China votes to override Hong Kong’s autonomy on national security

America must stand with Hong Kong: Rep. Jody Hice

Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., says Americans must support the people of Hong Kong after China proposed a new national security law in its territory.

China’s legislature approved a resolution to impose national-security laws on Hong Kong, overriding the territory’s partial autonomy in a bid to crush anti-Beijing protests that have challenged Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

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The vote on Thursday, the end of a weeklong session of Beijing’s rubber-stamp legislature, the National People’s Congress, approved a decision to “establish and enhance the legal framework and enforcement mechanisms for national security” in Hong Kong, state broadcaster China Central Television said.

Some 2,878 lawmakers voted for the motion, with only one dissent. Six others voted to abstain, and one didn’t cast a vote.


Chinese officials have said the resolution is necessary for safeguarding national security, saying unrest in Hong Kong that started last summer has severely threatened China’s sovereignty. They said Beijing had no choice but to step in to close legislative and enforcement gaps in Hong Kong after the city failed to enact its own legislation against separatist and subversive activities.

Opposition politicians and rights activists in Hong Kong have decried the resolution as a move to undercut the territory’s system of self-governance, known as the “one country, two systems” framework, under which Beijing had pledged to keep Hong Kong’s “capitalist system and way of life” unchanged for 50 years after Britain returned the city to Chinese rule in 1997.

The U.S. and other countries have voiced concern over the move as well. On Wednesday, the State Department said it no longer regarded Hong Kong as enjoying a high degree of autonomy from mainland China.

That declaration paves the way for U.S. measures including ending trade privileges for Hong Kong and imposing sanctions on individuals seen as suppressing civil liberties in the territory.

The resolution approved Thursday authorizes senior lawmakers in Beijing to write legislation to prevent and punish separatist, subversive and terrorist activities in Hong Kong, as well as foreign interference in the city’s affairs, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. The laws would then be promulgated by the city’s leader.

The resolution also allows mainland Chinese state-security agencies to operate officially in Hong Kong, according to Xinhua.

The Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, requires the city to enact its own legislation against secessionist, subversive and other activities that threaten state security. Hong Kong authorities attempted to do so in 2003 but abandoned the effort after half a million people took to the streets in protest. Local officials haven’t put forward any similar bills since.


The resolution approved Thursday allows Beijing to bypass Hong Kong’s Legislative Council by tapping a provision in the Basic Law that allows China’s legislature to apply national laws to Hong Kong through promulgation by the city’s leader in matters of national unity or security.

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China stands by pledge to implement US trade deal despite tensions

China on Friday repeated its pledge to implement its landmark trade deal with the US amid growing tensions between the two countries.

“China will continue to boost economic and trade cooperation with other countries to deliver mutual benefits,” premier Li Keqiang said at the annual meeting of China’s parliament in Beijing, according to Bloomberg News.

American and Chinese officials agreed earlier this month to forge ahead with the phase-one deal that President Trump signed in January even as the White House slammed China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

US officials touted progress toward implementing the deal Thursday as they added agricultural products such as blueberries and Hass avocados to the list of items that can now be exported to China. Beijing has also updated its lists of American facilities eligible to export meat and dairy products, officials said.

“China has worked with the United States to implement measures that will provide greater access for US producers and exporters to China’s growing food and agricultural markets,” US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement.

But Trump has said the trade pact “doesn’t feel the same” now that the coronavirus crisis has roiled the global economy. He suggested last week that the US could “cut off the whole relationship” after the administration accused the Chinese Communist Party of trying to cover up the outbreak.

China is now threatening to retaliate if the US passes a law that would let Trump sanction the country over its handling of the virus, according to Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper.

“China will never start trouble but will never flinch when trouble comes its way,” Zhang Yesui, a spokesman for China’s National People’s Congress, reportedly said at a news conference. “We will resolutely defend our sovereignty, security and development interests.”

With Post wires

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US auto industry to begin reopening plants in recovery from pandemic

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The U.S. auto industry is slowly returning to life, with vehicle assembly plants scheduled to reopen on Monday and suppliers gearing up in support as the sector that employs nearly 1 million people seeks to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV all have been preparing for weeks to reopen their North American factories in a push to restart work in an industry that accounts for about 6% of U.S. economic activity.


