AP NEWS

Business Highlights

March 10, 2020 GMT

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Dow surges 4.9% in another wild day on hopes for virus aid

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks closed sharply higher on Wall Street Tuesday, adding 4.9% to major indexes, as hopes build for a greater response from the Trump administration to the economic threat from the coronavirus outbreak. The gains recovered about half of the market’s historic losses from the day before and came after another wild day of whipsaw trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 1,100 points. Market watchers say more big swings are likely until the outbreak starts to slow down. The price of oil bounced back a day after cratering nearly 25% after Saudi Arabia started a price war with Russia.

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Spotty sick leave policies limit options for avoiding virus

LONDON (AP) — White collar workers trying to avoid contagion can work from home or call in sick if they experience symptoms of the fast-spreading coronavirus. But such precautions are not an options for the millions of waiters, delivery workers, cashiers, ride-hailing drivers, museum attendants and countless others who routinely come into contact with the public. Their dilemma is compounded by spotty sick leave policies or inadequate health insurance coverage, which leave them vulnerable to the virus that has already claimed thousands of lives, and put them in a financially precarious position. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends workers without insurance contact a local health department or community health center for help.

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Airlines slash flights, freeze hiring as virus cuts travel

NEW YORK (AP) — Airlines are slashing flights and freezing hiring as they experience a sharp drop in bookings and a rise in cancellations in the face of the spreading coronavirus. Delta said Tuesday that travel demand has fallen so badly in the past week that it expects one-third of seats to be empty this month on flights within the U.S. The drop in travel demand is across the board -- business travelers are grounded as meetings and conferences are being canceled, and leisure travelers are avoiding unnecessary trips. Delta says fear of travel is felt most sharply among people over 55, and it’s worse on the West Coast than the East Coast.

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Seattle small businesses pinched as virus keeps workers home

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle’s downtown streets are nearly empty as people work from home to avoid possible spread of the coronavirus. That means fewer customers for restaurants and shops that rely on the normally bustling traffic from Amazon employees and others. Amazon said Tuesday that it would set up a $5 million relief fund for small businesses to help fill the gaps while its headquarters is largely shut down. Restaurants that are normally filled with people say they’ve seen their business plummet recently. Washington’s governor announced that workers can qualify for unemployment benefits if their employers have to shut down or reduce operations because of the virus.

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Somber events mark first anniversary of Ethiopian crash

TULUFERA, Ethiopia (AP) — Grim-faced, visibly grief-stricken, some crying, hundreds of family members gathered Tuesday for a memorial service at the site where one year ago an Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed into the rocky ground, killing all 157 on board. The area of the disaster, about 40 miles southeast of Addis Ababa, the capital, was closed to the press as buses brought family of the victims to the commemoration, sponsored by Ethiopian Airlines and Boeing, the maker of the jet.

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Saudi Arabia increases oil output to record high

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s state-run oil giant Saudi Aramco says it will increase its oil production to 12.3 million barrels a day in April, a record amount. Tuesday’s move makes good on the country’s promise over the weekend to increase output, after Russia refused to cooperate on cutting production. That breakdown in cooperation led to a 25% plunge in the price of crude on Monday. It’s the the sharpest decline seen since the 1991 Gulf War. In a filing made Tuesday, Aramco said that the increase in production represents a rise of 300,000 barrels per day. The company said the increase would start on April 1.

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Senate energy bill falls apart amid dispute over coolants

WASHINGTON (AP) — A sweeping Senate energy package touted as a “down payment” on fighting climate change is falling apart amid a push to limit coolants used in air conditioners and refrigerators. The energy legislation would boost efficiency and authorize billions of dollars to develop a wide range of clean energy options to limit greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. The bill is widely supported, but stalled this week amid a dispute over a proposed amendment to impose a 15-year phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFC’s, that are used as coolants in refrigerators and air conditioners.

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The S&P 500 rose 135.67 points, or 4.9%, to 2,882.23. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1,167.14 points, or 4.9%, to 25,018.16, and the Nasdaq composite jumped 393.58, or 5%, to 8,344.25. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rebounded 37.46 points, or 2.9%, to 1,350.90.