Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks fall in afternoon trading

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell in afternoon trading as markets remain turbulent amid a busy week of earnings from some of the nation’s biggest companies. Microsoft and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, were among the bigger weights on the market. Both of them will report their latest quarterly results after the closing bell.

The S&P 500 fell 2%, The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.7% and the...

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FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks fall in afternoon trading

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell in afternoon trading as markets remain turbulent amid a busy week of earnings from some of the nation’s biggest companies. Microsoft and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, were among the bigger weights on the market. Both of them will report their latest quarterly results after the closing bell.

The S&P 500 fell 2%, The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.7% and the Nasdaq fell 3.1%.

General Electric slumped after its own earnings report, and Twitter was down a day after reaching an agreement to be taken private by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

US consumers still confident in April, but slightly less so

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence dampened slightly in April but remains high even as inflation concerns continue to cloud their optimism about the rest of the year.

The Conference Board, a business research group, says its consumer confidence index — which takes into account consumers’ assessment of current conditions and their outlook for the future — edged down to 107.3 in April from 107.6 in March.

The expectations index, based on consumers’ six-month outlook for income, business and labor market conditions, ticked up to 77.2 in April from 76.7 in March. It remains a weak spot in the survey.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-BIDEN

Administration expands availability of COVID antiviral pill

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s administration is taking steps to expand availability of the life-saving COVID-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid. The administration is trying to reassure doctors that there is ample supply for people at high risk of severe illness or death from the coronavirus.

Paxlovid is produced by Pfizer and was first approved in December. Supply of the regimen was initially very limited. But as COVID-19 cases across the country have fallen and manufacturing has increased, it is now far more abundant.

White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha says the administration wants to make the treatment available to anyone who needs it.

BIDEN-LIGHT BULBS

Light bulb rule ensures brighter future, energy chief says

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is scrapping old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs. The aim is to speed an ongoing trend toward more efficient lighting that officials say will save households, schools and businesses billion of dollars a year.

Rules finalized by the Energy Department will require manufacturers to sell energy-efficient lightbulbs, accelerating a longtime industry practice to use compact fluorescent and LED bulbs that last 25 to 50 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

The Trump administration had slowed an earlier phaseout of incandescents, saying it was targeting rules that burden businesses.

UNITED AIRLINES-EUROPE

United bets on heavy travel demand to Europe

DALLAS (AP) — Is travel to Europe going to boom this summer? United Airlines is betting on it.

United says it will operate more flights across the Atlantic this summer than it did in 2019, the last summer before the pandemic. Patrick Quayle, United’s senior vice president of international network, says it’s the biggest single transatlantic increase in United’s history.

There is risk to United’s plans, as international flying has lagged the recovery in domestic travel. And of course there is a war going on in Ukraine. But Quayle says the war is not affecting bookings to other places in Europe.

JETBLUE-RESULTS

JetBlue sees return to profitability delayed by flight woes

DALLAS (AP) — JetBlue is further dialing back its growth plans after struggling with a high number of canceled flights.

The company said Tuesday that it lost $255 million in the first quarter but saw strong demand for travel, which pushed revenue higher. But in April, JetBlue has canceled about 10% of its flights. The airline is blaming a shortage of pilots, bad weather, air traffic-control delays and other issues.

Like other airlines, JetBlue is seeing strong demand for travel, and that’s pushing fares nearly one-third higher than they were a year ago. But the airline is also seeing sharply higher costs for jet fuel and labor.

DELTA-FLIGHT ATTENDANTS-PAY

Delta to begin paying flight attendants during boarding

UNDATED (AP) — Delta Air Lines will start paying flight attendants during the time that passengers are boarding. That’s a first for a major U.S. airline. Flight attendants in the U.S. generally don’t begin getting paid until the doors close after boarding.

Delta says the change will take effect in June, and it comes on top of pay raises for flight attendants. The pay increase comes as Delta faces another attempt by unions to organize its non-union flight attendants.

CARNIVAL-CEO

CEO of cruise line operator Carnival to step down in August

MIAMI (AP) — Carnival Corp. will soon get a new CEO at the helm of the cruise line operator. The company says CEO Arnold Donald will step down on Aug. 1 and be replaced by Josh Weinstein, a longtime Carnival executive.

Donald has led Miami-based Carnival since 2013, taking it to record profits before the pandemic hit. The 67-year-old Donald is among a relatively small number of Black CEOs at major U.S. corporations.

Weinstein is currently Carnival’s chief operations officer, and oversees many parts of the business already.

BITCOIN-401K

Bitcoin in 401(k) becomes reality for more, despite warnings

NEW YORK (AP) — Retirement giant Fidelity says it’s launched a way for workers to put some of their 401(k) savings and contributions directly in bitcoin. Fidelity said it’s the first in the industry to allow such investments without having to go through a separate brokerage window, and it’s already signed up one employer that will add the offering to its plan later this year.

Fidelity’s offering may be one of just a few for a while, given the substantial concerns about the riskiness of cryptocurrencies. The U.S. government last month warned the retirement industry to exercise “extreme care” when doing something like this.

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