Business Briefs – 3/22/2020

Senator Asks for Ethics Review of His Stock Sales
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr is asking for an ethics probe in response to criticism that he sold off as much as $1.7 million in stocks just before the market dropped in February amid coronavirus fears. Senate records show the Republican from North Carolina and his wife sold between roughly $600,000 and $1.7 million in more than 30 separate transactions in late January and mid-February.

As Virus Grips Nation, Advocates Move to Halt Evictions
NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump has announced a package that he says includes “immediate relief to renters and homeowners” by suspending evictions and foreclosures for 60 days. But the vast majority of renters, who are generally low income and disproportionately African American, Latino and other minorities, will not be covered. At least three dozen U.S. cities and states have put in place policies to halt evictions, foreclosures and utility shutoffs out of concern that economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis will push many families to the brink of homelessness. U.S. housing advocates welcome the measures as good first steps but say more needs to be done.

Fed to Boost Lending to $1 Trillion a Day to Ease Credit
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve has moved with unprecedented force and speed to pump huge amounts of cash into the financial system to ease disruptions that have escalated since the viral outbreak. The New York Federal Reserve Bank said it will offer $1 trillion of overnight loans a day through the end of this month to large banks. All the Fed’s emergency steps are intended to pump cash into a financial system that has seen a spike in demand for dollars as investors unload Treasuries and other securities.

Stores Set Up Senior Shopping Hours Amid Coronavirus Fears
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Grocery store chains and other retailers are easing the fears of senior citizens over the coronavirus by reserving shopping times exclusively for them. Target, Walmart, Whole Foods, Dollar General and supermarkets in Europe began dedicating early morning shopping times for older customers this week. The theory is that allowing seniors to shop among smaller crowds could reduce their chances of acquiring the virus and give them first crack to buy hard-to-find products depleted due to panic shopping. The idea has worked well in smaller stores but backfired in some larger ones.