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Post by thelivyjr » Sat Aug 01, 2020 1:40 p


"Florida battens down for Tropical Storm Isaias which will move up U.S. East Coast - The storm is expected to move near Florida on Saturday afternoon through Sunday before heading north along the U.S. East Coast."

By Phil Helsel and Minyvonne Burke

Aug. 1, 2020 02:59

July 31, 2020, 11:36 PM EDT / Updated Aug. 1, 2020, 5:22 PM EDT

Florida battened down on Saturday as Tropical Storm Isaias barreled toward the state before its expected move up the U.S. East Coast.

With maximum sustained winds of 70 mph the storm was downgraded form a hurricane Saturday afternoon.

It was forecast to move over the Straits of Florida Saturday night before approaching the southeast coast of Florida early Sunday.

Isaias was forecast to "re-strengthen to a hurricane overnight," the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory.

Hurricane warnings remained in effect for Boca Raton, Florida and Northwestern Bahamas.

Isaias was expected to remain at hurricane strength Monday, the center said.

Florida is already fighting the coronavirus pandemic and one county official in South Florida said Friday it was hard to imagine that they were now dealing with a storm.

"It's just kind of been the way 2020's going so far, but we roll with it, right?" Howard Tipton, administrator for St. Lucie County, which is north of Palm Beach County, said at a news conference.

"We don't get to determine the cards that we're dealt."

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Saturday that a request he sent to President Donald Trump for a federal disaster declaration was approved, and "the state of Florida is fully prepared."

DeSantis, who has urged residents to have seven days' worth of food, water and medicine on hand ahead of the storm, said that while he doesn't “anticipate hospitals needing to evacuate patients," one small hospital in Brevard County moved its COVID-19 patients to another location.

NASA on Saturday said that despite the weather "conditions are 'Go'" for the scheduled return Sunday afternoon of astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, who departed for the International Space Station aboard SpaceX's Endeavour spacecraft in late May.

NASA said in a statement that they could splash down at a primary landing site off the coast of Pensacola or at an alternate site off of Panama City.

Both are in the Gulf of Mexico.

Miami-Dade County meanwhile ordered parks, beaches, marinas and golf courses closed through at least Saturday.

Palm Beach County, which was under an earlier hurricane warning, said it was opening four shelters and one for animals Saturday morning.

The shelters are for residents of mobile or manufactured homes and other housing deemed substandard.

Florida Power & Light Company said it activated its emergency response plan and recruited around 2,000 people from 10 states to help restore power.

The utility expects a large part of its coverage area to feel the storm's effects.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez on Saturday morning told residents to stay home and that high winds and flooding were expected in some areas of South Florida by mid-afternoon.

Authorities in North Carolina ordered the evacuation of Oracoke Island, which was slammed by last year’s Hurricane Dorian, as well as that of Holden Beach, and Ocean Isle Beach.

Cape Lookout National Seashore said it would close at 5 p.m.

The Bahamas evacuated people in Abaco, who have been living in temporary structures since Dorian, and those on the eastern end of Grand Bahama.

The storm knocked shingles off roofs and tumbled trees as it carved its way through the archipelago.

Even if it does not make landfall, the storm is relatively large and its effects could extend beyond its center.

A Storm Surge Watch has been issued from Jupiter Inlet to Ponte Vedre Beach, Florida, where there is the possibility of life-threatening inundation from storm surge.

Residents in these areas should follow the advice given by local emergency officials.

On Thursday, while still a tropical storm, Isaias toppled trees, destroyed crops and caused widespread flooding and small landslides in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, where hundreds of thousands of people were left without power and water.

Officials reported that a man died in the Dominican Republic when he was electrocuted by a fallen electrical cable.

More than 5,000 people were evacuated, and more than 130 communities remained cut off by floodwaters.

Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC News.

Minyvonne Burke is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.

