Watch as Powell and Yellen Testify on Economic Recovery: Live Updates

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Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen testify before the House Financial Services Committee on the state of the economy. Credit… Jessica McGowan/Getty Images.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell told lawmakers that the economy is recovering from a pandemic recession and continued to downplay concerns about inflation during a hearing for House lawmakers on Tuesday.

Asked whether the $1.9 trillion package to combat the virus, combined with President Biden’s plan to spend up to $3 trillion on infrastructure, could lead to higher prices, Powell said any increase would likely be temporary.

We expect inflation to rise later this year, Powell said. Some of this increase will be mechanical, as the weak numbers for March and April 2020 fade from the data, and some may be due to a pick-up in demand.

In our view, the effect on inflation will not be particularly large or lasting, he said.

Powell will testify with Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen before the House Financial Services Committee about the economic recovery after the pandemic.

This is the first time Ms Yellen and Mr Powell have appeared side by side in their current roles. President Donald J. Trump. Trump has decided to replace Ms Yellen at the Fed with Mr Powell, but the two economic leaders have worked together at the Fed for a number of years and have a good relationship.

Powell told lawmakers Tuesday that while the economy is on the mend and many workers and businesses continue to suffer, an aggressive response by the Federal Reserve, Congress and the White House has averted the most devastating economic scenarios.

While the economic consequences are real and widespread, the worst can be avoided by acting quickly and decisively, Powell told the House Financial Services Committee.

Yellen is expected to have questions about the implementation of Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic aid bill, as well as existing programs set up under the Trump administration that Treasury has yet to oversee.

The Treasury Department is rushing to hand out 1,400 checks to millions of Americans, putting Mrs Yellen’s team, which is not yet fully assembled, to the test.

Yellen called for a strong fiscal easing package and suggested that the next bill should focus on addressing the long-term structural problems in the economy that have led to massive income inequality.

In her opening speech, Yellen said the bailout was exactly what the economy needed.

With the stimulus package, I am confident that people will overcome this pandemic and maintain the essentials of their lives, Yellen said. And I think they will be welcomed by a growing economy. In fact, I think we’ll see full employment again next year.

Powell noted that the economy has improved recently and the labor market is starting to recover from the winter slump. However, it should be noted that these figures may not reflect the full extent of the damage suffered by the workers.

Still, the sectors of the economy most affected by the rebound, as well as social distance, remain weak, and the unemployment rate – still 6.2 percent – understates the deficit, Powell said.

The Fed chairman added that the central bank, which sets interest rates near zero and buys up bonds to keep credit flowing and support the economy, will not lose sight of the millions of Americans still suffering.

Powell told lawmakers that many of the Fed’s 2020 market programs that have supported lending to businesses, middle-market companies and communities have helped keep organizations from closing and put employers in a better position to retain and rehire workers as the recovery continues.

And he pointed out that in most cases, the programs have closed or are about to close. Powell has repeatedly said that Treasury-backed loans are exceptional tools that the Fed will no longer use when conditions are stable.

The Royal Film Theater in Times Square. The parent company of the cinema chain, Cineworld. linked to Nathan Bajar credit for the New York Times.

Cineworld, the parent company of US cinema chain Regal Cinemas, announced on Tuesday that it will reopen its cinemas in the US in April and in the UK in May as those countries ease restrictions on cinema closures.

We’ve waited a long time for this moment, said Mookie Greidinger, CEO of London-based Cineworld. With capacity constraints reduced to 50% or more in most U.S. states, we will be able to operate profitably in our largest markets.

Regal Cinemas is the second largest cinema chain in the United States, behind AMC Theaters. Cineworld’s announcement comes six months after cinema chains in the US and UK were forced to close their doors last October to combat the spread of the coronavirus. This decision affected a total of 45,000 employees in both countries and forced the studios to postpone the release of the films.

