Update on the latest in business:


Wall Street logs gains Monday on strong earnings

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are solidly higher, and investors cheered a strong dose of positive earnings reports as well as economic data that showed the U.S. economy is growing.

Shares of clothing retailer Gap Inc. and flooring manufacturer Mohawk Industries both gained more than 8%.


Growth in US manufacturing slowed in April from March high

WASHINGTON (AP) — Growth in U.S. manufacturing slowed slightly in April, reflecting supply-chain troubles in many industries.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said its index of manufacturing activity fell last month to a reading of 60.7. That was down from a March reading of 64.7, which had been the highest level in 37 years. Any reading above 50 indicates manufacturing is expanding.

The April level marked the 11th consecutive month that manufacturing has grown after contracting in April 2020 when the country was struggling to deal with the shutdowns caused by a global pandemic.


US construction spending up in March less than expected

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — U.S. construction spending bounced back in March following a February beset by frigid cold and winter storms across large swaths of the country.

However, the Commerce Department reports that spending on construction projects rose just 0.2% in March, significantly less than the 1.7% jump economists had expected. That comes even as February’s decline was revised downward, as was January’s.

Still, through the first three months of the year, total construction spending of $328.3 billion is 4.5% ahead of where it was last year. Private construction continued to grow, but at a slower pace, up 0.7% from the previous month, with residential construction up 1.7%.


US sets pandemic-era high for air travel, over 1.6 million

UNDATED (AP) — Air travel continues to recover from the pandemic, although it’s still not close to normal.

The Transportation Security Administration said that nearly 1.67 million people were screened at U.S. airport checkpoints on Sunday. That’s the highest number since March of last year, when the pandemic was beginning to explode across the U.S. But Sunday’s airports crowds were still 35% below the corresponding Sunday in 2019, before the pandemic, according to TSA figures.

Airlines say bookings started to pick up around mid-February, and they are optimistic about the summer vacation season as more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19.


Restaurant survival hopes pick up as $28.6B in grants begin

NEW YORK (AP) — Thousands of restaurants and bars decimated by COVID-19 have a better chance at survival as the government begins handing out $28.6 billion in grants — money to help these businesses stay afloat while they wait for customers to return.

The Small Business Administration is accepting applications for grants from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund as of Monday. For the program’s first three weeks, only applications from restaurants that are majority-owned by women, minorities and veterans will be processed and paid out.

The grants, up to $10 million, are aimed at replacing lost revenue at restaurant companies with up to 20 locations.


24-hour subway service returning to city that never sleeps

NEW YORK (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York City’s subway will begin rolling all night again and capacity restrictions for most types of businesses will end statewide in mid-May as COVID-19 infection rates continues to decline. The Democratic governor made the announcement Monday.

Cuomo announced April 30, 2020 that the subways would close from 1 to 5 a.m. so trains and stations could be disinfected. The change was also intended to make it easier to remove homeless people from trains where many had been spending the night. The overnight closure was scaled back to 2 to 4 a.m. in February.


UK’s Johnson voices optimism over lockdown easing route

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says there is a “good chance” that social distancing rules in England will be scrapped on June 21 if coronavirus infections and deaths stay low. Johnson said Monday that the government’s lockdown easing plans remains on course as a result of a sharp fall in new coronavirus infections and the rapid rollout of vaccines.

On Monday, the National Health Service delivered its 50 millionth vaccine, with around 52% of the British population having received at least one dose and around a quarter having received two jabs.


Denmark removes J&J from vaccination program over clot fears

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Denmark’s health authorities say they have removed the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 shot from its vaccination program to investigate reports of rare but potentially dangerous blood clots.

Denmark has already taken the AstraZeneca shot out of its vaccination program for the same reason. Both the J&J and AstraZeneca shots are made with similar technology.

The Danish Health Authority said in a statement Tuesday that it “has concluded that the benefits of using the COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson do not outweigh the risk of causing the possible adverse effect.”