The Associated Press and Dennis Romero contributed. ... s-n1235557

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Post by thelivyjr » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:40 p

MARKETWATCH Market Snapshot

"Nasdaq ends at record as stocks rally after pickup in manufacturing activity to kick off August"

By Mark DeCambre, MarketWatch, Sunny Oh and Andrea Riquier

Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 4:25 p.m. ET

U.S. stocks closed higher Monday to start to kick off August on a positive note as investors took heart in upbeat manufacturing data, even as talks over another round of coronavirus stimulus appeared stalled.

How did equity benchmarks perform?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 236.08 points, or 0.9%, to close at 26,664.40.

The S&P 500 rose 23.49 points, or 0.7%, touching 3,294.61 at the close.

The Nasdaq Composite gained 157.52 points, or 1.5%, to close at 10,902.80.

The tech-heavy benchmark earlier set a new intraday record at 10,905.40, putting it in sight of another 1,000-point milestone.

The small-cap Russell 2000 index added 1.8%, a sign investors are looking for value among companies that haven’t benefited from the massive run-up enjoyed by tech giants so far this year.

On Friday, the Dow put in a weekly loss of 0.2%, while the S&P 500 gained 1.7% and the Nasdaq surged 3.7% over the period.

In July, the indexes booked a fourth straight monthly gain, with the Dow gaining 2.4%, the S&P 500 advancing 5.5% and the Nasdaq rallying 6.8% for the month.

What drove the market?

In economic data, the Institute for Supply Management reported that its manufacturing gauge rose to a reading of 54.2, while new orders jumped to 61.5.

MarketWatch-polled analysts had forecast the purchasing managers index to rise to 53.6, from 52.6 in June.

Any reading above 50 indicates expansion in factory activity.

“The ongoing uncertainty around the virus and state of the economy still raises questions on the sustainability of the rebound in manufacturing."

"The strong July report provides further confirmation of improvement in recent months,” said Jim Baird, chief investment officer at Plante Moran Financial Advisors.

A raft of stronger-than-expected manufacturing purchasing managers indexes in Europe and in China, signaling a steadying global economy, helped to set the stage for the upthrust in the market.

For all that, there are still no signs of a stimulus package agreement between Democrats and Republicans after negotiations over the weekend failed to yield a replacement for a $600-a-week boost to unemployment benefits that expired Friday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin revealed clear fault lines in negotiations between the parties during Sunday talk shows.

Pelosi said that “we’ll be close to an agreement when we have…an agreement,” speaking to ABC’s Martha Raddatz on “This Week.”

At issue for Democrats and Republicans is the amount of unemployment assistance for Americans.

The White House has come out in favor of reducing the federal assistance to $200 a week, Democrats have called for keeping it at $600 a week.

However, the parties appear to both support a fresh round of stimulus checks of $1,200 for workers.

The fight for aid for out-of-work Americans comes ahead of Friday’s July report on the labor market that will be examined to determine the impact on employment as cases of the infection have steadily risen in a number of states.

Indeed, coronavirus infections in the U.S. reached a record in July, with more than 1.9 million new cases.

The U.S. has nearly 4.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and about 155,000 deaths, while the global tally for infections stands at more than 18 million and almost 690,000 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Meanwhile, investors may focus on developments between Microsoft Corp. and video-sharing app TikTok, owned by a Chinese company, ByteDance.

Microsoft confirmed talks to buy the American unit of the company and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said he spoke with President Donald Trump.

Trump on Friday had signaled that he was considering a ban of the popular app.

On Monday, Trump said he favored an outright purchase of TikTok by Microsoft and said that the deal should be completed before Sept. 15 if TikTok isn’t avoid a U.S. ban.

Trump on Monday suggested the U.S. government should get part of the proceeds of any sale of TikTok.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over the weekend said that the White House may take action against other Chinese software companies, highlighting elevated tensions between Beijing and Washington.

On the Federal Reserve front, Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said the economic rebound this quarter “is more muted” than expected and, as a result, the unemployment rate this year will likely be higher than previously thought.

Which stocks were in focus?

