Asia markets point to a stock slump.
Asian markets on Monday were pointing to a downbeat beginning to the week, with stocks falling and futures markets predicting a negative opening for Wall Street.
Hong Kong and South Korean stocks were lower as of midday, on a day when Japanese and Chinese stocks didn’t trade because of a holiday. Prices for U.S. Treasury bonds also rose during Asian trading, amid investor skepticism over the global economic outlook.
Sentiment was hurt in part by rising tensions between the United States and China. The Trump administration, under pressure for its own bungles in dealing with the outbreak, has ramped up criticism of China’s response. Other governments have also added their criticism.
Shares in Hong Kong, which didn’t trade Thursday and Friday because of holidays, were down 3.9 percent midday. South Korea’s Kospi index was down 1.6 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex was down 2.2 percent.
Amazon and Target are the focus of renewed labor protests over the health risks of working during a pandemic.
In addition to earlier demands to keep workers safe, the protests featured a newer goal: to discourage employers from rolling back safety measures in a rush to return to business as usual, especially as states lift stay-at-home orders.
The companies are not unionized, and the scattered protests on Friday were organized ad hoc.
Some Amazon workers said they were alarmed that the company was ending a policy of unlimited unpaid time off, which many workers had taken advantage of to avoid coronavirus exposure in warehouses.
Jordan Flowers said he had declined to return to work Friday at an Amazon warehouse on Staten Island. “They’re going to have to fire me,” said Mr. Flowers, who joined more than a dozen people, not all of them employees, in a protest nearby. “I choose my life over this.”
An Amazon spokeswoman said that there was “no measurable impact on operations” from the protest and that the company was extending a $2-an-hour pay increase and double overtime pay in the United States and Canada through May 16. She did not dispute that the policy on unpaid time off had changed but said Amazon was providing a range of other leave-of-absence policies.
At Target, some workers expressed concern that the company was again allowing customers to return goods to stores, a practice that had been suspended to reduce potential virus exposure.
“That’s a point of frustration,” said Adam Ryan, a Target worker in Christiansburg, Va., who helped organize a protest there. “When they stopped accepting returns from guests, we thought that was a good call.”
A Target spokeswoman confirmed that returns were again being accepted in stores, citing cleaning, safety and social distancing measures now in place. She said that the company knew of fewer than 10 of its 340,000 front-line workers who had taken part in the protest, and that it had extended a $2-an-hour wage increase until May 30.
The federal government has distributed stimulus loans worth more than $1 billion to public companies as part of a program meant to protect payrolls at small businesses, according to an analysis of public filings and company announcements by The New York Times.
In total, more than 300 publicly traded firms have disclosed receiving loans from the roughly $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program, which is administered by the Small Business Administration.
The loans have set off an outcry, and led the agency to issue new guidance pushing the public companies to return the money, especially as many smaller operations were left empty-handed in the early stages of the program. In recent weeks, at least 32 public and private companies have disclosed that they had returned loans, including the burger chain Shake Shack and car dealerships like AutoNation.
Approximately 36,000 employees of news media companies have been affected by layoffs, pay cuts or furloughs since the coronavirus crisis began in earnest in the United States in March, according to New York Times estimates.
Recent weeks have brought layoffs at The New York Post and Protocol, while other outlets, such as Condé Nast, continue to ponder them. But on the other hand, the hundreds of billions of dollars in federal stimulus money have begun to arrive in bank accounts. The Vermont weekly newspaper Seven Days even brought five laid-off employees back after receiving its Paycheck Protection Program loan. But such loans still may not go to newspapers owned by large chains.
This week, the general public will begin to get a fuller look at how the crisis has affected newspapers in particular as Gannett, Lee Enterprises and The New York Times Company all make their quarterly earnings reports.
Catch up: Here’s what else is happening.
Taubman, the shopping mall owner, said that it would reopen three major shopping centers on May 6 as retailers aim to return to business: International Plaza in Tampa, Fla., The Mall at University Town Center in Sarasota, Fla., and City Creek Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The company made its plans known after Simon Property Group, the biggest mall operator in the United States, said that it planned to reopen 49 malls this weekend across 10 states. Macy’s, which also owns Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury, said on Thursday that it planned to open 68 stores on Monday.
Reporting was contributed by Carlos Tejada, Noam Scheiber, David McCabe, Marc Tracy and Sapna Maheshwari.