Chemicals firm BASF biggest beneficiary of UK coronavirus loan scheme

The German chemicals company BASF has emerged as the biggest beneficiary of the Bank of England’s emergency coronavirus loan scheme, borrowing £1bn in cheap government-backed funding.

Threadneedle Street revealed for the first time the names of 53 big companies that have borrowed £16.2bn between them, amid rising pressure on the government to place tougher conditions on firms that receive state-backed support.

The list of businesses benefiting from the cheap funding, which is designed to help businesses weather the economic storm caused by the coronavirus pandemic, included many with a sizeable carbon footprint.

According to campaigners, about a fifth of the emergency loans were made to firms with heavy carbon emissions in aviation, oil and car manufacturing, prompting criticism for the government.

Ministers’ have previously made assurances that the government would prioritise a green economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

Alongside BASF the list of major overseas companies receiving support backed by the British state also included the German pharmaceuticals company Bayer, the French luxury brand Chanel and the Japanese carmakers Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi.

BASF employs about 850 people in Britain at eight plants across the country, producing farming pesticides and chemicals for the car industry.

Chanel, which has received £600m, said it had its global headquarters are in the UK and it had 1,600 people working in the UK. A spokesperson said:”We have chosen not to access government furlough schemes but as a large employer which has seen all of its boutiques shut by the Covid-19 pandemic, we have accessed the Bank of England facility. The loan will be repaid within the next 12 months.”

First announced in March by the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, among his flagship financial support measures as the coronavirus crisis intensified, the Covid corporate financing facility (CCFF) is run by the Bank of England on behalf of the Treasury. It is open to firms regardless of where they are headquartered.

Companies – and their finance subsidiaries – that make a “material contribution” to the UK economy are able to participate. However, the Bank and the Treasury have not published precise details over how it approves firms to be part of the scheme.

As many as 152 businesses have been approved to access the emergency funding, which could expand to nearly £68bn if necessary. The scheme works by Threadneedle Street buying up the bonds of companies with newly created public money, then lending the funds to the firms at interest rates understood to be around 0.5% and possibly less in some cases.

Against a backdrop of mounting pressure on ministers to attach more conditions to the use of public money and state guarantees, the Bank and the Treasury last month blocked firms from paying out large bonuses to executives and dividends to investors until they have repaid their loans.

Faced with the grounding of flights around the world, most of the biggest airlines operating in Britain have accessed the facility EasyJet and Ryanair hav borrowed £600m each, while British Airways has taken £300m and Wizz Air has borrowed £300m.

Although receiving taxpayer support, both Easyjet and BA have announced plans to make thousands of job cuts given the scale of the impact from Covid-19.

Both have stated that the money will be used simply to boost cash reserves and maintain liquidity during lockdown and hoped-for recovery. Although staff have been furloughed and fleets grounded, the airlines estimated they were still burning through cash at between £30m-60m a week.

Virgin Atlantic, majority owned by the billionaire Richard Branson, who has faced questions over whether his companies should receive public funds due to his personal tax status, is reported to have been turned down for a £500m loan.

Campaigners and many MPs have called on the government to ensure its bailout schemes take greater account of the environmental impact of the companies benefiting from them, as well as their tax status and employment practices.

Also among high-carbon businesses benefiting from the scheme were oilfield companies Baker Hughes, with a £600m loan, and Schlumberger, with £150m.

Fiona Nicholls, climate campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said the government was letting down the public and going against its claims that the recovery would be green. “Airlines have been given exactly what the chancellor, the prime minister, economists and the public said they should not be given – billions in cheap and easy loans to keep them polluting, without any commitments to reduce their emissions or even keep their workers on the payroll.”

Several household names from the UK high street are also among firms borrowing from the scheme. The bakery chain Greggs has borrowed £150m, while Marks & Spencers took £260m and fast fashion online retailer Asos has secured £100m. John Lewis and the luxury fashion house Burberry have each borrowed £300m.

It is understood the loan to Burberry was undertaken as a contingency measure in the case of a protracted period of store closures. Asos said it had borrowed money as a precautionary measure to give it flexibility through an uncertain period. “At the same time, we raised capital from our shareholders to further support the business,” it said in a statement.

The construction firm JCB, owned by the billionaire Bamford family, who were prominent Tory donors and Vote Leave backers, has secured a £600m loan. The company described the loan support as insurance and “prudent financial management”.