Cineworld also announced a multi-year agreement with Warner Bros. that will allow the theater chain to screen the studio’s films 45 days in the U.S. and 31 days in the U.K. beginning in 2022. The agreement shortens the period during which cinemas must screen films before they are released on on-demand streaming services.

The planned reopening in the United States coincides with the release of two Warner Bros. films. Images : Godzilla vs. Kong on the second. April and Mortal Kombat on the 16th. April.

We are very pleased to have reached this agreement with Warner Brothers, Gradinger said. This agreement demonstrates the studio’s commitment to the theater.

Last week, AMC Theaters announced the reopening of nearly all of its theaters in the United States.

These measures come at a time when there are concerns that the relaxation of restrictions could lead to an increase in the incidence of the coronavirus. On Monday, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that easing restrictions on the pandemic could lead to another outbreak. If we don’t take the right steps now, Dr. Rochelle Walenski said, there will be another preventable increase.

In September, Cineworld reported a pre-tax loss of $1.6 billion for the first half of 2020. In 2019, 90% of the company’s revenue came from the US and the UK.

People come here and start to realize there’s a lot more technical talent than they thought, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said. linked to credit Cristobal Herrera-Ulaszkiewicz/ EPA, via Shutterstock….

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is selling his city as the cryptocurrency capital of the world. We want to be on the next wave of innovation, he said in a DealBook newsletter.

To achieve this, Suarez said he was refreshing the image of fun in the city’s sunshine. Thanks in part to the mayor’s marketing efforts, tech and financial titans flocked to Miami during the pandemic.

Last month, Mr. Suarez, a Republican, proposed that Miami pay city employees and accept tax payments in bitcoin and invest city funds in the cryptocurrency. Local officials have agreed to review the proposals.

This idea made Mr. Suarez popular in the crypto community and propelled his rebranding campaign. His efforts have also helped him bring in donations from tech investors, raise money to boost Miami’s growing tech sector and, potentially, soon pay a big bill in the district.

The FTX exchange wants the naming rights for the N.B.A. arena, known as the AmericanAirlines Arena. Miami-Dade County took over the branding contracts in 2018 and must pay the team $2 million a year, sponsor or not (the contract with American Airlines expired in 2019). The FTX deal is nearly done, pending a vote by county commissioners Friday. It’s great that we’ve attracted a major cryptocurrency exchange, Suarez said, noting that FTX’s offering complements the brand Miami is building.

It would be the N.B.A.’s first crypto-arena sponsorship, but it would also tie the district’s revenue stream to a relatively young exchange and CEO. Founded in 2019, FTX is led by Samuel Bankman-Fried, a 28-year-old billionaire who was one of President Biden’s biggest campaign contributors.

The pandemic drove people from Silicon Valley and New York to Florida as bitcoin gained legitimacy and value. The mayor thinks the trends are related, and he’s seizing the opportunity.

People come here and discover there’s a lot more technical talent than they thought, he said. The only thing missing is a review of the rules: Lawmakers take a cue from Florida’s approach to Wyoming’s crypto-currency policy.

But the success of the mayor’s efforts will not be seen until it is clear that people will make their moves permanent and maintain their enthusiasm for crypto if – or when – there is another market downturn.

A health worker in Madrid prepares a dose of vaccine from AstraZeneca. According to US health officials, the results of the vaccination trials may be based on outdated information. Credit…Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Equity markets traded mixed on Tuesday, against the backdrop of renewed fears of a post-pandemic recovery in the global economy.

Europe reports an increase in new virus cases and a rise in blockchain-related restrictions. A new confusion over AstraZeneca’s vaccine arose Tuesday morning when U.S. health officials questioned whether some of the test data provided by the drugmaker was out of date.

Investors were awaiting testimony from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell on the U.S. economic recovery. They will be questioned by the House Financial Services Committee later Tuesday. According to prepared remarks, Powell is expected to tell lawmakers that while the economic consequences are real and widespread, the worst has been avoided through swift and decisive action.