For the automakers and their suppliers, many of which began reopening their plants last week, the restart is critical to ending the cash drain caused by a two-month shutdown that was forced on them by COVID-19. The emphasis will be on getting assembly lines again producing such profitable vehicles as the Chevrolet Suburban SUV, Ford F-150 pickup truck and Jeep Wrangler SUV.

"Ultimately we're in this together. Because if we don't build trucks, Ford Motor Company is gone," said Todd Dunn, president of UAW Local 862, which represents more than 14,000 hourly workers at Ford's two Kentucky assembly plants.

President Donald Trump on Thursday will tour a Ford manufacturing plant in Michigan that has been repurposed to make ventilators and personal protective equipment, according to the White House.

The Kentucky Truck Plant, which builds the larger Super Duty pickups as well as the Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs, will restart with two shifts, Dunn said, while the nearby Louisville Assembly Plant, which builds the Escape and Lincoln Corsair SUVs, resumes with only one shift.


A Ford spokeswoman said plants that were running on three shifts before the shutdown will reopen with two, and those that were operating with two shifts will restart with one.

GM is reopening a number of plants on one shift on Monday, including 1,600 hourly workers making heavy-duty pickup trucks in Flint, Michigan, and 1,600 workers manufacturing pickups in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The reopening will be a closely watched test of whether workers across a range of industries can return to factories in large numbers without a resurgence of infections.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
GM GENERAL MOTORS COMPANY 22.63 +0.32 +1.43%
F FORD MOTOR COMPANY 4.90 +0.01 +0.20%

Auto companies have rolled out a series of safety measures to protect workers, including the use of temperature monitors for those entering plants, personal protective equipment such as face masks and shields, revamped and deep-cleaned factory floors that emphasize social distancing and more.


The UAW's Dunn said one question will be how many workers punch in at his local's production facilities on Monday given a lack of daycare in Kentucky, where schools are closed, as well as fear among those with underlying health conditions who are at greater risk of infection. He said Ford has been hiring temporary workers to cover for any absenteeism.

Another issue automakers will have to watch closely is the financial health of suppliers. As most suppliers get paid on average 45 days after they deliver parts, some will struggle to stay afloat as the industry slowly reopens.


"Once you are up and running safely, the financial liquidity issue becomes a very significant concern for many suppliers," said Julie Fream, president of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit and Nick Carey in Davenport, Iowa; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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How Elon Musk was inspired to found Tesla, SpaceX after being fired from PayPal

Elon Musk vs. coronavirus lockdown rules was ‘old Western standoff’: Wall Street analyst

Daniel Ives of Wedbush Securities provides insight into Tesla’s California plan reopening, whether Elon Musk will move the company to another state and reports that Uber is looking to acquire GrubHub.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has a long list of failures, but they’re all just a part of his success.

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In 2005, he told Fast Company that at SpaceX, his private aerospace company, failure is expected.

“There’s a silly notion that failure’s not an option at NASA,” he told the magazine. “Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”

In fact, one significant failure — one that eventually led him to found SpaceX — was when he was ousted from his position as the CEO of PayPal.


In 1999, Musk started an online financial services company called The company eventually merged with a competing financial company co-founded by Peter Thiel to create PayPal in 2000, according to Business Insider.

Though Musk was named as the CEO of merged companies, his time in the role was short-lived.

Business Insider reported that in October 2000, Musk wanted to switch the PayPal servers from a Unix platform to a Microsoft Windows platform, but the other cofounders didn’t like the idea.

While he was on his way to Australia for a vacation, Musk was fired by PayPal’s board.

Elon Musk is pictured in 2018 following the first launch of a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (REUTERS/Joe Skipper)

He remained the majority shareholder in the company and when eBay bought PayPal in 2002 for $1.5 billion, Musk ended up with $180 million, FOX Business previously reported.

Even more significant than the money, though, was how Musk was inspired to move on.

“Going from PayPal, I thought, ‘Well, what are some of the other problems that are likely to most affect the future of humanity?’” he told graduates during his 2012 commencement speech at the California Institute of Technology. “It really wasn’t from the perspective of what’s the … best way to make money.”


It was during that time that he was inspired to found SpaceX and Tesla. He founded Tesla in 2003 because it would solve the problem of sustainable energy and he founded SpaceX in 2002 because it would help “make life multi-planetary,” he told the Caltech graduates.