Others included Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspur and the brewer Youngs. The National Trust charity has also benefited, with £30m in help.

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China cover-up: Boris Johnson could stop Chinese imports as COVID-19 ravages world economy

Mr Johnson instructed civil servants to end Britain’s reliance on China for both medical and strategic imports in light of the coronavirus outbreak, The Times newspaper reported on Friday. The plans, which have been code named “Project Defend”, aim to identify Britain’s main economic vulnerabilities to potentially hostile foreign governments as part of a broader new approach to national security, according to reports.

Efforts are reportedly being led by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to ensure Britain is protected.

The Foreign Secretary, could lead to the government supporting the “repatriation” of key manufacturing capabilities such as pharmaceuticals as part of a new national resilience framework.

It is also reportedly looking at supply chain issues where critical UK businesses rely on components from abroad to make finished products.

Two working groups have been set up as part of the project, according to the report.

One source told The Times that the aim of project defend was to diversify supply lines to no longer depend on individual countries for non-food essentials.

The Prime Minister told lawmakers he would take steps to protect Britain’s technological base.

The government review is also expected to include personal protective equipment and drugs, the report added.

The development comes as Beijing has been tackling mounting international criticism over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, which began in China before spreading to the rest of the world.

READ MORE ON OUR CORONAVIRUS LIVE BLOG

Tensions have been mounting between the US and China, with Donald Trump claiming Bejing has witheld vital information about the coronavirus.

However, some critics claim the catastrophic spread of the virus in the US is due to the Trump administration’s handling of the virus.

This follows a number of headlines over the course of the pandemic that show how furious the both the US and UK is over China’s handling of the novel coronavirus.

UK government officials have been accusing China of spreading disinformation about the severity of the coronavirus outbreak in its borders.

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Conservative PMs have also been urging the PM not to allow Huawei to build Britain’s 5G networks.

Yesterday, following Conservative MP Richard Drax ‘s questions to urge Johnson to copy France’s review of defence supply chains because of concerns China is buying up companies at risk of going bust during the pandemic.

Mr Johnson told the Commons: “Drax is absolutely right to be concerned about investment, to be concerned about the buying up of UK technology by countries that … may have ulterior motives.”

A coalition of 122 countries are now supporting Australia’s call for an independent probe to investigate the causes of the coronavirus pandemic that started in Wuhan, China.

But, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has felt the wrath of Beijing.

China has now threatened to decimate Australia’s economy unless the inquiry initiative is dropped.

The need for an inquiry will be voted on by 194 nations at the World Health Assembly on Tuesday.

China has increased its belligerent threats towards Australia with a suggestion they may place a crippling tariff on barley exports.

The wording of the inquiry so far fails to mention China, but the nuances all point to an effort to uncover attempts by Beijing to cover-up the outbreak at the early stages.

The UK has signed up to support the inquiry and British Foreign Office spokesman said: “There will need to be a review into the pandemic, not least so that we can ensure we are better prepared for future global pandemics.

“The resolution at the World Health Assembly is an important step towards this.”

The pandemic has caused world economies to fall into recession, with many questioning why they should repay the sovereign debt they owe China after the disease spread from Wuhan because of Beijing’s lack of transparency.

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Coronavirus Self-Employment Scheme applicants exceed one million – check eligibility

Coronavirus support measures have been implemented by the government, with the most recent Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) proving both necessary and popular. The grant enables self-employed people and those who are members of partnerships whose businesses have been affected by coronavirus to claim 80 percent of their average monthly trading profits. In the first few hours of the scheme, 110,000 self-employed people applied for the grant, but this number has now exceeded one million mere days in.

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  • Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme – how to apply

Tax officials have said the value of claims on the scheme have so far reached more than £3billion. 

However, for those who have not yet made a claim through the service – how can the self-employed check if they are eligible? 

It is likely those who are eligible to make a claim from the grant have already been contacted by HMRC.

However, the First Permanent Secretary and Chief Executive of HMRC has urged those who believe they are eligible but have not been contacted to go to the government website.

Here, they will find the SEISS eligibility checker which will provide them with information as to whether they could receive the grant.

Potential claimants must have their Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number to hand. 

They must also have their National Insurance number as proof of their right to work in the UK.

HMRC has assigned eligible claimants a specific date to apply on, between May 13 – 18, and this date should be checked before making an application.

