On Thursday, Wall Street logged gains while bond yields mostly fell despite the much-anticipated report showing consumer prices rose 5% in May, the biggest year-over-year increase since 2008 and more than economists had expected. Investors also reacted positively to more data that showed continued improvement in the labor market. The worry is that if signs of inflation persist, central banks may move to withdraw stimulus from the economy to ease price pressures.
G-7 nations gather to pledge 1B vaccine doses for world
CARBIS BAY, England (AP) — World leaders from the Group of Seven industrialized nations are set to commit at their summit to share at least 1 billion coronavirus shots with struggling countries around the world — half the doses coming from the U.S. and 100 million from the U.K.
Vaccine sharing commitments from President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday set the stage for the G-7 leaders’ meeting in England.
Leaders today will pivot from opening greetings and a “family photo” directly into a session on “Building Back Better From COVID-19.” Biden says the leaders will “help lead the world out of this pandemic working alongside our global partners.”
US average mortgage rates tick lower; 30-year loan at 2.96%
UNDATED (AP) — Mortgage rates remained near historic lows this week. The benchmark 30-year home loan held below the 3% mark amid further signs of the economy’s recovery from the pandemic recession.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reports that the average for the 30-year loan rate dipped to 2.96% from 2.99% last week.
The rate for a 15-year loan edged down to 2.23% from 2.27% last week.
In the latest economic news, the government reported that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped last week for the sixth straight week, to 376,000, a new pandemic low.
Migrant workers in Malaysia win labor suit against Goodyear
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A lawyer says a Malaysian court has ruled in favor of 65 migrant workers who sued U.S. tiremaker Goodyear for underpaying them, calling it a victory for foreign employees.
The lawyer says the Industrial Court agreed that the workers from Nepal, India and Myanmar were entitled to benefits under a collective labor agreement that include shift allowances, annual bonuses and pay increases.
The company argued that the foreigners were not represented by the labor union.
The lawyer says the plaintiffs are the third group of foreign workers to win a case against Goodyear in the Industrial Court, showing that migrant workers shouldn’t be discriminated against. He says Goodyear has appealed the verdicts in the earlier cases involving 119 migrant workers.
AMAZON-REMOTE WORK POLICY
Amazon now says remote work OK 2 days a week
SEATTLE (AP) — Corporate and tech employees at Amazon won’t have to work in offices full time after coronavirus restrictions are lifted.
The Seattle Times reports the online retail giant said in a company blog post Thursday that those workers can work remotely two days a week. In addition, the employees can work remotely from a domestic location for four full weeks each year.
Amazon’s work policy update follows backlash from some employees to what they interpreted as the expectation they would have to return to the office full time once states reopen.
The company previously said that most Amazon employees will start heading back to offices as soon as local jurisdictions fully reopen — July 1 in Washington state — with the majority of workers in offices by the fall.
Amazon has about 75,000 employees in the greater Seattle area. The company’s new remote-work plan is similar to what other large tech companies plan to do.
Leak of billionaires’ tax data draws GOP outcry over privacy
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans in Congress are alarmed by the leak of confidential IRS data to ProPublica that has enabled the investigative news organization to reveal that famous billionaires including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg paid little in U.S. income tax at times.
GOP lawmakers are demanding an investigation into how the private tax data was leaked and they’re pressing the Treasury Department and the IRS to pursue anyone who violated the law.
A senior IRS official says a federal criminal investigation into the leak has been requested.
A deputy IRS commissioner says the Treasury Department has referred the matter for investigation to the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office in the District of Columbia.
The law provides for potential criminal penalties for federal employees or other individuals who leak tax information.
NY Times: Trump DOJ investigated House Dems, seized data
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats are calling for an investigation after The New York Times reported Thursday that the Justice Department under President Donald Trump seized communications data of members of the House intelligence committee.
The Times reported Thursday that the DOJ subpoenaed Apple for data from at least two committee members, as well as aides and family members, in 2017 and 2018.
Among those whose records were seized was California Rep. Adam Schiff, then the top Democrat on the committee.
The Times reported that the subpoenas came as the DOJ was trying to hunt down the sources of leaks that had led to news stories about contacts between Trump associates and Russia.
AMERICAN AIRLINES-ELECTRIC AIRCRAFT
Leak of billionaires’ tax data draws GOP outcry over privacy
WASHINGTON (AP) — American Airlines says it will invest in a company that’s working on a small, electric-powered aircraft that could someday carry people from city centers to airports by taking off and landing vertically like helicopters.
American said Thursday that it plans to invest $25 million in U.K-based Vertical Aerospace, which plans to sell stock to the public later this year. American values a “pre-order” for up to 250 vertical aircraft at $1 billion.
American, Microsoft’s M12, Honeywell, Rolls-Royce and others will take stakes in Vertical through private investment in public equity, or PIPE transactions. Another investor, Irish aircraft leasing company Avolon, said Thursday that it placed a $2 billion conditional order for up to 500 Vertical aircraft.
Vertical Aerospace says it’s developing a four-passenger electric aircraft and hopes to conduct its first test flight later this year.
PUERTO RICO-POWER OUTAGES
New company, same woes: Puerto Rico suffers power outages
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A private company that took over power transmission and distribution in Puerto Rico this month has struggled with widespread outages and growing anger.
Officials say outages have affected more than 1 million customers so far this month as they scrambled to control a large fire at a main substation that left 700,000 clients in the dark.
Several mayors have declared a state of emergency as they distributed ice and generators to those most in need. Many in Puerto Rico had hoped for a quick improvement in service, but clients complain it has gotten even worse in Luma’s first few days of operations — with problems complicated by heavy rains this week.