However, even in those ventures Musk has had failures.

Musk is pictured in front of the Tesla Cybertruck in 2019, after the “bulletproof” windows shattered during the demonstration. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

In 2008, both companies were on the brink of bankruptcy, he reportedly told an audience at South by Southwest in 2018.

“I gave both SpaceX and Tesla a probability of less than 10 percent likely to succeed,” he said.

SpaceX also had several rockets and spacecraft blow up and in 2016, Tesla struggled to meet delivery goals, Vox previously reported.


Now, however, SpaceX is valued at more than $20 billion and Tesla makes $26 billion in sales annually, according to Forbes.

Musk himself is estimated to be worth $36.1 billion and is ranked 31 on Forbes’ list of billionaires.

“Anything which is significantly innovative is going to come with a significant risk of failure,” Musk said in 2015 at the International Space Station Research and Development Conference. “But, you know, you’ve got to take big chances in order for the potential for a big, positive outcome. If the outcome is exciting enough, then taking a big risk is worthwhile.”

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PYPL PAYPAL HOLDINGS INC. 145.51 +1.10 +0.76%
TSLA TESLA INC. 799.17 -4.16 -0.52%
EBAY EBAY INC. 42.11 +0.07 +0.18%


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US expected to revise coronavirus small business aid program

Lawmakers can protect the elderly and reopen the economy: Bobby Jindal

Former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) discusses the importance of reopening the economy and argues the rising death toll in nursing homes was an avoidable tragedy.

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WASHINGTON — Lawmakers and government officials are preparing to make significant changes to the Paycheck Protection Program, amid cooling demand for government-backed loans and criticism from business owners who say they can't tap the funds.

The changes are likely to include giving businesses more flexibility to spend the money, according to lawmakers and others following the deliberations. Under the original terms, 75% of the funds were required to be spent on employee salaries for the loans to be forgiven.


The government also is expected to extend the time to spend the loan money beyond the two months it originally set. Both changes follow complaints from restaurants, hair salons and others who say they can't hire back staff while they are closed during the coronavirus pandemic and need more money to cover their overhead costs.

"When we conceived the program, we thought businesses would be able to get up and running after eight weeks, but we know now that's not the case," Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the small business panel, said in a statement.

President Donald Trump and Jovita Carranza, administrator of the Small Business Administration, listen as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Thursday, April 2, 202

Officials from the Small Business Administration, which administers the program, didn't respond to requests for comment. But Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who has been steering SBA policy on the program, indicated in a televised interview last week that "technical fixes" would be made to address concerns raised by some businesses.

The steps being considered will mean a shift in the program's focus — from one that was primarily aimed at keeping employees on the payroll, to also helping to keep small businesses from failing.

"Liberalizing the rules by lowering the requirement to spend 75% on payroll-related costs and/or extending the time frame that funds can be used is critical for the survival prospects of millions of small businesses, and the ultimate success of this program," said Ann Marie Mehlum, a former top SBA official and senior adviser at FS Vector, a financial advisory firm.

Change is being driven in part by cooling demand for loans, which business advocates say reflects an inability of companies to use the money.


The initial tranche of $350 billion in loans ran out April 16, after about two weeks. But three weeks after the second $310 billion tranche of funding was opened up, about 37% of the funds remained available, according to figures on the SBA website.

Changes to the program could help business owners like Janice Riordan, who runs a women's clothing boutique in Venice, Fla.

People wait in line to have their hair cut at Primo’s barbershop on Monday, May 4, 2020, in Vacaville, Calif. Juan Desmarais, a former US Marine, re-opened his business on Friday, May 1, 2020, after realizing it could be months before he had permissi

After receiving her PPP loan, she has only been able to bring back three of her six employees. She lost $250,000, or 70%, of her revenue between mid-March and early May, a peak season.

Even after her store reopened on May 4 after a month's closure, sales are running at 30% below normal levels. Unopened boxes of merchandise are piled high in the back room and paying her expenses, vendors and business credit-card debt is a struggle, she says.

"Mostly, I have become angry. I think it's part of the grieving process, " she said. "I feel it isn't worth taking this chance. At the push of a button, it could be halted again," she said.

