NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are wobbling between small gains and losses while hovering near their recent record highs as coronavirus vaccines move closer to distribution and Washington ramps up stimulus talks.
The S&P 500 slipped 0.2% Wednesday, putting it just below its record of 3,702.25 set on Tuesday. Companies that stand to benefit the most from a recovering economy were putting up gains.
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The prospect for effective vaccines is giving Wall Street hope that the economy is nearing a more direct path to a full recovery. However a surge in cases means there could be more economic damage before vaccines are widely distributed.
US Oct. job openings blip up to 6.7 million but hiring slows
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers advertised slightly more job openings in October but hiring slipped as a resurgence of coronavirus cases threatens an economic recovery.
The Labor Department reported Wednesday that job postings rose to 6.65 million in October from 6.49 million in September. But employer hired 5.81 million workers, down from 5.89 million in September.
The American job market has been slowly healing since it collapsed in the spring when the coronavirus pandemic struck the United States hard. Employers slashed 22 million jobs in March and April, then began recalling furloughed employees back to work. But the job rebound has been slowing and is threatened by a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.
UK probing if allergic reactions linked to Pfizer vaccine
LONDON (AP) — Britain’s medical regulator has warned that people with a history of serious allergic reactions shouldn’t receive the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech as investigators look into whether two reactions on the first day of the country’s vaccination program were linked to the shot.
The medical director for National Health Service in England said Wednesday the advice was issued on a “precautionary basis” and that the people who had reactions had recovered. The medical regulator has said people should not received the vaccine if they have had a significant allergic reaction to a vaccine, medicine or food.
Pfizer and BioNTech say they are working with authorities but that late-stage trials found no serious safety concerns.
Canada health regulator OKs Pfizer vaccine
TORONTO (AP) — Canada’s health regulator has approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. Health Canada posted on it is website that the vaccine made by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech is authorized. Canada is set to receive up to 249,000 doses this month and 4 million doses by March.
The Canadian government has purchased 20 million doses of the vaccine, which requires people to receive two doses each, and it has the option to buy 56 million more. Health Canada is reviewing three other vaccine candidates, including one from Moderna.
The government has said 14 distribution centers will be in large Canadian cities initially. There will be at least one in each province and two each in Canada’s four largest provinces.
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New White House offer adds $600 checks to COVID-19 relief
WASHINGTON (AP) — he House is expected to pass a one-week government funding bill as lawmakers try to reach agreement on another coronavirus relief bill.
The Trump administration on Tuesday offered a $916 billion coronavirus relief package that would send a $600 direct payment to most Americans but eliminate a $300-per-week employment benefit favored by a bipartisan group of Senate negotiators. The offer appears to demonstrate some flexibility by Republicans. Democrats immediately blasted the administration’s refusal to back the partial restoration, to $300 per week, of bonus pandemic jobless benefits that lapsed in August.
Both sides say new virus aid needs to get done before Congress adjourns this year.
TRUMP-MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION CARDS
Trump tries to revive stalled election-eve drug discounts
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is trying to revive the president’s stalled election-eve plan to send millions of Medicare recipients a $200 prescription discount card.
A person familiar with the effort tells The Associated Press that government agencies still face legal questions about the plan, not to mention the daunting logistics of sending an estimated 39 million seniors a card that will actually work. And trying to do it in the midst of the holiday season, without the benefit of much advance planning.
The person was not authorized to publicly discuss internal deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.
DoorDash shares soar 78% in stock market debut
UNDATED (AP) — DoorDash shares soared 78% as the meal delivery service made its debut Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares opened at $182 after the San Francisco-based company priced them at $102 each late Tuesday. The opening price valued the company, which is trading under the symbol DASH, at around $58 billion.
Virus-induced lockdown orders and the closure of indoor dining have made meal delivery services indispensable for many restaurants and diners this year. That’s led to explosive growth for companies like DoorDash. The company hopes to keep the momentum going even if demand for food delivery eases in a post-pandemic world.
UK, EU head for supper showdown over Brexit trade deal
BRUSSELS (AP) — Leaders of Britain and the European Union are meeting for a dinner that could pave the way to a post-Brexit trade deal — or tip the two sides toward a chaotic economic rupture at the end of the month.
Early-morning comments from both sides, insisting that it was for the other to compromise, only highlighted the difficult task ahead for U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in their Brussels meeting.
British officials said they hoped political pressure from the top could break the logjam, but said the EU would have to compromise to get a deal. The bloc insists the U.K. needs to move to secure agreement.
Boeing 737 Max back in air 2 years after grounded by crashes
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Commercial flights with Boeing 737 Max jetliners have resumed for the first time since they were grounded worldwide following two deadly accidents nearly two years ago.
Brazil’s Gol Airlines became the first in the world to return the planes to its active fleet, using a 737 MAX 8 on a flight from Sao Paulo to Porto Alegre on Tuesday. The company said customers would be able to exchange their tickets if they don’t want to fly on a 737 Max.
U.S. and European regulators also have approved flights and American Airlines plans to resume flights with the planes this month.
Malaysia’s Top Glove reaps record profit, sees strong demand
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s Top Glove Corp., the world’s largest rubber glove maker, says it expects a shortage of gloves over the next three years as it reported a record quarterly profit fueled by the coronavirus pandemic.
Top Glove says its net profit grew 21-fold from a year earlier to $590 million in the three months through November, while revenue almost quadrupled to $1.17 billion. It says the deployment of vaccines next year will not hurt glove demand, since it will take time for them to become widely available and people administering the shots will need protective gear. It projects glove demand will outstrip supply for the next three years.
GM’s Cruise to deploy fully driverless cars in San Francisco
SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — General Motors’ self-driving car company is sending vehicles without anybody behind the wheel in San Francisco as it navigates its way toward launching a robotic taxi service that would compete against Uber and Lyft in the hometown of the leading ride-hailing services.
The move announced Wednesday by GM-owned Cruise come two months after the company received California’s permission to operate fully driverless cars in the state. The next step will likely be a ride-hailing service consisting of Cruise’s fully driverless cars, although company isn’t specifying when that may happen.
A Google spinoff call Waymo already offers rides in self-driving cars in the Phoenix area.
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