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Global markets were mixed on Friday, weighing some better-than-expected earnings reports against the uncertain prospect that European leaders would agree to a big-ticket rescue package to provide support to businesses and workers struggling through the pandemic.
Stocks in Europe were narrowly lower, after Asian markets closed the week mostly higher. In New York, futures pointed to a small gain when trading starts on Wall Street.
The price for U.S. 10-year Treasury notes gained, a sign that investors were seeking the security of fixed-income bonds, and oil futures slumped. Gold was having a good day, up about 0.3 percent.
The fate of the European Union’s proposed 750 billion euro (about $856 billion) coronavirus rescue plan was to be discussed by the bloc’s leaders on Friday and Saturday in Brussels. The plan is opposed by a few countries — known as the Frugal Four — and it remains unclear if the meeting will resolve the dispute. On Friday, before entering the talks, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she wasn’t sure a compromise would be reached this weekend, causing indexes to slip lower.
But two big European firms reported quarterly earnings that lifted their shares. The German automaker Daimler said a late-quarter surge in sales helped it lose less money than expected; its shares rose more than 4 percent. And the Swedish tech company Ericsson reported a rise in 5G network sales, leading to earnings that beat expectations; its shares gained more than 10 percent.
In Asian stock markets, the losses and gains were mainly modest. Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.3 percent, while the Shanghai Composite ended 0.1 percent higher and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.5 percent.
On May 5, Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s chief executive, looked into his webcam to address thousands of his employees, tell them that the coronavirus had crushed the travel industry, including their home rental start-up. Divisions would have to be cut and workers laid off.
“I have a deep feeling of love for all of you,” Mr. Chesky said, his voice cracking. “What we are about is belonging, and at the center of belonging is love.” Within a few hours, 1,900 employees — a quarter of Airbnb’s work force — were told they were out.
The moves thrust Airbnb into the center of a growing debate in Silicon Valley: What happens when a company that has positioned itself as family to its employees reveals that it is just a regular business with the same capitalist concerns — namely, survival — as any other?
Start-ups that sell everything from mattresses to data-warehousing software have long used “making the world a better place”-style mission statements to energize and motivate their workers. But as the economic fallout from the coronavirus persists, many of those gauzy mantras have given way to harsh realities like budget cuts, layoffs and bottom lines.
That now puts companies with a “commitment” culture at the highest risk of losing what made them successful, said Ethan Mollick, an entrepreneurship professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
After suspending the requirements at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, several states are again asking recipients of unemployment benefits to prove that they are actively searching for jobs.
Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri and Nebraska have reimposed the rules in recent weeks, although the job market remains weak and the national unemployment rate is in double digits.
Experts say it will be hard to show applications for specific jobs when there are so few openings and the surge in coronavirus cases in many parts of the country has brought new restrictions on economic activity.
“It’s hard in any environment to show that you’ve done that many searches,” said Michele Evermore, senior researcher and policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project. “Right now, I don’t understand how you apply for a job that doesn’t exist.”
Some authorities “have this mentality that people are just sitting home and collecting benefits,” she said. “I think the incentive for people to take benefits is that we have a plague.”
In Nebraska, Gov. Pete Ricketts issued an executive order that reinstated the requirements this week and cited 30,000 open jobs in the state. Other states have moved more slowly. Texas was expected to bring back the job search rules at the end of June but delayed the move after coronavirus cases surged.
An abundance of data underscores the nation’s economic distress. But the number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits remains something of an educated guess.
The figure almost certainly exceeds 20 million, but issues with data collection make a precise accounting difficult.
More than 17 million people were receiving state benefits the first week of July, a figure that does not include those who filed first-time claims last week or those receiving benefits under a federal extension because their state benefits have expired.
The Labor Department says that as of late June — the most recent period measured — an additional 14 million people were tapping into Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federal program to aid freelancers, the self-employed and others ordinarily ineligible for state jobless benefits. But those numbers have been plagued by double-counting and other issues, and most economists think the true number is probably lower.
Still, there is little doubt that tens of millions of people are receiving benefits. The number has been gradually falling, but that progress could soon reverse. Weekly data collected by the Census Bureau as part of a new experimental survey suggests that the number of Americans who are working has fallen by about 2.6 million since mid-June.
Domino’s Pizza got a boost from pandemic lockdowns as consumers ordered to stay at home turned to delivery services. Same-store sales grew 16 percent in the second quarter versus the year-ago period, the pizza delivery chain said on Thursday in its earnings report. Revenue for the quarter, which ended June 14, was $920 million, a 13.4 percent increase from a year earlier.
Netflix announced a significant leadership change Thursday, appointing Ted Sarandos, the content chief, as co-chief executive, alongside Reed Hastings. The streaming service also reported a surge of 10.1 million new customers Thursday in its second-quarter results, extending the huge gains it made the first three months of the year when the coronavirus pandemic prompted lockdowns across the globe.