The daily business briefing: June 12, 2020

Wall Street rattled by fears of 2nd coronavirus wave, Starbucks tells workers not to wear Black Lives Matter gear, and more

A Starbucks in NYC
(Image credit: Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

1. Stock futures rebound after coronavirus fears spark plunge

Stocks plunged on Thursday in Wall Street's worst day in three months as fears mounted about a second wave of coronavirus cases in the United States. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1,800 points or nearly 7 percent. The S&P 500 dropped by nearly 6 percent after briefly returning to positive territory on the year after climbing 45 percent above its March lows in a rally fueled by optimism about the reopening of businesses as states eased coronavirus lockdowns. Even the tech-heavy Nasdaq, which hit record highs this week, dropped by more than 5 percent. Lawmakers are considering possible steps to offer workers more aid as the economic fallout from the pandemic continues. Stock futures surged early Friday, pointing to a partial rebound.

The New York Times CNBC

2. Starbucks tells workers not to wear Black Lives Matter attire

Starbucks told employees in an internal memo last week that they were not allowed to wear clothing or accessories expressing support of the Black Lives Matter movement at work, BuzzFeed News reported Thursday, citing a copy of the memo it obtained. The memo said such clothing and accessories would violate a company policy against garb that advocates "a political, religious, or personal issue." Numerous employees told BuzzFeed that the company has made exceptions to the rule in the past, including letting employees wear pins expressing support for LGBTQ equality, including Pride Month every June. "We have partners who experienced harassment and transphobia/homophobia for wearing their pins and shirts," one black transgender employee said, "and Starbucks still stands behind them."

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The Hill

3. 1.5 million more people file jobless claims

About 1.5 million Americans filed initial applications for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The new claims lifted the total over the 12 weeks of the coronavirus crisis to 44.1 million. The weekly total was down from 1.9 million the week before. It has dropped for 10 consecutive weeks since reaching a high of 6.9 million in mid-March, when coronavirus lockdowns. Economist Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics said if the trend continues as more businesses reopen, the weekly figure will drop below 1 million by early July. That would still be well above the pre-pandemic record of 695,000 weekly unemployment claims set in a 1982 recession.

USA Today

4. Zoom acknowledges blocking meetings at China's request

Zoom admitted Thursday that it suspended three activists' accounts after China warned that they were planning meetings to mark the anniversary of the 1989 crackdown on protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. The company said that China, which bans public dissent, demanded in early May and June that the meetings on Zoom's video conferencing app be blocked and that Zoom revoke the users' accounts, even though they didn't live in China. Zoom has since restored the accounts of U.S.-based activists Zhou Fengsuo and Wang Dan, and Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Lee Cheuk-Yan. "Going forward Zoom will not allow requests from the Chinese government to impact anyone outside of mainland China," Zoom said in a Thursday blog post.

TechCrunch The Associated Press

5. American Cancer Society cuts 1,000 jobs

The American Cancer Society said Thursday that it would have to lay off about 1,000 U.S. employees because the coronavirus pandemic was hurting its fundraising efforts. The Atlanta-based organization, the country's largest nongovernmental supporter of cancer research, invested $147 million in cancer research and $269 million in patient support in 2018. It said in a statement that it had been forced to reduce its overall budget by about 30 percent, "with cuts to both non-personnel and personnel expenses." Executives have seen their salaries slashed between 10 to 20 percent and the nonprofit is expecting to have, at minimum, a shortfall of $200 million.

ABC News

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.