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Global markets rise modestly as investors weigh outbreak news.
Global markets moved cautiously higher on Friday, at the end of a turbulent week when concerns about the growing number of infections around the world led to renewed talk about efforts to prop up economies.
European markets rose about half a percentage point in morning trading after a similarly positive day on most Asian exchanges.
Other markets showed optimism, too. Oil prices rose on futures markets. Prices for U.S. Treasury bonds, a traditional investment safe-haven in times of trouble, were lower during early trading hours.
Futures markets indicated a mild rise for Wall Street stocks later in the day.
The restrained positivity stems largely from a cascade of news about new and widening outbreaks. Experts have long warned of a wave of infections as countries reopen for business.
Those concerns stopped a market rally from late March to early June, when investors looked ahead to countries reopening and to the huge amounts of money many governments have thrown at their economies to prevent permanent damage. Now that infections are rising, many economists expect governments to make new plans to bolster business.
Investors are also watching international tensions, especially between the United States and China. Some investor hopes were buoyed by a Bloomberg News report, citing anonymous sources, that China had agreed to step up agricultural purchases to fulfill the conditions of a trade-war truce between Washington and Beijing.
Hertz calls off its unusual $500 million stock offering.
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.
A theater executive says masks will not be required at the movies, prompting a backlash.
Adam Aron, chief executive of AMC Entertainment Holdings, has prompted a backlash on social media by saying that moviegoers would not be required to wear masks at the company’s theaters when they reopen next month.
“We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy,” Mr. Aron said in an interview published on Thursday by Variety magazine. “We thought it might be counterproductive if we forced mask wearing on those people who believe strongly that it is not necessary.”
Mr. Aron also said that AMC Theaters, the largest theater operator in the United States, would not perform temperature checks on patrons, a practice some businesses have adopted to screen for fever related to the virus.
The company had already announced this month that patrons might be encouraged, but not required, to wear masks but that face coverings would be mandatory for all employees, a point that Mr. Aron reiterated in the interview.
But his comments prompted a swift backlash anyway.
“How is public health ‘political?’” one person wrote on Twitter.
“Then I’m out!” appeared on another Twitter account. “You should be protecting your customers. Follow the science.”
A spokesman for AMC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
Catch up: Here’s what else is happening.
McDonald’s said it was expecting to hire about 260,000 restaurant employees this summer as states reopen their economies and the company welcomes customers back to its dining rooms. To protect workers and customers, the company said that it put into place nearly 50 new safety procedures, including temperature checks for employees, protective barriers for ordering and social-distancing stickers on the floor. “We want candidates and their families to know we have one goal — to keep our people safe,” said Joe Erlinger, president of McDonald’s USA.
Reporting was contributed by Mohammed Hadi, Niraj Chokshi, Jenny Gross, Mike Ives, Brooks Barnes and Gregory Schmidt.