Stock Markets Fall on Rising U.S.-China Tensions: Live Updates


European markets fall as U.S.-China tensions rise.

European markets fell more than 1 percent in early trading on Friday after a mixed day in Asia, as investors confronted the possibility of worsening tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Stocks in Germany led the drop, falling 1.5 percent. Other markets also signaled rising worries among investors. Prices for U.S. Treasury bonds, typically regarded as a safe haven in troubled times, rose. Oil prices were lower on futures markets.

Futures that track Wall Street were predicting that U.S. stocks would open moderately lower later on Friday.

Investors were bracing for President Trump to unveil more measures aimed at China in a news conference scheduled for Friday. The Trump administration has criticized Beijing’s recent move to strengthen its authority over Hong Kong, a semiautonomous Chinese city that enjoys special trade and financial relations with the United States. Any sharp move by the administration risks inviting retaliation from Beijing, worsening tensions between the world’s two biggest single economies.

Investors were also parsing mixed retail sales data from Europe, as well as business confidence figures from Britain.

But Twitter did not take the tweet down, saying it was in the public’s interest that the message remain accessible.

Twitter said that it had made its decision “based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today.”

In the tweet, Mr. Trump called the protesters “thugs” and said he had told Minnesota’s governor that the military “is with him all the way.”

“Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” the president wrote. “Thank you!”

The company’s decision comes a day after Mr. Trump signed an executive order that seeks to to limit the legal protections that shield social media companies from liability for the content posted on their platforms.

The president had fulminated over Twitter’s decision earlier this week to append fact-checking labels for the first time to two of his tweets. In response, he accused Twitter of stifling speech and said that he would put a stop to the interference.

The multitrillion-dollar patchwork of federal and state relief programs has not kept bills from piling up or prevented long lines at food banks. But it has mitigated the damage. Now the expiration of those programs represents a cliff that many Americans and the economy are hurtling toward.

And the $600 per week in extra unemployment benefits that have allowed tens of millions of laid-off workers to pay rent and buy groceries will expire at the end of July.

To some Republican lawmakers, extra unemployment benefits and other assistance made sense when businesses were shut down and the government was discouraging people from leaving home. But as the economy reopens, they say, the benefits could impede the recovery by providing an incentive not to return to work.

Many economists feel those fears are overblown. Generous benefits might be a deterrent to work in normal times, they argue, but these are hardly normal times. Even the most optimistic forecasters expect the unemployment rate to be well above 10 percent when the extra benefits expire, meaning there will be far more jobless workers than available jobs.

About a third of the job cuts would be in France, Renault said. The company, which is partly owned by the French government, indicated it is likely to close several factories while it cuts the number of cars it produces annually to 3.3 million, from 4 million. Renault will also pull out of China, where it has failed to get much traction.

Renault has been hit hard by the pandemic. Renault sales in the European Union, its most important market, fell almost 80 percent in April, when dealerships were closed and most buyers were not leaving their homes.

American Airlines and Delta Air Lines are offering buyouts to employees as they prepare for a rebound in demand for air travel that most industry expect will take years to materialize.

“Delta will have to be a smaller airline as we adjust to reduced demand and the need for distancing and safety during travel,” Delta’s chief executive, Ed Bastian, told employees in a memo on Wednesday. “A smaller Delta unfortunately means fewer people will be required.”

Delta is offering two programs — an early retirement option and a general buyout package — to most employees except for pilots, whose union is still in talks with management, Mr. Bastian said. The email did not say how much of its work force the airline was seeking to pare.

The American program, also announced on Wednesday, applies to management and support staff, which the airline hopes to cut by about 30 percent, or about 5,000 workers.

The British low-price airline easyJet said on Thursday that it planned to reduce staff by up to 30 percent and that it expected to fly in the July-September period at nearly 30 percent of the capacity a year earlier. When flights restart, staff and passengers will be required to wear masks and, at least initially, no onboard food service will be offered, the company said.

Going into the crisis, American had 130,000 employees and Delta had 90,000; about 40,000 workers at each have taken voluntary leave or early retirement. Most airline jobs are protected into the fall as a condition of the CARES Act, which provided $50 billion to passenger airlines, half of it earmarked to pay employees through September.

An early rally in the stock market Thursday faded late in the day after President Trump said he would hold a news conference about China amid rising tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

The S&P 500 turned negative after earlier rising as much as 1 percent. Before the reversal, stocks had been set for a third day of gains this week, a rally that reflected optimism about prospects for an economic rebound.



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