Key Boris Johnson political adviser Dominic Cummings, speaking Monday from the garden at Downing Street, defended his controversial departure from London earlier in the coronavirus crisis. He said he had not cleared the temporary relocation of his family from London to a cottage on his parents' property in Durham with the prime minister, who himself was later hospitalized with a severe case of the coronavirus-borne disease COVID-19. He said he didn't regret the move and has not offered to resign nor considered such an offer. Cummings cited his wife's illness and child-care imperatives as motivating factors. As his wife's condition improved in Durham, he said, he became ill, as did his 4-year-old son, who ultimately was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where he spent the night but tested negative for COVID-19. Cummings said neither he nor his wife was ever tested. He said an uncle's death from the cororonavirus-borne disease did not affect his decisions or actions, nor did he and his family have contact with the now-deceased family member. Asked by a reporter whether his actions suggested there were two sets of rules, one for the powerful and one for others, he said he felt lockdown restrictions allowed exceptions for those caring for small children. He said that, contrary to speculation, he was a supporter rather than an opponent of the U.K's lockdown policy.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.
U.S. stock index futures made slight gains late Sunday amid rising tensions between the U.S. and China. As of 11:30 p.m. Eastern, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures , were up 70 points, or 0.3%, while S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq-100 futures tracked similarly. U.S. equity markets are closed Monday for the Memorial Day holiday. Stocks were little changed on Friday but for the week, the Dow climbed 3.3%, the S&P 500 advanced 3.2% and the Nasdaq Composite rose 3.4%. Traders are keeping an eye on how the U.S. and other global economies are faring as businesses gradually reopen from coronavirus-related shutdowns. But new tensions between the U.S. and China have risen, with a top White House aide saying Sunday that the U.S. may sanction China if a bill limiting Hong Kong's autonomy is approved.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.
The global case tally for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 climbed to 5.24 million on Saturday, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. The death toll rose to 338,762. More than 2.1 million people have recovered. The U.S. has the highest case toll in the world at 1.60 million and the highest death toll at 96,013. Russia has 335,882 cases and 3,388 deaths. Brazil has 330,890 cases and 21,048 deaths. The U.K. has 255,544 cases and 36,475 deaths, the highest death toll in Europe and second highest in the world after the U.S. Spain has 234,824 cases and 28,628 deaths, while Italy has 228,658 cases and 32,616 deaths. France has 182,015 cases and 28,218 deaths, while Germany has 179,776 cases and 8,256 deaths. Turkey has 154,500 cases and 4,276 deaths and Iran has 133,521 cases and 7,359 deaths. India has 127,358 cases and 3,759 deaths, while Peru has 11,698 cases and 3,244 deaths. China, where the disease was first reported late last year, has 84,081 cases and 4,638 deaths. Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.
Gilead Sciences Inc.'s antiviral drug remdesivir improved COVID-19 patients' recovery time in peer-reviewed data from a study by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the NIAID announced Friday afternoon. In a follow-up to positive preliminary data released last month, NIAID revealed Friday that peer-reviewed data showed that patients recovered enough to be released from the hospital in 11 days against 14 for those who received a placebo. It also noted that the 14-day mortality rate for those on the drug declined to 7.1% from 11.9% for the placebo group, though NIAID is still investigating combinations that could produce a more statistically significant change -- a clinical trial that began May 8 is studying remdesivir in combination with anti-inflammatory drug baricitinib to study those results. The Food and Drug Administration has granted Gilead emergency-use authorization for the drug to use on severely ill COVID-19 patients, and Gilead has signed deals for manufacturing. Gilead stock was 0.4% lower in after-hours trading Friday following the announcement; shares have gained 12.9% so far this year, as the S&P 500 index has declined 8.5%.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.
Shares of Hertz Global Holdings Inc. fell more than 30% in the extended session Friday after The Wall Street Journal reported the car-rental company's bankruptcy could come as early as Friday night. Hertz has failed to reach a deal with top lenders, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Nationwide restrictions on travel put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus have hit Hertz and other travel-and tourism-related businesses hard, and Hertz has missed debt payments and reportedly had hired advisers to try to negotiate its debt. Shares of Hertz ended the regular trading day down 7.5%. Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.