Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Technology shares sink broader market in midday trading

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks were solidly lower in midday trading, dragged down by big technology companies like Apple and Google.

Every sector in the benchmark S&P 500 index fell as investors continue to focus on corporate earnings and gauge the economic recovery’s progress.

Earnings and most economic indicators have been signaling a steady recovery, but investors remain concerned about the lingering threat from COVID-19, inflation and other factors that could crimp progress.

The S&P 500 index was down 1.2%.

Bond yields fell, putting pressure on banks which rely on higher yields to charge more lucrative interest.

TRADE GAP

US trade deficit hits record $74.4 billion in March

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit surged to a record $74.4 billion in March as an improving U.S. economy boosted purchases of imported foreign goods.

The Commerce Department reported that the March deficit was 5.6% higher than the February gap of $70,5 billion.

The trade deficit is the gap between what America buys from abroad and what it sells to other countries.

Imports rose 6.3% to $274.5 billion while exports increased 6.6% to $200 billion. The U.S. imports so much more than it exports that in dollar terms, the rise in imports was greater.

The politically sensitive deficit with China in goods rose 11.6% to $27.7 billion, as usual, the largest deficit with any single country.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-EUROPE-VACCINE

EU regulators start review of China’s Sinovac vaccine

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The European Union’s drug regulator says it has started a rolling review of China’s Sinovac coronavirus vaccine to assess its effectiveness and safety, which is a first step toward possible approval for use in the 27-nation bloc.

The European Medicines Agency says its decision to start the review is based on preliminary results from laboratory studies and clinical studies. The agency said in a statement, “These studies suggest that the vaccine triggers the production of antibodies” that fight the coronavirus “and may help protect against the disease.”

The EMA added that no application has yet been submitted for marketing authorization for the vaccine.

PFIZER-RESULTS

Vaccine sales power Pfizer through first quarter

UNDATED (AP) — Pfizer is raising its 2021 revenue expectations amid the successful rollout of its COVID-19 vaccine and strong performances from many other medicines.

The New York drugmaker and its German partner on the vaccine, BioNTech, continue to sign contracts for their popular two-dose shot with multiple countries. They now expect to rake in roughly $26 billion from it, up from their prior forecast of about $15 billion.

Pfizer on Tuesday reported first-quarter earnings of $4.88 billion, or 86 cents per share. Per-share earnings were 93 cents if one-time costs or gains are removed, far above the 79 cents Wall Street anticipated.

CVS-RESULTS

After an 11% profit spike, CVS outlook for 2021 grows rosy

UNDATED (AP) — CVS Health hiked its 2021 forecast and beat Wall Street’s first-quarter expectations as a growing insurance business countered hits the health care giant took from a weak cold and flu season.

The company covered more people through Medicaid and Medicare Advantage, and adjusted operating earnings from health insurance jumped nearly 20% in the quarter.

CVS Health also delivered more than 23 million COVID-19 tests and 17 million vaccine doses through April, which helped its drugstore business. But the on-going pandemic also hurt sales of drugs and products that help customers deal with colds and the flu.

ITALY-EARNS-FERRARI

Ferrari 1Q profits rebound, postpones 2022 targets

MILAN (AP) — Italian luxury sportscar maker Ferrari says it won’t hit 2022 financial targets due to the coronavirus pandemic, despite a strong rebound in the first quarter of 2021.

The carmaker said Tuesday that net profit for the first three months of the year rebounded by 24% to 206 million euros, compared with 166 million euros in the same period of 2020. Deliveries were slightly up at 2,771, while revenues rose 8% to just over 1 billion euros.

Chairman and acting CEO John Elkann called it a strong start and “testimony to the resilience of our business model.” At the same time, the company postponed by one-year financial targets set out in a 2018-2022 business plan.

SAUDI-ARAMCO-EARNS

Saudi oil firm Aramco’s first-quarter profits up by 30%

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Aramco’s profits have soared by 30% in the first-quarter of the year, compared to last year, riding on the back of higher crude oil prices.

The oil company’s financial results were released on Tuesday. They show a net income of $21.7 billion for the first three months of the year, compared to the same period in 2020 when Aramco’s earnings plunged to $16.7 billion as the early effects of the coronavirus pandemic began to dramatically drive down global demand for oil.

The company is more than 98% owned by the Saudi government with 1.7% traded on the Saudi stock exchange.

HYUNDAI-FIRE RISKS

Hyundai recalls over 390K vehicles for possible engine fires

DETROIT (AP) — Hyundai is recalling over 390,000 vehicles in the U.S. and Canada for problems that can cause engine fires.

In one recall, owners are being told to park outdoors until repairs are made. That recall covers more than 203,000 Santa Fe Sport SUVs from 2013 through 2015. Some are being recalled a second time.

Brake fluid can leak into a brake computer, causing an electrical short that can lead to fires.

UAW-CORRUPTION

Government seeks 2-year prison sentence for ex-UAW leader

DETROIT (AP) — Prosecutors are seeking a two-year prison sentence for a former president of the United Auto Workers.

The government says Dennis Williams led “two lives,” as a leader of a blue-collar union who also had a taste for premium champagne and California villas.

Williams pleaded guilty last year to an embezzlement scheme that turned union dues into a pot of cash for golf, lodging and fancy meals. Williams will be sentenced May 11. Williams has tried to portray himself as a reluctant participant. But the government says he devised ways to conceal the spending.

Williams is seeking a prison sentence of a year and a day, which would qualify him for good behavior credits.

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