Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks waver after sharp pullback

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are wobbling between small gains and losses on Wall Street following a sharp pullback a day earlier.

The S&P 500 was up 0.2% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up about as much. Health care stocks made solid gains, along with technology companies. Uber jumped 9.3% after raising its outlook.

European markets were also higher, and Asian markets mostly rose. Chinese markets remained closed for a holiday.

Homebuilder Lennar fell 1.7% as supply chain problems hurt home deliveries. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was stable at 1.31%.

HOME CONSTRUCTION

US home construction up 3.9% in August after July drop

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home construction rebounded 3.9% in August after a July decline with the strength coming in apartment construction. The Commerce Department says the August increase left home construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.62 million units, 17.4% above the pace of a year ago.

The strength came in a 21.6% jump in construction of apartment units which offset a 2.8% fall in construction starts of single-family homes. Applications for building permits, seen ;as a good sign of future activity, rose 6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.73 million units.

J&J-BOOSTER DOSE

J&J: Booster dose of its COVID shot prompts strong response

LONDON (AP) — Johnson & Johnson says a booster dose to its one-shot coronavirus vaccine provides a strong immune response months after people receive a first dose. The company says an extra dose — given two months or six months after the initial shot — revved up protection. The results haven’t yet been published or vetted by other scientists.

The J&J vaccine was considered an important tool in fighting the pandemic because it requires only one shot. But even as rollout began, the company already was running a global test of whether a two-dose course might be more effective.

GLOBAL ECONOMY

OECD urges rich nations to share vaccines to even-up growth

PARIS (AP) — A leading international economic watchdog is urging developed countries to put more effort into providing low-income countries with coronavirus vaccines in order to ensure that the global recovery from the pandemic is more even.

In its latest assessment of the state of the global economy, the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says the global recovery from the shock of the pandemic is faster than it anticipated a year ago. Though the global economy has more than recouped the 3.4% output lost in 2020, it cautioned that the recovery is “uneven.” It also said current inflationary pressures in the world economy arising from the reopening of economies should start to fade from next year.

UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY-SPACE BILLIONAIRES

Billionaires rocketing into space draw UN chief’s red glare

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is a no-go for launching billionaires into space. Guterres has called out billionaires for joyriding into space while millions go hungry.

In July, billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos flew into space, just missing orbit, on spaceships their companies built. Billionaire Jared Isaacman and three others returned from three days in orbit on Saturday. Unlike Branson and Bezos, Isaacman used his flight to help raise $200 million for a children’s cancer hospital.

Guterres is likening billionaires in space to more Earth-bound maladies of loss of personal freedom, hopelessness and corruption.

GOOGLE-NYC

Google to spend $2.1 billion on Manhattan campus acquisition

NEW YORK (AP) — Google is planning to buy New York’s St. John’s Terminal for $2.1 billion, making it the anchor of its Hudson Square campus.

Alphabet and Google Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat says the company is looking to invest more than $250 million in its New York campus this year. Google’s had a presence in New York for over 20 years.

St. John’s Terminal, a former freight facility, is located at 550 Washington Street. Google currently leases the property and expects to open its new space there by the middle of 2023.

EMPLOYERS-AFGHAN REFUGEES

Amazon, Chobani and others vow to hire Afghan refugees

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon, Chobani, UPS and more than 30 other companies have vowed to hire and train refugees fleeing Afghanistan for the U.S. The companies say they want to help the tens of thousands of Afghan refugees coming to America to integrate into the economy. A first group of 37,000 Afghan refugees started making their way to states this month.

The 33 companies said they were joining the Tent Coalition for Afghan Refugees, a coalition founded by Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder and CEO of yogurt and food company Chobani. UPS, the package delivery company, said it would work with refugees to place them in the right jobs.

RANSOMWARE-SANCTIONS

Biden administration targets ransomware payment ‘enablers’

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is taking aim at the financial marketplace for criminal ransomware gangs. The U.S. government is announcing sanctions against a Russia-based virtual currency exchange that officials say has processed illicit transaction for attackers.

The Treasury Department sanctions are aimed at disrupting the economic infrastructure of a ransomware threat that has surged over the last year and targeted vital corporations and critical infrastructure. The administration selected for sanctions a currency exchange known as SUEX OTC, which officials say has facilitated transactions for at least eight ransomware variants.

TOYOTA-NEW TUNDRA

Toyota scraps V8 in Tundra redesign, adds hybrid powertrain

DETROIT (AP) — Toyota is dumping the big V8 engine in the latest redesign of its Tundra full-size pickup truck, a bold move in a market that likes big, powerful engines.

The 381 horsepower, 5.7-liter V8 will be replaced by a base 389 horsepower 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6. There’s also an optional gas-electric hybrid system with 437 horsepower. The move is necessary due to stronger U.S. fuel economy requirements that soon will be imposed under President Joe Biden.

The old V8 got only 13 miles per gallon in the city and 17 on the highway. Toyota wouldn’t say the mileage for the new engines, but said they’ll be more efficient and powerful than the outgoing V8. Prices weren’t released. The new truck goes on sale later this year as a 2022 model.

AUTOS-STELLANTIS

Carmaker Stellantis loses former FCA CEO Manley

MILAN (AP) — PSA Peugeot’s takeover of Fiat Chrysler to form the world’s fourth-largest carmaker has had its first executive casualty, with former Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley stepping down as his role of head of the Americas.

Stellantis announced that Manley, 57, was leaving to become CEO of the largest dealership network in the United States, AutoNation Inc., based in Florida. Manley will not be replaced, and Americas chief operating officer Antonio Filosa will report directly to Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares.

UNIVERSAL-MUSIC

Market debut of Universal Music Group is a smash hit

UNDATED (AP) — The market debut of Universal Music Group is a hit with investors optimistic about the future of steaming music. Shares jumped nearly 40% today to almost $26 per each in trading on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange.

Universal has a huge roster of stars including Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Lady Gaga, the Beatles and Bob Dylan. Universal has rights to that massive catalog of hits and with the pandemic hitting the music industry hard, it has still thrived as music spreads to other platforms like Spotify, YouTube and TikTok.

ITALY-ALITALIA

Alitalia’s final weeks flying marked by protests, apologies

ROME (AP) — Italy’s failing national airline Alitalia is telling passengers to just bring a single piece of hand luggage when travelling. That’s because intensifying strikes and labor protests are disrupting services ahead of the airline’s planned Oct. 14 demise.

In a series of tweets today, Alitalia apologized to its customers and blamed the disruptions on union meetings.

Alitalia has been in the red for more than a decade. It is due to formally leave the airline market next month and be replaced by a new national carrier ITA, short for Italy Air Transport. Alitalia employees have been protesting that ITA is only going to hire around a quarter of the airline’s estimated 10,000 employees.

MCDONALD’S-PLASTIC-TOYS

McDonald’s begins phasing out plastic toys in Happy Meals

UNDATED (AP) — McDonald’s plans to “drastically” reduce the plastic in its Happy Meal toys worldwide by 2025. The company, which sells more than 1 billion toys each year, says the new goal will reduce its use of virgin plastic by 90%. The burger giant says it’s working with toy companies to develop new ideas, such as three-dimensional cardboard superheroes kids can build. McDonald’s said it’s also exploring using recycled plastic toys to make new restaurant trays. The company already made the change in the U.K. and Ireland, where it only sells soft toys or books in its Happy Meals.

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