The service provides an all but instantaneous response, stating whether or not a potential claimant has qualified for the scheme.

If not, the calculator also provides potential reasons as to why a self-employed person has not met the eligibility criteria.

This can include trading profits exceeding £50,000, trading profits being less than non-trading income, or failing to submit a Self Assessment tax return for the 2018/9 year.

However, those who submitted their return between March 26, 2020 and April 23, 2020 are being actively encouraged to check the system again.

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This is because the online service has been updated with more data.

If a self-employed person still believes they are eligible to claim after rejection from the calculator, they should contact HMRC to review their eligibility.

Those who are eligible for the scheme should provide information as to how their business has been affected by COVID-19.

They should also provide relevant bank account information for the grant to be delivered to if accepted.

SEISS was rolled out weeks earlier than previously announced to help the self-employed with dedicated support. 

The maximum payment from the scheme is to be set at £7,500 – and will cover March, April and May.

Commenting on the scheme, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “We’re working ahead of time to deliver support to the self-employed and from today, applications open for the millions of people eligible for the scheme.

“With payments arriving before the end of this month, self-employed across the UK will have money in their pockets to help them through these challenging times.”

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Trump Adviser: It’s ‘Scary To Go To Work’ As Coronavirus Spreads Through White House

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said it is “scary to go to work” in the White House after several officials were diagnosed with COVID-19 and several others entered self-quarantine to avoid spreading coronavirus. 

“It is scary to go to work,” Hassett said on “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “I think that I’d be a lot safer if I was sitting at home than I would be going to the West Wing. But, you know, it’s the time when people have to step up and serve their country.”

At least two members of the Trump administration who typically have close contact with the president have tested positive for coronavirus. On Thursday, the White House revealed that a military valet frequently in contact with President Donald Trump and his family had tested positive for the virus, stoking concerns that the president himself may have been exposed. On Friday, Katie Miller, a spokesperson for Vice President Mike Pence, tested positive for the virus as well

The White House said Trump tested negative for the virus after his valet’s positive test. An administration official told CNN that it has confirmed that everyone who came in contact with Katie Miller, including senior White House adviser Stephen Miller, her husband, tested negative.

On Saturday, Anthony Fauci, the administration’s top infectious disease expert and a member of Trump’s coronavirus task force, said he would enter “modified quarantine” after coming in contact with a staffer who had COVID-19. The directors of both the Food and Administration and the Centers for Disease Control announced they would begin two-week quarantines on Saturday after being exposed.

Multiple outlets have reported that Trump responded angrily when officials warned him about his exposure to the coronavirus. A source told CNN the president was upset when he was told that his valet tested positive. An administration official told NBC that Trump was “lava level mad” when he heard the news, and the official said Trump claimed his staff isn’t doing enough to protect him. 

Trump’s reported private concerns about his personal health don’t match his public statements about the virus. Over the last month, the president and his conservative allies have urged states to defy public health guidelines and swiftly reopen businesses amid the pandemic. He has encouraged protests ― some of them armed ― meant to force governors to scrap their social distancing guidelines, and his administration recently suppressed a CDC report designed to help states determine when to safely reopen businesses, according to the Associated Press.

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Uber banks on two-wheeled future with $170m stake in Lime scooter rental firm

Uber made a $170m bet on Thursday that as the coronavirus pandemic upends its business, two wheels may be better than four.

Invasion of the electric scooter: can our cities cope?

The ride-sharing business has partnered with Alphabet, Google’s parent, and Bain Capital Ventures to invest the money in Lime, an electric scooter and bike rental company.

Under the deal Uber will transfer Jump, its own electric bike and scooter division, to Lime and the companies will integrate their apps.

The news comes as Uber has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday the company announced it was axing 3,700 staff and that its chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, would forgo his base salary for the rest of the year.

Uber’s gross bookings have fallen 80% since the pandemic triggered a wave of quarantine measures around the world, according to a report from the tech website the Information.

It is the latest “sharing economy” company to be hit hard. AirBnB also announced plans to make 1,900 staff redundant this week, about a quarter of its global workforce, after customers cancelled travel plans during the pandemic.

Three-year-old Lime now operates in 120 cities across more than 30 countries. It too has been hit by Covid 19. The company laid off 80 employees, or 13% of its staff, in April due to the pandemic’s impact on the business.

