Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Major technology stocks lead another decline on Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — Banks and big technology stocks are leading another decline on Wall Street, and every major index is on track for a weekly loss. Retailers and industrial companies also fell. The S&P 500 fell 0.9% in afternoon trading and the Nasdaq fell 0.3%. Both are on track for their third weekly drop in the last four. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.4%. After pushing the S&P 500 to a record high last week, investors have been taking money off the table as the Federal Reserve moves to dial back stimulus and fight inflation.

BOX OFFICE-SPIDER-MAN

‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ snags eye-popping $50M in previews

NEW YORK (AP) — For the first time since the pandemic began, the box office is booming. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” grossed $50 million in Thursday previews alone, a stunning start for a movie set to break pandemic records. Sony Pictures’ “No Way Home” scored the third-largest preview total ever, trailing only those for “Avengers: Endgame” and “The Force Awakens.” Previews once featured only late-night screenings, but they have steadily moved earlier in the day. “No Way Home” began playing around 3 p.m. in 3,767 locations. But there was no exaggerating the eye-popping total for the Marvel release. “No Way Home” is on pace to be the first release of the pandemic to surpass $100 million. It could go as high as $150 million.

VIRUS OUTBREAK

Warily eyeing omicron, Christmas revelers curb celebrations

LONDON (AP) — Christmas revelers across Europe are lying low and changing plans as new restrictions and fears about the omicron variant of the coronavirus persuade many to stay home. That’s magnifying concerns about a second lost holiday season for airlines, restaurants and shops already battered by the pandemic. Scotland and Wales on Friday pledged millions of pounds for businesses hurt in Britain’s latest surge. That puts pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government to do the same in England. Several European countries are warily watching the spread of omicron. On Friday, the Danish government proposed closing theaters, concert halls, amusement parks and museums in response to a rise in virus cases that experts said was faster than expected.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-WHO-NOVAVAX

WHO approves Novavax vaccine for emergency use against COVID

GENEVA (AP) — The World Health Organization has given emergency approval to a coronavirus vaccine made by U.S.-based Novavax, paving the way for its inclusion into the U.N.-backed program to get such vaccines to poorer countries around the world. The vaccine, known as CovavaxTM, becomes the ninth vaccine to be granted an emergency use authorization from the U.N. health agency, marking a vote of confidence for the vaccine that could also be accepted by some countries who only accept travelers who have gotten shots or WHO-approved vaccines.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-PFIZER-KIDS

Pfizer study tests extra COVID vaccine dose for kids under 5

Pfizer is testing an extra dose of its COVID-19 vaccine for babies and preschoolers enrolled in a study of the shots. Pfizer had been testing two very low-dose shots in children under age 5, with some data expected by year’s end. But Pfizer and its partner BioNTech announced Friday they were adding a third dose to the study after a preliminary analysis found 2- to 4-year-olds didn’t have as strong an immune response as expected. It’s not clear how much the study change will delay the quest for vaccinating the youngest children.

FINANCIAL STABILITY

Regulators: threats to US financial system remain elevated

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation’s top financial regulators told Congress Friday that threats to financial stability remain elevated even though the country has recovered from the worst economic shocks stemming from the COVID pandemic. In its annual report on financial system threats, the Financial Stability Oversight Council listed climate change as an emerging risk because of such factors as potential loan losses from floods and forest fires. It was the first time the council’s annual report has highlighted climate change as a risk to the financial system. This year’s report was the first issued by the Biden administration, which has made fighting climate change a top priority including refersing the decision by the Trump administration to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement.

SHRIMP COLLAPSE

New England shrimp fishery to stay shuttered as waters warm

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — New England’s commercial shrimp fishery will remain shuttered because of concerns about the health of the crustacean’s population amid warming ocean temperatures. The cold-water shrimp were once a winter delicacy in Maine and beyond, but the fishing industry has been shut down since 2013. A board of the regulatory Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted on Friday to keep the fishery shut down for at least three more years. The shrimp prefer cold water and their population health is imperiled by the warming of the ocean off New England. The Gulf of Maine, in particular, is warming faster than most of the world’s ocean.