EU drug regulator evaluating Pfizer vaccine for youngsters

AMSTERDAM (AP) — The European Union’s drug regulator says it has begun evaluating a request by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech to extend approval of their coronavirus vaccine to include children ranging in age from 12 to 15.

The European Medicines Agency said Monday that its human medicines committee will carry out an accelerated assessment of data submitted by Pfizer and BioNTech. It is expected to reach a decision in June, unless it requires extra information.

On Friday the two pharmaceuticals said their request is based on an advanced study in more than 2,000 adolescents that showed their vaccine to be safe and effective. The companies’ vaccine is currently approved for use in people aged 16 years and older.


UN program inks Moderna deal on 500M doses, starting in Q4

GENEVA (AP) — Moderna and vaccine promoter Gavi have announced a deal by which the pharmaceutical company will provide up to 500 million coronavirus vaccines doses for the U.N.-backed program to ship to needy people in low- and middle-income countries by the end of 2022.

The advance purchase agreement comes just days after the World Health Organization, after weeks of delays, announced emergency approval for the Moderna vaccine that will pave the way for its rollout in the U.N.-backed COVAX program. However, deliveries are not set to begin until the fourth quarter of this year, and the vast majority of the doses in the deal — 466 million — are planned for next year.


EPA rule to phase out gases used in refrigerators, coolants

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to phase down production and use of hydrofluorocarbons, highly potent greenhouse gases commonly used in refrigerators and air conditioners.

It’s the first Biden administration rule aimed at combatting climate change. The proposed rule follows through on a law Congress passed in December authorizing a 15-year phaseout of HFCs. The rule is intended to decrease U.S. production and use of the gases by 85% over the next 15 years, part of a global phaseout intended to slow climate change.


When Buffett is gone, Abel will take over at Berkshire

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Vice Chairman Greg Abel will succeed billionaire Warren Buffett as Berkshire Hathaway CEO.

Buffett confirmed the succession plan to CNBC on Monday, after Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger hinted at the news during the company’s annual meeting on Saturday. Abel currently oversees all of Berkshire’s non-insurance companies.

Berkshire has long said it planned to split Buffett’s job into three parts when he is gone: CEO, investment management and a separate chairman. But in the past Buffett has refused to name the CEO candidate. The 90-year-old Buffett has said he has no plans to retire.


Verizon sells internet trailblazers Yahoo and AOL for $5B

UNDATED (AP) — AOL and Yahoo are being sold again, this time to a private equity firm.

Verizon will sell Verizon Media, which consists of the pioneering tech platforms, to Apollo Global Management in a $5 billion deal. Verizon said Monday that it will keep a 10% stake in the new company, which will be called Yahoo. As part of the deal, Verizon will receive $4.25 billion in cash, preferred interests of $750 million and the minority stake.

The transaction includes the assets of Verizon Media, including its brands and businesses such as Yahoo and AOL.

The deal is expected to close in the second half of the year.


StubHub to refund canceled events after pandemic complaints

UNDATED (AP) — StubHub says it will be offering some customers cash refunds for tickets to events that were canceled during the pandemic, creating an exception to a no-refunds policy it adopted in March 2020 to the dismay of many customers.

The ticket service changed its refunds policy just as the COVID-19 pandemic was picking up steam in the U.S., announcing that it would only give customers credit rather than cash when concerts, sports games and other events were canceled.

People who bought tickets on or before March 25, 2020 to canceled events can now expect a refund by the end of May.


Meredith to sell TV station division to Gray Television

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Magazine publisher and multimedia company Meredith Corp. is selling its Local Media Group consisting of 17 television stations to Gray Television Inc. for $2.7 billion in cash and will focus on expanding its print and digital magazines business.

The Des Moines, Iowa-based company publishes more than 20 magazines including People and Better Homes & Gardens in print and online digital versions. It will retain the Meredith Corp. name and New York Stock Exchange trading ticker symbol MDP. The company will remain headquartered in Iowa.

The company says the cash will allow it to extinguish corporate debt and pay $14.50 a share to Meredith stockholders who will maintain a 1-for-1 equity share in the company after the sale which is expected to close late this year.

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