“Almost overnight, our company went from being on the eve of accomplishing an unprecedented milestone, the first next-generation micromobility company to reach profitability, to one where we had to pause operations in 99% of our markets worldwide to support cities’ efforts at social distancing,” wrote Lime’s chief executive, Brad Bao.

Bao will become chairman of Lime. Lime’s new chief executive, Wayne Ting, predicted that bike and scooter rentals would become integral to city transportation as the world recovers from the pandemic.

“Micromobility will be vital to the new world affected by Covid-19 and we are already seeing this as cities begin to move again. With our new financing and expanded offerings, we are strongly positioned to meet the needs of riders in a safe and reliable way,” he said.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci Responds To #FireFauci: ‘I Don’t Think That’s Going To Happen’

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said he isn’t bothered by calls that he be fired for contradicting President Donald Trump at times over the White House’s response to COVID-19, saying instead he doesn’t “think it’s going to happen.”

“You know, this is the world we live in. You’re going to see things like that all the time,” Fauci said during a question-and-answer session on C-SPAN on Monday. “Somebody didn’t like the way I answered. That’s it. That’s the world I live in. That doesn’t bother me.”

 Fauci’s comments came a day after Trump sparked concerns he may soon sideline the doctor after retweeting a message that included the hashtag #FireFauci. But the president pushed back against such claims amid questioning from reporters on Monday, saying he still enjoyed working with the doctor.

“Today I walk in and I hear I’m going to fire him,” Trump said Monday during his press briefing, noting that it didn’t “matter” why he shared the #FireFauci missive with his 77 million followers. “I’m not firing. I think he’s a wonderful guy.”

Fauci has quickly become one of the national touchstones for coronavirus guidance during the pandemic, which has infected more than 582,000 people in the U.S. and killed more than 23,500. He has repeatedly pushed back against talking points from the White House, saying he didn’t understand why the whole country wasn’t under stay-at-home orders and questioning the promotion of unproven anti-malarial drugs to treat COVID-19.

C-SPAN’s Steve Scully asked what would happen at the White House should Fauci ultimately be removed, a scenario the doctor threw water on before noting there were “a lot of competent people around” the White House should he no longer be a member of the coronavirus task force. 

“It depends on what you mean by fire me,” Fauci said Monday.  “He can remove me from the task force …. I was with him for a while today. He has no intention of doing that.”

“I don’t think it’s going to happen,” he added. “I really don’t.”

Fauci also responded to concerns that he was working too hard during the coronavirus pandemic, admitting that he was “running on fumes, but the fumes are okay.”

“It doesn’t really matter, I’m doing fine,” Fauci said. “The people that we really need to tip our hats to are the brave people of our health delivery system. Risking their own health … by taking care of people that are critically ill. Those are the ones we should be worried about.”

“Don’t worry about me.”

  • Stay up to date with our live blog as we cover the COVID-19 pandemic
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Gold-mining giant's coronavirus strategy honed during Ebola outbreaks

Gold a quintessential hedge against currency erosion: Precious metals investor

High Ridge Futures director of metals trading Dave Meger discusses the rise in gold investment amid coronavirus fears.

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Barrick Gold is better prepared than most companies when it comes to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The world’s No. 2 gold miner, which manages operations in 14 countries, has navigated two Ebola outbreaks, tuberculosis and the chicken pox in recent years.

“The whole thing is about screening and testing" and tracing a disease, Mark Bristow, CEO of the Toronto-based company, told FOX Business exclusively.

CORONAVIRUS TO FUEL GOLD-MINER DEALS: BARRICK GOLD CEO

COVID-19 has infected 399,000 people worldwide and killed 12,900, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University & Medicine, causing some miners to put operations on care and maintenance as they deal with the pandemic.

Barrick’s response to COVID-19 is critical to the wellbeing of its employees since it's the health services provider in many of the developing countries where it operates.

Barrick Gold CEO Mark Bristow

“Closing down mines and letting people go back into the bush effectively loses sight of the disease,” Bristow said. “What we do is screen first and again.”

Bristow says Barrick, which employs more than 18,000 workers worldwide, closely monitors its mines and examines everyone who enters. The company has begun shipping hundreds of thousands of tests to its different operations around the world.

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Barrick began rolling out its COVID-19 protocols on Feb. 14 and understands that infections are part of the process and need to be managed. Self-reporting is critical, and the company makes sure not to vilify anyone.

