Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks rise on Wall Street, holding near their record highs

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are rising on Wall Street, keeping major indexes near the record highs they set last week. Big Tech companies had some of the strongest gains, followed by health care companies. The S&P 500 was up 0.5% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq was up 0.8%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.1%.

Energy was mixed after shooting higher last week as Hurricane Ida headed for the Gulf Coast.

Affirm soared 45% after the payments company announced a deal last week with Amazon to offer shoppers a buy-now-pay-later option that doesn’t involve credit cards.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-EUROPE-US TRAVELERS

EU takes US off safe travel list; backs travel restrictions

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union has recommended that its 27 nations reinstate restrictions on tourists from the U.S. because of rising coronavirus infections there.

The decision by the European Council to remove the U.S. from a safe list of countries for nonessential travel reverses its advice in June, when the bloc recommended lifting restrictions on U.S. travelers before the summer tourism season. The guidance is nonbinding, though, and U.S. travelers should expect a mishmash of travel rules across the continent. National EU governments have the authority to decide whether they keep their borders open to U.S. tourists.

Coronavirus deaths have surged in the U.S. recently, rising to over 1,200 a day, and new daily cases are over 150,000 a day.

TROPICAL WEATHER-ECONOMIC IMPACT

As Ida leaves Gulf, analysts foresee modest economic damage

WASHINGTON (AP) — With more than 1 million customers in Louisiana and Mississippi having lost power, Hurricane Ida is sure to take a toll on the energy, chemical and shipping industries that have major hubs along the Gulf Coast. But the impact on the overall U.S. economy will likely be modest so long as damage estimates don’t rise sharply and refinery shutdowns are not prolonged, economists say.

The hurricane is expected to inflict a less severe financial impact than Hurricane Katrina did 16 years ago, thanks to a lower storm surge and New Orleans’ improved levee system, which is better able to withstand storm surges.

PNC-WAGE INCREASES

PNC to raise base wages to $18 an hour, latest bank to do so

NEW YORK (AP) — PNC Bank is the latest large U.S. financial services company to increase wages in a bid to keep and attract employees. It is raising its minimum wage to $18 an hour while also giving higher-paid workers a bump in pay.

The bank says the wage increase will apply to both PNC employees as well as those working for BBVA USA, which PNC acquired last year. Base-level PNC employees will see their wages increase from $15 an hour to $18, a 20% pay raise. The increase is more substantial at BBVA, which had an $11 minimum wage before PNC bought the bank.

CHINA-GAMING LIMITS

China limits children to 3 hours of online gaming a week

BEIJING (AP) — China is banning children from playing online games for more than three hours a week, the harshest restriction so far on the game industry as Chinese regulators continue cracking down on the technology sector.

Regulators announced that minors in China can only play games between 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays, weekends and on public holidays starting Sept. 1. That limits gaming to three hours a week for most weeks of the year, down from a previous restriction set in 2019 that allowed minors play games for an hour and a half per day and three hours on public holidays.

The restriction is part of an ongoing crackdown on technology companies amid concerns that they may have an outsized influence on society.

NUCLEAR REACTORS-DEAL

Failed nuclear contractor signs $21M deal, working with feds

UNDATED (AP) — The chief contractor at a failed multibillion-dollar project to build two nuclear reactors in South Carolina has agreed to pay more than $20 million as part of a cooperation agreement with federal authorities probing the fiasco.

Acting U.S. Attorney Rhett DeHart said Monday that Westinghouse Electric Co. will contribute $21.25 million to a program intended to assist low-income ratepayers affected by the project’s failure. The company will also be required to cooperate with federal investigators still probing the company’s role in the 2017 debacle at the V.C. Summer plant, which cost ratepayers and investors billions and left nearly 6,000 people jobless. Three top-level executives have pleaded guilty as part of a multi-year federal fraud investigation.

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