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Mnuchin says hardest-hit businesses should be next aid focus

Posted on Tuesday, June 30th, 2020 By Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer


American flags are reflected in a protective shield as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the coronavirus response on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 30, 2020. (Tasos Katopodis/Pool via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Congress on Tuesday that the administration wants the next round of economic aid to focus supporting businesses like restaurants that have been hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis.

Mnuchin said he is already talking to lawmakers about getting another round of relief approved by the end of July. He said those discussions included ways to use leftover funds from the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill signed by President Donald Trump in late March.

There is about $128 billion in that program that has not been doled out from the popular Paycheck Protection Program, which was designed to help businesses keep their workers on the payroll. The program, which had $659 billion to use to support small businesses, will no longer be able to extend loans after Tuesday unless Congress approves an extension.

Testifying before the House Financial Services Committee, Mnuchin said that the administration is committed to “working with the House and the Senate so we can pass legislation by the end of July.”

The House has passed the Heroes Act that would provide an additional nearly $1 trillion of economic support. That legislation has not been taken up by the Senate.

Mnuchin testified along with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell at the oversight hearing held by the House panel. The coronavirus rescue package, known as the CARES Act, requires both Mnuchin and Powell to testify before Congress on a quarterly basis on the legislation's implementation.

In his testimony, Powell said that the outlook for the economy is “extraordinarily uncertain" at the and that a full recovery is unlikely “until people are confident that it is safe to re-engage in a broad range of activities.”

The Fed has slashed interest rates to near zero and pumped $2 trillion into purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities to support the financial system. It is also providing additional support through 11 special programs that facilitate the functioning of credit markets for businesses and consumers and borrowing by state and local governments.

7 Stocks to Buy Before the Economy Reopens

Anyone who pretends they know when the economy will reopen is not telling you the truth. And more importantly, what reopening the economy is going to look like is anybody’s guess. For certain we’re not going to be seeing anything that resembles business as usual. And more likely than not, this will not be the “V-shaped” recovery that some analysts are predicting.

Restaurants may be open, but seating capacity is likely to be limited as social distancing will remain the custom. Live sports may return, but it’s not unreasonable to expect that games will be played without fans, or at least with very few fans in attendance.

And there are other considerations as well. Workers will be allowed to go back to work, but after discovering the time value of working from home will they want to. And maybe equally as important, will employers want them to come into the office?

These are fascinating scenarios that will define the post-virus, pre-vaccine economy. But as an investor, you know that there are stocks you can buy right now that will be ready to flourish when the economy reopens.

On this list, we’re not looking at theme parks or airlines. They will come around, but slowly. Instead, we’ve picked seven stocks in different sectors that stand to benefit as the economy finds its new normal.

View the "7 Stocks to Buy Before the Economy Reopens".

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