Asian Markets Show Modest Optimism: Live Updates

Wall Street ended slightly higher on Thursday after a volatile session as investors weighed fresh evidence of a sharp economic decline against efforts in the United States and Europe to offset the damage.

By the end of the day, which had started with a sharp drop on Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose by less than 1 percent, and shares in Europe also scratched out small gains. Oil prices, which had collapsed by more than 20 percent on Wednesday, sharply rebounded.

The uneven trading came as the steady drumbeat of bad news continued about the spread of the coronavirus, and its impact on the economy.

Markets in Asia-Pacific showed a little more optimism on Friday morning. Stocks in Sydney, Australia; Hong Kong; Seoul, South Korea and Taiwan were all trading up 3 percent or higher. In Tokyo, the market was down 1 percent in early morning trading.

In the United States, the number of workers filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance surged, government data released on Thursday showed. Those figures do not reflect the sharp cuts made in the past few days as companies quickly scale down operations. And a survey of manufacturers by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia showed a sudden drop off in activity.

Tesla, the luxury electric carmaker, said on Thursday that it would temporarily shut down production at its factory in the San Francisco Bay Area starting Monday.

The company was under increasing pressure from local government officials and workers in recent days to stop making cars. Much of the Bay Area, including Tesla’s factory in Fremont, are under orders to shelter in place.

Earlier on Thursday, Kimberly Petersen, the chief of the Fremont Police Department, and other city officials had planned to meet with Tesla management to discuss compliance with an order by Alameda County limiting the operations of nonessential businesses, the department said on Twitter.

Airbnb, the home rental start-up, has been holding talks with investors about new funding as the spread of the coronavirus ravages its business ahead of its planned initial public offering.

The company, which is based in San Francisco, is valued at $31 billion by private investors. It began fielding unsolicited offers last week from venture capital firms, private equity firms and sovereign wealth funds, according to a person familiar with the situation. Offers have ranged from $100 million to $1 billion, the person said. Valuations have not yet been discussed.

The deal talks were first reported by CNBC.

Airbnb has not decided whether it will raise more funding, which could be used to snap up smaller competitors that are struggling amid the industry downturn, the person said. The company has $3 billion in cash on its balance sheet and access to another $1 billion line of credit.

Reporting and research were contributed by Ben Casselman, Niraj Chokshi, Alexandra Stevenson and Daniel Victor.

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