Shares of Clorox Co. fell 2% after the maker of cleaning and household products reported a fiscal fourth-quarter profit and revenue that beat expectations, as it benefited from demand for cleaning products as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, while providing an in-line outlook.

The company also announced a planned change at CEO.

Microsoft shares rallied nearly 6% after confirming on Sunday that it is holding talks with China-based ByteDance to buy the U.S. operations of its TikTok unit.

Marathon Petroleum Corp., fresh from the sale of its gas stations to the owners of the 7-Eleven convenience store chain for $21 billion in the largest U.S. energy deal of the year, posted second-quarter earnings Monday, showing a smaller-than-expected adjusted loss but revenue that lagged estimates.

Marathon shares fell in early trade, but then rebounded.

Shares of residential and commercial security provider soared 59% Monday, after the company announced a new venture with Alphabet Inc.’s Google to create the next generation of smart home security offerings.

Apple Inc. rose 2.5% after it purchased an online payments startup that could turn the iPhone into a payment terminal, much as Square does, according to a report.

Apple has bought Montreal’s Mobeewave for about $100 million, according to Bloomberg News.

Shares of McKesson Corp. climbed more than 6% after the drug distributor reported fiscal first quarter profit and revenue that beat expectations.

Tyson Foods Inc. shares rose 0.9% after the meat producer’s earnings topped Wall Street forecasts.

Global Payments Inc. topped earnings expectations Monday and announced a new partnership with Amazon Web Services, sending the stock more than 1% higher.

How did other markets trade?

The 10-year Treasury note yield rose 1.5 basis points to 0.549%.

Bond prices move inversely to yields.

Global equity markets marched higher on Monday.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index closed at 363.64, up 2.1%, and the FTSE 100 closed up 2.3%.

In Asia, China’s CSI 300 index gained 1.6%, the Shanghai Composite Index climbed 1.8%.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index climbed 2.2%.

In other assets, the greenback reversed some of its decline this year, with the ICE U.S. Dollar index jumping 0.3%.

Crude futures shed their early losses to move up 2%, 83 cents, to $41.11 a barrel, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Gold futures for December rose 40 cents, or less than 0.1%, to settle at $1,986.30 an ounce, after touching a fresh intraday peak at 2,009.50. ... latestnews

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Post by thelivyjr » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:40 p


"Oil prices end higher after upbeat readings on manufacturing activity outweigh jitters over coronavirus, OPEC+ output boost"

By William Watts

Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 3:51 p.m. ET

Oil futures ended solidly higher Monday following a round of upbeat readings on manufacturing activity, though some traders see upside limited as OPEC and its allies relax curbs on output and the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery added 74 cents, or 1.8%, to settle at $41.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while October Brent crude rose 63 cents, or 1.5%, to finish at $44.15 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

Oil added to early gains after the Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index rose to 54.2 in July from 52.6 a month earlier, its highest level in 15 months and above the consensus forecast of 53.6.

A reading above 50 indicates an expansion in activity, but senior executives warned that production remains well below pre-pandemic levels and that many jobs won’t be coming back soon.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, agreed in early July to relax output curbs beginning in August.

OPEC+ pledged to cut output by 9.7 million barrels a day beginning in May, easing to 7.7 million barrels a day this month and running through the end of the year.

Countries that exceeded the earlier curb are supposed to further curtail output, which means output is targeted to rise by around 1.5 million barrels a day beginning this month, though skeptics doubt that past violators of such agreements will fully comply.

“Investors are worried that the production increase will reverse the recent price recovery in oil, especially as coronavirus cases continue to rise world-wide and energy demand remains subdued,” said Mihir Kapadia, chief executive of Sun Global Investments, in a note.

Oil ended last week on a positive note, leaving WTI with a monthly rise of around 2.6% for July, while Brent rose more than 5% for the month.

New COVID-19 cases rose to 4.67 million in the U.S., with the death toll rising to 154,860, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University on Monday.

