Live Stock Market Tracker and Updates During Coronavirus Pandemic

Stocks on Wall Street inched higher on Monday, as other global markets signaled that investors are still nervous about the economy as governments extend measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

The S&P 500 rose as much as 1.5 percent in early trading, but those gains quickly faded.

Stocks in Europe treaded water Monday while shares in Asia had ended broadly lower. The economic concern was most starkly evident in oil prices, which fell to their lowest levels since at least 2002. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. crude benchmark, briefly fell below $20.

President Trump on Sunday evening extended the social distancing guidelines for the United States until the end of April. He had earlier expressed a desire for the economy to get up and running by Easter on April 12. To offset the economic damage caused by containment measures, lawmakers in the United States enacted the largest relief package in American history.

The week ahead will bring some key economic data that will continue to paint a picture of the toll that the virus is taking on the American economy.

The jobs report from the Labor Department comes out Friday morning. It’s often a good indicator of the direction of the economy, though this month’s will offer an outdated snapshot because it will be based on surveys conducted before the nation’s business shutdown kicked into full gear.

The big headline jobs number is expected on Thursday, when the government will announce the number of people across the country who filed for initial unemployment benefits last week. In the week before, nearly 3.3 million claims were filed, a record by a long shot.

The week will also see the release of information about the American manufacturing sector, which most economists think is contracting again after briefly rebounding earlier this year.

But investors were also weighing the longevity of the pandemic, as the number of coronavirus cases continued to spike.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 in Britain and CAC 40 were down slightly, while stocks in Germany were slightly higher.

Oil prices hit their lowest levels since 2002 on Monday as Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell nearly 6 percent to $23.50 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. marker, briefly fell below $20.

The sharp economic contraction caused by the spreading coronavirus epidemic is causing demand for oil, the world’s largest source of energy, to evaporate. The gloom deepened on Sunday as President Trump extended guidelines on social distancing and nonessential travel in the United States another two weeks until at least the end of April.

In addition, there is little sign that Saudi Arabia and Russia, two of the largest oil producers, are willing to end the price war that erupted after a failed OPEC meeting this month. The United States has been leaning on the Saudis to end the feud, which has resulted in an increase in oil production. But on Friday, Saudi Arabia issued an unusual statement saying that the kingdom was not engaged in talks with Russia “to balance oil markets.”

Mr. Trump on Monday morning said he would have a phone conversation with Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, to discuss the oil situation. Speaking on “Fox & Friends,” Mr. Trump said, “I never thought I’d be saying that maybe we have to have an oil increase, because we do,” he said. He said he would talk to Mr. Putin right after the TV interview.

Analysts say that the collapse in demand caused by the pandemic far outweighs the threat of new supplies from OPEC and Russia. FGE, a consulting firm, recently estimated that demand for April would fall by 17 million barrels a day — about 17 percent lower than usual — as airplanes are grounded, road traffic falls sharply and factories are shuttered.

There are growing concerns that a surplus of oil and refined products may overwhelm available storage facilities. Analysts say the combination of low prices and lack of sufficient storage to hold the glut may lead companies to shut down wells.

Top Democrats are urging the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve to use nearly $500 billion from the $2 trillion economic rescue package that became law last week to bail out revenue-strapped states and cities, instead of granting loans to large corporations.

The law appropriates $454 billion from Treasury to backstop loans from the Fed to eligible businesses, municipalities or states. Officials have so far focused their emergency lending programs on businesses. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts wrote to Treasury on Friday, calling the needs of local and state governments “a matter of life and death.”

The Fed has come under increasing pressure to help state and municipal finance, potentially by investing directly in local debt, though it has thus far declined to. Some of its programs help local bond markets, but do so indirectly.

Investors widely expect the central bank to unveil some sort of program to provide additional support to states and localities. The central bank has recently hired Kent Hiteshew, a former Treasury official who is an expert in municipal debt, a spokesman confirmed.

Carnival, the hard-hit cruise company, has already tapped a $3 billion credit line and said in regulatory filings that it was looking for new financing. The cruise company is working with Wall Street banks to line up investors for a high-interest debt offering, said one person briefed on the matter but not authorized to speak publicly.

