Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks tumble again

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are falling again as Wall Street closes out a punishing week and its first back-to-back monthly loss since worries about the pandemic were peaking in March. The S&P 500 was 1.5% lower in afternoon trading and on pace for a 5.9% loss for the week.

Worries about whether expectations built too high for some of the market’s biggest stars helped drive the losses. They piled on top of fears about the economic damage coming due to surging coronavirus counts around the world, Washington’s inability to provide more support for the economy and uncertainty surrounding the upcoming presidential election.

FEDERAL RESERVE-MAIN STREET LENDING

Federal Reserve expands Main Street program to smaller firms

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve said Friday that it will reduce the minimum loan level in its small business lending program and waive some fees in an effort to boost participation in a program that has so far provided little assistance to struggling firms. The Fed said Friday that it will support loans of as low as $100,000 in its Main Street Lending Program, down from an earlier minimum of $250,000. The Main Street program seeks to support small and mid-sized businesses by purchasing 95% of a loan from participating banks.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-ANTIBODY DRUG

2nd study testing a COVID-19 antibody drug has a setback

UNDATED (AP) — For the second time, a study testing an experimental antibody drug for COVID-19 has been paused to investigate a possible safety issue. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said Friday that independent monitors had recommended placing on hold enrollment of the most severely ill patients, those who need intense oxygen treatment or breathing machines. Tests in less sick patients are continuing. Earlier this month, a study testing a similar drug from Eli Lilly in hospitalized patients was paused and later stopped because the drug didn’t seem to help. Experts say previous testing suggests these antibody drugs may help most when given early in infection.

CONSUMER SPENDING

US consumer spending rose a moderate 1.4% in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumers increased their spending by 1,4% in September, a slightly better gain than expected but still well below the big increases seen in May and June, adding to concerns that Americans remain cautious with the viral pandemic resurging across the country and impeding the economy. The September gain marked the fifth straight monthly increase in consumer spending, the primary driver of the U.S. economy, since the virus erupted in early spring and flattened the economy. But the recent gains in consumer spending have been been slight and reflect an economy weakened by the virus and by the failure of Congress to provide another stimulus package to struggling individuals and businesses.

EMPLOYMENT-COSTS

US wages and benefits grow at sluggish pace amid pandemic

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wages and benefits for U.S. workers grew slowly this summer as employers sought to hold the line on pay gains in the midst of the pandemic. U.S. workers’ total compensation rose 0.5% in the July-September quarter, the second straight quarter of slower growth in wages, the Labor Department said Friday. That’s down from 0.8% in the first three months of the year. For the year ending in September, wages and benefits increased 2.4%, the slowest pace in three years. The data comes from the Labor Department’s Employment Cost Index, which measures pay changes for workers that keep their jobs. The data isn’t affected by the mass layoffs in the spring.

GLOBAL TRAVEL

Global travel and tourism projected to shed 174 million jobs

LONDON (AP) — A leading industry group says the global travel and tourism industry is on course to lose 174 million jobs this year if restrictions to curb the coronavirus remain in place. The projection from the World Travel & Tourism Council on Friday was lower than previously expected largely because of a rebound in countries such as China. In June, the group warned that there could be 197 million job losses worldwide in a sector that many countries are hugely reliant on economically. The industry group is urging more testing at airports to replace quarantine requirements that discourage travel.

EXXON-EARNINGS

Losses mount as pandemic grips global economy

NEW YORK (AP) — Exxon Mobil is reporting its third consecutive quarter of losses as the global pandemic curtails travel and cripples global economic activity. The energy giant posted a $680 million third-quarter loss as revenue tumbled to $46.2 billion, down from $65.05 billion during the same quarter last year. The string of losses and what could be a money-losing year is new territory for Exxon Mobil. The price of U.S. benchmark crude has fallen 40% since the start of the year. The cost for a barrel of oil tumbled 10% just this week as coronavirus infections surged in the U.S. and abroad.

EUROPE-ECONOMY

Eurozone growth soars record 12.7% but fears grow for winter

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — New figures show that the European economy grew by an unexpectedly large 12.7% in the third quarter as companies reopened after severe coronavirus lockdowns. But the rebound is being overshadowed by worries that growing numbers of infections will cause a new downturn in the final months of the year. The upturn in the July-September quarter — and the worries about what’s ahead — echoed the situation in the United States. Reopenings there led to strong third-quarter recovery but didn’t dispel fears for the winter months. The rebound was the largest increase since statistics started being kept in 1995.

GERMANY-DRUGS ONLINE

Germany shuts down Telegram-based drug marketplaces

BERLIN (AP) — German authorities said Friday that they have shut down online marketplaces for illegal drugs that used the encrypted messaging service Telegram. Prosecutors in Frankfurt said police across Germany and in neighboring Austria on Thursday took control of nine chat groups with a total of about 8,000 members. Authorities said they have so far identified 28 people suspected of selling narcotics, forged documents, illegally obtained data and other items via Telegram. The groups shut down had names such as “Silk Road,“ ”GermanRefundCrew“ and “Cracked Accounts Shop.” Prosecutors said the Telegram groups were used to advertise wares, while sales were conducted in private direct chats.

FOXCONN-WISCONSIN

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Foxconn Technology Group has notified the state of Wisconsin that it objects to the state’s denial of job-creation tax credits. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. earlier this month said that Foxconn did not qualify for tax breaks based on capital investments and hiring done in 2019. The state economic development agency determined that Foxconn only hired 281 full-time employees who are eligible to count toward tax credits at its facility in southeastern Wisconsin and made just $300 million in capital expenditures. Taiwan-based Foxconn disputes those numbers and said it a letter Friday that it hopes to resolve the disagreement within 30 days.

AIRBNB-HOSTS

Airbnb sets up endowment, council for hosts ahead of IPO

UNDATED (AP) — Airbnb is setting up an endowment fund to support its hosts as part of its upcoming public stock offering. The San Francisco-based home-sharing company said it will set aside 9.2 million shares for the endowment, which will start funding projects when its value tops $1 billion. Airbnb will name a 15-member council of hosts that will meet monthly with Airbnb leadership and decide which projects to fund. Airbnb depends on hosts for its 7 million listings worldwide.

EBAY EMPLOYEES-CYBERSTALKING

2 more ex-eBay employees admit to roles in harassment scheme

BOSTON (AP) — Two more former eBay Inc. employees have admitted to their roles in a campaign to terrorize a Massachusetts couple with threatening social media messages and disturbing deliveries of things like live spiders sent to their home. Brian Gilbert and Stephanie Stockwell pleaded guilty on Thursday to charges of conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses. Emails seeking comment were sent to their attorneys on Friday. They are among seven former eBay employees charged in the scheme to harass the couple, who authorities say published an online newsletter with articles that were critical of the company.

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