NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market erased an early drop and ended mixed, capping a strong week and month. Major indexes had started the day lower Friday as traders worried that President Donald Trump would reignite a trade war with China, but in a late-afternoon announcement from the White House he instead said the U.S. would cut ties with the World Health Organization, saying it had failed to adequately respond to the coronavirus because China has “total control” over the global organization. The S&P 0.5% and closed out its second straight monthly gain. Bond yields fell.
WASHINGTON (AP) —Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged that the Fed faces a major challenge with the launch in the coming days of a program through which the Fed will lend directly to private companies for the first time since the Great Depression. The Fed’s Main Street Lending is geared toward medium-sized companies that are too large for the government’s small business lending program and too small to sell bonds or stock to the public. The loans will technically be made by banks, but the Fed will buy 85% to 95% of each loan, thereby reducing the risk to banks and freeing them to do more lending.
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer spending plunged by a record-shattering 13.6% in April as the viral pandemic shuttered businesses, forced millions of layoffs and sent the economy into a deep recession. Last month’s spending decline was far worse than the revised 6.9% drop in March, which itself had set a record for the steepest one-month fall in records dating to 1959. The figures reinforced evidence that the economy is gripped by the worst downturn in decades, with consumers unable or too anxious to spend much.
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York City is on track to begin reopening June 8 as the state gradually loosens restrictions put in place during the coronavirus crisis. He says the city is meeting goals set for hospital rates and testing, will “stockpile” personal protective equipment and will focus on infection rates in hot spots by ZIP code. Also Friday, a large swath of upstate New York got the go-ahead to reopen hair salons, retail shops and offices under strict guidelines.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Meatpacking plants that had to briefly close due to coronavirus outbreaks have been back up and running for weeks, but production backlogs are forcing farmers to euthanize thousands of hogs that can’t be processed, drawing complaints from animal welfare advocates. The preferred methods of euthanizing hogs include gunshots or electrocution, but when thousands must be destroyed en masse, producers shut off the ventilation, causing heat to build up in barns and kill them. Animal welfare groups say that is inhumane and should be stopped. An estimated 2.5 million hogs are backed up on farms nationwide.
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