Changes are expected to come in two waves. Technical fixes in a new guideline on loan forgiveness from the Treasury Department and the SBA to be unveiled in the coming days.


Treasury and SBA released Friday an application form for loan forgiveness and said that regulations and guidance will be issued "soon" to help borrowers and lenders.

Broader changes could require congressional action. The National Federation of Independent Businesses has asked Congress to expand the repayment period for the amounts that aren't forgiven to five years from the current two years, and to allow businesses to apply for the paycheck program loans more than once if needed.

Alfredo Ortiz, president of Job Creators Network, an advocacy group close to the GOP, said small businesses immediately need administrative guidance from the SBA and Treasury, adding that he expects broader changes to come later as part of the next stimulus package. His group recommends the eight-week period for using funds start once each business is permitted to operate at full capacity by its local government.

"Because otherwise you may have 25% of revenues coming in, which is the maximum mandated by law, but you are being asked to bring in 100% of your payroll. That is a mismatch of cost and revenue. As a business person, you will never do that," Mr. Ortiz said.


The program generally aims to provide businesses that employ 500 or fewer people with loans that can be forgiven if the money is used primarily to pay employees.

The SBA's Inspector General issued a report May 8 that said the SBA veered from congressional intent in some cases, noting that the 75% payroll rule was never mandated by the legislation.


The SBA told the Inspector General that the 75% rule was imposed to "effectuate the core purpose of the statute and ensure finite program resources are devoted primarily to payroll." Mr. Mnuchin and Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) contend it would require legislative action to change the 75% rule.

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Facebook to pay $52M in content moderators settlement

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Facebook has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by content moderators who worked on the social media platform.

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The company based in Menlo Park, Calif., will pay as much as $52 million to current and former moderators for mental health issues they developed removing disturbing content from its platform, The Verge reported. The settlement will include at least $1,000 for each moderator, and workers diagnosed with PTSD or similar conditions will be eligible for more, including as much as $50,000 in damages.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)


“We are extremely pleased with the result that our clients accomplished here,” attorney Steve Williams, who represented the moderators, told FOX Business in a written statement. “It took a lot of bravery to come forward in the first place, subjecting themselves to legal risk, and the result is a great benefit to all of the class members.”

The moderators are tasked with reviewing and removing content that includes “millions of videos, images and livestreamed broadcasts of child sexual abuse, rape, torture, bestiality, suicide and murder,” according to their complaint.

(iStock) (iStock)


Wading through all that content led to former moderator Selena Scola being diagnosed with PTSD, the complaint states. She became the lead plaintiff on the case filed in Superior Court in San Mateo County, Calif.

A Facebook spokesperson told FOX Business that the company is grateful for the moderators who make Facebook a safe environment for everyone.

“We’re committed to providing them additional support through this settlement and in the future,” the spokesperson said.

A Facebook worker waits outside of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)


Under the settlement, Facebook also agreed to make changes to its moderation tools in order to reduce the impact of viewing the disturbing content, The Verge reported. Audio will be muted and videos will display in black and white.

Moderators who view the graphic content will also be given access to weekly sessions with a licensed mental health professional and monthly group therapy sessions, according to the report.

The settlement still requires final approval from a judge.


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Coronavirus prompts Twitter to allow employees to work from home 'forever'

Coronavirus disrupting future of workplace: Former Twitter VP

Former Twitter VP Bruce Daisley provides insight into the coronavirus and working from home.

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When Twitter reopens its offices starting around September, its employees can decide whether they want to return or continue working from home "forever," the company confirmed to FOX Business on Tuesday.

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TWTR TWITTER INC. 29.15 -0.54 -1.82%

The news comes as the country's biggest tech giants extend their work-from- home policies amid the coronavirus pandemic, with some companies like Facebook and Google making work-from-home optional until next year.

"We were uniquely positioned to respond quickly and allow folks to work from home given our emphasis on decentralization and supporting a distributed workforce capable of working from anywhere," a Twitter spokesperson said. "The past few months have proven we can make that work."


The spokesperson added that the company's employees "are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and [if] they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen." If employees choose to return to the office when the company feels it is safe, they will be allowed to do so "with some additional precautions."


Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey gave the news to employees in an email obtained by Buzzfeed on Monday, saying they would be given the option to work from home permanently if they want to.


