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Apple is closing stores in four states after a rise in new coronavirus cases.Apple said it was temporarily closing 11 retail stores across four states amid a surge in the number of coronavirus cases in those areas.Stores will be closed in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina “with an abundance of caution,” Apple said in a statement. The closings come about one month after Apple started reopening outlets in the United States. The company closed most of its stores globally in mid-March when the pandemic started to take hold in the United States.Earlier this week, Apple said it was going to reopen 10 stores in New York City. The stores are open “by appointment” for customers to pick up purchases or for repairs. Apple said more than 200 of its 271 U.S. retail stores have reopened.Apple is not the only company shutting locations after reopening them. In Arizona, a chain of casinos closed its doors again on Thursday. Gila River Hotels and Casinos in Chandler, Ariz., had reopened on May 15 with new safety procedures in place. But with cases in the area still rising, the company said it would close again for two weeks and use the time “to see whether the recent rise in Arizona COVID cases subsides and to re-examine every aspect of its operation.”The decisions come amid growing outbreaks in much of the South and West. Officials in Arizona, California, Florida and Oklahoma all reported their highest daily case number yet on Thursday. And Texas became the sixth state in the nation to surpass 100,000 cases, according to a New York Times database. Cases there have doubled over the past month.As in much of the Sun Belt, testing in South Carolina has increased, but that alone does not account for the surge. About 14 percent of people being tested for the virus in South Carolina are positive, up from about 5 percent a month ago.AMC’s chief executive reverses course on the movie chain’s mask policy.AMC Entertainment has reversed course on its mask policy, saying that it will now require patrons to wear face coverings at all times when its movie theaters reopen next month.The reversal comes after Adam Aron, chief executive of AMC, faced intense criticism on social media on Thursday after saying that the company would not require moviegoers to wear masks or be subject to temperature checks at the company’s theaters. Mr. Aron said the company did not want to be “drawn into a political controversy.”“This announcement prompted an intense and immediate outcry from our customers, and it is clear from this response that we did not go far enough on the usage of masks,” the company said in a statement. “At AMC Theatres, we think it is absolutely crucial that we listen to our guests. Accordingly, and with the full support of our scientific advisors, we are reversing course and are changing our guest mask policy.”The movie theater chain said that guests who were unwilling to wear a mask would not be admitted or permitted to stay.Alamo Drafthouse Cinema said on Friday that it would require face masks in its theaters, saying the safety of patrons and workers could not be compromised. “This is not political,” the theater chain said in a tweet.Regal Entertainment Group also reversed its position on mask wearing on Friday, stating that all movie theater employees and patrons would be required to wear them. The chain, which had previously said it would require masks to be worn only in cities that required them, said that disposable masks would be made available to customers who needed them.“Our current mask policy is to mandate for both employees and guests,” said Ken Thewes, chief marketing officer for Regal. “Our ultimate goal is to create a safe environment for our guests and employees. This is a change to our previous policy on masks based on feedback received from our customers.”The chain said that disposable masks would be made available to customers who need them.But a rival chain, Cinemark, began reopening some theaters in Texas on Friday without requiring face masks. “It’s a big country out there,” Mark Zoradi, Cinemark’s chief executive, told the entertainment news site Deadline on Wednesday. “There are places that may require it. California may be one. If it’s required in California, we’ll abide by it. There are other places like Texas where it’s not required. In those cases, we’ll highly recommend, but not require it.”Federal Reserve officials on Friday warned that the U.S. economic outlook remained wildly uncertain, as parts of the country see a new surge in coronavirus infections.“So far, in the United States efforts to contain the virus have not been particularly successful,” Eric Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, said in a speech on Friday. With the spread of the disease continuing “and the acceleration of new cases in many states, I expect the economic rebound in the second half of the year to be less than was hoped for at the outset of the pandemic.”The downturn could persist — or worsen — but Randal K. Quarles, the central bank’s vice chair for supervision, said the Fed would determine capital requirements — essentially the financial cushions they must keep to withstand losses — based on economic scenarios developed before the pandemic took hold. The Fed will test the strength of banks against multiple dire economic situations that reflect how the virus might play out, but it will not publish bank-specific results.“We don’t know about the pace of reopening, how consumers will behave or the prospects for a new round of containment,” Mr. Quarles said. “There’s probably never been more uncertainty about the economic outlook.”Given the serious risks, the Fed’s annual “stress tests,” the results of which will be released next week, will include three sensitivity analysis scenarios. These would look at how the banking system would fare in the case of a V-shaped recovery, in which output and employment bounce back quickly; a U-shaped rebound, in which jobs and growth take a long time to recover; or a W-shaped trajectory, in which a second wave of the coronavirus forces activity to collapse again, Mr. Quarles said.All week long, two competing narratives faced off on Wall Street.Investors were encouraged by signs that the reopening of businesses is having an immediate positive effect on the economy. But they were battered by worry over a growing number of coronavirus infections around the country.The tug of war between the two views made for a turbulent week, and Friday was no exception. The S&P 500 fell 0.6 percent, after having started the day with a solid gain.The reversal came after Apple said it would temporarily close some stores in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina after the number of new coronavirus cases increased in those states. The number of new cases is increasing in at least 20 states, an analysis by The New York Times found.The decision by Apple had an immediate impact on the market, with shares of companies that are likely to benefit from a return to normal — airlines and retailers, for example — immediately giving up their gains.