Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks slightly higher

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks have been slightly higher so far today, recovering some of the losses the market experienced the day before. Technology shares, where much of the selling occurred on Tuesday, were among the better performers.

The S&P 500 index was up 0.3%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.4%.

General Motors shares rose 4% after the company posted a solid quarterly profit compared to a year earlier. Shares of Activision, the video game company, and Under Armour, the apparel company, also rose after reporting strong earnings.

Shares of Peloton fell after the company voluntarily recalled treadmills.

ECONOMY-SERVICES

US services sector slows slightly in April after record high

WASHINGTON (AP) — Activity in the U.S. services sector, where most Americans work, slowed slightly in April after hitting an all-time high in March.

The Institute for Supply Management said its monthly survey of service industries showed a drop to a still high reading of 62.7, 1 percentage point lower than the record high of 63.7 set in March. April. Any reading above 50 indicates the sector is expanding.

The April level marks the 11th straight month of expansion in the services sector after a two-month contraction in April and May last year when the country was struggling with widespread shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

FACEBOOK-TRUMP DECISION

Facebook board upholds Trump ban, just not an indefinite one

UNDATED (AP) — Former President Donald Trump won’t return to Facebook — at least not yet.

Four months after Facebook suspended Trump’s accounts for inciting violence that led to the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the company’s quasi-independent oversight board upheld the bans. But it told Facebook to specify how long they would last, saying that its “indefinite” ban on the former president was unreasonable.

The ruling, which gives Facebook six months to comply, effectively postpones any possible Trump reinstatement and puts the onus for that decision squarely back on the company.

TREASURY-DEBT LIMIT

Treasury warns of need to deal with national debt limit

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department says it will employ measures to avoid an unprecedented default on the national debt this summer, but officials say those measures could be exhausted “much more quickly” than normal given the unusual circumstances of the global pandemic.

Treasury officials on Wednesday urged Congress to pass either a new borrowing limit or another suspension of the debt before the July 31 deadline.

The Treasury will continue to initiate the types of bookkeeping maneuvers it has used in the past to keep the government from breaching a level that would trigger a default on the massive national debt.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-CANADA-VACCINE

Canada OKs Pfizer vaccine for ages 12 and older

TORONTO (AP) — Canada’s health regulator has authorized Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for ages 12 and older.

Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser at Health Canada, confirmed the approval of the vaccine for ages 12 to 15. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also is expected to authorize Pfizer’s vaccine for the young by next week.

Preliminary results in late March from a Pfizer study of 2,260 U.S. volunteers ages 12 to 15 indicated there were no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated adolescents compared with 18 among those given dummy shots. The Pfizer vaccine was previously authorized for anyone 16 or older.

Vaccinations have ramped in Canada, which expects to receive at least 10 million vaccines this month. More than 34% of Canadians have received at least one dose.

BIDEN-RESTAURANTS

Biden touts $28.6B restaurant relief program, orders tacos

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has made a Cinco de Mayo taco and enchilada run to highlight his administration’s $28.6 billion program to help eateries that lost business because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden visited Taqueria Las Gemelas in Washington on Wednesday and ordered lunch. The restaurant is owned in part by Mexican immigrants and was a beneficiary of a pilot version of the restaurant relief program. Biden says the restaurant industry was “badly hurt” by the pandemic.

The aid for eateries is part of the administration’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. The White House says 186,200 restaurants, bars and other eligible businesses applied for the program over its first two days of accepting applications.

GIG WORKERS-BIDEN

Biden repeals Trump-era rule on gig workers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration has nullified a Trump-era rule that would have made it easier to classify workers as independent contractors. The Labor Department’s decision came just two days before the Trump-era rule was supposed to take effect.

The move means the Labor Department will continue to use existing rules under the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act to determine whether a worker should be classified as an independent contractor.

Under the existing system, app-based companies such as Uber, DoorDash and Instacart had already been able to classify their gig workers as independent contractors. But those companies had applauded the Trump administration rule, arguing that the Depression-era law was outdated and did not provide the flexibility demanded by the digital era.

PELOTON-RECALL

Peloton recalls treadmills, halts sales, after a child dies

NEW YORK (AP) — Peloton is recalling about 125,000 of its treadmills, less than a month after denying they were dangerous and saying it would not pull them from the market, even though they were linked to the death of a child and injuries of 29 others.

The company says it will now offer full refunds for the Peloton Tread+ treadmill, which cost more than $4,200, and will stop selling them.

The recall comes after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warned on April 17 that people with children and pets should immediately stop using the Tread+ treadmill after a child was pulled under it and died.

Those who own the treadmill have until Nov. 6, 2022, to get a full refund from Peloton.

GENERAL MOTORS-RESULTS

GM profit surges to $2.98B on sales of higher-margin trucks

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors’ first-quarter net income surged to $2.98 billion as strong U.S. consumer demand and higher prices overcame production cuts brought on by the global shortage of computer chips.

The big profit increase was 12 times larger than the same period last year, when the start of the coronavirus pandemic forced automakers to shutter factories, limiting GM’s net income to $247 million.

Despite the semiconductor shortage, GM stuck with full-year pretax earnings guidance of $10 billion to $11 billion issued earlier in the year. It predicted earnings at the higher end of the range. The company predicts a strong first half with a pretax profit of around $5.5 billion.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES-HAU-THAI-TANG

Ford is betting that solid-state batteries will cut EV costs

DETROIT (AP) — Ford has raised its stake in a manufacturer of solid-state batteries — a move that its chief product and operations officer, Hau Thai-Tang, says will strengthen the company’s effort to increase the range and reduce the costs of its next generation of electric vehicles.

Ford, along with BMW, this week announced their investment in a $130 million funding round for Solid Power, a company that is developing sulfide solid-state battery technology.

Thai-Tang says the technology should give Ford the flexibility to either shrink battery sizes to make it less expensive to manufacture some vehicles or keep the same size battery and achieve a greater range of distance in other models.

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