Wall Street set to continue rally as global markets climb.
U.S. stock futures climbed Tuesday despite another night of widespread protests as investors looked to signs that the economy might finally be reopening.
Futures for the S&P 500 were up more than half a percent, indicating a positive open on Wall Street after the S&P posted modest gains on Monday. European markets were also higher after an upbeat trading day in Asia.
Investors have largely ignored the civil unrest in the United States, which started in the wake of the death of George Floyd in police custody. Instead, they have been cheered by data showing the worst of the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic could be over, as states slowly begin reopening.
On Monday, an index showed U.S. manufacturing activity rose in May. The index was 43.1 last month, up from 41.5 in April, which was the lowest level in more than a decade, the Institute for Supply Management said. However, it was still below 50, which connotes an economy still in contraction.
Shares of airlines and cruise companies, some of the businesses most impacted by the coronavirus lockdowns, climbed in premarket trading on Tuesday by up to 5 percent.
In Europe, shares of Lufthansa rose 4 percent after the airline’s supervisory board agreed to the terms of a 9 billion euro, or $10 billion, bailout from the German government. The aid requires Lufthansa to give up some prime airport slots to competitors and accept a degree of government influence.
Airlines say it’s safe to travel. But is it?
Airlines and airports around the world are doing everything they can to instill confidence that it is safe to fly again, despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Airlines are requiring face masks for passengers and staff, imposing new aircraft cleaning procedures, using social distancing to board flights, blocking middle seats on planes and, in one case, even prohibiting passengers from lining up to use plane bathrooms.
As to the airports, they are screening passengers’ temperatures through high- and low-tech means; using biometric screening to speed check-in, security and customs and immigration processes; and using autonomous robots to clean terminal floors.
But none of it is consistent. And it’s unclear whether the measures are enough.
“So much is uncertain right now,” said Henry Harteveldt, founder of Atmosphere Research Group, a San Francisco travel analysis firm. “Do airports and airlines need to invest in something long-term that will be permanent, like airport security, or are these short-term, tactical responses?”
Dr. Joshua Schiffer, an infectious disease physician at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, said, “It’s next to impossible to have complete confidence you won’t get infected” on flights. But he added that he hoped that airlines would provide travelers “publicly available information on what the projected risk would be to a certain destination, so you could choose your airline based on the quality of this information.”
The hit to the U.S. economy could last for a decade.
The Congressional Budget Office projected on Monday that the coronavirus pandemic could cost the United States economy $16 trillion over the next 10 years. When adjusting for inflation, the pandemic is projected to cause a $7.9 trillion, or 3 percent, loss in “real” G.D.P. through 2030.
The projections reflect the steep long-term toll that the pandemic is likely to take on the economy, which could experience dampened consumer spending and business investment in the years ahead. Much of the diminished output is projected to be the result of weaker inflation, as prices for energy and transportation increase more slowly than they otherwise would have as Americans pull back on travel.
Phillip L. Swagel, the director of the budget office, acknowledged that “an unusually high degree of uncertainty surrounds these economic projections” because of what remains unknown about the pandemic’s trajectory, as well as the impact of social distancing and the legislation enacted by the federal government.
“If future federal policies differ from those underlying C.B.O.’s economic projections — for example, if lawmakers enact additional pandemic-related legislation — then economic outcomes will necessarily differ from those presented here,” Mr. Swagel wrote in a letter to Senators Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, and Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent. The two senators had asked the budget office on Wednesday to examine the impact of the pandemic and the shuttering of local economies to combat the spread of the virus as lawmakers look to negotiate another round of economic aid.
In a joint statement following the release of the report, Mr. Schumer and Mr. Sanders said the estimate undercut Republican arguments that Congress should wait to approve another relief package, as well as President Trump’s call to include a tax cut in the next measure.
“In order to avoid the risk of another Great Depression, the Senate must act with a fierce sense of urgency to make sure that everyone in America has the income they need to feed their families and put a roof over their heads,” the two senators said. “The American people cannot afford to wait another month for the Senate to pass legislation. They need our help now.”
New regulator warns that health measures, like masks, may hurt banks.
The new head of a powerful banking regulator is not letting his first full week on the job pass quietly, warning that measures meant to contain the spread of the coronavirus — including mandates for the use of masks in public — could endanger the financial system.
Brian P. Brooks took over on Friday as the acting head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the federal agency that oversees the country’s largest banks. Mr. Brooks, a former banker, sent letters to the country’s mayors and governors about the negative effects of restrictions on public activity. Among them, he said: Face masks could lead to more bank robberies.
Mr. Brooks’s letter was unusual in its tone and scope; banking regulators tend to keep their communications fairly abstract. But Mr. Brooks pointed to what he said were specific risks associated with “continued state and local lockdown orders.”
“Certain aspects of these orders potentially threaten the stability and orderly functioning of the financial system,” he wrote.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone wear a cloth face covering when they leave their home, to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Catch up: Here’s what else is happening.
Target is temporarily closing or shortening the hours of about 200 stores, a spokesman, Joshua Thomas, confirmed on Sunday morning “out of an abundance of caution” to ensure “the safety of our teams.” The Target store on Lake Street in Minneapolis, the location nearest to where George Floyd died, was badly damaged and looted last week. Walmart and CVS also shuttered a number of stores. Amazon said it would scale back deliveries in some cities. Adidas is temporarily closing all of its U.S. stores, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Reporting was contributed by Jane L. Levere, Emily Flitter, Sapna Maheshwari and Michael Corkery.