The spokesperson said it would likely not be reopening its offices until September with a few exceptions, and environments will likely be somewhat different than before COVID-19 due to extra safety precautions to avoid the spread of germs. Additionally, the company has cut off all business travel before September with very few exceptions and there will be no in-person meetings until 2021.

A sign outside of the Twitter office building in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

"We’re proud of the early action we took to protect the health of our employees and our communities. That will remain our top priority as we work through the unknowns of the coming months," the spokesperson said.


A number of other tech giants have updated work-from-home policies.

Amazon announced its staffers could continue to do so through Oct. 2 if their jobs allow them. Microsoft also confirmed last week that "working from home will remain optional through October unless employees are in an essential role or local authorities mandate otherwise."

Tesla, on the other hand, is restarting his California assembly plant despite not receiving approval from local government officials, highlighting different companies' responses to state shut-down laws.


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How to compare college financial aid offers

It’s not always an apples to apples comparison. (iStock)

According to the latest Strada-Gallup Education Consumer Survey, 22 percent of students decide which college to attend based on affordability and financial aid offers are a factor in their college search. Student loan programs can vary significantly from school to school and are awarded based on a variety of factors, including a student’s academic progress, extracurricular activities, degree programs and family income.

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Financial aid includes scholarships, grants and student loans, and each has its eligibility requirements and implications. As a result, comparing offers can feel like comparing apples to oranges. To make the best choice, it helps to have a good understanding of the scope and requirements of grants and loans.

Credible easily and quickly helps borrowers compare rates and other options.

Applying for financial aid and comparing loans

Financial aid packages can change from year to year. Students fill out the Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA) annually, and it’s awarded one year at a time, based on need. If your family situation changes or you declare yourself an independent student who doesn’t receive money from parents, you may qualify for more or less in subsequent years. While you can't always predict the future, it's essential to consider what could happen.

Evaluate financial aid packages by comparing the total amount of money offered to the total cost of attendance. Be sure to look at the amount of assistance that consists of student loans. While some loans can be forgivable depending on your field or circumstances, most must be repaid in the future.


Federal loans offer the lowest fixed interest rates available. If you qualify for direct subsidized loans, you won't be charged interest until after graduation. If you choose direct unsubsidized loans, however, you'll accrue interest while you're in school. Loans make college seem more affordable at the start, but they impact your actual bottom line.

Also, be sure to read the fine print on any college scholarships or grants you’re awarded. Some are for your first year only, which can impact the total cost of earning a degree. Others may have requirements, such as a maintaining certain grade point average. If you fail to meet the conditions you could lose the aid.


Estimating your financial aid

To see which college provided you with the best package, determine the cost of attendance, which includes tuition as well as room and board, books, activity fees, travel fees, and any other related expenses. Then look at the dollar amount of the financial aid offer that is free, which includes college scholarships and grants. Subtract this from the cost of attendance, to compare the real price of your college choices.


Cost of attendance – free aid = true cost

For example, College A is a private school that has an annual tuition of $35,000. It offers a financial aid package with $20,000 in free aid that includes grants and scholarships. College B is a public institution with an annual tuition of $10,000. It offers a $1,500 grant and $5,000 federal loan package. Even though College B offered much less financial aid, it’s more affordable based on its true cost.


Evaluating offers can be complex, especially when you factor in expenses like room and board and fees. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers an online calculator that can help you measure and compare the true cost of schools.

Other ways to pay for college

If the school you want to attend doesn't offer enough financial aid, it's possible to go back and negotiate the package, especially if you've had a change in circumstances, such as a parent who lost their job. Schools often have an appeal process that will trigger a reexamination of your case, and it could result in a more substantial offer. An appeal may not be successful, but it never hurts to ask.

If that doesn’t work, there are other ways to pay for college. Private student loans, for example, are a popular option. They usually have higher interest rates than federal student loans, and generally require a parent to cosign, since they’re based on credit history and not need.

Get personalized private student loan rates from multiple lenders in two minutes through Credible.


You may also explore the Federal Work-Study program that provides a part-time job to students who demonstrate need, allowing them to pay for college by working. If this isn’t an option, students can get a job on their own, saving their paycheck for school. Or, another way to pay for college, is to reduce the total cost by attending a community college for the first two years. High school students should also look into programs that allow them to take for-credit community college classes as part of their high school curriculum.