On the markets

  • Wall Street rose slightly in the afternoon after fluctuating between losses and gains. The S&P 500 was up 0.2% on Monday and 0.7% on the day. The yield on the 10-year Treasury Note decreased slightly to 1.66%.
  • European indices weakened, with the Stoxx Europe 600 losing about 0.1%.
  • Energy prices have fallen. West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark for U.S. crude oil, fell about 4 percent to below $60 a barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell more than 3.5 percent to about $62.30 a barrel. Natural gas is also on the decline.
  • GameStop account director Frank Hamlin will leave the company at the end of the month, according to a report on Tuesday. The video game retailer, which earlier this year was at the center of a selling frenzy that sent shares soaring, will announce its quarterly results Tuesday. Last month, GameStop also announced that its CFO, Jim Bell, would be leaving the company. The company is under pressure from an activist shareholder to make a digital transformation. He will report on the results Tuesday afternoon.
  • Microsoft shares rose about 2 percent after reports that the company was in talks to acquire Discord, a popular social media outlet for gamers.

Robin Li, Baidu’s chief executive officer, at an event in Beijing to mark the company’s IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange…Reuters

Baidu, the Chinese search company that some call the Google of China, raised $3.1 billion in a Hong Kong IPO on Tuesday, the latest homecoming for the Chinese company amid increased regulation in the United States.

Investors have expressed cautious interest in the company, which is already listed in New York and has been overshadowed by other Chinese technology companies in recent years. In the United States, Google has used its search capabilities to become the dominant Internet company, but Baidu has not grown as fast as Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company, or Tencent, a conglomerate with interests in video games and social media.

The company’s shares ended the first day of trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange at HK$252, or about $32 per share.

The Hang Seng stock market fell 1.3 percent on rising tensions between the United States and China. On Monday, the United States said it would join the European Union, Canada and Britain in imposing sanctions on Chinese officials who have committed human rights violations against China’s predominantly Muslim Uighur community.

Baidu’s move follows other New York-listed Chinese companies, such as Alibaba, NetEase and JD.com, offering their shares to small Chinese investors through a listing in the Chinese territory of Hong Kong. In recent years, more and more companies have been listed in their home countries as Chinese authorities try to lure back companies that choose to be listed abroad.

Secondary listings of Chinese companies have also become more popular, as U.S. regulators have vowed to exclude Chinese companies from their exchanges if they fail to comply with local accounting rules. Baidu is among a group of Chinese companies that have been denied access to inspections by the US government’s Public Company Audit Oversight Board.

An executive order by former President Donald J. Trump to ban Americans from investing in companies with alleged ties to the Chinese military has also led to an exodus of Chinese companies. Earlier this year, the New York Stock Exchange delisted China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom.

The Hong Kong market has shown less interest in secondary listings than in tech startups like Kuaishou, the short-form app that has nearly tripled in value since its launch last month, valuing the company at $160 billion.

Baidu is valued at $92 billion on the Nasdaq market.

Mayor Martin Walsh at a press conference in Boston this month. linked to credit C.J. Guenther/ EPA, via Shutterstock.

On Monday, the Senate confirmed Martin G. Walsh, Boston’s mayor and former chairman of the city’s powerful Building Trades Council, as Secretary of Labor. The vote was 68 to 29.

The confirmation fills the final leadership role for all 15 executive departments in President Biden’s cabinet. Of the remaining nine cabinet-level management posts, seven are filled.

In a statement after the vote, Walsh said he was grateful that the Senate was bipartisan and that he shared the commitment of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to build an economy that works for everyone.

Throughout my career, I have fought for workers’ rights and will continue to work to ensure that everyone – especially in our most marginalized communities – has full access to economic opportunity and fair treatment at work, Walsh said in a statement. I believe we must face up to this historic moment and as Minister of Labour I am determined to help our economy recover better.

Mr Walsh’s appointment was welcomed by union representatives, who were delighted that one of their employees would be heading up the department, a historic rarity. Many union members see his close relationship with the president as a benefit to workers.