When someone does test positive, Barrick is “obsessed with tracing and self-isolation,” Bristow said.

“You have to accept that there will be infections, and infections are a process that you have to manage,” he said.

Barrick’s Elko, Nevada, mine is still working through the certification process required to administer the proper tests, but uses a rigorous screening process and a seven-day isolation period.

The mine has seen two or three cases, according to Bristow, but the company has not experienced a “big run on infections” in Elko and across its mines.

KEYSTONE PIPELINE WORK CONTINUES AMID CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

“The big thing is to keep the vulnerable people isolated properly and quarantined effectively,” he said.

Managing the business side of the pandemic is also crucial.

Barrick moved quickly in making sure its sites had ample inventory in case of any supply-chain disruptions. The company increased its inventory of consumables and fast-moving equipment from one and a half months to three months or more.

While the company's supply chains remain intact, Barrick put together a global framework with various logistics partners to create a “charter option” just in case things break down, Bristow said.

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“You've got to be paranoid about managing this,” he said.

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World's first 'coronavirus drone delivery service' could bring food to self-isolating Brits

A WORLD first drone delivery service is launching next week.

The flying tech will be used to carry food and medicine to self-isolating people during the coronavirus pandemic.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

The project will launch in the village of Moneygall in Ireland.

The UK air traffic control service has been in talks about bringing the drones to Britain but nothing has been confirmed yet.

The autonomous drone, which was made in Wales, will take off from a delivery station and will carry goods over a four-mile radius.

It can travel at up to 50 miles per hour and carry up to 9lb worth of goods.

When it reaches its destination it will hover at around 30ft in the air and the recipient should receive a smartphone notification.

The drone then uses cameras to find a safe space to drop off the package.

This may be in a garden or driveway.

The 1.75 metres by 2.1 metres drone doesn't have to land to do this.

Manna Aero is the start-up behind the drone project.

It thinks each of its drones could make around 100 trips a day.

Manna Aero has signed a deal with an unnamed pharmaceutical company in order to launch the trial next Monday.

The service is free.

According to The Times, Bobby Healy, the chief executive of Manna, said: “This is targeted at the elderly and the vulnerable; people who have been told to stay inside their homes.

"What they need is critical food supplies and prescription medication and that’s what we will deliver.

"“We can carry anything between two and four kilos and can travel for a four miles radius so can easily cover any suburban or rural town with a strong delivery service.”

The original plan was the launch the drone service as a partnership with Just Eat but this had to be suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Next weeks trial is thought to be the start of the world's first full-scale drone delivery service.

The UK Department for Transport revealed its own plans to test drone deliveries last month.

This test could deliver urgent medical supplies between hospitals in Southampton and Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.

The UK's drone code – how should you fly?

Here's the official advice from the CAA…

  • Always keep your drone in sight. This means you can see and avoid other things while flying
  • Stay below 400 feet (120 metres) to comply with the drone code. This reduces the likelihood of a conflict with manned aircraft
  • Every time you fly your drone, you must follow the manufacturer's instructions. Keep your drone, and the people around you, safe
  • Keep the right distance from people and property. People and properties, 150 feet (50 metres) / Crowds and built-up areas, 500 feet (150 metres)
  • You are responsible for each flight. Legal responsibility lies with you. Failure to fly responsibly could result in criminal prosecution
  • Stay well away from aircraft, airports and airfields when flying any drone. It is illegal to fly them inside the airport's flight restriction zone without permission. If your drone endangers the safety of an aircraft, it is a criminal offence and you could go to prison for five years

In other news, Google Maps is about to release ‘mobility reports’ showing hotspots where people are going during lockdown.

A conspiracy theory claiming 5G has caused the Covid-19 pandemic is doing the rounds on WhatsApp.

And, social media platforms has been inundated with bots trying to spread fake coronavirus news.

What's your opinion on drones? Let us know in the comments…

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New Stats Don’t Bode Well For Error-Free Virus Stimulus Payments

Federal agencies are increasingly sending incorrect benefit payments to Americans, a government watchdog said as the Internal Revenue Service prepares to send more than $292 billion in direct payments to households as part of the government’s coronavirus response.

Federal agencies sent about $175 billion in improper payments in fiscal year 2019, about a $24 billion increase from the prior year, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office. Improper payments include those that were sent to the wrong person, should not have been made, or were issued in incorrect amounts.

