Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks gain amid hope for additional aid

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are rising as hopes for economic aid from Washington help Wall Street shake off its initial reaction to sell after President Donald Trump tested positive for the coronavirus.

The S&P 500 was 1.4% higher in late morning trading on solid gains from technology, health care and financial companies.

Treasury yields, stocks overseas and oil were all climbing after Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi both noted the importance over the weekend of additional support for the economy.

Trump’s doctors also said he may leave the hospital soon, though his condition remains clouded in uncertainty.

ECONOMY-SERVICES

Service sector grows for the 4th consecutive month

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. services sector, where most Americans work, grew for a fourth straight month in September as the country continued to reopen following a spring shutdown.

The Institute for Supply Management reported Monday that its index of services activity rose to a reading of 57.8 last month, 0.9 percentage point higher than the August reading of 56.9. Any reading above 50 signifies expansion in services industries such as restaurants, department stores and delivery companies.

The index had fallen sharply for three months starting in March as shutdowns aimed at containing the virus closed many businesses and put millions of Americans out of work. But starting in June, the index has resumed rising.

THEATER CHAIN-CLOSINGS

Hundreds of Regal, Cineworld movie theaters to close

LONDON (AP) — Shares in the company that owns the Regal, Cineworld and Picturehouse cinemas in the U.S. and Britain have fallen sharply after it said it will temporarily close its venues. The move came after release of the latest James Bond film was postponed due to the pandemic. It said that left it with few blockbusters to attract customers.

Cineworld Group Plc said Monday that 536 Regal cinemas in the U.S. and 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse venues in the U.K. will close on Thursday. Some 45,000 employees are affected.

The company says that with major markets such as New York closed and no guidance on when they will reopen, “studios have been reluctant to release their pipeline of new films.”

VIRUS OUTBREAK-HOLIDAY SHOPPING

Pandemic pushes start of holiday shopping earlier than ever

NEW YORK (AP) — Add last-minute holiday shopping to the list of time-honored traditions being upended by the coronavirus pandemic.

Retailers are kicking off the holiday season earlier than ever this year in hopes of avoiding big in-store crowds and shipping bottlenecks in November and December. Stores like Best Buy, Macy’s, and Target typically offer their biggest Black Friday deals over Thanksgiving weekend, but now they’re starting them in October so people don’t crowd their stores later, creating a potentially dangerous situation during a pandemic.

And with more people expected to shop online, retailers are trying to avoid a rush of orders closer to Christmas, which could lead to late packages and more expensive shipping.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-FRANCE

Paris region on maximum virus alert

PARIS (AP) — French authorities have placed the Paris region on maximum virus alert, banning festive gatherings and requiring all bars to close but allowing restaurants to remain open, as numbers of infections are rapidly increasing.

Paris police prefect Didier Lallement announced the new restrictions would apply at least for the next two weeks. Starting on Tuesday, bars will be closed in Paris and its suburbs. Student parties and all other festive and family events in establishments open to the public will be banned.

Restaurants will remain open under strict conditions, including a minimum 1-meter distance between each table and groups limited to six people.

NVIDIA-BRITAIN-SUPERCOMPUTER

Nvidia says it will build UK’s most powerful supercomputer

LONDON (AP) — Graphics chip maker Nvidia plans to build Britain’s fastest supercomputer that healthcare researchers can use to work on medical problems including COVID-19.

Nvidia said Monday it will spend $52 million on the supercomputer, dubbed Cambridge-1. It will consist of 80 Nvidia systems and is expected to be online by the end of the year. Nvidia’s CEO said Cambridge-1 will be available to healthcare researchers using artificial intelligence to working on urgent medical challenges.

The announcement comes after the company said last month it agreed to buy U.K.-based chip designer Arm Holdings for up to $40 billion.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-CYBERCRIME

EU police agency issues warning about pandemic cybercrime

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The European Union police agency says in a new report that cybercriminals are cashing in on the coronavirus crisis by targeting people and companies that are spending more time online due to work-from-home orders.

Europol issued its annual Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment Monday. It underscores earlier warnings by the Hague-based police organization to the EU’s 27 member states about cybercrime during the pandemic.

The assessment covers all aspects of cybercrime. It cautions that “many individuals and businesses that may not have been as active online before the crisis became a lucrative target” for cybercriminals who are able to quickly adapt existing online crime to fit emerging vulnerabilities.

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