Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Wall Street taps the brakes after record-setting run

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are taking a pause from their big rally this month that vaulted them back to record heights.

Treasury yields also dipped after a report showed U.S. shoppers spent less at retailers last month than economists expected. The numbers underscore how the coronavirus pandemic is worsening and threatening to drag the economy lower, at least in the near term.

Stocks that stormed higher this month on hopes that a vaccine or two may get the global economy back to normal next year receded amid the worries.

The S&P 500 was down 0.4% in midday trading after paring an earlier 1.1% drop.

RETAIL SALES

Weak 0.3% US October sales gain spreads some holiday unease

NEW YORK (AP) — Retail sales in the U.S. grew a slower-than-expected 0.3% in October, even as retailers offered early holiday discounts online and in stores.

Analysts had expected the number to rise 0.5%. October’s growth was much smaller than in September, when it rose 1.6%.

Tuesday’s retail sales report is the sixth straight month of growth. Retail sales plunged in the spring after stores and malls were ordered closed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION

Industrial production up 1.1% in October, but still lagging

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — U.S. industrial production rose 1.1% in October, recovering much of the spring decline caused by the virus pandemic.

The Federal Reserve reported Tuesday that industrial production rebounded after a downturn in September, but still remains below pre-pandemic levels. A key category that reflects manufacturing output rose 1%. In October, industry operated at 72.8% of capacity, down from a reading of 77% of capacity a year ago.

September’s number was revised upward from -0.6% to -0.4%.

CONGRESS-SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter: 300,000 tweets flagged over election disinformation

WASHINGTON (AP) — The CEO of Twitter says the service flagged some 300,000 tweets as part of efforts to combat disinformation in the period around the 2020 election between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg were testifying Tuesday at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing called to question their companies’ actions around the closely contested election. The senators are deeply divided by party over the integrity and results of the election itself. Prominent Republican senators including committee Chairman Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have refused to knock down Trump’s unfounded claims of voting irregularities and fraud in Biden’s victory.

WALMART-RESULTS

Another booming quarter for Walmart, but sales are slowing

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Walmart turned out another stellar quarter as the world’s largest retailer powers through a pandemic that has felled other national chains.

But sales at stores opened at least a year slowed during the latest period ended Oct. 31.

Shoppers made fewer trips to its stores and spent more while there, and also focused more on online shopping. Still the results offer the latest evidence that Walmart’s efforts to expand online grocery services are widening the gap between itself and traditional rivals. In September, it launched its much-awaited membership program as it harnesses the strength of its grocery business and caters to people looking for more convenience.

HOME DEPOT RESULTS

Isolated Americans spend at home; Home Depot is there for it

UNDATED (AP) — Home Depot continues to capitalize on the desire of homeowners to improve their houses during the pandemic, with fiscal third-quarter sales surging 23% and beating Wall Street’s view. Revenue totaled $33.54 billion for the three months ended Nov. 1, topping the $31.83 billion that analysts polled by FactSet predicted.

Sales at stores open at least a year, a key gauge of a retailer’s health, climbed 24.1%. This handily beat the 17.2% rise that analysts surveyed by FactSet expected. In the U.S., the metric increased 24.6%.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-VACCINES

Volunteers still needed to test variety of COVID-19 vaccines

UNDATED (AP) — Two COVID-19 vaccines might be nearing the finish line, but scientists say it’s critical that enough people volunteer to help finish studying other candidates.

Moderna and competitor Pfizer recently announced preliminary results showing their vaccines appear to be strongly effective. More vaccine types will be needed to meet global demand. And different types may work better in different people, something only testing can tell.

Most vaccines in late-stage testing around the world target the “spike” protein on the coronavirus surface but they’re made using a variety of technologies, some of them brand new. Still, some countries are sticking with older vaccine approaches.

BRITAIN-ECONOMY

Give us a week: Businesses urge clarity on England lockdown

LONDON (AP) — Business leaders are urging the British government to give them as much notice as possible over what restrictions they will face when the lockdown in England expires early next month.

The four-week lockdown is due to lapse on Dec. 2. Businesses that have been forced to shut are hoping they will be able to reopen to salvage something of the crucial holiday shopping season.

The government has been reluctant to say what restrictions will be in place for any particular area when the lockdown ends. It argues it’s still too early to see how the lockdown has worked.

AMAZON-PHARMACY

Amazon opens online pharmacy, shaking up another industry

NEW YORK (AP) — Now sold on Amazon: insulin and inhalers. The company said Tuesday that it has opened an online pharmacy, giving shoppers the chance to buy their medication on their phones and computers.

The move propels Amazon into a new business and could shake up the pharmacy industry. Big chains like CVS and Walgreens rely on their pharmacies to bring them a steady flow of shoppers who stop by frequently to pick up their medications.

Amazon said it will offer commonly prescribed medications starting, including creams, pills and medications that need to stay cold, like insulin. Shoppers have to set up a profile on Amazon’s website and have doctors send prescriptions to Amazon.

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