Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index rose 0.7% Monday, as big technology companies led stocks broadly higher. Kansas City Southern jumped 11.1% after a Canadian railroad announced it would buy the company for $25 billion. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note narrowed. A steady rise in bond yields has lured investors away from stocks.
FEDERAL RESERVE-POWELL TESTIMONY
Powell says economy recovering but Fed support still needed
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic has progressed more quickly than expected.
But still, he says the central bank does not intend to let up in its support efforts. In testimony prepared for a congressional oversight hearing, Powell says even though the recovery appears to be strengthening, there are still many pockets of weakness in the U.S. economy. Powell noted that the unemployment rate is still elevated at 6.2%, a statistic that does not fully reflect the number of jobless Americans who have given up and dropped out of the labor force.
Germany extends virus lockdown till mid-April as cases rise
BERLIN (AP) — Germany is extending its lockdown measures by another month and imposing several new restrictions in an effort to drive down the rate of coronavirus infections. Chancellor Angela Merkel announced early Tuesday that the measures include largely shutting down public life for several days over Easter. Speaking after a lengthy video call with the country’s 16 state governors, Merkel stressed that regions with high rates of infection would need to pull an “emergency brake” agreed at a previous meeting three weeks ago. Amid concern over the rise in Germans traveling abroad on holidays, authorities also agreed on a blanket requirement for air travelers to be tested for COVID-19 before boarding a flight to Germany.
Tourism groups push US to eliminate travel restrictions
UNDATED (AP) — Airlines are putting pressure on the Biden administration to come up with a plan to reduce restrictions on international travel.
More than two dozen groups representing airlines and others in the tourism industry made their demands in a letter Monday to a top White House official. The groups say people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 should be exempt from testing requirements before entering the U.S. They also want the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to say it’s safe for vaccinated people to travel.
U.S. air travel is already picking up. More than 1.5 million people went through airport checkpoints on Sunday, the highest number in more than a year.
New Zealand spends billions to slow skyrocketing home prices
HAMILTON (AP) — New Zealand will spend billions of dollars to encourage more home building and will also remove some tax breaks for speculators as it tries to slow skyrocketing house prices.
The government has announced a series of new measures to address what Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is describing as a crisis. Prices had been expected to dip due to the coronavirus pandemic, but instead they’ve continued to rise. It’s made New Zealand’s among the most unaffordable in the world when compared with people’s incomes.
The government package also offers more help for first-time home buyers and for aspiring tradespeople like carpenters hoping to complete apprenticeships.
PHILANTHROPY-JACK DORSEY-TWEET SOLD
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sells NFT of first tweet for $2.9M
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet for more than $2.9 million. The tweet from 2006, which says “just setting up my twttr,” was bought by Bridge Oracle CEO Sina Estavi.
It was put up for a digital auction earlier this month to be sold as a non-fungible token, or NFT. The token is a digital certificate of authenticity that confirms an item is one of a kind and real.
Dorsey had said the proceeds would be converted to Bitcoin, and given to the nonprofit GiveDirectly. He tweeted the Bitcoin receipt Monday afternoon, and said the proceeds were sent to the charity.
Rush Limbaugh’s syndicator to keep his voice alive on radio
NEW YORK (AP) — Rush Limbaugh’s radio syndicators say they plan to keep his voice alive.
Premiere Networks said on Monday that Limbaugh’s show will continue with its present format, where a series of guest hosts introduce archival audio footage of his voice. Limbaugh died of cancer on Feb. 17. A Premiere spokeswoman said the company will “continue to provide millions of listeners with the voice of Rush for a long time.” Talkers magazine publisher Michael Harrison says the announcement indicates that there has not been a significant erosion in audience for the replacement show. Harrison says it would be a difficult burden for any host to be anointed Limbaugh’s successor so quickly after he died.