Coronavirus Updates: U.S. Death Toll Rises Sharply; Wuhan Lifts Lockdown

12 minutes ago

Foxconn Teams Up With Medtronic to Produce Ventilators

Foxconn Technology Group—best known for assembling Apple Inc.’s iPhones in China—is working with medical device maker Medtronic PLC to develop and produce ventilators, the Taiwanese contract assembly giant said today.

The move comes as the U.S. and other countries scramble to secure enough ventilators, which help patients severely ill with the coronavirus who have trouble breathing on their own. Besides traditional ventilator makers including Medtronic, new players such as General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. have joined the production crew to produce the device.

Foxconn’s announcement comes after Medtronic’s chief executive Omar Ishrak said on CNBC earlier this week the two companies are planning to produce the ventilators together at Foxconn’s Wisconsin plant over the next four to six weeks. “Currently, medical and technical personnel of both companies are working together closely. We hope to speed up the mass-production schedule,” Foxconn said.

In China, where the number of Covid-19 patients surged earlier, Foxconn has already been producing millions of masks since February to help address medical supply shortages. Meanwhile, Medtronic recently shared the design specifications for a ventilator product to allow other firms to produce it.

55 minutes ago

Markets Update: U.S. Stock Futures Inch Higher After Bout of Volatility

U.S. stock futures edged higher and global equities were mixed today, the day after a roller-coaster session on Wall Street, amid expectations that the coronavirus pandemic could be stabilizing.

  • European markets opened in negative territory, with the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 1% lower. Despite 16 hours of talks overnight, European Union finance ministers failed to reach an agreement on a response to the economic crisis triggered by the coronavirus.
  • Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.5%.
  • Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 2.6%, with railway operators and airline ANA Holdings among the biggest gainers. Late Tuesday, the government said it plans to pay households and businesses directly as part of a nearly $1 trillion economic package. It could subsequently use stimulus money to encourage consumer spending and travel.

48 minutes ago

Bank of France Predicts 6% Drop in French GDP in First Quarter

The Bank of France forecasts a 6% contraction in France’s gross domestic production in the first quarter, the biggest contraction since World War II.

This sharp decline is due to the containment measures implemented on March 17 to stop the spread of the virus in France, a measure that could be extended beyond its current end date of April 15.

Every two weeks of lockdown could reduce annual economic activity by 1.5%, the Bank of France estimated, in line with the estimates from the French statistics office INSEE.

Separately, the German economy is expected to contract 4.2% in 2020, according to the spring report of leading economics research institutes in Germany.

Gross domestic product is likely to have shrunk 1.9% in the first quarter and is expected to contract 9.8% in 2Q due to the lockdown, being the sharpest decline ever recorded in Germany since quarterly national accounts began in 1970, the report said. The contraction expected in 2Q is more than twice as steep as the decline during the global financial crisis in the first quarter of 2009, the German institutes said.

14 minutes ago

EU Struggles to Agree on Economic Response to Coronavirus Crisis as Deadline Nears

European Union finance ministers suspended talks on an economic crisis response this morning, unable to resolve deep differences within the bloc over how to share the mounting costs of the health crisis.

Negotiations will resume on Thursday. “We came close to a deal but we are not there yet,” Mario Centeno, the president of the Eurogroup of finance ministers wrote on Twitter.

EU leaders last month gave finance ministers two weeks to agree on a package of measures. That timetable runs out tomorrow.

Ministers had hoped to agree on a package of measures which could have provided half a trillion euros worth of support for the economy.

Two main issues prolonged the deadlock, according to people involved in the talks.

  • Italy demanded some direct commitment from its counterparts that the bloc would consider issuing common Eurozone debt as part of the crisis response and recovery stage, a measure that the Netherlands, Germany and others have long resisted.
  • These countries also clashed on the conditions which would be attached to credit lines from the region’s bailout funds, the European Stability Mechanism. The Netherlands is among those insisting that the ESM’s support is tied to some promises for medium-term economic reform.

4 minutes ago

Instagram Faces Surge in Sale of Face Masks With Potential Risks

Thousands of Instagram accounts are hawking medical face masks that could be fraudulent or pose a safety risk, according to a report by an independent research group, a sign of Facebook’s struggles to police users who appear to be taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Researchers found at least 10,450 accounts on Instagram that have popped up in the past few months selling masks, some of which appear to be scams and most of which aren’t vetted for safety or price concerns. The offers appear through a main page or by using the app’s features including Stories, where posts vanish after 24 hours, or live video. Many of the accounts have only popped up in the past month or two, and most appear to be based in China, said Andrea Stroppa, founder of the social-media research firm Ghost Data, which wrote the report.

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Last Updated: Apr 8, 2020 at 4:31 am ET

As the coronavirus pandemic roils markets and upends business, The Wall Street Journal is gathering in one place all the latest news and insights on the impact on investors, companies and economies.

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By |2020-04-08T09:27:30+00:00April 8th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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