Business Highlights

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Dow has best day since 1933 as Congress nears deal on aid

NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged to its best day since 1933 as Congress and the White House neared a deal on Tuesday to inject nearly $2 trillion of aid into an economy ravaged by the coronavirus. The Dow burst 11.4% higher, while the more closely followed S&P 500 index leapt 9.4% as a wave of buying around the world interrupted what has been a brutal month of nearly nonstop selling. Despite the gains, investors were far from saying markets have hit bottom. Rallies nearly as big as this have punctuated the last few weeks, and none lasted more than a day.

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Teams, toddlers and cabinets: The joys of working from home

NEW YORK (AP) — Integrating work life into the home has rarely been easy, but the coronavirus pandemic has brought those worlds into sudden and sharp collision. States and employers have ordered people to stay home, resulting in a massive, unplanned social experiment that can strain productivity and domestic tranquility. The outcome could impact how the U.S. weathers an almost certain recession. That also depends on how well individuals and their families can manage the resulting complications of studying and conducting business from home — at least for the subset of employees with desk jobs and the ability to do their work remotely.

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Trump hoping to see US economy reopened by Easter amid virus

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is weighing how to refine nationwide social-distancing guidelines to put some workers back on the job even as the nation copes with the coronavirus pandemic. At a virtual town hall hosted by Fox News on Tuesday, Trump said he is hoping the United States will be reopened by Easter. Health experts have made clear that unless Americans continue to dramatically limit social interaction, staying home from work and isolating themselves, the number of infections will overwhelm the health care system. While the worst outbreaks are concentrated in certain parts of the country, such as New York, experts warn that the highly infectious disease is certain to spread.

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With billions at stake, banks try to save stunned borrowers

NEW YORK (AP) — Facing near certainty of millions of Americans defaulting on hundreds of billions of loans all at once because of the coronavirus outbreak, banks are scrambling to put into place loan forgiveness and relief programs to prevent their customers from panicking and to protect their own finances. The banking system is not as risk of failing as banks have plenty of capital on hand, economists say. But the potential for millions of defaults on credit cards, small business loans, and mortgages means banks have had to act to support borrowers who went from having a job or a business to nothing, sometimes in just days.

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Many airline flights nearly empty as virus undercuts travel

DALLAS (AP) — Airlines are canceling thousands of flights, and even those that remain are mostly empty. Airlines are also drafting contingency plans in case there aren’t enough air traffic controllers or airport security officers to keep flying. Still, airline stocks soared Tuesday on reports that Congress and the Trump administration are close to a deal on economic stimulus, including help for the carriers. Airlines officials say their situation is dire, and they are lobbying for at least $50 billion in help from the federal government. But lawmakers disagree on whether that should include cash grants or just help in getting loans to the airlines, which were highly profitable before the coronavirus outbreak.

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Potential coronavirus treatment granted rare disease status

WASHINGTON (AP) — The pharmaceutical giant that makes a promising coronavirus drug has registered it as a rare disease treatment with U.S. regulators. The status can be worth millions of dollars in tax breaks and competition-free sales. Experts who have studied the so-called “orphan drug” program say the Gilead Science's request — and the Food and Drug Administration's decision to grant it Monday— seem inappropriate given the rapidly expanding threat of the outbreak. But an analyst called the filing “pretty standard.” Gilead did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday. The FDA said the disease fits the criteria for a rare disease at this point.

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Key medical glove factories cutting staff 50% amid virus

Malaysian medical glove factories are responsible for most of the worldwide supply. And right now, they're operating at half capacity to comply with new national rules aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Shortages already reported in some parts of the U.S. are expected to worsen even as global demand grows. Malaysia is by far the world’s largest medical glove supplier. It produces as many as three out of four gloves on the market. Other countries making gloves including Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Turkey and especially China are also seeing their manufacturing disrupted due to the virus.

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The S&P 500 jumped 209.93 points, or 9.4%, to 2,447.33. The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 2,112.98 points, or 11.4% to 20,704.91. The Nasdaq advanced 557.18 points, or 8.1%, to 7,417.86. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks finished 94.12 points higher, or 9.4%, to 1,096.54.