Wall Street stalls; S&P 500 drifts after 5-day win streak
NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street’s rally is stalling amid worries about rising U.S.-China tensions and whether Washington can deliver more aid for the economy. The S&P 500 was down 0.2% in midday trading, after wavering between a small gain and losses earlier in the morning. It’s coming off a five-day winning streak that had brought it back within 1.1% of its record. The day’s headline economic report showed that U.S. employers added more jobs last month than economists expected, though hiring slowed from June’s levels.
US adds 1.8 million jobs in a sign that hiring has weakened
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States added 1.8 million jobs in July, a pullback from the gains of May and June and evidence that the resurgent coronavirus has weakened hiring and the economic rebound. At any other time, hiring at that level would be seen as a blowout gain. But after employers shed a staggering 22 million jobs in March and April, much larger increases are needed to heal the job market. The hiring of the past three months has recovered only 42% of the jobs lost to the pandemic-induced recession. Until the health crisis is solved through a vaccine or an effective treatment, most experts say the economy will struggle to sustain any recovery.
Last-ditch virus aid talks; Trump team heads back to Capitol
WASHINGTON (AP) — Trump administration negotiators are heading back to the Capitol for last-ditch talks on vital COVID-19 rescue money. Democratic leaders summoned them for another try with the negotiations teetering on the brink of collapse. Friday is an informal deadline to reach the broad outlines of an agreement with deadlocks on aid to states and local governments and renewing supplemental unemployment benefits blocking the way. Friday’s new report on jobs shows the U.S. added 1.8 million last month, but that’s a much lower increase than in May and June. Democrats say the rescue package needs to be huge to meet the moment.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-POSTAL SERVICE
Postal Service loses $2.2B in 3 months as virus woes persist
WASHINGTON (AP) — Financial losses are mounting at the U.S. Postal Service during the coronavirus pandemic. The agency said Friday it lost $2.2 billion in the three months ending in June. Officials warn the losses could top $20 billion over two years. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy calls the agency’s financial position “dire.″ But he disputes reports his agency is slowing down mail and says it has “ample capacity to deliver all election mail securely and on time.” The Postal Service is seeking at least $10 billion to cover operating losses as well as changes to how it funds retiree health benefits. Lawmakers want the Postal Service to reverse operational changes that are causing delivery delays.
FEDERAL RESERVE-MAIN STREET
Fed official defends slow start to Main Street loan program
WASHINGTON (AP) — A top Federal Reserve official on Friday defended the central bank’s efforts to launch a Main Street lending program and said the small number of loans approved so far would likely expand by a significant amount in coming months, especially if the pandemic worsens. While the Fed reported this week that the program has only made eight loans so far totaling $76.9 million, Eric Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve’s regional bank in Boston, told a congressional oversight panel on Friday that more up-to-date information showed that 54 loans were being considered worth a potential $530 million were under consideration. Still, even the larger figures fall far short of the up to $600 billion the Fed has said it is prepared to make available to cash-strapped companies.
Capital One fined $80 million in data breach
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Treasury Department has fined Capital One $80 million for careless network security practices that enabled one of the biggest bank security breaches on record. It said in a consent order that Capital One failed to establish effective risk management when it migrated information technology operations to a cloud-based service in 2015. That allowed the bank to be hacked in 2019.
A former Amazon software engineer has pleaded innocent in the case and is due to stand trial in February.
US sanctions leader of Hong Kong, Chinese authorities
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is imposing sanctions on pro-China officials in Hong Kong, including the leader of the government, for their alleged roles in squashing freedom in the former British colony. The Treasury Department announced sanctions Friday on Carrie Lam, the leader of the pro-Beijing government, and other officials. The sanctions are the latest in a string of actions the Trump administration has taken against China as tensions between the two nations rise over trade disputes and the coronavirus. Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong earlier this year, raising widespread concerns about the Chinese government cracking down on the anti-government protests.
Turkish lira hits another historic low amid pandemic
LONDON (AP) — Turkey’s currency tumbled further Friday, hitting another record low. The Turkish lira dropped to 7.3677 against the dollar Friday before making a recovery. The lira is down about 19% versus the U.S. currency since the beginning of the year. The drop is fueled by high inflation, a wide current account deficit and the government’s push for cheap credit to drive an economy that was already fragile before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Analysts have expressed concern over the level of Turkey’s reserves and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s aversion to high interest rates. Erdogan on Friday said “I believe the Turkish lira will fall into place … these are temporary fluctuations.”
UK to spend millions to ease Brexit red tape for N Ireland
LONDON (AP) — The British government has pledged up 355 million pounds ($465 million) to help businesses in Northern Ireland deal with red tape caused by Brexit. The government said Friday it is setting up a Trader Support Service to help Northern Ireland firms handle customs declarations and other paperwork involved in importing goods. The withdrawal agreement between Britain and the 27-nation bloc requires the all-but-invisible border between Northern Ireland and EU member to remain free of customs posts and other barriers. That means there will be new checks on goods moving between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K. The British government insists they will be minimal.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-REGAL CINEMAS REOPENING
Regal theaters gear up to reopen
UNDATED (AP) — Regal movie theaters have been closed for almost five months in the United States due to the coronavirus pandemic, but they are gearing up to open on August 21. And this time it might just stick.
Mooky Greidinger, the CEO of Cineworld, which owns Regal, spoke to The Associated Press about plans and why he is optimistic for the future. He says almost all of their attention is on safety protocols and sanitization efforts and shared innovations to allow for social distancing and contact-free interactions in their theaters. At first, Regal will show back catalog films for a discounted price before Warner Bros. releases Chistopher Nolan’s “Tenet” on Labor Day.