Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks pull back

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks have been lower in afternoon trading as the market cooled off following a rally the day before and as investors waited for the debate later Tuesday between former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump.

Markets are watching the November election’s impact on tax policy and how long it might take to determine the winner.

The S&P 500 index was down 0.6% after briefly flirting with small gains in the early going. Banks, energy companies and stocks that rely heavily on consumer spending had some of the biggest losses, while several big technology and communications companies were higher.

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

Consumer confidence posts solid gain to 101.8 in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence posted a better-than-expected gain in September but remains well below the levels reached before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the economy in the spring.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index rose to a reading of 101.8 in September, up from 86.3 in August. The increase came from a more favorable view of current business and labor market conditions as well as renewed optimism about the short-term outlook.

HOME PRICES

S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller: US home prices rise 3.9% in July

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices rose at a faster pace in July as the housing market continued to show strength during the coronavirus outbreak.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, released Tuesday, rose 3.9% in July from a year earlier, up from a 3.5% annual gain in June. The 20-city index released Tuesday excluded prices from the Detroit metropolitan area index because of delays related to pandemic at the recording office in Wayne County, which includes Detroit.

Phoenix (up 9.2%), Seattle (7%) and Charlotte, North Carolina (6%), reported the biggest year-over-year gains. Sixteen of the 19 cities saw prices rise at a faster pace than they did in June.

AIRLINES-JOBS

Unfriendly skies: Airline workers brace for mass layoffs

DETROIT (AP) — About 40,000 workers in the airline industry are facing layoffs on Thursday unless Congress comes up with another aid package. Many are worried about how they’ll pay for rents, mortgages and food, or for health insurance.

A clause in the $25 billion aid package to airlines at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic prevented them from laying off workers. But that clause expires on Thursday.

Some workers are holding out hope that another agreement can still be reached. Congress has been considering a second round of airline aid for weeks, but it’s hung up in the debate over a larger national relief package.

AMAZON-PALM READING

Amazon sees broader audience for its palm recognition tech

SEATTLE (AP) — Amazon is introducing new palm recognition technology in a pair of Seattle stores and sees broader uses in places like stadiums and offices. Customers at the stores near Amazon’s campus can now choose to flash a palm for entry and to buy goods.

The company chose palm recognition, according to Dilip Kumar, vice president of Physical Retail & Technology, because it’s more private than other biometric technology. Also, a person would be required to purposefully flash a palm at the Amazon One device to engage.

The company expects to roll out Amazon One as an option in other Amazon stores in coming months, which could mean Whole Foods Market grocery stores.

LMVH-TIFFANY-SUIT

LVMH files countersuit against Tiffany over $16.2 B deal

NEW YORK (AP) — Luxury conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has filed a countersuit against Tiffany over their ruined merger deal, noting conditions necessary to close the $16.2 billion acquisition of the jewelry chain have not been met. It also said in a statement that the “spurious arguments put forward by Tiffany are completely unfounded.”

The lawsuit is the latest legal spat between the companies over what would have been the biggest deal in the luxury market. It follows a lawsuit that Tiffany filed earlier this month against LVMH after the French conglomerate pulled out of the pact. It had cited that the French government had requested a delay to assess the threat of proposed U.S. tariffs.

COCA COLA-HARD SELTZER

Coca-Cola, Molson Coors teaming up on hard seltzer

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — With the help of Molson Coors, Coca-Cola will start selling the “hard stuff” — hard seltzer, that is. The companies said the new alcoholic beverage will come in the form of Topo Chico Hard Seltzer, which they hope to have on shelves in the first half of 2021.

The hard seltzer will come in four flavors: Tangy Lemon Lime, Exotic Pineapple, Strawberry Guava and Tropical Mango.

Molson Coors, which has two other seltzer brands in its portfolio, will handle the marketing, sales and distribution of the alcohol-infused mineral water, a product that has seen massive growth in the U.S. recently.

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