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COVID-19

AP News | Equities.com |

With the coronavirus surging out of control, the nation’s top public health agency pleaded with Americans on Thursday not to travel for Thanksgiving and not to spend the holiday with people from outside their household.

The Thanksgiving warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came as the White House coronavirus task force held a briefing for the first time in months and Vice President Mike Pence concluded it without responding to questions by reporters or urging Americans not to travel.

Other members of the task force — whose media briefings were a daily fixture during the early days of the outbreak — talked about the progress being made in the development of a vaccine.


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A master’s degree and a full-time job as a middle-school counselor weren’t enough to help Sam Baker land an apartment she could afford in Seattle’s east-side suburbs. But a $750 million commitment by a local tech giant helped do the trick.

In August, Baker moved into her new apartment in one of three complexes recently purchased by Urban Housing Ventures, a partnership backed in part by Microsoft’s affordable housing initiative. The group is cutting rents at 40% of the units in the three buildings, including Baker’s fourth-floor one-bedroom overlooking Lake Washington, as part of an effort to make sure teachers, nurses and other middle-income professionals can live in the communities where they work.

The rent cuts are being accomplished without local public subsidies, but with a model designed to remain attractive to investors — an approach that could and should be replicated nationwide, its supporters say.


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Tyson Foods suspended top officials at its largest pork plant on Thursday and launched an investigation into allegations that they bet on how many workers would get infected during a widespread coronavirus outbreak.

The company’s president and CEO, Dean Banks, said he was “extremely upset” about the allegations against managers at its plant in Waterloo, Iowa, saying they do not represent the company’s values. He said Tyson has retained the law firm Covington & Burling LLP to conduct an investigation, which will be led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

“If these claims are confirmed, we’ll take all measures necessary to root out and remove this disturbing behavior from our company,” Banks said in a statement.


AP News | Equities.com |

Wall Street capped a day of choppy trading with modest gains for stocks Thursday, as the market’s tug of war continues between worries about the worsening pandemic in the present and optimism that a vaccine will rescue the economy in the future.

The S&P 500 rose 0.4% after spending much of the day flipping between small losses and gains. The benchmark index was coming off a 1.2% slide from the day before that pulled it away from its record of 3,626.91 set on Monday. The late-afternoon burst of buying erased nearly all of the S&P 500′s losses for the week.

Technology companies accounted for much of the rebound. Companies that rely on consumer spending and communications stocks also helped lift the market, outweighing losses in the utilities and health care sectors. Treasury yields fell, a sign of caution in the market.


Reuters | Equities.com |

U.S. healthcare exchange traded funds (ETFs) have led inflows in November, bolstered by the progress in development of coronavirus vaccines.

Data from Morningstar showed U.S. healthcare ETFs have lured $1.7 billion in the first two weeks of this month after witnessing outflows in the past three months.

The news that Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE's experimental COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective based on initial trial results lifted healthcare stocks last week.

Increasing COVID-19 cases and proposals for new lockdowns in the United States, however, have tempered some market optimism and prompted investors to look for safer stocks.


AP News | Equities.com |

The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose last week to 742,000, the first increase in five weeks and a sign that the resurgent viral outbreak is likely slowing the economy and forcing more companies to cut jobs.

The worsening pandemic and the arrival of cold weather could accelerate layoffs in the weeks ahead. Of the roughly 20 million Americans now receiving some form of unemployment benefits, about half will lose those benefits when two federal programs expire at the end of the year.


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Overwhelmed hospitals are converting chapels, cafeterias, waiting rooms, hallways, even a parking garage into patient treatment areas. Staff members are desperately calling around to other medical centers in search of open beds. Fatigue and frustration are setting in among front-line workers.

Conditions inside the nation’s hospitals are deteriorating by the day as the coronavirus rages across the U.S. at an unrelenting pace ...


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Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday imposed four weeks worth of new COVID-19 restrictions as the spread spiked to an all-time high, shutting down bars, restaurants and fitness centers, while pausing social gatherings and organized amateur sports.

The announcement came on a day when Minnesota recorded a record 67 new COVID-19-related deaths, pushing the state’s toll to 3,010. The Minnesota Department of Health also reported 5,102 confirmed new cases, rising the state’s total to 242,053. State officials said they expected to top 300,000 cases sometime next week.


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Low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle said Wednesday it is seeking restructuring and bankruptcy protection in Ireland, where its fleet is held, saying the decision was “in the interest of its stakeholders.”

“Norwegian will continue to operate its route network and both its bonds and shares will trade as normal on the Oslo Stock Exchange,” the carrier said.

Like other airlines, its fleet is now mostly ground...


Reuters | Equities.com |

U.S. politicians are behaving like children by not passing a new stimulus bill that could help Americans whose income has been wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic, JPMorgan Chase & Co Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said on Wednesday at a New York Times conference.

“This is childish behavior on the part of our politicians,” Dimon said about an impasse between Democrats and Republicans over how much additional spending should be authorized.

The two parties should split the difference between the amounts they want to devote to coronavirus relief, he said.