Continuing U.S. unemployment claims fall

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The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus passed 100,000 late Wednesday, far exceeding reported deaths in every other country. Black Americans made up a disproportionately large share of the deaths, according to an analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Two new studies that looked at the share of total infections that are asymptomatic are raising questions about how widely the virus might have already spread throughout the seemingly healthy population. 

This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks. 

  • Global cases: More than 5.71 million
  • Global deaths: At least 356,124
  • U.S. cases: More than 1.69 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 100,442

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Dow climbs for a third day as jobless claims signal economy may be bottoming

9:38 a.m. ET — The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose for a third day as the latest unemployment data signaled the worst of the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic may be over. The 30-stock Dow traded 114 points higher, or 0.4%. The S&P 500 gained 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite lagged, with a 0.2% drop. 

The Labor Department said another 2.1 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week. Meanwhile, continuing claims, which represent a better unemployment picture, plunged by nearly 4 million in their first decline since the coronavirus outbreak.

Read updates on stock market activity from CNBC’s Fred Imbert and Thomas Franck. —Melodie Warner

Abercrombie & Fitch first-quarter sales fall 34% as coronavirus hampers business

Pedestrians are reflected in the window of an Abercrombie & Fitch store in New York.

Craig Warga | Bloomberg | Getty Images

9:29 a.m. ET — Abercrombie & Fitch’s sales tanked 34% during the first quarter because of forced store closures during the coronavirus pandemic. The company joins other apparel and mall-based retailers such as Macy’s and L Brands struggling to entice consumers to shop during the Covid-19 crisis. Sales at the company’s namesake Abercrombie brand were down 30%, while Hollister sales were down 36%.

About 50% of Abercrombie’s stores globally are reopened, the company said. And as Abercrombie’s stores turn the lights back on, productivity is returning to about 80% in the U.S. and 60% in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, according to CEO Fran Horowitz. The company is not offering a second-quarter or full-year outlook. —Lauren Thomas

JC Penney reopens 150 additional stores during coronavirus pandemic, after bankruptcy filing

9:09 a.m. ET — Bankrupted JC Penney said it has reopened 150 more stores in 27 states, bringing the total number of locations it has reopened during the Covid-19 crisis to 304. It said five locations are doing curbside pickup only.

The company said in a press release that feedback from consumers has been “overwhelmingly positive” as it reopens for business. It says nearly 500 shops should be reopened by June 3.

Meantime, the company is set to permanently shut about 240 locations as part of its restructuring in bankruptcy. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 15. —Lauren Thomas 

Another 2.1 million file jobless claims, but total unemployed shrinks

8:54 a.m. ET — Another 2.1 million Americans filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, the lowest total since the coronavirus crisis began. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for 2.05 million.

Continuing claims, or those who have been collecting for at least two weeks, numbered 21.05 million. That number dropped by 3.86 million from the previous week.

The insured unemployment rate, which is a basic calculation of those collecting benefits vs. the total labor force, fell sharply to 14.5% from 17.1% the previous week.

Since the pandemic was declared in mid-March, more than 40 million have filed claims.

Read the full report on weekly jobless claims from CNBC’s Jeff Cox. —Melodie Warner

CVS Health to have 1,000 Covid-19 test sites at end of week

8:30 a.m. ET — CVS Health said it will reach its goal of having 1,000 Covid-19 test sites in the U.S. later this week.

The company said in a news release that it will open the additional locations on Friday, bringing its total to 1,000 sites across 30 states and Washington, D.C. The pharmacy chain announced the expansion in late April as retail leaders, including CVS CEO Larry Merlo, visited the White House and met with President Donald Trump.

CVS is offering self-swab tests at some stores’ drive-thru pharmacy windows. To get a test, people must meet criteria set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and states, and register in advance on CVS’ website. Tests are sent to a third-party lab to be processed. —Melissa Repko

Virus will continue to circulate even with a vaccine, Dr. Scott Gottlieb says

7:50 a.m. ET — Even once a vaccine is discovered, the coronavirus will probably continue to circulate, becoming a “second flu,” former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said.

“Even if we get through this, we get a vaccine, this is probably going to continue to circulate,” he said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “It might be sort of a second flu, if you will, and from a productivity standpoint, if we have two flu seasons that’s not really sustainable, so we’re going to need to figure out a way to reduce the morbidity not just from coronavirus in the long-run, but also flu as well.”

There are currently no treatments for Covid-19 approved by the FDA, though several have been granted emergency use authorization, which allows physicians to prescribe the treatment in life-threatening situations and for research purposes. —Will Feuer

Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and is a member of the boards of Pfizer and biotech company Illumina.

EU needs to agree on more stimulus soon, top official insists

7:10 a.m. ET — The European Union needs to agree on additional coronavirus-related stimulus “in the coming months,” a top EU official told CNBC. The comment comes after the bloc proposed a ground-breaking plan to help the region Wednesday.

The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, proposed to raise 750 billion euros ($826 billion) in public markets and distribute that money in the form of grants and loans to the 27 members of the EU. However, some countries are reluctant to approve the idea as it would mark the first time the EU tapped financial markets together on such a large scale. The proposal requires the agreement of EU members before it can be implemented.

In the meantime, there are other short-term measures available across Europe. The European Central Bank is buying government bonds as part of its 750 billion euro program and there are 540 billion euros available in unemployment schemes, business investments and loans to governments. —Silvia Amaro

Global tourism expected to slump most since 1950s

A general view of almost desert Pantheon square during Italy’s lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Andrea Staccioli | Getty Images

7:04 a.m. ET — International tourism is expected to fall as much as 70% this year, United Nations World Tourism Organization Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili told newspaper Handelsblatt. He added that this would be the biggest drop since records for the metric began in the 1950s. 

The drop in business could put 110 million jobs around the world at risk, he said. He added that there could be a boom in travel to rural areas while tourism in typically desirable, and densely packed, destinations drops. 

The estimated 70% drop is based on the assumption that countries will begin to open their borders in August. While most European countries appear to be on track to reopen to international travel at the beginning of the summer, countries in other areas, including the Americas, are still grappling with uncontrolled outbreaks and the borders remain closed. —Will Feuer

2020-05-28 13:38:23

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