S&P 500 adds to record, Dow heads for own on vaccine hopes
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are rallying again, with the S&P 500 adding more to its record high and the Dow Jones Industrial Average on track to erase the last of its pandemic losses.
The S&P 500 was up 0.9% after Moderna said its COVID-19 vaccine appears to be 94.5% effective, according to preliminary data. It comes just a week after Pfizer and BioNTech gave similarly encouraging numbers about their own vaccine candidate, boosting hopes that the economy can return to some semblance of normal.
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Stocks of companies that would benefit the most from the economy climbing out of its deep recession led the way.
Second virus vaccine shows overwhelming success in U.S. tests
UNDATED (AP) — There’s more promising news on the COVID-19 vaccine front as Moderna says its shot provides strong protection against the coronavirus.
Monday’s announcement comes a week after Pfizer revealed its own vaccine to be similarly effective. The announcements come as the virus surges in the U.S. and around the world.
Moderna said of 95 infections so far in its 30,000-person study, all but five were in people who got dummy shots.
Both Moderna and Pfizer are on track to seek permission for emergency use in the U.S. within weeks. Still, initial supplies will be limited and rationed.
SEC Chair Clayton leaving post as top financial regulator
WASHINGTON (AP) — Jay Clayton, a former Wall Street lawyer who has headed the Securities and Exchange Commission as the financial markets’ top regulator during the Trump administration, is leaving the position at year’s end.
Clayton’s term runs through mid-2021. A new SEC chair is expected to be named by President-elect Joe Biden.
Clayton has presided over a deregulatory push to soften rules affecting Wall Street and the financial markets, as Trump pledged when he took office. Rules under the Dodd-Frank law that tightened the reins on banks and Wall Street in the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis and the Great Recession have been nipped around the edges.
Facebook, Twitter CEOs to be pressed on election handling
WASHINGTON (AP) — The CEOs of Facebook and Twitter are being summoned before Congress to defend their handling of disinformation in the contest between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.
Tuesday’s hearing comes as lawmakers who plan to question them are deeply divided by party over the integrity and results of the election itself.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear testimony from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey as the panel examines the social media giants’ role in the election.
Trump and the Republicans accuse them of anti-conservative bias. Democrats also lash out at them, though for different reasons.
Privacy activists in EU file complaints over iPhone tracking
BERLIN (AP) — European privacy activists have filed complaints against Apple over its use of software to track the behavior of iPhone users.
The Vienna-based group NOYB says it has asked data protection authorities in Germany and Spain to examine the legality of Apple’s tracking codes. The codes are similar to the cookies that websites use to store information on user behavior.
NOYB says the iOS operating system creates unique codes for each iPhone that allow Apple and other third parties to “identify users across applications and even connect online and mobile behavior.”
Apple dismissed the complaint, saying it was “factually inaccurate.”
US casinos recovering from virus, but challenges remain
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The trade association for the U.S. gambling industry says America’s casinos are recovering from months of closures necessitated by the coronavirus outbreak, having regained 81% of the gambling revenue they saw in the third quarter of last year.
But that recovery is threatened in places as the virus continues to surge: Sunday night, Michigan’s governor ordered casinos to close for three weeks, and Atlantic City’s top casino last week laid off or cut the hours of 422 workers in response to restrictions imposed by New Jersey’s governor.
Virtually all U.S. casinos are operating with some restrictions amid the pandemic.
Home Depot reunites with HD Supply in deal valued at $8 billion
UNDATED (AP) — Home Depot is reuniting with former subsidiary HD Supply, buying the company in a deal valued at about $8 billion.
The acquisition will give Home Depot a stronger hand in the contractor and professional side of its business, which is booming during the pandemic, just like its more consumer facing, DIY sales.
HD Supply is a distributor of maintenance, repair and operations products in the multifamily and hospitality markets. Home Depot initially bought HD Supply in 1997, but sold it in 2007 when began to focus more on its retail operations.
Government furthers investigation into Tesla camera failures
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. safety regulators are continuing their investigation into complaints that Tesla’s giant touch screens can fail and cause the cars to lose the rear camera display and other functions.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s report says about 159,000 cars could be affected by the problem. The agency said an engineering analysis has been opened to assess the scope and safety-related consequences of the apparent defect, which could determine whether or not the models need to be recalled.
A preliminary investigation was opened in June covering 63,000 Model S vehicles.
Saudi Aramco to issue bonds as it seeks cash amid oil slump
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s oil giant Aramco says it will issue international bonds as it seeks a cash infusion to help pay for billions of dollars in dividends the company promised shareholders before the global coronavirus pandemic sent oil prices plummeting.
In a statement posted on the Saudi stock exchange Monday, Aramco says it plans to issue U.S.-dollar denominated bonds but did not specify the size of the issuance.
The announcement is aimed at raising capital needed to pay shareholders promised payouts of $75 billion annually, which at $18.75 billion a quarter exceeds Aramco’s current cash flow.
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