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Gold Prices Hit Record Amid U.S.-China Tension: Live Updates

Credit…Henry Nicholls/Reuters

Gold reached a file excessive on Monday, persevering with its rise as nervous traders sought out a secure place to place their cash.

The worth for spot gold, which has been climbing steadily since March, reached a file excessive of $1,944 per ounce on Monday.

The worth of gold often rises amid monetary uncertainty, and its latest climb mirrored quite a lot of components, together with concern over U.S.-China relations, the decline of the U.S. greenback amid the Federal Reserve’s stimulus efforts, and rock-bottom rates of interest. The final time gold reached this stage was following the 2008 monetary disaster, one other time when the Fed flooded the economic system with {dollars} to generate financial exercise.

Stock markets, in the meantime, have been blended on Monday, with shares within the United States barely increased whereas these in Europe and Asia have been largely decrease. The S&P 500 rose about half a %, as shares of enormous expertise firms like Apple and Microsoft rebounded from a decline final week. Reflecting the rally in tech shares, the Nasdaq composite rose greater than 1 %.

Monday noticed some encouraging information on the coronavirus vaccine entrance. Shares of the biotech firm Moderna rose almost eight % after it mentioned that it had acquired one other $472 million in funding from the U.S. authorities. Moderna’s experimental vaccine will go right into a Phase three take a look at on Monday involving 30,000 folks.

The British authorities’s abrupt choice over the weekend to order vacationers arriving from Spain to self-isolate for 14 days, citing a spurt in coronavirus circumstances in that nation, added to uncertainty over journey restrictions and triggered shares of travel-related firms to dive. The British low-cost airline EasyJet and the European journey firm Tui every misplaced greater than 10 % on Monday; IAG, the mother or father firm of British Airways and Iberia, fell greater than 7 %.

The Google campus in Mountain View, CA.
Credit…Christie Hemm Klok for The New York Times

Sundar Pichai, chief government of Google’s mother or father firm Alphabet, instructed workers Monday that they’d not be anticipated again within the workplace till mid-2021.

The firm’s work drive, which has been working remotely since March, had beforehand been instructed to count on a return to the workplace in January 2021.

A Google spokesman mentioned: “To give employees the ability to plan ahead, we are extending our global voluntary work from home option through June 30, 2021 for roles that don’t need to be in the office.”

Technology firms moved shortly with make money working from home insurance policies from the start of the coronavirus outbreak, and have been reluctant to deliver staff again too early. In May, Facebook mentioned it will enable many workers to make money working from home completely.

The strikes replicate the truth that nobody will be certain how lengthy the coronavirus pandemic will final, as new outbreaks emerge throughout the United States even because the unfold of the virus has slowed in early scorching zones like New York City.

🏛 On Wednesday, the chief executives of 4 tech giants — Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg — will testify nearly at a congressional hearing addressing the businesses’ market energy. The firms have a mixed market cap of $4.eight trillion, and the executives themselves are collectively value $280 billion.

🤝 Enhanced unemployment advantages for American staff will expire on the finish of the week, and Republicans are poised to unveil a slim coronavirus reduction invoice targeted totally on extending these advantages. Democrats are demanding a complete, multitrillion-dollar assist bundle. Getting a deal achieved in time appears to be like tough.

📉 The Federal Reserve could announce extra stimulus measures at its policy-setting assembly on Wednesday, adopted by the primary studying of America’s second-quarter G.D.P. on Thursday. Analysts predict an annualized drop of greater than 30 %, with equally ugly second-quarter studies anticipated from Hong Kong (Wednesday), Mexico (Thursday) and the E.U. (Friday).

🗣 More than 190 firms within the S&P 500 report earnings this week, together with different blue-chip companies world wide:

  • Fresh from their congressional grilling, Facebook will announce outcomes on Wednesday; and Alphabet, Amazon and Apple on Thursday.

  • Investors will quiz pharma executives on the progress of their Covid-19 remedies on earnings requires Amgen and Pfizer on Tuesday; GlaxoSmithKline on Wednesday; AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly and Gilead Sciences on Thursday; and AbbVie and Merck on Friday.

