The Dow Jones Industrial Average erased most of its coronavirus pandemic losses as it closed for the year on Friday.
The index is up 0.57% on the year. The Dow hit its third weekly gain in four weeks Friday, led by Walmart and Coca-Cola rising 2.7% and 3.3%, respectively.
“The industrials are the last of the major broad indexes” to erase their 2020 losses, Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab, told CNBC. “To some extent, this is psychologically positive for the market.”
Wall Street came off choppy performance after the Federal Reserve unveiled a major policy shift Thursday to “average inflation targeting,” which would effectively see policymakers end the practice of preemptively hiking interest rates to stave off inflation.
Consumer spending in the United States rose 1.9% in July, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Friday, higher than expectations, but came in lower than June’s 6.2% jump.
More than 5.9 million coronavirus infections have been confirmed in the U.S., and more than 181,400 people have died.
Two attendees and two local support staff who were at the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, this week have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to data from Mecklenburg County, where Charlotte is located.
“These individuals were immediately issued isolation instructions, and any known close contacts were notified and issued quarantine instructions by Mecklenburg County Public Health,” county officials said.
The county’s announcement comes after health officials raised concerns about the lack of social distancing and mask-wearing during Monday’s roll-call vote to renominate President Trump despite strict health protocols that were supposed to be followed, the Charlotte Observer reported.
Two organizations that represent nearly 3,000 local public health departments urged Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Adm. Brett Giroir, the Trump administration’s coronavirus testing czar, “to pull the revised guidance” from the CDC that said testing is not necessary for asymptomatic individuals.
“The lack of data supporting the change and the lack of communication about the change sows seeds of doubt in the public’s eyes and undercuts the dedicated career staff who are working day in and day out to support the response,” the organizations wrote Friday.
The CDC changed its testing guidelines Monday to say that asymptomatic people “do not necessarily need a test” even if they were exposed. The Trump administration fought back against accusations that it pressured the CDC to revise its recommendations in order to limit access to coronavirus tests.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a new reopening plan Friday to revive the state’s economy. Counties will be able to gradually lift restrictions on businesses if they can show that transmission has consistently decreased. Criteria for reopening are outlined in four tiers: from widespread transmission, where 8% of tests are positive; to substantial transmission; then to moderate transmission; and finally to minimum transmission, where less than 2% of tests come back positive.
“We’re going to be more stubborn this time,” Newsom said during a news conference Friday, calling it a “more stringent, but we believe more steady, approach.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Friday that coping with the COVID-19 pandemic will “be more difficult” in the coming fall and winter months, according to German news source the Local.
“This is especially true now, when the number of infections has risen again so significantly over the last few weeks,” Merkel said. “The fact remains: It is serious, as serious as ever. Continue to take it seriously.”
Merkel approved a wave of new coronavirus restrictions this week to mitigate coronavirus transmission, such as imposing a fine for anyone caught without a face mask in public and a ban on large events until the end of the year.
A 25-year-old Nevada man is thought to be the first person in the U.S. to be infected a second time with the coronavirus, the New York Post reported. The patient recovered from the virus in April and tested negative in May. In June, he was hospitalized ag….