Shares of companies likely to get help from the government rallied.
Stocks soared on Tuesday on expectations that Congress was close to producing a stimulus bill to stabilize America’s faltering economy and offer lifelines to industries on the brink of collapse because of the coronavirus.
A plan to bail out companies and send checks of up to $1,200 to Americans had been stalled since Sunday over objections by Democrats. But on Tuesday, top Democrats and Trump administration officials said they were optimistic about finalizing an agreement on a roughly $2 trillion plan.
“We’re looking forward to closing a bipartisan deal today,” Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, told reporters as he arrived on Capitol Hill for a round of meetings on Tuesday morning.
The S&P 500 had its biggest daily gain since 2008, rising more than 9 percent. Stocks in Europe climbed, led by Germany, where stocks rose more than 10 percent. Those gains followed a similar performance in Asia, where major markets around the region posted increases that ranked among their biggest gains in weeks.
Shares of hard-hit industries likely to receive aid, such as casinos and cruise lines, soared. Norwegian Cruise Lines jumped more than 40 percent, and MGM Resorts rose more than 30 percent. Airlines climbed, with American Airlines rising nearly 30 percent. Delta, United Airlines and Boeing were both up more than 20 percent.
The gains came even as investors were presented with more evidence of the economic toll of the outbreak. Companies, from General Motors to the Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems, detailed the impact of production shutdowns on their business, and new survey of activity in Europe showed a plunge in business across the region. Also on Tuesday, Japan said the Summer Olympics in Tokyo would be postponed for a year — a blow to broadcasters and advertisers who bet big on the viewership of the games — and India said it would impose a three-week lockdown.
The jump on Tuesday was in part a rebound from a difficult stretch for stock investors. On Monday, the S&P 500 fell about 3 percent as Congress struggled to overcome differences on the aid bill and traders remained cautious about the Federal Reserve’s ability to cushion the economy’s fall. Stocks are down almost 30 percent since their peak in February.
After a month of mind-bending turns in the market, investors are still fragile and could sour on stocks if the promised deal hits a snag again, or as further evidence of the economic damage caused by containment efforts becomes evident. The U.S. government will report weekly jobless claims on Thursday, and some analysts expect the data to show that millions of Americans became unemployed last week.
Optimism seemed to dominated the trading day on Wall Street, but few were willing to say conclusively that the worst of the market sell-off was over. Widespread social distancing measures put in place to control the spread of the coronavirus have stalled consumer spending, the heart of the American economy. Economists are expecting almost unthinkable declines in the gross domestic product in the second quarter. Goldman Sachs expects the economy to shrink at a 24 percent annual rate, while Morgan Stanley economists say it will be closer to 30 percent.
“I think you have to recognize that you’re playing with a lot of unknowns here,” said Michael Purves, chief executive officer at Tallbacken Capital Advisors, a financial market research group.
He said the surge on Tuesday was essentially a relief rally, and added that he still thought that the market would decline further.
With fewer passengers, airlines test cargo flights.
The coronavirus pandemic has so scrambled the global economy that commercial airlines have started doing what was once unthinkable: flying planes without any passengers but loaded with cargo.
After consulting an internal crisis playbook, American Airlines on Friday carried out the first such cargo-only trip in 36 years, using a Boeing 777, which can normally seat more than 300 passengers. The airline did two round-trip test flights, ferrying cargo in the plane’s belly from Dallas to Frankfurt and back.
“The world is in such a state, we’re in such a state, it’s worth trying and figuring out,” said Rick Elieson, president of cargo and vice president of international operations for the airline.
The test flights, which concluded on Monday, carried medical supplies, mail for active U.S. military troops, telecommunications equipment and electronics. They also proved profitable enough that American is planning to run more cargo flights, possibly as soon as this week, Mr. Elieson said.
But the economics of doing so could change in an instant.
“It may work next week or it may not work next week, and it may work again the week after that. So it’s very fluid,” he said. “That will surprise no one, to learn that this industry is no different than everything else going on in the world right now — lots of uncertainty.”
American is not alone. Delta Air Lines announced similar cargo flights last week and United Airlines said on Sunday that it was doing the same.
Global airline revenue is on track to be $252 billion lower this year than in 2019, representing the worst economic crisis in the history of aviation, the International Air Transport Association said on Tuesday. That figure is more than double the worst-case scenario the industry group laid out earlier this month.
Coronavirus outbreak spurs a wave of suspicious websites.
Shopify, a popular technology company that has helped open thousands of online retail sites, has become a favorite tool for fly-by-night businesses looking to cash in on the coronavirus pandemic.
New e-commerce sites that use the company’s services are filled with wildly exaggerated claims about virus-fighting products that may not even exist.
The New York Times analyzed registrations with Shopify, which allows just about anyone with an email address and a credit card to create retail websites. The company has registered nearly 500 new sites over the past two months with names that include “corona” or “covid,” The Times found. Untold others have been started using other names.
Amy Hufft, a Shopify spokeswoman, said the company last week closed more than 4,500 sites related to the virus. She said sites that did not back up the medical claims they made were suspended from the platform. By Monday, nearly all the sites identified by The Times had been removed.
The Olympics are delayed. Advertisers are scrambling.
More than $10 billion in advertising arrangements, sponsorship deals and promotional events were linked to the summer games, which had been scheduled for July, according to the market intelligence service Sportcal. Companies often create elaborate campaigns around the Olympics, the most-watched sporting event in the world, recruiting athletes to star in Olympics-themed commercials and scheduling products to debut in promotional tie-ins.
Companies such as Coca-Cola, Airbnb, General Electric, Procter & Gamble and Visa had signed on as sponsors for the 2020 games.
But on Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan said that the games would be delayed, possibly for a full year.
Now, “commercial plans four years in the making are being hastily rewritten around the world,” said Conrad Wiacek, head of analysis and consulting for Sportcal, in a statement.
NBCUniversal, the main American broadcaster of the Summer Games since 1988 and the Winter Games since 2002, had already sold more than $1.25 billion in advertising commitments for 7,000 hours of planned broadcast, streaming and social media content. The media giant was set to send more than 2,000 people to Japan for the games.
NBC Universal said in a statement on Tuesday that it was “actively working with our advertising partners to navigate this postponement.”
Analysis: To beat the coronavirus, cut the red tape.
Fighting the coronavirus is hard enough. Government regulations should not make it any harder. But that’s exactly what’s happening, two prominent University of Chicago behavioral economists say.
Sendhil Mullainathan and Richard H. Thaler, who won the 2017 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, have identified five kinds of regulations that they say are hindering us in what amounts to a war of survival.
Catch up: Here’s what else is happening.
Citigroup will temporarily shut down 10 to 15 percent of its roughly 700 branches by the end of the week in response to “shifts in foot traffic and market dynamics,” a spokesman said. Other branches will have shorter operating hours.
General Motors said it would draw down a $16 billion credit line as it “aggressively pursued austerity measures” to mitigate the business impact of the coronavirus.
Business activity in the eurozone plunged in March at record rates, according to surveys by IHS Markit. Britain’s index fell to 37.1 from 53 in February, the lowest point since comparable figures have been available.
Reporting was contributed by Matt Phillips, Michael H. Keller, Taylor Lorenz, Tiffany Hsu, Niraj Chokshi, Elaine Yu, Ben Dooley, Jason Karaian, Carlos Tejada, Jim Tankersley and Daniel Victor.