Because he has mutual trust and respect with President Biden, he will be able to put union issues at the top of the national agenda, Lee Sanders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said in an email.

One of Walsh’s top priorities as Labor Secretary is the reopening of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which critics say is failing to protect workers in the event of a pandemic. The Department of Safety recently published new guidance for employers on protecting workers from Covid-19 and is considering a new rule requiring security measures that the Trump administration has rejected.

The Department has already repealed several Trump administration rules that weakened worker protections. One such rule would likely treat most workers as independent contractors rather than employees, making them ineligible for federal minimum wage and overtime pay.

Under Mr. Walsh’s direction, the Department will be responsible for drafting replacements for some of these rules. It will likely advocate for the expansion of other protections, such as. B. by raising the threshold – currently about $35,500 – below which most employees are automatically entitled to overtime pay.

As mayor, he provides assistance to undocumented immigrants seeking to retain federal employees, encourages contractors to subcontract at least 40% of their public works work to racial minorities, and creates gender-neutral restrooms in City Hall.

If you know Marty Walsh, you know he has transcended the barriers of race and class and is fighting for everyone, with a focus on the vulnerable, said Randy Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.

Walsh plans to step down as mayor Monday night, an aide said.

Federal authorities are investigating recent accidents involving Teslas that used or could have used the Autopilot system. credit KTVU-TV, via Associated Press.

Federal authorities are investigating a series of recent accidents involving Teslas that used or could have used the Autopilot system.

Autopilot is a computer system that uses radar and cameras to detect lane markings, other vehicles and objects on the road. It can steer, brake and accelerate automatically with little driver intervention. Tesla says it should only be used on divided roads, but videos on social media show drivers using Autopilot on different types of roads.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed last week that it was investigating 23 of those accidents, reports Neil E. Bowdett for the New York Times.

  • In an accident this month, a Tesla Model Y hit a police car on a highway near Lansing, Michigan. The driver, who was not seriously injured, was using autopilot, police said.
  • In February, under similar circumstances to the 2016 crash in Florida, a Tesla went under a crossing semi-truck in Detroit, ripping the roof off the vehicle. The driver and passenger were seriously injured. Officials did not say whether the driver was on autopilot.
  • NHTSA is also investigating an accident that occurred on the 27th. February near Houston, in which a Tesla collided with a stationary police car on the highway. It is not clear if the driver was using the autopilot. The car did not brake before the collision, police said.
  • According to market research firm Nielsen, The Ellen DeGeneres Show has lost more than a million viewers. In the past six months, it has averaged 1.5 million viewers, compared to 2.6 million in the same period last year. This year’s season opener in September, in which DeGeneres apologized for reported workplace improprieties on her show, drew the highest ratings for Ellen’s premiere in four years. Since then, however, viewership has dropped by 43%. Despite the complications that hit all talk shows during the pandemic, the show survived a steeper decline than its competitors. Dr. Phil dropped 22% and The Kelly Clarkson Show lost 26% of its viewers.
  • Some investors have begun to distance themselves from Dispo, the burgeoning photo sharing app, after its co-founder, YouTube creator David Dobrick, was embroiled in a controversy. In an internal investigation released last week, Dobrick was accused of playing a role in a sexual assault scandal involving a former member of his vlog unit. He later told The Information that he would be leaving Dispo and stepping down from the board of directors. And some of the dispo investors, including Spark Capital, Seven Seven Six and Unshackled Ventures, have also started to pull out.
  • President Biden on Monday appointed Lina Khan to the Federal Trade Commission, giving this outspoken critic of big tech companies a key role in overseeing the sector. If Hahn, 32, is approved by the Senate, he will occupy one of two vacant Democrat seats on the FTC. Hahn was recognized for her antitrust acumen in a 2017 Yale Law Journal article titled Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox, in which she accused Amazon of abusing its monopoly position.

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