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Credit…Susan Walsh/Associated Press

Shares of Tesla were down 6 percent in premarket trading on Wednesday morning, after the company announced that it still had a lot of work to do to in its efforts to make cheaper, more powerful batteries for electric cars.

The innovations could cut battery costs by more than 50 percent and nearly double the distance the vehicles can travel, which could set the set the stage for the company to make a $25,000 electric vehicle three years from now, Elon Musk, the company’s chief executive, said at a presentation on Tuesday at the company’s California factory.

But Mr. Musk, who has a reputation for promising game-changing innovations that often take far longer than expected to materialize, said many of the advances were still works in progress.

This announcement appeared to underwhelm investors, who were hoping that Mr. Musk would announce a major technical breakthrough, after the company had heightened expectations by calling the Tuesday event “Battery Day.” Tesla’s stock fell more than 5 percent on Tuesday before the event after Mr. Musk tried to temper expectations, writing on Twitter on Monday that the battery announcement would affect long-term production of Tesla’s vehicles.

The company is piloting production of batteries at its car factory in Fremont, Calif., and plans to build a cathode production plant somewhere in North America, Mr. Musk and Drew Baglino, senior vice president of powertrain and energy engineering, said at the event.

Credit…Pool photo by Joshua Roberts

The Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, is set to testify before lawmakers on Wednesday morning, his second in a three-day run of appearances that are giving him a chance to explain what the Fed is doing to support the United States economy as the coronavirus crisis wears on.

With about 11 million Americans still out of work and coronavirus cases ticking up slightly, the Fed is facing a challenging and uncertain economic outlook as it tries try to guide the labor market back to full health.

Since the crisis took hold in early March, the Fed has gone to never-before-tried lengths to support lending and keep markets functioning, rolling out emergency programs focused on corporate bonds, municipal debt and even midsize business loans. Many of the efforts are backed by a $454 billion congressional appropriation to the Treasury Department, and they have had mixed success.

Big corporations have been issuing debt at breakneck speed, helped by the Fed’s promise to back up the market, even though its actual corporate bond buying has slowed to a trickle. But the programs aimed at municipal governments and smaller businesses have seen limited takeup, and lawmakers and oversight officials have questioned whether the Fed and Treasury are being generous enough in their design.

Mr. Powell is likely to again emphasize that Congress has an important role to play in helping hard-hit businesses, governments and households. Government support has helped to shore up spending and fuel a faster-than-anticipated recovery.

“A big part of the good economic news that we have had results from the fiscal support that came with the CARES Act,” Mr. Powell said Tuesday, crediting the stimulus package for fueling consumption and helping business confidence. He said more was likely to be needed.

Mr. Powell’s hearing before the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis is scheduled to start at 10 a.m.

Credit…Lennart Preiss/Getty Images
  • European markets rose on Wednesday as investors looked beyond data showing that a second wave of coronavirus cases was fracturing the economic recovery, with a continued rebound in manufacturing and a slowdown in the services sector. On Wall Street, equity futures indicated stocks would open higher later this morning.

  • In Germany, the Dax index rose 1.6 percent, the FTSE 100 in Britain climbed 2.4 percent and the Stoxx Europe 600 was up 1.4 percent. In Asia, the main stock indexes for Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong all closed little changed from the previous day.

  • September’s IHS Markit purchasing managers index for the eurozone, an index of economic activity, fell more than economists expected, but still showed a slight expansion in overall activity over the previous month. The index was weighed down by a contraction in the services sector that was just offset by growth in manufacturing.

  • Markets were “shrugging off” this weaker-than-expected data, Milla Savova, a European equity strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said, and were instead focused on whether the pandemic was worsening in Europe. Airline stocks were rebounding on Wednesday, with shares climbing in easyJet (up 5.8 percent) Ryanair (up 3.4 percent), and jet engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce (up 6.3 percent).

  • “If European virus cases start to plateau, as we expect them to, this should reduce uncertainty around the impact of Covid-19 on the travel industry and allow airlines to price some recovery in travel activity,” Ms. Savova said.

  • The stock of Johnson & Johnson rose after the company announced Wednesday that it had begun the final stage of clinical trials for its coronavirus vaccine. Although they are a couple of months behind the other so-called Phase 3 trials in the United States, Johnson & Johnson’s trials will be the largest, with plans to enroll 60,000 participants.

  • Shares of Tesla fell 6 percent in premarket trading, a day after Elon Musk, the company’s chief executive, said the company still had a lot of work to do to make cheaper, more powerful batteries for its electric cars.

  • Shares in Adidas and Puma rose nearly 6 percent in Europe after Nike shares hit a record high in after-hours trading in the United States when the sportswear brand reported a surge in online sales.

  • One of the world’s largest technology conferences has been rescheduled, the latest sign that businesses expect coronavirus to limit travel and large gatherings for the foreseeable future. MWC Barcelona, formerly known as the Mobile World Congress, will be held next year from June 28 to July 1, instead of the first week of March, said GSMA, the industry group that organizes the conference.

  • United Airlines said on Tuesday that it planned to take a Treasury Department loan provided under the CARES Act that was passed in March, joining American Airlines. United declined to provide further details, though it had been expected to borrow up to $4.5 billion. American is expected to borrow $4.75 billion. Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines, which were both eligible for similar loans, declined to take them.

  • Nike said demand from China and strong online sales helped bolster revenue in the three months through August. Revenue fell slightly to $10.6 billion, which was better than analysts had expected, while digital sales rose 82 percent, the company said on Tuesday.

  • Responding to both the outpouring of appreciation for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg since her death last week and the scarcity of films in movie theaters, the distributors behind the documentary “RBG” and the narrative feature “On the Basis of Sex” announced on Tuesday that they would rerelease the two 2018 films in some 1,000 theaters this weekend.

Credit…The New York Times

China’s response to economic slowdowns in the past has been to greenlight multibillion-dollar construction projects to quickly pump money into the economy.

The latest idea to rev up growth during the coronavirus pandemic? Elevators.

China’s premier, Li Keqiang, and his allies in the government want to retrofit as many as three million older, walk-up apartment buildings, projects that usually cost less than $100,000.

The smaller scale projects partly reflect the fact that China has fewer opportunities to spend big. High-speed rail lines and superhighways already link every large city, so new ones connect smaller and smaller communities in China’s mountainous interior — at exorbitant cost. And the country’s debt has spiraled so high that it has become a serious drag on growth.

A national elevator policy could help mitigate the economic effects of the pandemic on China’s blue-collar workers because building them is labor intensive. It could provide jobs to some of the tens of millions of still-unemployed Chinese migrant workers.

It’s a job dominated by small, private contractors in China. The contractors then buy elevators from a multinational — usually Otis Elevator, Schindler, Kone, Mitsubishi Electric or Hitachi — or one of several smaller Chinese manufacturers, like IFE Elevators in Guangzhou.



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