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Global Markets End With Moderate Losses

U.S. stock prices were slightly down Thursday following a day of optimism raised by an experimental drug that could help beat down the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

If successful, remdesivir, the drug developed by California-based Gilead Sciences, could help countries emerge from lockdowns and reopen businesses.  

The losses at the end of the trading day also reversed April’s positive trend.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 1.17%, or 288 points, to end the day at 24,345.72. The S&P 500 was down almost 1%, losing 27 points and ending at 2,912.43. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.28%, or 25.16 points, to end at 8,889.55.

European markets also ended in negative territory Thursday. London’s FTSE posted a 3.5% loss, the DAX in Frankfurt had a 2.22% loss and Paris’ CAC 40 lost 2.12%.   

Asian markets fared better, with Japan’s Nikkei index gaining 422 points, or 2.14%. Australia’s S&P/ASX ended the day 2.45% higher, while Shanghai’s index gained 1.3%. The indexes in Hong Kong and Seoul were closed for public holidays.

Oil markets continued to recover, with the price of West Texas intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark, trading at $19.09 per barrel, while the international benchmark Brent crude was trading at $26.70 per barrel.

But analysts said the future of the oil after the coronavirus pandemic was far from secure.

Shell, a British-Dutch oil company, slashed its dividend Thursday for the first time since World War II to secure some stability in a highly uncertain environment, with oil prices making wild swings.

Shell’s chief executive, Ben van Beurden, said that “the global economic decline and uncertain outlook may have a significant impact on our profitability, cash flow and our balance sheet.”

Oil demand has collapsed globally as most traffic came to a standstill amid lockdowns implemented to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

California’s Conflicting Methods of Flattening the Curve

After a weekend of crowded beaches, California Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered all state beaches and parks closed as of Friday. Pushback is expected from residents. 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California ranks in the top 5 among U.S. states in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases, with 46,500. It also has recorded 1,887 deaths. 

The state’s health department has classified community transmission of the virus as “widespread.”

The Los Angeles Times said California’s coronavirus cases are predicted to double every 21.7 days, despite the state having kept most parks, beaches and trails closed before Newsom’s latest order. 

A pier is fenced off in Newport Beach, Calif., April 30, 2020.

But various local rules regarding lockdowns have caused confusion, as they conflict with statewide regulations and restrictions.

San Francisco was one of the first cities in the state to enforce a stay-at-home order, but as of Wednesday the San Francisco Bay Area allowed construction, landscaping and various outdoor businesses to resume if social distancing guidelines were followed.

Riverside County reopened hiking, horseback riding and biking trails, but face masks are required.

Local beach orders also differ. Los Angeles beaches have remained closed, while Orange County and San Diego County beaches have reopened.

Though lifeguards at Newport Beach in Orange County said visitors practiced social distancing, and Orange County Supervisor Donald P. Wagner said closing the beaches would be unwise, Newsom still disapproves of thousands of people on the beaches.

State health officials continue to caution against the lessening of social distancing restrictions for fear of a resurgence of coronavirus cases.

Microsoft opens free registrations for Build 2020 – Engadget

  1. Microsoft opens free registrations for Build 2020  Engadget
  2. Microsoft opens registration for its free, online Build 2020 developer conference  TechCrunch
  3. Microsoft Build goes free, virtual, and more developer-focused for 2020  The Verge
  4. Build 2020 Registration Opens Later Today  Thurrott.com
  5. Microsoft will narrow its focus to software developers at this year’s virtual Build conference  CNBC
  6. View Full Coverage on Google News