Choosing the right college is a big decision. With college costs rising faster than the rate of inflation, financial aid offers should be an important part of the selection process. Over 70 percent of students obtain some level of financial aid. Make sure you understand the total cost of attendance—it’s a math lesson you can’t afford to miss.

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US economy to see V-shaped recovery: Morgan Stanley

Secretary Mnuchin on lost jobs, toll coronavirus pandemic is taking on US economy

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin joins Chris Wallace for an exclusive interview on ‘Fox News Sunday.’

The U.S. economy will come roaring back to life after the COVID-19 pandemic caused the deepest contraction of the post-World War II era, according to one Wall Street strategist.

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Stay-at-home orders aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 eliminated nonessential travel, bringing the U.S. economy to a grinding halt and causing a record 20.5 million job losses in April.

“We will see a V-shaped recovery for two reasons – the historic steepness of the decline in activity, and the unprecedented policy response,” wrote Michael Wilson, chief U.S. equity strategist at Morgan Stanley.


The U.S. economy contracted by a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 4.8 percent in the three months through March, according to an advanced release from the Commerce Department. The major Wall Street banks all expect the economy to shrink by at least 30 percent in the second quarter of the year.

To combat the economic weakness, the Federal Reserve announced open-ended asset purchases and several lending facilities designed to improve the flow of credit to those households and businesses most severely impacted by the virus. Additionally, Congress has passed several bills, extending trillions of dollars in aid.

Wilson says while most investors no longer think the stock market will retest its March lows, they remain skeptical of the rally and want to know “how high it really can trade given all the uncertainties we face in the recovery.”

He pointed investor sentiment at bearish levels typically seen when stocks are at 52-week lows rather than in the midst of a 30 percent rally and money market balances at record levels.

David Kostin, chief U.S. equity strategist at Goldman Sachs has noticed the same skepticism in his discussions with clients, noting “varying degrees of concern about how swiftly the market has rebounded” and uneasiness about current valuations and forward return potential.

Among the top concerns from Goldman clients is the narrow breadth, or number of stocks participating in the rally. Just five companies – Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google – make up 21 percent of the S&P, the highest concentration in over 30 years, the firm said.

Both Wilson and Kostin have a yearend S&P 500 price target of 3,000, or 2 percent above where the index finished Friday, but warn there is likely to be a pullback before the index continues higher. Kostin says the S&P could fall 18 percent to 2,400 while Wilson is calling for a drop of as much as 10 percent.


As for the shape of the economic recovery, Wilson said most investors he speaks with are “in the ‘U’ camp.” However, he warns U-shaped recoveries from recessions “never really happen,” which is why he’s betting on a “V.”

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Tesla wants to restart production at California plant on Friday

Tesla reportedly plans to restart its California plant as soon as Friday as the state lifts coronavirus restrictions for manufacturers.

The electric-car maker wants to resume production at the Bay Area factory on Friday afternoon, CEO Elon Musk told employees in a Thursday email reported by Bloomberg News. Tesla shut down assembly lines there in March because of local lockdown measures meant to curb the coronavirus pandemic.

Tesla’s announcement came as California Gov. Gavin Newsom said manufacturers could start to reopen Friday in line with guidance for preventing the virus. Musk — who recently called coronavirus lockdowns “fascist” — responded to the news on Twitter with an enthusiastic “Yeah!!”

But Newsom has said the state won’t supersede stricter measures like those in Alameda County, which forced Tesla to idle its Fremont plant. The county’s “shelter in place” order does not include manufacturers in the list of essential businesses that can operate normally during the virus crisis.

“We believe those local communities that have separate timelines should be afforded the capacity to advance those timelines,” Newsom said at a Monday news conference. “If they choose not to come into compliance with the state guidelines, they have that right.”

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday morning. Alameda County did not immediately answer a message asking whether Tesla’s plant would be allowed to resume production.

Tesla has also halted production at its factory in New York, which has also imposed lockdowns to stem the spread of the virus. The company was scheduled to reopen its Nevada plant with restrictions in place this week, according to news reports.

Tesla shares were up 1.6 percent in premarket trading at $792.50 as of 7:19 a.m.

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