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Top Ten: Weekend reads: The best ways the government can help as the coronavirus shuts down businesses

The talk surrounding the coronavirus and how to fight it shifted even more dramatically this week. The Federal Reserve jumped in with more emergency measures, President Trump started talking about bailouts and economists made ever-direr predictions about economic growth, all while infection numbers increased rapidly. Some state governors are telling peopleto stay home.

J.P. Morgan has predicted a 14% decline in U.S. GDP for the second quarter — that would exceed the 13% decline in 1932, during the Great Depression. Goldman Sachs says new claims for unemployment benefits could reach a stunning 2.25 million.

Now the focus moves to how to help people and businesses.

President Trump signed a bill led by House of Representative Democrats to provide paid leave for workers affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and expanded coronavirus testing. Now bipartisan consensus is building for a very large package of relief that could be signed into law as quickly as next week.

Republicans led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell want the government to send payments of as much as $1,200 to individuals and $2,400 to couples, but an economist at J.P. Morgan Chase recommends that businesses be compensated for retaining workers.

Rex Nutting recommends a broad approach to keep a severe recession from destroying our economic machinery.

Industry bailouts

Trump now says he wants to help industries threatened by various shutdowns meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Here’s a list of industries that may be bailed out.

But some want to make sure that company executives aren’t the primary beneficiaries. Here are Mark Cuban’s suggested bailout rules to ensure that all employees benefit.

Related:Airlines and Boeing want a bailout — but look how much they’ve spent on stock buybacks

Looking ahead to the stock market’s bottom

Some conventional measures of stock valuations (such as price/earnings) are meaningless during a dire economic crisis. Mark Hulbert takes a measured approach to help investors recognize a market bottom for stocks, when it comes. He also considers whether the recent decline in gold prices is setting up a buying opportunity.

More about investing during bad times:‘You make most of your money in a bear market; you just don’t realize it at the time’

If you’re looking to make a quick killing with biotech stocks as companies work toward a COVID-19 vaccine…

You better be careful, says Michael Brush.

Read on:Three stocks that are ‘part of the solution’ to the coronavirus crisis

A low-volatility investing approach wins through thick and thin

You won’t be surprised that lower-volatility stock ETFs have fared better than the broad market since the S&P 500 hit its last record on Feb. 19. But they also outperformed before the coronavirus crash.

The ‘new normal’ in Hong Kong

An American executive in Hong Kong explains how the island territory is emerging from its coronavirus lockdown. Read more of MarketWatch’s dispatches from the front lines of the pandemic.

Why aren’t mortgage rates falling?

Jacob Passy explains why mortgage interest rates have risen considerably, despite the Federal Open Market Committee’s two emergency interest-rate cuts.

Buffett’s wisdom

It’s probably a good idea not to limit your reading to coronavirus and economic news. Here are words of wisdom from Berkshire Hathaway BRK.B, -2.64% CEO Warren Buffett about how knowing the limits of your expertise can help you build wealth.

A tax haven in Wyoming

Here’s how Jackson Hole became a tax haven for the ultrarich.

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