New daily cases have increased in the past week in 13 states, the data show, and 13 states have seen more than a double-digit percentage of tests turn out positive for COVID-19.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, on Sunday warned that the pandemic had entered a “new phase.”

In other energy trading, September natural-gas futures surged 30.2 cents, or 16.8%, to end at $2.1010 per million British thermal units.

The rally was the biggest one-day percentage rise for natural gas since Nov. 14, 2018, while the close was the highest since May 5, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

Natural gas jumped after forecasts pointed to warmer weather than previously indicated for mid-August, wrote analysts at Tradition Energy, in a Monday note.

“Weather forecasts, after the next five days of below-normal temperatures across a large swath of the central U.S. and above-normal temps across the Northeast and Texas, have shifted warmer to above-normal temperatures across much of the country in both the six-to-ten and 11-15 day forecast periods,” they noted.

Analysts said other factors were also at play.

“While forecasts for warmer weather in August are in part to blame, the bigger story is flagging production and a bump in LNG (liquefied natural gas) feedgas demand,” said Luke Jackson, North America natural gas analysis lead at S&P Global Platts Analytics.

“We remain bullish on prices given these tightening fundamentals.”

September gasoline gained 4.2 cents per gallon, or 3.6%, to end at $1.2131 a gallon, snapping a five-day losing streak.

September heating oil rose 1.69 cents, or 1.4%, finishing at $1.2409 a gallon. ... cle_inline

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Post by thelivyjr » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:40 p


"Treasury yields climb after factory data offers positive sign for global economy"

By Sunny Oh

Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 4:01 p.m. ET

U.S. Treasury yields rose Monday as strong manufacturing data across the U.S., Europe and China suggested the global economic recovery was on track despite mounting worries how rising coronavirus infections could stall growth.

What are Treasurys doing?

The 10-year Treasury note yield was up 2.6 basis points to 0.551%, while the 2-year note rate held steady at 0.111%.

The 30-year bond yield climbed 4.6 basis points to 1.244%.

What’s driving Treasurys?

The Institute for Supply Management said its U.S. manufacturing index rose to 54.2% from 52.6% in June, marking the highest level in 15 months.

Any number above 50 represents an expansion in economic activity.

And a pickup in Chinese factory activity showed the world’s second-largest economy was continuing to stabilize.

China’s July Caixin Manufacturing PMI bouncing to 52.8, the highest since Jan. 2011.

Global equity markets climbed on the positive economic sentiment.

The Stoxx Europe 600 traded up 1.6%, while China’s CSI 300 index also gained 1.6%.

The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average also posted gains on Monday.

Lawmakers in Congress butted heads over an additional coronavirus relief package.

Discussions have revolved around the generosity of unemployment benefits, with Democrats looking to preserve the original $600 a week amount while Republicans have looked to trim that number.

Meanwhile, reports indicate that the Federal Reserve was on course to break away from its previous monetary-policy approach of raising rates as soon as inflation reached the central bank’s 2% target, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Instead, the Fed would allow inflation to run above 2% for some time to make up for periods when prices undershot the target.

Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan on Monday said the rebound this quarter was more muted than he expected, suggesting the unemployment rate could run higher than previously thought.

What did market participants’ say?

”Some economists and strategists have even been suggesting a double-dip [in the economy] is inevitable.” said Steven Ricchiuto, chief economist at Mizuho.

“As such, the July data due to be released this week will be a critical test of this scenario,” he said. ... cle_inline

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Post by thelivyjr » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:40 p


"U.S. labor market is weakening, Fed’s Kaplan says"

By Greg Robb

Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 11:22 a.m. ET

The expected rebound this quarter “is more muted” than expected and, as a result, the unemployment rate this year will likely be higher than previously thought, said Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan on Monday.

“I think we’ve got a rebound, but it is much more muted than it was,” Kaplan said in an interview on Bloomberg Television.

He said he now expected an unemployment rate in a range of 9%-10% at the end of the year.