  • The harm achieved by restaurant closures will loom over outcomes for McDonald’s and Starbucks, which report on Tuesday; and Shake Shack and Yum Brands on Thursday.

  • Others releasing earnings this week embrace Barclays, Boeing, Caterpillar, Comcast, Credit Suisse, Ford, G.E., G.M., Kellogg’s, Kraft Heinz, Procter & Gamble and Qualcomm.

🏀 The N.B.A. resumes its pandemic-shortened season on Thursday, with all video games performed at a sealed-off complicated at Walt Disney World in Orlando. The N.H.L. season resumes on Saturday, with an expanded playoff match break up between arenas in Edmonton, Canada; and Toronto. Now that there are extra sports activities again on, will the gamblers who turned to day buying and selling in the course of the lockdown return to betting on video games as a substitute of on shares?

Elon Musk, the C.E.O. of Tesla, in March 2020.
Credit…Win Mcnamee/Getty Images

Tesla has been driving excessive these days, and so has its billionaire chief government, Elon Musk. But in latest days, notes at the moment’s DealBook e-newsletter, Mr. Musk has gotten into a number of public scrapes, together with briefly along with his associate, the musician Grimes.

  • Last week, Tesla sued an upstart carmaker, Rivian, accusing its of hiring 4 former Tesla workers and ordering them to take confidential data earlier than becoming a member of.

  • On Friday, Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, criticized Mr. Musk for opposing additional coronavirus stimulus. In response to a tweet by which Mr. Musk mentioned that extra stimulus is “not in the best interests of the people,” the previous Democratic presidential candidate known as the auto government a “hypocrite.”

  • The subsequent day, Grimes, whose actual title is Claire Boucher, admonished Mr. Musk for a tweet by which he wrote, “Pronouns suck.” Critics on Twitter noticed his message as mocking the usage of gender-neutral pronouns by transgender and nonbinary people. In a tweet that has since been deleted, Grimes wrote, “I cannot support hate. Please stop this. I know this isn’t your heart.”

Otherwise, Mr. Musk seems to be doing tremendous. In a wide-ranging interview with The Times’s Maureen Dowd, he opened up on home life with Grimes and their two-month-old son, shared his ideas on his Twitter account being hacked and aired extra of his contentious views on politics and the pandemic.

Like other cities in the Persian Gulf, Doha has long relied on armies of low-paid migrant workers from Asia, Africa and elsewhere to do the heavy lifting in its economy.
Credit…Sebastian Modak/The New York Times

The pandemic has jeopardized a significant artery of world finance: remittances despatched dwelling from rich nations by migrant staff.

These funds, which help lots of of tens of millions of households across the globe, whole $554 billion final 12 months, greater than 3 times the quantity of improvement assist distributed by rich nations, based on the World Bank.

But because the coronavirus has despatched economies into lockdown, folks accustomed to caring for family at dwelling have misplaced their paychecks, forcing some to rely on those that have trusted them. The financial institution estimates that remittances are prone to plunge by one-fifth this 12 months, representing essentially the most extreme contraction in historical past.

The drop quantities to a disaster, heightening the near-certainty that the pandemic will produce the primary world improve in poverty for the reason that Asian monetary disaster of 1998. Some 40 million to 60 million persons are anticipated this 12 months to fall into extreme poverty, which the World Bank defines as residing on $1.90 a day or much less.

Less spending in poorer nations spells much less financial development for the world. Developing nations account for 60 % of the world economic system on the premise of buying energy, based on the International Monetary Fund.

In some nations, migrant staff can faucet into unemployment insurance coverage and different authorities applications. But in lots of nations, migrants function in grey areas, unprotected by authorities reduction and particularly weak to onerous occasions.

“Some people, either naïvely or with good intentions, say this Covid-19 democratizes us all, and we are all exposed to it equally,” mentioned Mahmoud Mohieldin, an Egyptian economist who serves as a United Nations particular envoy on financing sustainable improvement. “This is not true. The impacts are very much disproportionate.”

Some companies are attracting government scrutiny for potentially using their associations with Operation Warp Speed, the initiative announced by President Trump to quickly develop drugs to combat Covid-19, as marketing ploys.
Credit…Samuel Corum for The New York Times

Across the pharmaceutical and medical industries, senior executives and board members are making tens of millions of {dollars} after saying constructive developments, together with help from the federal government, of their efforts to struggle Covid-19.

