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U.S. stocks tumble amid a spate of glum forecasts.

Stocks plunged on Thursday, a third-straight day of declines on Wall Street, as investors considered a space of grim forecasts about the economy and an uptick in new coronavirus cases in parts of the United States and around the world.

The S&P 500 fell more than 2 percent, on track for its worst daily drop since early May. Shares of airlines, hotels, and other businesses that have rallied recently amid optimism over the lifting of pandemic lockdowns fell sharply.

Oil prices, a measure of concern about the economy, also tumbled and shares of energy companies were sharply lower.

Stocks in London, Paris and Frankfurt were also about 3 percent lower.

Even as stocks have rallied in recent weeks, some Wall Street analysts have cautioned that a second wave of coronavirus cases that triggers a new round of stay-at-home restrictions or layoffs could spook investors.

Xie Yiyi, who is American-educated, lost her job last Friday, making the 22-year-old Beijing resident one of millions of young people in China left unmoored and shaken by the coronavirus.

So that same day, heeding the advice of one of China’s top leaders, she decided to open a barbecue stall.

Street vendors are seen by many Chinese people as embarrassing eyesores from the country’s past, when it was still emerging from extreme poverty. In many Chinese cities, uniformed neighborhood rules enforcers called chengguan regularly evict and assault sidewalk sellers of fake jewelry, cheap clothes and spicy snacks.

But Li Keqiang, China’s premier, had publicly called for the country’s jobless to ignite a “stall economy” to get the country’s derailed economy back on track. In the process, he laid bare China’s diverging narratives after the coronavirus epidemic. Is China an increasingly middle-class country, represented by the skyscrapers and tech campuses in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen? Or is much of it still poor and backward, a country of roadside stalls in back alleys?

Mr. Li’s comments defied the Communist Party’s usual narrative of untrammeled prosperity, which helped legitimize its rule.

Cities rushed to lure vendors to the streets. A few even set recruiting quotas for the chengguan, meaning that the people who once harassed and beat vendors now had to support them. An economist estimated that 50 million jobs could be created if the government gave more space to the vendors and farmers selling their produce.

But then a backlash began, and the state media began reining in the enthusiasm. “The stall economy isn’t appropriate for first-tier cities,” said China Central Television, the state broadcaster, referring to relatively wealthy cities like Beijing and Shanghai. Allowing the stall economy to make a comeback in those cities is “equivalent of going backward in decades overnight,” it wrote. “It’s a departure from high-quality growth.”

“Governments are caught in a dilemma,” said Jim Krane, an energy expert at Rice University who has studied subsidies. “Do they want to protect the poor who may have lost their jobs and incomes, or do they want to take action against the pernicious long-term cost to their budgets?”

Catch up: Here’s what else is happening.

  • Rose Marcario, the chief executive of Patagonia for 12 years, is stepping down effective June 12, the outdoors brand said on Wednesday evening. It did not give a reason for her departure. Patagonia’s sales have dropped 50 percent in North America because of the coronavirus pandemic. The company’s transition will be led by Doug Freeman, its chief operating officer.

  • Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., will reopen on a limited basis on July 17, the theme park’s 65th anniversary, the Walt Disney Company said on Wednesday. California Adventure, an adjacent Disney property, will also reopen on that date. A phased reopening of Disney’s hotels in Anaheim will follow on July 23. The plans must still be approved by state and local health officials. Disney World is scheduled to begin reopening on July 11. Disney parks in France, Japan and Hong Kong remain closed.

  • Los Angeles County issued guidelines for film and television to begin production as early as Friday, but it’s more likely that production will not resume until July at the earliest. Studios and production companies are still waiting for unions to determine job protocols, even though the industry issued its own white paper last week that established general guidelines for resuming production.

Reporting was contributed by Tiffany Hsu, Clifford Krauss, Li Yuan, Mohammed Hadi, Kate Conger, Adam Satariano, Michael J. de la Merced, Brooks Barnes, Carlos Tejada and Nicole Sperling.



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