Markets Slip Ahead of Presidential Debate: Live Updates

LiveUpdated Sept. 29, 2020, 9:35 a.m. ETSept. 29, 2020, 9:35 a.m. ET
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“Democrats are making good on our promise to compromise with this updated bill, which is necessary to address the immediate health and economic crisis facing Americas working families right now,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a letter to her caucus.Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Negotiators resumed talks on Monday over a coronavirus relief package in a final bid to revive stalled negotiations as House Democrats unveiled a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill that would provide aid to American families, businesses, schools, restaurants and airline workers.

The release of the legislation came minutes before Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, spoke on the phone Monday evening, as the pair seeks to end the impasse over another round of aid. The two agreed to speak again Tuesday morning, said Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Ms. Pelosi.

The moves appeared to be the most concrete action toward another stimulus bill since negotiations stalled nearly two months ago. But the sides remain far apart on an overall price tag, and with just over a month before Election Day, lawmakers and aides in both chambers warned that the time frame for striking a deal was slim.

Absent an agreement with the administration, the House could vote this week to approve the legislation, responding to growing pressure for Congress to provide additional relief and quelling the concerns of moderate lawmakers unwilling to leave Washington for a final stretch of campaigning without voting on another round of aid. But at roughly $1 trillion more than what Mr. Mnuchin has signaled the White House is willing to consider, the package is likely just a starting point, all but guaranteed to be rejected by the Republican majority in the Senate.

Democrats maintained a provision that would revive a lapsed $600 enhanced federal unemployment benefit and another one that would send a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks to Americans. And some measures were either added or expanded: $225 billion for schools and $57 billion for child care, an extension of an expiring program intended to prevent the layoffs of airline workers through March 31 and the creation of a $120 billion program to bolster ailing restaurants.

  • United Airlines and its pilots’ union reached an agreement Monday that would avert 2,850 job cuts scheduled to begin as soon as Thursday, when federal restrictions on layoffs under a March stimulus law end. The union’s members agreed to a collective sacrifice to prevent any of United’s 13,000 pilots from being furloughed until June 2021. Under the agreement, some older pilots will also be eligible for buyouts.

  • Jessica Alba’s Honest Company has hired investment banks to run a sale process that it hopes will value the company at more than $1 billion, people familiar with the matter said on Monday. The Honest Company, which sells “clean” diapers, wipes and more, has about $300 million in sales and is profitable.

  • Google said it would no longer allow any apps to circumvent its payment system within the Google Play store that provides the company a cut of in-app purchases. Google has had a policy of taking a 30 percent cut of payments made within apps offered by the Google Play store, but some developers including Netflix and Spotify have bypassed the requirement by prompting users for a credit card to pay them directly. Google said companies had until Sept. 30, 2021, to integrate its billing systems.

  • Stocks drifted lower on Tuesday, halting Wall Street’s rally, as the number of coronavirus deaths around the world reached one million and uncertainty about the first debate in the presidential race hung over investors.

  • The S&P 500 fell less than half a percent in early trading, as did the Stoxx Europe 600, the DAX index in Germany and the FTSE 100 in Britain.

  • The monthly Consumer Confidence Index for September comes out at 10 a.m. Eastern time. The index, based on a random sample and conducted for the Conference Board by the analytics firm Nielsen, details consumer attitudes and buying intentions. The index declined in July and August.

  • The European Commission’s survey of economic confidence rose for a fifth month, though at a slower pace in September than in previous months. The report cited “further waning pessimism in industry, retail trade, construction and, in particular, services. To a lesser extent, confidence also improved among consumers.” The euro rose 0.2 percent against the dollar.

  • The first debate between Joseph R. Biden Jr. and President Trump will take place Tuesday evening and might offer some insight into the next president’s trade plans, with both candidates offering up policies focused on domestic manufacturing.

  • Shares in Greggs, a large British grab-and-go food retailer known for its sausage rolls, fell about 6 percent after it said it would cut jobs and staff hours when the country’s furlough wage-support program ends next month. But the chain said it still planned to open more new shops than it closed by the end of the year.

The Friendly Society Private Hospital in Bundaberg installed solar panels to help offset the rising cost of electricity. The panels generate about half of the energy the hospital uses.
The Friendly Society Private Hospital in Bundaberg installed solar panels to help offset the rising cost of electricity. The panels generate about half of the energy the hospital uses.Credit…Faye Sakura for The New York Times

Australia, the world’s second-largest exporter of coal, has also quietly become a renewable energy powerhouse thanks to the country’s homeowners.

About one in four Australian homes have rooftop solar panels, a larger share than in any other major economy, and the rate of installations far outpaces the global average. In California, which leads U.S. states in the use of solar power, less than 10 percent of utility customers have rooftop solar panels.

Many Australians who have embraced solar are responding to incentives offered by state governments in the absence of a coordinated federal approach, a sharp drop in the price of solar panels in recent years and an increase in electricity rates.

The uptake has been especially high in Queensland, which makes up a big chunk of the country’s northeast and includes Cairns and Brisbane. The state has hot, humid weather similar to Florida’s and also calls itself the Sunshine State.

Even politically conservative homeowners have also embraced solar to become less reliant on the electricity grid in keeping with the high value many Australians place on rugged individualism.

Peter Row of Bundaberg, a city just over 200 miles north of Brisbane that had the most rooftop solar installations last year in Australia, bought a typical 6.57-kilowatt system for his home after he grew tired of his rising electricity bill.

Mr. Row believes the climate is changing but, like many other conservatives, isn’t sure how much of the change is caused by humans, he said. “I don’t think renewables are the total answer yet,” he said.

The trial of Rupert Stadler, a former chief executive of Audi, will test whether prosecutors can convict top managers protected by layers of underlings.
The trial of Rupert Stadler, a former chief executive of Audi, will test whether prosecutors can convict top managers protected by layers of underlings.Credit…Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

On Wednesday, prosecutors in Munich will begin presenting evidence the first trial in Germany stemming from Volkswagen’s emissions-cheating scandal, in which the company was caught using illegal software to conceal the fact that its “clean diesels” were actually rolling pollution machines.

On trial is Rupert Stadler, the former chief executive of Volkswagen’s Audi luxury car division, who belonged to the top echelon of its leadership.

The case will test whether prosecutors can overcome the difficulties inherent in trying to convict top managers protected by layers of underlings. That is a problem that has also frustrated investigators in the United States when prosecuting corporate crime.

Mr. Stadler faces charges of fraud and false advertising stemming from accusations that Audi continued to sell diesel cars with illegal software even after United States authorities uncovered the cheating in 2015. Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche cars were programmed to meet air-quality standards while being tested, but they spewed copious amounts of diesel fumes in regular driving.

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