That is up from his earlier forecast of 8% year-end unemployment rate.

The unemployment rate was at 11.1% in June and estimates are for July to show a 10.5% rate, according to an average estimate of economists polled by MarketWatch.

The Labor Department will release the July employment report on Friday morning.

Economists are worried that the strong pace of job growth seen over the past two months may have faded last month.

Kaplan is a voting member of the Fed’s interest-rate committee this year.

In the interview, Kaplan said that he didn’t think there needed to be a shutdown of the economy to get the coronavirus pandemic under control.

On Sunday, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari said a four- or six-week shutdown “could get the case count down so that our testing and our contract tracing was actually enough to control” the virus.

Kaplan said that if all Americans wore masks, the virus could be managed.

He said there may be some communities where lockdowns are needed.

“I think we’re going to have to learn to live with this virus."

"We’re going to have to learn to reengage in our daily activities, but still control the virus,” he added.

Stocks opened higher on Monday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbing near midday trade. ... cle_inline

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Post by thelivyjr » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:40 p


"China's manufacturing activity surges in July"

By MarketWatch

Published: Aug. 2, 2020 at 11:47 p.m. ET

BEIJING--A private gauge of China's manufacturing activity rose in July to its highest level in more than nine years, boosted by accelerated production and recovering demand.

The Caixin China manufacturing purchasing managers index, which is weighted toward small private manufacturers, rose to 52.8 in July from 51.2 in June, Caixin Media Co. and research firm Markit said Monday.

July's reading marked the third consecutive month that the Caixin PMI stood above the 50 level separating contraction from expansion.

Manufacturers' production expanded for the fifth month in a row and rose at the fastest pace in 9.5 years, Caixin said.

Total new orders, reflecting demand from home and abroad, also increased at the fastest rate since the start of 2011.

However, total new export orders remained in contraction territory for the seventh straight month, though the pace of contraction slowed.

"Manufacturing demand and supply continued to recover, but overseas demand remained subdued," Wang Zhe, a senior economist at Caixin Insight Group, said in a statement accompanying the data.

China's official manufacturing PMI, which is focused more on large state-owned companies, also edged up to a four-month high of 51.1 in July from 50.9 in June, data released by the National Bureau of Statistics showed last week.

The official survey of manufacturers has a much larger sample than the private survey. ... cle_inline

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Post by thelivyjr » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:40 p


"U.S. manufacturers expand in July for third straight month, ISM finds, but executives say not all the jobs are coming back"

By Jeffry Bartash

Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 11:16 a.m. ET

The numbers:

American manufacturers expanded in July for the third month in a row, but senior executives say production remains well below pre-pandemic levels and not all the jobs are coming back soon.

The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index rose to 54.2% from 52.6% in June, marking the highest level in 15 months.

Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast the index to total 53.6%.

The high level of the index is somewhat misleading, economists point out.

Although readings over 50% indicate growth, the index doesn’t measure the actual amount of production or tell how much it has improved.

The survey basically asks executives if their businesses are doing better or worse compared to the prior month.

“Diffusion indexes like the ISM capture rates of change of activity, not levels, and output remains depressed,” said chief economist Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics.

Other economic signposts such as durable-goods orders, industrial production and the monthly U.S. jobs report show that companies are producing significantly fewer goods and employing fewer workers than they were before the pandemic.

The index had fallen to an 11-year low of 41.5% in April during the height of the crisis.

What happened:

The ISM’s indexes for new orders, production and employment all rose.

The index for new orders jumped to 61.5% from 56.4%, while the production gauge rose to 62.1% from 57.3%.

The employment index, meanwhile, edged up to 44.2% from 42.1%, but numbers below 50% signal that companies are still cutting jobs.

“Incoming orders are slow."

"This is usually our busiest time of the year, but production is reduced due to lack of demand."

"Additional layoffs expected,” said an executive at a furniture maker.

“Overall business remains down almost 70%," said an executive at a manufacturer of transportation equipment.

