August 17, 2020

Coronavirus latest: US homebuilder confidence climbs to highest since 1998

US stocks inch closer to record high

US stocks edged higher and tested their all-time high again on Monday, after Chinese equities rallied on fresh stimulus measures.

Wall Street’s S&P 500 rose 0.3 per cent at the opening bell. The benchmark has struggled to surpass its February record in recent sessions, closing on Friday at 3,372 points or 0.6 per cent off its intraday peak. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 0.5 per cent.

Goldman Sachs was confident that US shares would eclipse their record level and keep rising. It raised its end-of-year price target for the S&P 500 from 3,000 to 3,600.

“The S&P 500 level has returned to its pre-pandemic high, but the building blocks supporting the price have shifted dramatically,” said David Kostin, Goldman’s chief US equity strategist. “Share prices reflect not just the expected future stream of earnings but also the rate at which the profits are discounted to present value.”

In China, stocks rose after fresh stimulus measures helped investors put to one side the latest escalation in tensions between Washington and Beijing.

German businesses welcome plan to extend short-time work scheme

Guy Chazan in Berlin

White House advisor Navarro rips Kodak executives as dumbest ever

White House trade advisor Peter Navarro on Monday blasted executives at Eastman Kodak for their handling of a government loan to produce pharmaceutical ingredients in the United States.

“Based on what I’m seeing, what happened at Kodak was probably the dumbest decisions made by executives in corporate history,” Navarro said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” 

“You can’t fix stupid,” Navarro added. “You can’t even anticipate that degree of stupidity.” 

The $765 million government loan to Kodak has since been put on pause as the Securities and Exchange Commission investigates the company’s disclosure of the deal, which was officially announced on July 28. 

Shares of the Kodak, known for producing camera film, skyrocketed on news of the pharmaceutical loan. The stock had been languishing around $2 per share for months prior. It traded as high as $60 per share the day after the deal.

However, it also was observed that trading activity of Kodak’s stock picked up significantly the day prior to the official announcement.

Navarro has touted the importance of relocating the pharmaceutical supply chain in the U.S., especially in a coronavirus world.

He stressed the investigation of potential wrongdoing by Kodak should run its course. “We don’t know why that

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