October 28, 2021

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Business Life

The daily business briefing: March 17, 2020

Table of Contents

1.

The U.S. stock market on Monday took its sharpest dive since the Black Monday crash of 1987, and President Trump warned the coronavirus pandemic could drag the economy into a recession. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 12.9 percent. The S&P 500 lost 12 percent and is now nearly 30 percent below a record high set less than a month ago. Trump said the market could rebound strongly once the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus is contained, but analysts expressed concern about how long that would take. “It’s impossible to say when and how we’re going to reach bottom,” said Quill Intelligence CEO Danielle DiMartino Booth. U.S. stock index futures struggled to rebound Tuesday morning, but gave back most of an early 3 percent gain. [The Associated Press, CNBC]

2.

Amazon said Monday it would hire 100,000 people across the U.S. to help meet a surge in purchases by customers shopping more online to avoid going out as the coronavirus spreads. The company said it would hike hourly pay by $2 an hour through April for workers at its warehouses, delivery centers, and Whole Foods grocery stores. The employees currently make at least $15 an hour. “We are seeing a significant increase in demand, which means our labor needs are unprecedented for this time of year,” said Dave Clark, who oversees Amazon’s warehouse and delivery network. The company said that as it ramps up, some deliveries could take longer than the typical two days. [The Associated Press]

3.

The French Competition Authority on Monday fined Apple $1.2 billion for alleged antitrust violations. The regulator said Apple colluded with two companies in its distribution network, Tech Data and Ingram Micro, in a way that squelched competition and kept prices at wholesalers the same as those in Apple stores. The French regulator accused Apple of “an abuse of economic dependence on its resellers.” Tech Data and Ingram Micro also were fined. Isabelle de Silva, the president of the French Competition Authority, said Apple’s actions were “sterilizing the wholesale market for Apple products.” A spokesman for Apple said the company would appeal the fine. [The New York Times, MarketWatch]

4.

U.S. airlines are requesting more than $50 billion in aid from the federal government to help the industry endure a huge loss of passengers due to the coronavirus outbreak. The help would include nearly $30 billion in grants and $25 billion in loans and tax breaks on tickets, fuel, and cargo. “This is a today problem, not a tomorrow problem,” said Nicholas E. Calio, president and chief executive of Airlines for America, the industry’s leading trade group. “It requires urgent action.” The aid package the lobbying group is asking for is more than three times larger than the one airlines got after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. “You have to remember the A4A’s job is to shoot for the universe in hopes of getting the moon,” said aviation analyst Henry Harteveldt, president of Atmosphere Research Group. [The Washington Post]

5.

With cinemas closing in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Universal Pictures announced Monday that it would take the unprecedented step of offering current theatrical releases for rental through on-demand cable and streaming platforms, starting on the day of their release. The first available movies will be The Invisible Man, The Hunt, Emma, and Trolls World Tour. The suggested price will be $19.99 for a 48-hour rental. The move marks a reversal of what had been a firm Hollywood policy for decades. It came after Regal Cinemas, the No. 2 U.S. movie theater chain, said it was closing all 543 of its U.S. theaters due to the pandemic. AMC, the biggest U.S. chain, has yet announced its coronavirus response. [The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times]

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