Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian shares mostly rise on US rally; eyes on jobs data

WASHINGTON (AP) — America’s employers likely delivered another month of robust hiring in April, reinforcing the economy’s steady rebound from the pandemic recession.

Economists have forecast that the nation added 975,000 jobs last month after adding 916,000 in March, and that the unemployment rate slipped from 6% to 5.8%. The size of such job gains was essentially unheard-of before the pandemic. Yet most of the hiring represents a bounce-back after tens of millions of jobs were lost when the pandemic flattened the economy 14 months ago.

Even if economists’ estimate for April hiring proves accurate, the economy would remain about 7 million jobs short of its pre-pandemic level.

ECONOMY-JOBS REPORT

Big US job gain expected, if employers found enough workers

WASHINGTON (AP) — America’s employers likely delivered another month of robust hiring in April, reinforcing the economy’s steady rebound from the pandemic recession.

Economists have forecast that the nation added 975,000 jobs last month after adding 916,000 in March, and that the unemployment rate slipped from 6% to 5.8%. The size of such job gains was essentially unheard-of before the pandemic. Yet most of the hiring represents a bounce-back after tens of millions of jobs were lost when the pandemic flattened the economy 14 months ago.

Even if economists’ estimate for April hiring proves accurate, the economy would remain about 7 million jobs short of its pre-pandemic level.

FEDERAL RESERVE-FINANCIAL STABILITY

Fed warns high asset prices could make investors vulnerable

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve is warning that prices of stocks and other financial assets are rising to levels that could set investors up for big losses from sudden declines.

A Fed report released Thursday noted that stocks and other risky assets have risen in value since last November, in some cases to record highs, as the outlook for the post-pandemic U.S. economy has improved with increases in vaccinations and business re-openings.

The warning is included in the Fed’s twice-a-year “Financial Stability Report.” The central bank has been publishing the report since 2018 in an effort to highlight and address potential threats to the U.S. financial system. Its aim is to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis that pushed the U.S. and global economies into steep recessions.

APPLE-APP STORE ON TRIAL

Apple’s app store chief fends off attacks in antitrust trial

SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Apple’s top app store executive faced a barrage of documents lobbed by an Epic Games lawyer aiming to prove allegations that the iPhone maker has been gouging app makers as part of a scheme hatched by Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs.

The assault launched Thursday in an Oakland, California, courtroom came during the fourth day of an antitrust trial targeting the empire that Apple has built around its iPhone and the digital storefront that serves as the exclusive outlet for people to install apps on the ubiquitous device. Matt Fischer, the app store chief, staunchly defended Apple’s practices under dogged questioning by Epic attorney Katherine Forrest.

CYBERSECURITY-RANSOMWARE INSURANCE

Insurer AXA halts ransomware crime reimbursement in France

BOSTON (AP) — In an apparent industry first, the global insurance company AXA says it will stop writing cyber-insurance policies in France that reimburse customers for extortion payments made to ransomware criminals.

The suspension only applies to France and does not affect existing policies. That’s according to Christine Weirsky, a spokeswoman for the U.S. AXA subsidiary, a leading underwriter of cyber-insurance in the United States. She says it also does not affect coverage for responding and recovering from ransomware attacks, in which criminals based in safe havens including Russia break into networks, seed malware and cripple them by scrambling data.

CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES-UTILITY

California fire victims see little payout from settlement

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — An investigation has found that a trust set up to help compensate victims of deadly California wildfires sparked by Pacific Gas & Electric equipment paid survivors just $7 million last year in its first year of operation, while racking up $51 million in overhead.

The trust was approved by a federal judge as part of PG&E’s bankruptcy proceedings after a deadly fire nearly wiped out the town of Paradise. It is meant to compensate some 67,000 fire victims. But an investigation by KQED News found that in its first year, the trust spend nearly 90% of its funds on overhead, with some attorneys billing as much as $1,500 an hour.

PELOTON RECALL

Peloton expects to lose $165 million in revenue from recall

NEW YORK (AP) — Peloton says that the recall of its treadmills will shrink its revenue by $165 million in revenue in the current quarter.

The company is recalling about 125,000 of its Tread+ treadmills, after refusing to do so for weeks, even though the machine was linked to the death of one child and the injuries of 29 others. New York-based Peloton also has agreed to stop selling the treadmills.

In a call with Wall Street analysts Thursday, CEO John Foley again apologized for not working with the safety commission sooner and acknowledged that there is work to do to repair Peloton’s image.

MEXICO-CRUISE SHIP DOCK

Opposition grows to 4th cruise ship dock in Mexico’s Cozumel

MEXICO CITY (AP) — With tourism shattered by the pandemic, critics say yet another cruise ship dock is the last thing that Mexico’s Caribbean island of Cozumel needs.

Cozumel already has three cruise ship docks, and before the pandemic it ranked as the world’s busiest cruise ship stopover. But since last June, not a single cruise has docked there. Residents said Thursday that makes it inexplicable that yet another dock is planned for an area of sea floor that is home to a coral reef restoration project. But the project has the backing of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

CHINA-TRADE

China trade surges as global demand recovers from pandemic

BEIJING (AP) — China’s trade with the United States and the rest of the world surged by double digits in April as consumer demand recovered, but growth appeared to be slowing.

Trade data show global exports rose 32.3% over a year ago to $263.9 billion, in line with March but down from the explosive 60.6% rise in the first two months of 2021. Imports increased 43% to $221.1 billion, accelerating from March’s 38% expansion.

China’s trade gains look especially dramatic due to comparison with a year ago, when global economies shut down to fight the coronavirus. Forecasters say growth is cooling once that distortion and seasonal fluctuations are taken into account.

VIRGIN ORBIT

Virgin Orbit aims to launch multiple satellites in June

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Virgin Orbit, the satellite launch company founded by Richard Branson, is targeting June for its next mission.

The Long Beach, California-based company said Thursday it will launch satellites into orbit for the U.S. Defense Department, the Netherlands’ air force and Poland’s SatRevolution. Virgin Orbit uses a modified Boeing 747-400 jet to carry its LauncherOne rocket to high altitude, where it is released from beneath a wing and its motor is ignited. The company reached space for the first time on Jan. 17 on its Demo 2 mission. Virgin Orbit attempted its first demonstration launch in May 2020 but the rocket failed.

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