It’s one of just many corporations across a wide swath of industries and in vastly different financial straits that are being forced to stretch their cash, cut costs, avoid loan defaults and prepare to potentially reorganize their businesses.

For one group in the financial services industry — restructuring and bankruptcy advisers and lawyers — the emerging signs of pain for companies, both big and small, spell booming business.

Companies that depend heavily on consumer spending are especially troubled. Restructuring advisers expect retailers — whose financial position was already stretched because of the rise of e-commerce — to run into further trouble as people cut back on shopping. Hoteliers, cruise lines, restaurants, event sponsors and mortgage lenders are among those suddenly short on cash, with travel and outdoor activity at a standstill and unemployment soaring.

Public health officials have known for years that the United States lacked enough ventilators, making the nation vulnerable to a pandemic. The government sought to address the issue 13 years ago by building a fleet of inexpensive portable devices that could be used in a health crisis.

It failed.

Despite a budget and federal contracts, the marketplace ultimately killed the effort. The small California company hired to design the ventilator was acquired by a multibillion-dollar conglomerate in 2012 as the medical device industry was undergoing rapid consolidation.

But government officials suspected that the acquiring company, Covidien, had bought the device maker to prevent the introduction of a cheaper machine that would undercut its existing ventilator business. After the takeover, executives said the project was insufficiently profitable and wanted to terminate the contract. The government acceded and in 2014 awarded the business to a Dutch company.

According to a spokeswoman at the department of Health and Human Services, the new ventilators are on their way. “We are expecting them soon,” she said.

China’s vast manufacturing machine has moved into overdrive to supply the country and the world with masks, respirators and other equipment to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Chinese-made masks have been part of aid packages sent to Europe, developing countries and the United States, as China has tried to improve its public image after a disastrous attempt to play down its virus-related crisis in January.

But even as it encourages production, the Chinese government has also had to step up enforcement efforts to stop defective and uncertified products. That presents a challenge to officials who have to ensure that quality standards are met even as they push factories to make what the world needs.

One man made fake Honeywell N95 respirators at a makeshift factory on a farm. Pharmacies sold ineffective knockoffs of a Chinese version of Clorox. In one Chinese province, the authorities seized more than seven million masks that were substandard, mislabeled or counterfeited.

“Every time when something major happens in society like this virus outbreak, there is a lot of demand and different kinds of companies try to get in,” said Cody Zhang, the chief executive of a start-up seeking certification for its own products, including a disinfecting robot. “It becomes hard at the beginning to figure out which ones are good and which ones are bad.”

Workers at Instacart, a tech business that delivers groceries and other goods ordered through its app, plan a nationwide strike Monday, arguing that they lack adequate virus protection.

The service, long popular in Silicon Valley, has exploded across the country as people are told to stay home to prevent further spread of the disease.

The company’s 200,000 delivery workers are independent contractors, and the app is not tied to any specific retailer. Instacart has agreements with more than 350 businesses, including Costco, CVS Pharmacy and Target.

But delivery workers say Instacart is “profiting astronomically off of us literally risking our lives, all while refusing to provide us with effective protection, meaningful pay and meaningful benefits.”

They’re demanding personal protection equipment, hazard pay of an extra $5 per order and at least 10 percent tip on each order total.

  • American Media Inc., the publisher of The National Enquirer, Men’s Journal, Us Weekly and other titles, is cutting the pay of its employees more than 20 percent. It’s the latest instance of a media company trying to slim down. Last week, BuzzFeed announced temporary payroll cuts.

  • Americans are stress-buying all of the baby chickens.

  • The Australian government announced a wage subsidy plan on Monday that will pay businesses roughly 70 percent of the median wage to prevent millions of workers from losing their jobs because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Reporting was contributed by Stanley Reed, Kenneth P. Vogel, Jim Tankersley, Jeanna Smialek, Alexandra Stevenson, Matthew Goldstein, Mary Williams Walsh, Tiffany May, Derrick Bryson Taylor, Damien Cave, Edmund Lee, Marc Tracy, Nicholas Kulish, Sarah Kliff, Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Daniel Victor and Carlos Tejada.

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