TRUMP-LEGAL TROUBLES

Forbes editor says he testified before Trump grand jury

NEW YORK (AP) — The editor of Forbes magazine says he testified Thursday before a grand jury hearing evidence in a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump and his business practices, answering questions about a magazine article examining whether the former president inflated his wealth. Forbes editor Randall Lane wrote in a post on the business magazine’s website that he was questioned about articles he wrote in 2015 about Trump’s fixation with his ranking on the magazine’s annual list of wealthiest people. Lane says deputy wealth editor Chase Peterson-Withorn also testified, briefly answering questions about a 2017 article he wrote about the size and value of Trump’s apartment at Trump Tower.

THERANOS FOUNDER-FRAUD TRIAL

Fate of Elizabeth Holmes will soon be in the hands of jurors

SAN JOSE, Calif (AP) — The lawyers for the opposing sides in the trial of former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes are expected to wrap up their closing arguments Friday, paving the way for a jury to begin their deliberations over criminal charges accusing her of turning her blood-testing startup into a massive scam. The case revolving around Holmes’ meteoric rise as a self-made billionaire and ensuing downfall into a disgraced entrepreneur has captivated Silicon Valley for the past three months as her long-delayed trial has unfolded. The 37-year-old Holmes is facing 11 felony counts of fraud and conspiracy. If convicted, she could be sentenced up to 20 years in federal prison.

MCDONALD’S-BIAS SUIT

McDonald’s to pay Black store owner $33.5M to end bias suit

CLEVELAND (AP) —McDonald’s will pay $33.5 million to a former baseball player who owns multiple franchises to end a lawsuit he brought against the company accusing it of racial discrimination. Herb Washington, who’s Black, owned more than a dozen restaurants in Ohio and Pennsylvania when he filed a lawsuit in February saying the company has treated white owners more favorably and denied him the opportunity to buy stores in more affluent communities. Cleveland.com reports McDonald’s said in a statement Thursday that the amount it was paying Washington was “no more” than the fair value of the franchises he owned.

SEARS-CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS

Sears to sell its suburban Chicago corporate headquarters

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (AP) — Sears plans to sell the sprawling suburban Chicago corporate headquarters that has been the struggling retailer’s home for three decades. Sears’ parent company, Transformco, confirmed this week that in early 2022 it plans to market the 273-acre corporate headquarters in the northwest suburb of Hoffman Estates. Transformco has been downsizing Sears’ operations and corporate staff for several years. Sears was once the nation’s largest retailer, but it has struggled in recent years, seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2018 with billions of dollars in debt. Transformco purchased the retailer and 425 stores in a 2019 bankruptcy auction.

STARBUCKS-UNION VOTE

Union objects to results of two Starbucks unionization votes

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The union vying to represent Starbucks employees is objecting to the results of elections at two Buffalo-area stores. The union says the coffee retailer waged a “shock and awe” campaign meant to dissuade workers from voting to unionize. The claims are made in objections filed with the National Labor Relations Board late Thursday. Starbucks hasn’t responded to a request for comment. Employees at a Buffalo Starbucks voted in favor of a union last week, becoming the first in the U.S. to do so. But Workers United says the company’s intimidation tactics affected the other stores where votes either failed or weren’t immediately determined. The NLRB will decide whether to schedule a new election.

OBIT-MAJID-AL-FUTTAIM

Emirati mall, supermarket billionaire Majid Al Futtaim dies

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Emirati billionaire Majid Al Futtaim, who rose from working as a bank clerk to creating an eponymous business empire, including a massive Dubai mall with an indoor ski slope, has died. Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced Al Futtaim’s death on Friday in a post on Twitter, praising him as one of the sheikhdom’s “most important merchants.” A cause for his death wasn’t immediately announced. Nor was his age. However, prayers for him and his family had circulated on social media in recent days. Forbes estimated Al Futtaim’s net worth as over $4 billion.

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