Update on the latest in business:


Stocks drift on Wall Street; Treasury yields keep rallying

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are drifting near their record heights, while Treasury yields keep marching higher amid expectations that the economy will pull out of its slump after a powerful recovery sweeps the globe later this year.

The S&P 500 was 0.1% lower after flipping between small gains and losses in the first hour of trading. The 10-year yield rose to 1.18%.

Markets have been charging higher recently on optimism about COVID-19 vaccines and more stimulus for the economy potentially coming from Washington. But the gains have been so big that critics say stocks and other investments simply look too expensive.


Job openings down in most industries, while layoffs spike

WASHINGTON (AP) — Layoffs spiked in November compared with the previous month and the number of job openings slipped, a sign the job market has stalled as the resurgent coronavirus has forced new shutdowns of restaurants and bars and discouraged consumer spending.

While the layoffs were concentrated among restaurants, bars and hotels, the slowdown in job postings was widespread across most industries, a sign that businesses in general are reluctant to hire new workers amid the pandemic recession.


Social media crackdown continues after siege of US Capitol

UNDATED (AP) — Social media platforms are continuing to crackdown on fringe groups and conspiracy theories following last week’s deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Twitter suspended more than 70,000 accounts associated with the far right QAnon conspiracy and Facebook is removing posts and content fraudulently claiming that the U.S. election was stolen as social media companies scramble to rein in harmful activity ahead of the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20.

Twitter said Tuesday that given the events last week in Washington, D.C., where a mob of pro-Trump loyalists tried to violently storm the Capitol building, it was taking action against online behavior “that has the potential to lead to offline harm.”


EU regulator is considering Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

LONDON (AP) — The European Medicines Agency says AstraZeneca and Oxford University have submitted an application for their COVID-19 vaccine to be licensed across the 27-nation European Union.

In a statement Tuesday, the EU regulator said it has a request for the vaccine to be green-lighted and that it could be approved by Jan. 29. Coronavirus vaccines made by Pfizer and BioNTech and Moderna have already been approved in the EU. Britain gave the OK to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine last month.

Elsewhere in Europe, the EU concluded early talks to secure 60 million doses of another coronavirus vaccine and Switzerland approved the Moderna shot.


Sheldon Adelson, casino mogul and GOP power broker, dies

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire mogul, Republican mega-donor and power broker who built a casino empire spanning from Las Vegas to China and became a singular force in domestic and international politics has died after a long illness.

Adelson died at 87 from complications related to treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was the son of Jewish immigrants, raised with two siblings in a Boston tenement, who over the second half of his life became one of the world’s richest men.

The chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands brought singing gondoliers to the Vegas Strip. resembled an old-fashioned political boss and was considered the nation’s most influential GOP donor over the final years of his life, setting records for individual contributions.


Boeing deliveries drop despite 737 Max’s return to flight

UNDATED (AP) — Boeing is reporting final 2020 numbers for airplane orders and deliveries, and they are down from 2019 even though the 737 Max is flying again. Boeing said Tuesday that it booked 90 orders for new airliners in December, most of them for Ireland’s Ryanair.

Boeing also says it delivered 39 commercial planes in December, including 28 Max jets. American Airlines took 10 Maxes and United Airlines got eight. Those deliveries came after the Federal Aviation Administration approved changes in a flight-control system on the plane. Maxes were grounded worldwide for 21 months after crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people.

The market for new planes remains depressed by the COVID-19 pandemic, however.


Enbridge rejects Michigan’s demand to shut down oil pipeline

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Enbridge says it will defy Michigan’s demand to shut down an oil pipeline that runs through a channel linking two of the Great Lakes.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in November moved to revoke a 1953 state easement that allowed Enbridge’s Line 5 to be placed along the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac. The Democratic governor said the company had violated the terms and put Lake Michigan and Lake Huron at risk.

In a letter Tuesday, officials with the Calgary, Alberta-based company said the issues that Whitmer raised have been fixed and the pipeline meets the easement requirements. Line 5 runs between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario, traversing parts of northern Michigan and Wisconsin.


GM charges up new unit to sell electric delivery vans, gear

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors is forming a new business unit to tap the market for delivery vehicles and equipment powered by electricity.

The new venture is called BrightDrop, and its first product will be a battery-powered wheeled pallet that will take goods from the warehouse to trucks and from trucks to destinations. Then GM will roll out a delivery van. The company wasn’t clear on how the products would be sold, giving no specifics on whether they would be distributed through dealerships or if GM would sell directly to customers.

The EP1 pallet will go on sale early this year, with the EV600 van on the roads late in the year with FedEx, the company’s first customer.

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