Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks rise sharply

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are rising sharply on Wall Street as the market claws back a small part of the losses it took in a seven-day rout brought on by worries that the coronavirus outbreak will stunt the global economy. Technology stocks are leading the gains.

U.S. stocks are coming off their worst weekly drop since the financial crisis of 2008. Gloomy forecasts for the world economy have hurt sentiment.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 740 points, or 2.9%, to 26,156 as of 12:45 p.m. Eastern time. The S&P 500 index rose 2.7% and the Nasdaq gained 2.8%.  Bond prices rose again, sending yields lower. 

Gold, a traditional safe-haven asset, rose 1.8%.

Last week’s rout knocked every major index into what market watchers call a “correction,” or a fall of 10% or more from a peak. Market watchers have said for months that stocks were overpriced and long overdue for another pullback.

ECONOMY-MANUFACTURING

Factories expand despite virus, though deliveries slow

ASHINGTON (AP) — American factories expanded in February for the second straight month, despite disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The winning streak, however, may prove short-lived.

The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, says its manufacturing index registered 50.1 last month. That is down from 50.9 in January. But anything above 50 signals growth.

The February reading was slightly lower than economists expected.

Fourteen of 18 manufacturing industries expanded in February, led by wood products and furniture manufacturers.

CONSTRUCTION SPENDING

US construction spending up 1.8% in January to record level

WASHINGTON (AP) — Spending on U.S. construction projects rose to an all-time high in January, helped by strong gains for home construction and government building projects.

The Commerce Department says construction spending increased 1.8% in January, the strongest monthly rise in nearly two years, pushing totally spending to a record seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.37 trillion.

Spending on home construction jumped 2.1%, the strongest gain since August. The strength came from single-family home construction which rose 2.7% while apartment building was unchanged.

Home building has been seeing strong gains since the summer as falling mortgage rates have helped to spur a rebound after more than a year of lagging activity.

SUPREME COURT-BUMP STOCKS

Justices reject appeal of federal ban on firearm bump stocks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal of the federal ban on bump stocks, devices that allow semi-automatic firearms to fire rapidly like machine guns.

The justices did not comment today in declining to review a lower court-ruling that upheld the ban, which took effect nearly a year ago.

The Trump administration announced the ban following a mass shooting in Las Vegas in 2017 in which a gunman used bump stocks that allowed him to fire more than 1,000 rounds in 11 minutes and kill 58 people, wounding hundreds more.

OBIT-JACK WELCH

Jack Welch, the GE chief who became a superstar, has died

BOSTON (AP) — Jack Welch, who transformed General Electric Co. into a highly profitable multinational conglomerate and parlayed his legendary business acumen into a retirement career as a corporate leadership guru, has died. He was 84.

Welch’s wife told The New York Times her husband died of renal failure.

Welch became one of the nation’s most well-known and highly regarded corporate leaders during his two decades as GE’s chairman and chief executive, from 1981 to 2001. He personified the so-called “cult of the CEO” during the late-1990s boom, when GE’s soaring stock price made it the most valuable company in the world.

CONGRESS-VAPING

House approves bill to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has approved a bill to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products.

Lawmakers say the bill will stem a vaping epidemic among young people.

The bill would place new restrictions on the marketing of e-cigarettes and ban flavors in tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes. It also would place a new excise tax on nicotine.

The House approved the bill Friday, sending it to the Senate, where approval is considered unlikely.

The Trump administration opposes the bill. Supporters say the bill provides a comprehensive strategy to reverse a growing teen vaping epidemic. Manufacturer Juul Labs said in November it was halting U.S. sales of its best-selling, mint-flavored e-cigarettes.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-MIDEAST-AIRLINE LOSSES

New virus hits Mideast airlines with $100M loss, group says

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An airline industry trade association says the new coronavirus has already cost Middle East airlines about $100 million.

The International Air Transport Association says a projected 4.6% growth in passenger demand in the Middle East could be cut in half if conditions don’t change.

The Persian Gulf city of Dubai, which is home to the world’s busiest airport for international travel, relies heavily on tourism and aviation.

The Gulf is a major transit hub for passengers connecting from Europe to Asia.

The United Arab Emirates has cancelled all flights to Iran, as have other Gulf countries. It has also limited flights in China to just Beijing to reduce the spread of the virus.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-WORLD ECONOMY

World economy may shrink because of virus, watchdog says

PARIS (AP) — A global agency says the spreading new virus could make the world economy shrink this quarter.

That would be a first since the international financial crisis more than a decade ago.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says the world economy is still expected to grow overall this year and rebound next year.

But it lowered its forecasts today for global growth in 2020 in a special report about the effect of the coronavirus.

It said China’s reduced production is hitting Asia particularly hard. It urged governments to act fast to prevent contagion and restore consumer confidence.

AMTRAK-CEO

Amtrak names Flynn as new CEO

UNDATED (AP) — Amtrak has named a former air cargo executive as its new chief operating officer.

William Flynn will take over in mid-April. He will replace Richard Anderson, who has been CEO since July 2017.

Flynn has served as president and CEO of the global air freight company Atlas Air Worldwide for the past 13 years.

He takes over after Amtrak reported record ridership and revenue figures for the most recent fiscal year. That has led officials to predict the heavily subsidized railroad could soon eliminate operating losses.

GILEAD SCIENCES- ACQUISITION

Gilead Sciences buying Forty Seven for $4.9 billion

UNDATED (AP) — Gilead Sciences is buying the cancer treatment company Forty Seven in a deal valued at approximately $4.9 billion.

Gilead, based in Foster City, California, will pay $95.50 for each Forty Seven Inc. share.

Gilead says the transaction will strengthen its immuno-oncology research and development portfolio with the addition of Forty Seven Inc.’s investigational lead product candidate, magrolimab, which is in clinical development for the treatment of several cancers.

Forty Seven’s stock soared more than 60% before the market open. Gilead rose 1.2%.

The deal is targeted to close in the second quarter.

NOKIA-CEO

Nokia CEO Suri steps down, Lundmark named successor

UNDATED (AP) — The CEO of wireless networks company Nokia is stepping down from the post and will be succeeded by an energy executive.

Pekka Lundmark will take on the role on Sept. 1 from Rajeev Suri. Lundmark is currently president and CEO of Finnish energy company Fortum.

Nokia says Suri had previously told its board that he was considering stepping down from his role at some point, provided a solid succession plan was in place.

Suri, who has worked at Nokia for 25 years, will leave his post on Aug. 31. He will serve as an advisor until Jan. 1, 2021.

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