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US stocks plunge following global rout

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New York: US stocks extended losses in the morning session Tuesday as a renewed broad-based sell-off around the world rattled nervous investors. By midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 314.56 points (1.90 percent), to 16,213.47. The S&P 500 dropped 36.43 points (1.85 percent), to 1,935.75. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 67.98 points (1.42 percent), to 4,708.52. Tokyo equities dived with its benchmark Nikkei stocks index plunging 3.84 percent on Tuesday amid weak performances in other stocks markets.

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Chinese shares slumped for a second day on Tuesday on weak economic data, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dipping 1.23 percent to end at 3,166.62 points. China’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) came in at 49.7 in August, down from 50 for July and the lowest since August 2012, according to official data released Tuesday morning. European stocks also traded sharply lower as the heavy falls across the board weighed on market sentiment.

Adding more pessimism to the market, US economic data came out negative. The US August manufacturing PMI registered 51.1 percent, missing market consensus of 52.8 percent and a decrease of 1.6 percentage points from the July reading of 52.7 percent, said the Institute Supply Management (ISM) Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Department of Commerce announced on Tuesday that construction spending during July 2015 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,083.4 billion US dollars, 0. 7 percent above the revised June estimate, slightly below market expectations. On Monday, US stocks declined as recent economic data fueled speculations that the Federal Reserve would begin raising interest rates from September.

(IANS)

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Microsoft Told its Employees in US to Work From Home Due to Coronavirus Outbreak

Microsoft tells US employees to work from home

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Microsoft
Microsoft has allowed employees in Seattle and San Francisco to work from home till March 25 as the novel coronavirus outbreak continues to spread in the US. Pixabay Microsoft has allowed employees in Seattle and San Francisco to work from home till March 25 as the novel coronavirus outbreak continues to spread in the US. Pixabay

Microsoft has allowed employees in Seattle and San Francisco to work from home till March 25 as the novel coronavirus outbreak continues to spread in the US. This is the latest news.

The tech giant has also recommended that those who are feeling sick, have a compromised immune system, or have had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 should work from home. The company employs nearly 54,000 people in the Seattle region.

“Consistent with King County guidance, we are recommending all employees who are in a job that can be done from home should do so through March 25th. Taking these measures will ensure your safety and also make the workplace safer for those that need to be onsite,” said Microsoft Executive Vice President Kurt DelBene in a statement on Wednesday.

There are currently more than 94,000 cases of COVID-19 globally, with 128 confirmed in the US. King County in Washington State has reported 21 cases and eight deaths.

Microsoft
Microsoft has already cancelled all non-essential business travel in regions with active COVID-19. Pixabay

Amazon has also confirmed that an employee at its Seattle headquarters has been tested positive for COVID-19. “If in your role it is essential to be in the office or other work environments (data centre, retail, etc.), plan to continue to go to your location. We will continue to implement the CDC guidelines for cleaning and sanitising the locations,” said DelBene.

The exceptions to this new guidance are the following groups who are being advised by health authorities to avoid interaction in large groups or public settings: If you are over 60, If you have an underlying health condition (heart disease, diabetes, etc.), if your immune system is compromised or if you are pregnant.

“In these cases, you should work with your manager to determine leave options or other accommodations available to you. If you are a caregiver of someone that is immune system compromised, please contact your health provider for input,” said Microsoft.

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“Limit prolonged interactions and try to stay more than six feet (1.8 meters) away from others. Keep in-person meetings as short as possible. Most importantly do not come to work if you are sick. This will be clearly posted on all building entrances,” said the company.

The company has already cancelled all non-essential business travel in regions with active COVID-19. Twitter has also told its 5,000-strong workforce to work from home. (IANS)