After such bulletins, insiders from a minimum of 11 firms — most of them smaller companies whose fortunes typically hinge on the success or failure of a single drug — have bought shares value effectively over $1 billion since March, based on figures compiled for The New York Times by Equilar, a knowledge supplier.

The sudden windfalls spotlight the highly effective monetary incentives for firm officers to generate constructive headlines within the race for coronavirus vaccines and coverings, even when the medicine may by no means pan out.

Well-timed inventory transactions are usually authorized. But traders and company governance consultants say they will create the looks that executives are benefiting from inside data, and will erode public confidence within the pharmaceutical business when the world is seeking to these firms to treatment Covid-19.

Some officers on the Department of Health and Human Services have grown involved about whether or not firms try to inflate their inventory costs by exaggerating their roles in Operation Warp Speed, the flagship federal initiative to shortly develop medicine to fight Covid-19, a senior Trump administration official mentioned.

In some circumstances, firm insiders are benefiting from often scheduled compensation or computerized inventory trades. But in different conditions, senior officers look like pouncing on alternatives to money out whereas their inventory costs are sky excessive. And some firms have awarded inventory choices to executives shortly earlier than market-moving bulletins about their vaccine progress.

“It is inappropriate for drug company executives to cash in on a crisis,” mentioned Ben Wakana, government director of Patients for Affordable Drugs, a nonprofit advocacy group. “Every day, Americans wake up and make sacrifices during this pandemic. Drug companies see this as a payday.”

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, left, arrives to the United States Capitol on Sunday. The White House has been working with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to finalize negotiations on another Coronavirus Relief Package.
Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

Top Trump administration officers proposed on Sunday doubtlessly short-circuiting free-ranging stimulus talks with Democrats to hurry by way of a a lot narrower invoice prioritizing an extension of federal unemployment advantages which are set to run out this week for tens of millions of Americans.

Mark Meadows, the White House chief of workers, mentioned he would now prefer to see lawmakers act this week to increase and alter the unemployment program, give tax credit to companies to assist ease reopening prices and grant employers new legal responsibility protections — whereas setting apart a protracted record of different targets, together with Democrats’ priorities.

“Perhaps we put that forward, get that passed, as we can negotiate on the rest of the bill in the weeks to come,” Mr. Meadows mentioned on ABC’s “This Week.”

The proposal, echoed by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in his personal Sunday morning interview, was a last-ditch effort by Republicans to forestall this system from lapsing as indicators mounted that the nation’s economic system was as soon as once more weakening amid a resurgence of coronavirus circumstances.

With Democrats already on file in opposition to a piecemeal method, a slim repair is sort of definitely lifeless on arrival. Republicans know that, suggesting their Sunday proposal could partly be a negotiating tactic laying the groundwork responsible the opposition occasion when the funds finally expire.

Democrats handed their very own $three trillion proposal — which additionally contains cash to bail out states and cities, absolutely fund the $600 extra federal jobless profit and infuse billions extra into the nation’s well being care system — in May and think about the time pinch now as an issue of Republicans’ making that solely offers them extra leverage in shaping a last invoice.

Rieko Kawanishi wearing a pearl mask she designed at her workshop in Tokyo.
Credit…Noriko Hayashi for The New York Times

As nations world wide tighten guidelines on mask-wearing, shoppers are demanding extra from their face coverings. And firms are responding.

Inventors have dreamed up masks with motorized air purifiers, Bluetooth audio system and even sanitizers that kill germs by heating the face masking (however hopefully not the face) to over 200 levels. In South Korea, the electronics big LG has created a mask powered with followers that make it simpler to breathe.

In boutiques, patterned masks are displaying up on mannequins, exquisitely paired with designer attire. An Indian businessman mentioned he spent $4,000 on a customized mask made of gold. And a French costume designer has stuffed Instagram with phantasmagoric designs that includes every thing from pterodactyls to doll legs.

