Coronavirus: Live News and Updates

Coronavirus Live News and Updates

California is the fourth state with at least 100,000 known cases.

California has become the fourth American state with at least 100,000 known coronavirus infections, joining Illinois, New Jersey and New York in a grim group as the nation approaches 100,000 deaths from the virus.

The rising case counts in some California counties have come as other sections of the country, including the Minneapolis area, Wisconsin and parts of the South, have reported more infections. And the increasing number of infections is certain to intensify debates over when and how the country should ease the restrictions that public officials imposed to try to slow the spread of the virus.

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom seems to be moving closer to handing the reins of reopening to county public health officials.

In many places, the threat has already begun. The Texas Supreme Court recently ruled that evictions could begin again. In the Oklahoma City area, sheriffs apologetically announced that they planned to start enforcing eviction notices this week. And a handful of states had few statewide protections in place to begin with, leaving residents particularly vulnerable as eviction cases stacked up.

First-quarter profits shrank at the fastest rate in over a decade, and analysts don’t like what they see coming. In fact, they think things will get worse before they get better, and have revised their forecasts accordingly. Yet investors keep pushing stocks higher.

Any finance textbook’s section on equity prices holds that the direction of the stock market is determined, to a large extent, by the profits and dividends that shareholders expect companies to produce in the future. And academic research has repeatedly shown that when Wall Street analysts revise their forecasts for a company’s profits, it can move share prices.

So going by the conventional wisdom, the current collapse in profit expectations — and analysts’ woeful prognoses for future earnings — should be clobbering share prices. But investors don’t appear to be taking their cues from analysts. The S&P 500 has soared more than 30 percent over the past two months.

It’s been a turbulent period for stocks, with the S&P 500 alternating between gains and losses on a daily basis last week, as expectations for an eventual recovery have squared off against the reality that the damage is still severe and likely to continue for some time.

On Wednesday, U.S. stocks followed global markets higher as two of the world’s largest economies set out plans for robust stimulus measures to ease the damage.

The S&P 500 was up about 1 percent in early trading, extending Tuesday’s rally. European markets were 1 to 2 percent higher following a muted trading day in Asia.

Investors were cheered by the news of fiscal stimulus proposals from the European Union and Japan. In Japan, the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe approved more than a trillion dollars in stimulus money. In Brussels, the European Commission seemed on the verge of introducing expansive financial measures to support the bloc.

Minneapolis demonstrators put aside virus concerns to protest a death in police custody.

When hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Minneapolis on Tuesday night to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died while in police custody, the large crowd was both a powerful call for action in the case and a precarious act at a time when the coronavirus is still flaring in the region.

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