Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL NEWS

Asian stocks follow Wall St lower as rate hike worries grow

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stocks have followed Wall Street lower as fears spread that U.S. interest rate hikes to fight inflation might stall economic growth.

Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul and Sydney declined. Tokyo edged higher as trading resumed after a holiday.

FINANCIAL NEWS

Asian stocks follow Wall St lower as rate hike worries grow

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stocks have followed Wall Street lower as fears spread that U.S. interest rate hikes to fight inflation might stall economic growth.

Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul and Sydney declined. Tokyo edged higher as trading resumed after a holiday.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index plunged 3.6% as optimism that drove the previous day’s rally evaporated. Investors worry about whether the Federal Reserve, which raised its key interest rate by a half percentage point on Wednesday, can cool inflation without tipping the slowing U.S. economy into recession. Traders were temporarily encouraged by chairman Jerome Powell’s comment that the Fed wasn’t considering even bigger increases.

ECONOMY-JOBS REPORT

US hiring was likely strong again in April despite inflation

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the past year, America’s job market has run like a well-engineered machine, adding an impressive average of 540,000 workers a month despite a punishing inflation rate, Russia’s ruinous war against Ukraine, a still-risky pandemic, jittery financial markets and the prospect of much higher borrowing costs.

Hiring gains have topped 400,000 every month since May 2021. And most economists think the winning streak has continued: They expect Friday’s jobs report for April to show that employers added 400,000 more jobs last month.

They have also forecast that the unemployment rate remained at 3.6%, a notch above a half-century low that was reached shortly before the pandemic struck two years ago.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-UNINSURED

COVID coverage for all dries up even as hospital costs rise

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time, the U.S. came close to providing health care for all for the first time during the coronavirus pandemic. But it was for just one condition — COVID-19.

Now, things are reverting to the way they were as federal money for the uninsured dries up. Lack of an insurance card could become a barrier to timely care for COVID. A $20 billion government program that paid the pandemic bills of uninsured people has been shut down. Special Medicaid COVID coverage likely faces its last months.

But the virus is not contained. And safety-net hospitals and clinics are seeing sharply higher operating costs. They fear they won’t be prepared if there’s another surge.

US-SPIRIT-JETBLUE

Spirit CEO says JetBlue wants to stop Spirit-Frontier merger

UNDATED (AP) — The CEO of Spirit Airlines says JetBlue might be trying to buy his airline just to prevent Frontier Airlines from buying it.

Spirit CEO Ted Christie said Thursday that “you don’t need to be an antitrust attorney” to see why Spirit rebuffed JetBlue’s $3.6 billion bid. He says it’s unlikely that antitrust regulators will let JetBlue buy Spirit — they are already suing to block a smaller partnership between JetBlue and American Airlines.

JetBlue isn’t immediately commenting on the Spirit CEO’s remarks.

POSTAL SERVICE RATES

Postmaster general: Get used to ‘uncomfortable’ rate hikes

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. postmaster general says Americans should get used to “uncomfortable” postage rate increases. Louis DeJoy said Thursday he will advocate for the Board of Governors to continue raising rates until the Postal Service meets its goal of becoming self sustaining.

He says the Postal Service was “severely damaged” by at least 10 years of “a defective pricing model” that cannot be overcome with one or two annual price increases, especially in times of inflation.

DeJoy made the remarks at a Postal Service Board of Governors meeting.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-J&J VACCINE

FDA restricts J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine due to blood clot risk

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. regulators are strictly limiting who can receive Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine due to a rare but serious risk of blood clots. The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday the shot should only be given to adults who cannot receive a different vaccine or specifically request J&J’s vaccine.

The decision is the latest restriction to hit the company’s vaccine, which has long been overshadowed in the U.S. by the more effective shots from Pfizer and Moderna.

In December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended using the Moderna and Pfizer shots over J&J’s because of its safety issues.

AMAZON-UNION-WHITE HOUSE

Amazon union head, others meet at White House on organizing

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh met with union organizers at the White House on Thursday as the administration looks to boost unionization campaigns.

A readout from the White House says participants in the meeting, which featured an unscheduled appearance by President Joe Biden, discussed organizers’ efforts to form unions in their workplaces, and how those could prompt workers around the country to mount similar organization campaigns. Biden thanked them for bolstering organizing momentum that is growing nationally.

Among the guests were Chris Smalls, who heads the Amazon Labor Union that won a vote last month to unionize warehouse workers on Staten Island, New York.

DOORDASH RESULTS

DoorDash sales soar in Q1, but costs grow as well

UNDATED (AP) — DoorDash sales soared in the first quarter as it added new users. But the delivery company’s losses also widened as it paid more to acquire partner businesses and drivers.

The San Francisco company said its revenue jumped 35% to $1.46 billion in the January-March period. That was well ahead of Wall Street’s forecast.

DoorDash said its total orders grew 23% to 404 million, also topping analysts’ expectations. Still, the company said its net loss widened as it spent more on sales and marketing.

DoorDash said it expects its acquisition of Finnish delivery service Wolt Enterprises to close in the second quarter. The $8.1 billion deal, announced last November, will bring DoorDash into 22 countries where it doesn’t currently operate, including Germany, Sweden, Hungary and Israel.

DoorDash shares jumped more than 9% in after-hours trading.

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