NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks wavered between small gains and losses in morning trading as investors worried that rising virus cases will delay a full economic recovery while the world waits for wide distribution of a vaccine.
The S&P 500 rose 0.1% and remained just below the record high it set on Friday.
The U.K. became the first Western country to start a mass vaccination program after British regulators last week authorized the use of a COVID-19 shot developed by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech. In the U.S., wide distribution of any vaccine is likely months away and governments worldwide have been tightening restrictions on businesses.
UNDATED (AP) — New results on a possible COVID-19 vaccine from Oxford University and drugmaker AstraZeneca suggest it is safe and about 70% effective.
Some experts say that shows it is likely to win approval. But questions remain about how well it may help protect those over 55. That’s a key concern for a vaccine that health officials hope to rely on around the world because of its low cost, availability and ease of use.
Partial results were published Tuesday by the medical journal Lancet.
US regulators post positive review of Pfizer vaccine data
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. health regulators have posted a positive review of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine as they near a decision on whether to allow use of the shot.
The review posted online Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration offers the world the first detailed look at the evidence behind the shot, which was co-developed with BioNTech. FDA scientists said the shots worked well in older adults, a key group.
The FDA review comes before a Thursday meeting where a panel of independent experts will scrutinize the data and vote on whether to recommend use of the vaccine. A U.S. decision to authorize the vaccine is expected within days.
US productivity increased at 4.6% rate in third quarter
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. productivity increased at a solid 4.6% pace in the July-September quarter, slightly below the initial estimate, while labor costs fell at a slower pace.
The Labor Department reported Tuesday that the third quarter increase in productivity was below the first estimate a month ago of a 4.9% increase. Productivity had surged at a 10.6% rate in the second quarter.
Labor costs fell at a 6.6% rate in the third quarter, a smaller drop than the 8.9% decline estimated a month ago.
UK, EU make progress on N Ireland, but trade deal in doubt
LONDON (AP) — Britain and the European Union have solved one thorny problem in their divorce, the status of Northern Ireland. But the two sides are warning that the chances of a post-Brexit trade deal by a year-end deadline is slipping away.
Negotiators are deadlocked on key issues, and officials are downplaying the chances of a breakthrough when Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen meet in Brussels in the next few days. Johnson said “the situation at the moment is very tricky.”
Britain is due to leave the EU’s economic structures on Jan, 1, a rupture that could cause upheaval for businesses on both sides of the English Channel if there is no trade deal.
As infections rise, European Central Bank prepares stimulus
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The European economy should get another boost from the European Central Bank on Thursday.
The central bank’s president, Christine Lagarde, has made it clear that the plan is to increase bond purchases and make more cheap loans to banks. Both those steps are ways to keep credit flowing to businesses. And it’s just in time because the economy is being hard hit by a new wave of restrictions such as closing bars and restaurants and limiting gatherings.
Experts think the 19-country eurozone will see its economy shrink in the last three months of the year. ECB support will help governments and businesses get financing to see them through.
Boeing suffers more canceled orders for its 737 Max plane
UNDATED (AP) — Boeing is seeing more cancellations for its long-grounded 737 Max jet.
The company said Tuesday that orders for 88 of the planes were canceled in November. This week, a Brazilian airline plans to operate the first flight on a Max with paying passengers since the planes were grounded worldwide nearly two years ago after two crashes that killed 346 people in all.
Boeing reported 27 orders in November for the Max, although 25 were a new order by Virgin Australia that replaced an earlier, larger order.
Another judge blocks Trump’s TikTok ban; app still in limbo
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has blocked President Donald Trump’s attempts to ban TikTok, the latest legal defeat for the administration as it tries to wrest the popular app from its Chinese owners.
The Trump administration had tried to ban the short-form video app from smartphone app stores in the U.S. and cut it off from vital technical services. TikTok sued, arguing such actions would violate free speech and due process rights.
Judge Carl Nichols of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., said in a ruling Monday that the Commerce Department “likely overstepped” its use of presidential emergency powers “and acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner.”
Apple to tighten app privacy, remove apps that don’t comply
LONDON (AP) — Apple is stepping up privacy for app users, forcing developers to be more transparent about data collection and warning they could be removed if they don’t comply with a new anti-tracking measure.
An executive at the U.S. tech giant said it’s set to roll out the anti-tracking feature next year and warned it could kick apps off its widely used App Store if they don’t obey its requirements. Called App Tracking Transparency, it will require apps to clearly ask for users permission before tracking them.
In a separate policy update, apps in the App Store will soon have to start giving users more details about the personal data each app uses.
Tesla seeks to raise another $5B in stock offering
UNDATED (AP) — Tesla is looking to raise up to $5 billion in capital through a stock offering as the electrical vehicle and solar panel maker seeks to take advantage of strong demand for its products.
This is the second such move for the company in three months. In September Tesla said that it planned to sell up to $5 billion worth of common shares just one day after its 5-for-1 stock split took effect.