“We are hanging on to as many employees as possible, but we will have to lay off 30% or more for at least two to three months until September or October.”

Thirteen of the 18 industries tracked by ISM expanded in July, unchanged from the prior month.

The ISM index is compiled from a survey of executives who order raw materials and other supplies for their companies.

The gauge tends to rise or fall in tandem with the health of the economy.

Big picture:

Manufacturers have fared better than the much larger service side of the economy that has been devastated by the coronavirus.

Most companies are open and seeing an improvement in sales and orders after a sharp slump early in the crisis.

The global pandemic has wreaked havoc on world trade, however, and reduced demand for a variety of consumer and industrial goods in the U.S. and abroad.

It is going to take a long time for the U.S. and global economies to recover, especially if companies don’t bring back all of their workers and unemployment remains high.

What they are saying?

“Naturally, after an economy has been shut down and then reopened by government fiat, huge numbers of respondents will answer that business conditions, orders, production, etc. are better than they were when the economy was fully or partly shut down,” wrote MFR chief economist Joshua Shapiro in a note to clients.

“This is akin to if someone started banging their head against a brick wall, then stopped doing that and was asked if they were feeling better."

"Of course, the answer would be ‘yes, I feel better now.’"

"What that answer wouldn’t reveal is how much better they felt, nor would it disclose how they felt relative to before they started banging their head on the wall.”

Market reaction:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 rose modestly in Monday trades.

The ISM report briefly helped to extend market gains. ... cle_inline

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Post by thelivyjr » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:40 p


"Tropical Storm Isaias expected to lash Carolinas with 'life-threatening storm surge' - 'Preparations should be rushed to completion,' the National Weather Service warned Monday morning - Isaias heads toward Carolinas, raising concerns about flooding"

By Elisha Fieldstadt

Aug. 3, 2020, 10:15 AM EDT

Residents in the Carolinas were advised to prepare for "life-threatening storm surge" as Tropical Storm Isaias crept up the coast and was expected to make landfall with the force of a hurricane by Monday night.

"Isaias is forecast to regain hurricane strength before it reaches the coast of northeastern South Carolina and southern North Carolina, and hurricane conditions are expected in the hurricane warning by this evening."

"Preparations should be rushed to completion," the National Weather Service warned Monday morning.

"There is the danger of life-threatening storm surge inundation along portions of the immediate coastline and adjacent waterways of northeastern South Carolina and southern North Carolina coast."

Those areas could expect up to 8 inches of rain, flash flooding and possible tornadoes.

Isaias was expected to make landfall near the border of the Carolinas between 10 p.m. Monday and 2 a.m. Tuesday as a Category 1 hurricane or a strong tropical storm.

Meteorologists worried the landfall would coincide with the high tide.

Coastal areas north of the Carolinas could also expect possible "flash and urban flooding, high winds, dangerous storm surge, coastal flooding, life-threatening surf, rip currents, and severe thunderstorms with tornadoes to portions of the Eastern U.S.," the weather service said.

About 59 million people were under a tropical storm alert Monday, stretching from Florida to Maine.

Most of those areas were also under flash flood watches, as heavy rainfall was predicted.

The storm had already dropped heavy rain on Florida's east coast even though it had been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm Saturday afternoon.

Last week, the storm uprooted trees, destroyed crops and homes and caused widespread flooding and small landslides in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

One man died in the Dominican Republic.

In Puerto Rico, the National Guard rescued at least 35 people from floods that swept away one woman, whose body was recovered Saturday.

Isaias snapped trees and knocked out power as it blew through the Bahamas on Saturday.

Officials there opened shelters for people in the Abaco Islands to help those who have been living in temporary structures since Hurricane Dorian devastated the area, killing at least 70 people in September 2019.

Elisha Fieldstadt is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.

Associated Press contributed. ... e-n1235622

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Post by thelivyjr » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:40 p


"Fed’s Evans says the power to get the economy going lies with Congress"

By Greg Robb

Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 5:09 p.m. ET

A senior Fed official on Monday said that Congress is in the drivers seat for getting the economy going and central bank interest-rate policy is in the passenger seat, at least for now.