“The markets started to slide as soon as Apple announced they were closing 11 stores due to Covid spikes,” said Doug Rivelli, president of institutional brokerage firm Abel Noser in New York. “That stoked fears that the economic restart might not be a smooth as people had hoped, and we could be in for a longer period of stagnation.”Investors also heard a warning from Eric Rosengren, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and an influential policy maker within the central bank system, who cited the rising caseloads in South Carolina and Florida as he warned of the economic impact of states reopening before the coronavirus was under control.Mr. Rosengren said that because of the virus’s continued spread “and the acceleration of new cases in many states, I expect the economic rebound in the second half of the year to be less than was hoped for at the outset of the pandemic.”The push and pull this week has also come amid mixed reports on the economy. A Labor Department report Thursday showed that another 1.5 million workers had filed for state unemployment benefits. The pace of layoffs has slowed in recent weeks but remains elevated. On Tuesday, the Commerce Department said that retail sales rebounded sharply in May, as stores reopened and governments lifted some restrictions.Still, despite the unease among investors, the market notched a gain for the week with the S&P 500 up nearly 2 percent.The pandemic is expected to bring more lawsuits, and more backers.If there is one thing that is almost always guaranteed in an economic downturn, it’s an increase in litigation.Businesses are going to sue businesses. Tenants are going to sue landlords, who will sue their tenants right back. Insurance companies will contest claims, and start-ups will try to defend their intellectual property from more established companies.Yet in this recession, one industry that was just getting started during the 2008 downturn has come into its own and is attracting wealthy investors looking for outsize returns.Meet litigation finance, an esoteric, high-risk investment strategy that lures with the siren song of double-digit returns. It’s an industry with a few publicly traded behemoths, but it remains the preserve of private-equity-style funds that invest in cases, back law firms and act as financial intermediaries when settlements have been reached.And the pandemic could be its time to emerge from its little-known niche.“We have the wind to our backs in this unusual environment,” said Howard Shams, the chief executive of Parabellum Capital and an early practitioner in the industry.The employment-based health insurance system in the United States could become another liability in the country’s fight to contain the coronavirus.Consider Patti Hanks, 62, who recently had ovarian cancer treatment. With her immunity low, she was nervous about returning to her workplace, a store where she would be drawing up financing plans and taking cash payments from customers. The cancer makes her particularly susceptible to severe complications should she contract the virus.But Ms. Hanks was even more worried about losing her health coverage if she did not go back. Finding a job with health benefits that allowed her to work from home felt like a pipe dream given the economic downturn.So despite her reservations, she returned to work. She wears a mask and makes sure customers sit a good distance away at an L-shaped desk.Pre-existing conditions may motivate other workers like Ms. Hanks to return to work especially fast. Those people need coverage to treat the conditions that make them vulnerable in the first place. In the United States, 61 percent of working-age adults get health insurance through work.“It is one of the many ways the U.S. health care system has made us so much more vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic than other countries,” said Larry Levitt, executive vice president for health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “In other countries, you don’t hear about people losing health insurance when they lose their jobs.”It’s official: Hertz, the bankrupt car-rental company, has canceled its plan to sell $500 million in new stock.The offering seemed like a good idea only a week ago. Some investors seemed keen to pour money into Hertz’s stock even after the company’s bankruptcy filing last month, so why not offer them more shares to buy? Hertz submitted a plan to a bankruptcy judge, who approved it on Friday. On Monday morning, the company said it was moving forward. But then it hit a snag.The Securities and Exchange Commission told Hertz that it was reviewing the plan. “When you let a company know that the S.E.C. has comments on their disclosure, they do not go forward until those comments are resolved,” the commission’s chairman, Jay Clayton, told CNBC on Wednesday.Trading in the company’s shares was halted midday on Wednesday, and Hertz said in a filing that it had suspended the sale “pending further understanding of the nature and timing” of the S.E.C.’s review. On Thursday afternoon, Hertz said its board had decided that it was “in the best interests of the company” to scrap the sale altogether.That decision might end up protecting the very investors who would have bought the shares. After all, when Hertz announced the offering this week, it acknowledged that the new shares could become “worthless” — a common outcome in bankruptcies.Catch up: Here’s what else is happening.Cruise lines won’t sail from U.S. ports until Sept. 15, the Cruise Lines International Association said, after its member cruise lines agreed to extend a suspension that expires on July 24. “Although we are confident that future cruises will be healthy and safe, and will fully reflect the latest protective measures, we also feel that it is appropriate to err on the side of caution to help ensure the best interests of our passengers and crewmembers,” the association said in a statement.The British government said Friday that the national debt, at 1.95 trillion pounds ($2.4 trillion), now exceeded the country’s gross domestic product, the first time this has happened in 57 years. The ratio of debt to G.D.P., which reached 100.9 percent at the end of May, has risen sharply as the government has borrowed heavily to finance programs to support the economy during the pandemic, and as the economy has contracted because of lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus.Reporting was contributed by Katie Robertson, Mihir Zaveri, Gillian Friedman, Daisuke Wakabayashi, Jeanna Smialek, Keith Bradsher, Chris Buckley, Sarah Kliff, Mohammed Hadi, Niraj Chokshi, Jenny Gross, Mike Ives, Brooks Barnes, Gregory Schmidt and Kevin Granville.



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