumor that you cannot withdraw your money and everyone is running at ATM,” said Guru Hariharan, whose company, CommerceIQ, advises major consumer brands with their activities on Amazon.
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%.
In a 2015 speech, Bill Gates warned that the greatest risk to humanity is not nuclear war but an infectious virus that could threaten the lives of millions of people.
Rather, anti-vaccinators, members of the QAnon conspiracy group, and right-wing experts seized the video as evidence that one of the world’s wealthiest men planned to use a pandemic to wrest control from the global health system . Gates, 64, a Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist, has stared in an explosion of conspiracy theories about the coronavirus epidemic. In publications on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, he is falsely portrayed as the creator of the virus, as a beneficiary of a vaccine and as part of a vile plot to use the disease to eliminate or monitor the world’s population.
Wild claims have gained ground with conservative experts like Laura Ingraham and anti-vaccinators like Robert F. Kennedy Jr., as Mr. Gates has become a vocal counterweight to President Trump on the coronavirus. For weeks, Mr. Gates has appeared on television, editorial pages, and in Reddit forums calling for home support policies, extensive testing, and vaccine development. And without naming Mr. Trump, he criticized the president’s policies, including this week’s decision to cut funding to the World Health Organization.
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.
The airline said Friday it has a total of 13,000 flight attendants. He said in an annual report reported last year that around 78 percent of permanent staff worldwide at Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon, a sister company, were based in Hong Kong.
Last month, Cathay Pacific closed its cabin crew base in Vancouver, cutting 147 jobs. He said Thursday he had carried 90% fewer passengers compared to the same period last year.
Cathay Pacific has now immobilized most of its aircraft, with the intention of operating only 3% of its normal capacity by the end of the month. And from April to December, the airline said, its chief executive officer will cut base salaries by 30%, while chief executive officers will receive a 25% cut.
The announcement is the first attempt to resume large-scale commercial activity for an American company since the coronavirus epidemic forced companies and government officials to close most non-essential work. President Trump is encouraging businesses and states to reopen the economy by May 1 or earlier.
“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 cinema chain AMC Entertainment said in a statement that it intends to raise $ 500 million in a private offer speculation, for now, that he will have to file for bankruptcy as soon as possible.
The National Multifamily Housing Council, a business group for large apartment owners and property developers, said in a report that 16% of tenants had not paid full or partial monthly rent before April 12, up from 9% during a similar period last month.
USAA, which serves members of the military and their families, will temporarily change its overdraft policies to allow customers to raise stimulus funds. The New York Times reported that the financial services company did not allow these clients access to the funds.
Robin Hood, a popular youth equity trading app, is in talks to lift a new round of funding led by Sequoia Capital that will bring in about $ 8 billion, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The biotechnology company Moderna said the federal government has given it up to $ 483 million to develop its coronavirus vaccine and expand manufacturing.
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.