Asian shares mixed, led by Tokyo gains, after Wall St rally
TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mixed today, cheered by the rally on Wall Street that’s likely a boon for export-driven regional economies, but investors remain worried about the coronanvirus pandemic.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 closed 1.8% higher. South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.3%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.2%, while the Shanghai Composite index was flat. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.7%.
Yesterday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 1.4% to 3,380.35. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1%, to 27,976.84. The Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, climbed 2.1%, to 11,012.24. The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks picked up 0.5%, to 1,583.25.
EPA expected to undo methane leak rule for oil, gas industry
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — President Donald Trump’s administration is expected to undo Obama-era rules designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas fields and pipelines.
Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, is expected to sign the rollback of the 2016 methane emissions rule in Pittsburgh, in the heart of the nation’s most prolific natural gas reservoir and in the premier presidential battleground state of Pennsylvania.
The precise details of the final rule remain under wraps after the EPA first proposed the rollback last year. But states and environmental advocacy groups warn that last year’s proposed changes would be illegal and a setback in the fight against climate change.
Facebook beefs up anti-misinfo efforts ahead of US election
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) —Facebook will start labeling all U.S. posts about voting to send users authoritative information about the elections.
The social network began applying the labels to posts about the voting process by federal politicians, including President Donald Trump, last month. Now it’s expanding it to everyone in the country.
The move is part of Facebook’s broader effort to combat election-related misinformation on its platform as the U.S. presidential election nears.
The company is also launching a voter information hub, similar to one around COVID-19 it says has been seen by “billions” of users around the world.
Home prices climb to record in pandemic as buyers seek space
NEW YORK (AP) — An analysis by The Associated Press and Core Logic finds that the average home price in the U.S. in May rose 4.2% compared to a year ago.
The data shows that prices for cheaper homes — those found in the lower third of prices in metropolitan areas and a typical target for first-time buyers — grew faster than the rest of the market, rising 6.7% from a year ago.
The average mortgage rate fell from around 3.75% at the beginning of the year to under 3% in a matter of weeks after the pandemic struck the U.S.
Economists say that sudden drop in mortgage rates was an instant boon to home affordability, allowing many buyers to afford much more expensive homes while keeping the same monthly payments.
REI decides to walk away from new headquarters
SEATTLE (AP) — Outdoor retailer REI says it is walking away from its nearly completed corporate campus in suburban Seattle and will shift headquarters operations to sites across the Seattle area as the coronavirus pandemic affects how it does business.
The Seattle Times reports the Kent, Washington-based company says it is in talks with multiple interested parties to sell the 380,000-square-foot building and 8-acre campus in Bellevue.
REI’s 1,200 headquarters employees have been working remotely since March 2 as the company has navigated the pandemic, the closure of its more than 160 retail sites March 16, and a dramatic decline in revenue.
UNITED -WINTER FLIGHTS
United Airlines to add more flights starting in November
DALLAS (AP) — United Airlines will add winter flights to Florida from the Northeast and Midwest, hoping to capture leisure travelers. But a United executive says the airline can scrap flights quickly depending on the rate of coronavirus cases in Florida.
United said Wednesday that it will add up to 28 daily flights from New York, Boston and other cities to four destinations in Florida starting in November. COVID-19 is making it hard for the airlines to plan, however.
Just over a month ago, United announced big plans to add thousands of flights in August, only to scale them back a week later after virus cases spiked.
AIRBNB-HOUSE PARTY BAN
In a first, Airbnb takes action against guest for party
UNDATED (AP) — For the first time, Airbnb is taking legal action against a guest for violating its ban on unauthorized parties. The San Francisco-based home-sharing company is initiating legal proceedings against a guest who held an unauthorized party at a home in Sacramento County, California, last weekend.
Three people were shot and injured at the party. Airbnb wouldn’t release the guest’s name but says it has removed the guest from its platform.
The company has been trying to clean up its image — promising to verify all of its listings, for example, and taking a harder line on parties — as it prepares for an initial public offering of its stock. The IPO, which was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, could still take place later this year.
Airbnb banned “open invite” parties at its rentals late last year after five people were shot and killed at an unauthorized party in Orinda, California. The company set up a rapid response team to deal with complaints from neighbors and started screening “high risk” bookings, such as reservations at a large home for one night.
Tribune closing 5 newsrooms including NY Daily New
UNDATED (AP) — Tribune Publishing Company says it’s closing the newsrooms of five newspapers including The Daily News in Manhattan, the Orlando Sentinel and The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland.
Its offices at 4 New York Plaza in Manhattan will be formally closed as of Wednesday and staff will be given until Oct. 30 to retrieve personal items.
The Chicago-based newspaper chain said Wednesday that the decision was made as the company evaluates its real estate needs in light of health and economic conditions related to the coronavirus pandemic.
The company says employees will continue to work from home and the newspapers will continue to be published.
The Capital Gazette moved to its current newsroom about a year after a gunman killed five staff members in 2018.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-THEME PARKS
Actors and Disney World reach deal after virus testing fight
ORLANDO, Fla (AP) — Walt Disney World and the union for its actors and singers have reached an agreement that will allow them to return to work. The deal was reached Wednesday, more than a month after the actors and singers said they were locked out of the reopening of the theme park resort for publicly demanding coronavirus tests.
Actors’ Equity Association signed a memorandum of understanding allowing the actors, singers and stage managers to return to their jobs after Disney agreed to have a state-run drive-thru COVID-19 testing site for workers and others at the Florida theme park resort.
Disney officials said in a notice to its workers that there would be a dedicated testing lane for its workers and their families, and that reservations could be made for testing starting today.