26,365 in U.S.Most new cases today

-26% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-1.​149 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23


The Treasury Department and IRS are preparing to send direct payments to lower- and middle-income households -- up to $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child under certain income thresholds -- as part of the coronavirus stimulus signed into law last week.

The payments are intended to reach people quickly, which former IRS officials say could lead to errors. The agency is relying on tax return data -- which could be out of date or non-existent -- to determine where to send payments.

The IRS has said people who receive less than they are due can get the additional amount when they file next year’s tax return. Those who receive more than they’re owed won’t have to pay it back.

Wednesday’s GAO report studied efforts to identify the causes of improper payments from programs in six federal agencies, including Education Department grants and loans, the Agriculture Department’s food stamps, and Social Security old age, survivors and disability insurance.

The earned income tax credit, overseen by the Treasury Department and administered by the IRS, had the highest error rate -- 25.3% -- of the programs the GAO studied. These are the same entities responsible for distributing the virus stimulus checks.

“Although agencies report improper payment estimates annually, the federal government is unable to determine the full extent to which improper payments occur or reasonably ensure that actions are taken to reduce them,” according to the report published Wednesday.

The Treasury Department said in response that it continues to work with the IRS to develop legislative proposals to reduce erroneous payments.

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Stocks plunge amid fears coronavirus pandemic will worsen

Markets won’t bottom until coronavirus resolves: Cornerstone Macro chief investment officer

Cornerstone Macro Chief Investment Officer Michael Kantrowitz explains what the road to economic recovery will look like.

U.S. equity markets tumbled Wednesday, extending the pain from their worst first quarter in years, after President Trump warned the number of COVID-19 infections is set to surge.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 877 points, or 4 percent, in the opening minutes of trading while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite fell 3.7 percent and 3.08 percent, respectively.

The blue-chip Dow plummeted 23 percent during the first three months of the year, its worst quarter since 1987. The S&P 500 fell 20 percent and the Nasdaq Composite shed 14 percent, their worst quarterly performances since the fourth quarters of 2008 and 2018, respectively.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 21285.89 -631.27 -2.88%
SP500 S&P 500 2504.33 -80.26 -3.11%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 7501.998444 -198.10 -2.57%

Trump delivered a sobering COVID-19 assessment on Tuesday evening, warning the country is in for a “very painful two weeks” and that the number of deaths in America due to the virus could surge as high as 240,000.

So far, COVID-19 has infected 189,633 Americans and killed 4,081, according to the latest data provided by Johns Hopkins University & Medicine. More than 7,000 Americans have recovered.

Looking at stocks, airlines were in focus after data showed passenger traffic was down 88 percent in two weeks.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
AAL AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC. 11.14 -1.05 -8.61%
UAL UNITED AIRLINES HLDG. 28.38 -3.17 -10.06%
DAL DELTA AIR LINES INC. 25.29 -3.24 -11.36%
LUV SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO. 33.58 -2.03 -5.70%

Xerox ended its $35 billion attempted hostile takeover of HP, saying the COVID-19 pandemic has created conditions that hinder continuing its pursuit of the company.

Macy’s was removed from the S&P 500 as its market capitalization fell to $1.5 billion, the smallest in the index. The stock will be placed in the S&P SmallCap 600 starting on April 6.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
M MACY’S INC. 4.60 -0.31 -6.25%
JPM JP MORGAN CHASE & CO. 85.30 -4.73 -5.25%
BAC BANK OF AMERICA CORP. 20.19 -1.04 -4.92%
C CITIGROUP INC. 39.74 -2.38 -5.65%
WFC WELLS FARGO & COMPANY 26.84 -1.86 -6.50%

Banks stocks were pressured as U.S. Treasurys rallied sharply and the yield curve flattened. The yield on the 10-year note was down 9.1 basis points at 0.608 percent.

Commodities were mixed, with West Texas Intermediate crude oil for May delivery down 1.12 percent at $20.25 a barrel and gold for June delivery up 0.51 percent near $1,588 an ounce.

In Europe, markets were lower across the board, with France’s CAC down 4.17 percent, pacing the decline. Germany’s DAX and Britain’s FTSE were off 4 percent and 3.75 percent, respectively.

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Asian markets fell as Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 2.19 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite slid 0.57 percent. Japan’s Nikkei remained closed for a holiday.

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