The urge to innovate has been nice in Japan, the place masks have been widespread even earlier than the pandemic. On Takeshita Street in Harajuku, the youth trend mecca, storefronts are lined with masks starting from the playful (plush animal faces) to the punk-inspired (leather-based straps studded with spikes and security pins).

But whereas these masks could also be modern, patrons ought to beware, mentioned Kazunari Onishi, an professional on infectious illnesses on the Graduate School of Public Health at St. Luke’s International University in Tokyo.

“If your priority is reliably preventing infection, these masks will not protect your life,” he mentioned, including that even for those who put on a masks, “you must maintain a safe social distance.”

“For once, we have a choice,” one au pair, said of the new demand for caretakers.
Credit…Audra Melton for The New York Times

When new visa restrictions confirmed that new au pairs making ready to return to the United States wouldn’t be capable to enter the nation, the American households anticipating them have been left scrambling to search out replacements.

The present scarcity of in-country au pairs has additional highlighted the shortage of inexpensive baby care in America, to the purpose the place younger foreigners anticipating a 12 months or two of cultural trade have turn out to be lifelines, typically unintentionally, for two-earner {couples} hoping to maintain each their jobs.

“Pretty much everyone is saying it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll get an au pair,” mentioned Erin Burkhart, a high-school instructor and two-time host mother within the Seattle space whose most up-to-date au pair was set to affix her household this summer season from Germany. “The search process itself is a full-time job. Right now I will email everyone, I will reach out to everyone. I’ve had about 15 video chats in the last week.”

On the opposite finish, whereas au pairs coming into this system may converse with solely two or three households within the preliminary interview course of, in-country candidates at the moment are listening to from 10, 20, generally nearer to 50 potential households. Even male au pairs, who typically discover it more durable to match, are having a straightforward time. “Because they know they don’t have options, they are accepting males for their families too,” mentioned an au pair from Brazil. “It’s not a big deal anymore.”

Many in-country au pairs at the moment are telling hosts that they’re solely keen to match in trade for sure assurances, similar to a private automobile or fee upward of $400 every week. The minimal stipend for au pairs is $195.75 every week for a most of 45 hours of labor, which is ready by the State Department.

Host households have taken be aware of the brand new dynamic, too: Perusing some Facebook teams in mid-June, I discovered posts saying advantages like limitless public transportation passes, new automobiles, entry to seaside homes and skydiving journeys, and double the pay. “We’re offering a 2000 USD sign-on bonus,” one mother or father wrote.

Jason Caldwell, a marketing manager at, makes safely in the six figures working from Billings, Mont. His employer pays workers based on job responsibilities and qualifications, regardless of location.
Credit…Shirley Yu for The New York Times

As the shift to distant and contract work accelerates, some staff might see a rise in disposable earnings and adaptability, however others could possibly be pushed into contracting preparations that decrease their wages and make their livelihoods extra precarious. Even extremely expert staff could discover it more durable to band collectively to enhance their pay and dealing situations.

The ease of working as a freelancer could be a boon to many expert staff, who can command excessive hourly charges by way of Upwork and different freelancing marketplaces.

But for lower-skilled staff, similar to these in customer support or knowledge entry, working as a contractor tends to cut back wages and improve insecurity. Companies typically pay low-skilled workers above-market wages as a result of they’ve inside pay scales, however pay solely the market worth for a contractor or freelancer.

Sandy Pope, the bargaining director for the Office and Professional Employees International Union, which represents staff on the crowdfunding web site Kickstarter in addition to college and clerical workers members elsewhere, mentioned distant work might create inequality amongst staff performing the identical job as a result of it was more durable for them to share data discreetly outdoors an workplace.

“There’s a lack of transparency,” Ms. Pope mentioned. “The lack of ability to even track what’s going on.”

She mentioned this lack of transparency might additionally make it simpler for firms to outsource work with out workers’ data.

  • Target said Monday that it will shut its shops on Thanksgiving Day this 12 months as a part of the protection measures it has rolled out within the wake of the coronavirus. The announcement comes after Walmart mentioned final week that it will shut for the vacation as a present of appreciation for its staff. “We want you to enjoy the day at home with your loved ones,” John Furner, the pinnacle of Walmart’s U.S. operations, mentioned in a memo to workers.

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