Live Stock Market Tracker During Coronavirus Pandemic

Live Stock Market Tracker During Coronavirus Pandemic

The Fed lifts a Wells Fargo’s growth restriction.

The Federal Reserve said on Wednesday it had temporarily lifted a growth restriction it had imposed on Wells Fargo in the wake of the bank’s fake account scandal in another effort to expand small business owners’ access to emergency loans.

The Fed said in an announcement that the move was a response to “extraordinary disruptions from the coronavirus,” which has cause a widespread economic shutdown and resulted in the loss of millions of jobs. The federal government is trying to keep small businesses afloat through the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program, which provides forgivable loans they can use to pay their employees, rent and mortgages. The program has had a rocky start.

Wells Fargo, which is the country’s fourth-largest bank, said on Sunday its balance sheet had reached a $1.95 trillion limit that prevented it from making more loans. That limit was imposed two years ago and was meant to be in place until the banks leaders could demonstrate that it was being run in a way that no longer put its customers at risk.

The bank has not yet made the necessary changes, according to regulators, but reaching the limit meant it could not participate fully in the program.

Wells Fargo’s small business banking operation accounts for 20 percent of the United States market, and the bank calculated it could handle up to $70 billion in loans under the program but the growth cap limited to a volume of just $10 billion. The Fed’s announcement means it can now keep lending, but only under the program.

Stocks on Wall Street are higher as investors weigh latest economic data.

Stocks in the U.S. climbed on Wednesday, as investors weighed data showing the extent of the economic damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic against signs of progress in the effort to contain it.

The S&P 500 rose more than 2 percent, while major indexes in Europe were slightly lower.

Investors had in recent days found solace in signs that the outbreak was peaking in some of the hardest-hit parts of the United States and Europe. On Wednesday, China lifted its lockdown on the city of Wuhan, where the virus emerged.

“Trade in 2020 will fall steeply in every region of the world and basically across all sectors,” he said.

Global trade could rebound rapidly after that, but it would depend on how quickly the pandemic was brought under control, and the policy choices governments took to support their economies, Mr. Azevedo said.

Global trade growth had already slowed last year to the weakest level since the financial crisis, bogged down by a trade war between the United States and China and slowing economies in Europe and Asia.

But the pandemic has slammed the brakes on various segments of global trade. Container volume in Shanghai, the world’s busiest port, fell 20 percent year-over-year in February, while cargo volume sank 23 percent at the port of Los Angeles in the same time frame.

Gig workers are facing challenges getting unemployment aid.

The guidance appeared to leave out drivers who could theoretically choose to work on any given day but are not doing so because few passengers are requesting rides. It also appeared to exclude certain workers who choose not to work because they are at a high risk from the coronavirus.

A Labor Department representative said the situations laid out in the guidance “are not exhaustive, and we expect many ride-share workers to be eligible.” The two big ride-hailing companies, Uber and Lyft, also said they expected many drivers to qualify.

France suffered the worst quarterly contraction in growth since the aftermath of World War II as the impact of the coronavirus froze activity across large swaths of the economy and consumers locked indoors slashed spending, the French central bank reported Wednesday.

Economic output shrank by an estimated 6 percent from January through March, and is shrinking by around 1.5 percent for every two weeks that the population remains under confinement, the Bank of France said. Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said on Tuesday that France’s lockdown would be extended beyond an original April 15 deadline, without specifying a date.

Similarly grim data was released in Germany, where the gross domestic product is expected to shrink almost 10 percent from April through June, five leading economic institutes said Wednesday in a report prepared for the German government. That would be the biggest decline since quarterly record-keeping began in 1970, the institutes said.

As governments around the world look ahead to lifting the lockdown orders now in place to halt the spread of the coronavirus, mobile apps are seen as playing an essential role in tracking the movements of those who are infected.

South Korea announced a new 36 trillion won — or $29.5 billion — stimulus package on Wednesday aimed at cushioning its export-driven economy from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The new package added to a series of economic rescue measures totaling more than $80 billion that South Korea has announced in recent weeks to shore up its battered economy and help self-employed people and small- and medium-size businesses that have been hit the hardest.

The package announced on Wednesday will come in the form of cheap loans for the country’s exporters.

During an emergency meeting of senior economic policymakers, President Moon Jae-in said his government had also drawn up new measures worth 17.7 trillion won, or about $14.5 billion, to boost domestic consumption. He didn’t provide details.

“The global economy is being sucked into a severe depression and, as a result, our economy, heavily dependent on the external conditions, is facing a tsunami-like shock,” Mr. Moon said. “This is a tunnel, the end of which we cannot see yet.”

Mr. Moon revealed the new stimulus package as political parties in South Korea were campaigning for a crucial parliamentary poll next Wednesday. His governing Democratic Party had once appeared to face a tough campaign as Mr. Moon’s diplomacy with North Korea remained in a stalemate and discontent over a slowing economy deepened.

But the approval ratings of Mr. Moon and his party have been on the rise in recent weeks as South Korea was praised by other nations for its effective handling of the epidemic.

South Korea has aggressively deployed test kits and other disease-control resources to isolate patients and contain the virus. The number of new cases, once as high as 813 on Feb. 29, has dropped to around 50 in the past three days. The country had recorded a total of 10,384 coronavirus cases as of midnight Tuesday, with 200 deaths.

Catch up: Here’s what else is happening.

Reporting was contributed by Ana Swanson, Stacy Cowley, Noam Scheiber, Liz Alderman, Jack Ewing, Conor Dougherty, Adam Satariano, Choe Sang-Hun, Jack Nicas, Ceylan Yeginsu, Austin Ramzy, Katie Robertson, Carlos Tejada and Amie Tsang.

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