“The ball is in Congress’ court,” Evans told reporters in summarizing the current state of economic policy.

“Fiscal policy is really fundamental for getting us going,” he added.

Fed officials are watching with baited breath as White House officials and congressional Democrats seek to compromise on another stimulus package.

Already the talks have dragged on so that federal unemployment benefits of $600 per week have expired, as has a federal moratorium on evictions.

There is growing talk that a deal won’t be reached until September.

Failure to reinstate this support for unemployed workers and their families would damage the economy, he said.

“If we go very long without somehow addressing the reduction and evaporation of that support, I think it is going to show up in lower aggregate demand and that would be very costly for the economy,” Evans said.

In a separate interview, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard was optimistic a deal could be reached.

“My sense is that nobody in Congress wants to go face an electorate this fall having failed to come to a deal,” Bullard told reporters on a separate teleconference.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell stressed last week that the path ahead for the economy depends on the course of the coronavirus.

Evans and Bullard echoed this remark.

“Anything that helps us avoid...second wave scenarios is just absolutely crucial,” Evans said.

The Chicago Fed president said there has been a flattening in the economic data and some economists think the U.S. economy is stalling.

“This is a very challenging time,” he said.

A less optimistic path for the economy is just as likely as the baseline forecast for a steady improvement in the economy, he noted.

For now, Evans said he sees the unemployment rate falling from 11.1% in June to 9.5% by the end of 2020 and to 6.5% by the end of 2021. ... latestnews

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Post by thelivyjr » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:40 p


"Birx warns of pandemic’s dangerous ‘new phase,’ as Pelosi assails her credibility"

By Mike Murphy

Published: Aug. 2, 2020 at 6:44 p.m. ET

Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House’s coronavirus task force, warned Sunday that the COVID-19 pandemic has entered a “new phase,” while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she has no confidence in Birx.

Speaking Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Birx said the coronavirus is much more widespread than it was months ago.

“What we are seeing today is different from March and April."

"It is extraordinarily widespread."

"It’s into the rural as equal urban areas,” Birx said.

“To everybody who lives in a rural area, you are not immune or protected from this virus.”

Birx told CNN that people need to keep wearing mask and distancing, and states need to take more precautions and restrict large gatherings, noting that each state needs unique, “dramatically tailored” plans.

She also said that people need to understand the risks of vacationing in certain spots.

“If you’ve chosen to go on vacation into a hot spot, you really need to come back and assume you’re infected,” she said.

Meanwhile, Pelosi, the California Democrat, told ABC News’ “This Week” that Birx should be doing more to refute President Donald Trump’s inaccurate remarks about the coronavirus.

Unlike Dr. Anthony Fauci — who Pelosi has praised — Birx has not made a point of publicly correcting the president.

“I think the president is spreading disinformation about the virus and she is his appointee,” Pelosi told ABC News.

“So I don’t have confidence there, no.”

Pelosi pointedly did not deny a report by Politico last week that said she had called Birx “the worst” in a meeting with Trump administration officials, accusing her of spreading disinformation.

Birx defended herself on CNN, saying she’s willing to stake her career on using scientific data to “save more lives,” and suggested Pelosi’s comments were in response to a New York Times report in July — which Birx has disputed — that claimed Birx was too eager to embrace overly optimistic projections about the pandemic.

The White House on Sunday decried Pelosi’s criticism.

“It is deeply irresponsible of Speaker Pelosi to repeatedly try to undermine & create public distrust in Dr Birx, the top public health professional on the coronavirus task force,” Alyssa Farah, the White House’s director of strategic communications, tweeted Sunday.

“It’s also just wrong."


"Hard stop.”

As of Sunday evening, the U.S. had more than 4.6 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and nearly 155,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data, both figures by far the most of any other country. ... _headlines

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