Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian stocks fall for 2nd day after new Wall St record

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets have declined for a second day after gains for U.S. tech stocks pushed Wall Street to a new high and the World Bank raised its forecast for China’s economic growth. Market benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong retreated.

On Monday, Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index added 0.2% as tech stocks rose, offsetting losses for other industries.

Investors are looking ahead to this week’s U.S. employment data for signs of whether the labor market and wages are heating up. That might add to inflation pressures that traders worry could prompt the Federal Reserve and other central banks to roll back economic stimulus.

CHINA-ECONOMY

World Bank raises China growth outlook to 8.5%

BEIJING (AP) —The World Bank is raising its forecast of China’s economic growth this year to 8.5% from 8.1% and says vaccinations against the coronavirus are needed for a full recovery.

The report adds to positive signs for China, the first major economy to rebound from the pandemic. Factory and consumer activity are back above pre-outbreak levels, though authorities have re-imposed travel controls in some areas to counter outbreaks of new variants of the virus.

The World Bank said Chinese growth is likely to decline to 5.4% next year as the rebound from last year’s history-making global slump fades and activity returns to normal.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-LOS ANGELES

LA County urges indoor masks even if vaccinated

LOS ANGELES — Health officials in Los Angeles County are recommending, but not making mandatory that people wear masks indoors in public places regardless of their vaccination status.

The recommendation in the nation’s most populous county is aimed at preventing the spread of the highly transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus. The county public health department suggests that people wear masks when inside grocery or retail stores as well as at theaters and family entertainment centers and in workplaces when people’s vaccination statuses are not known.

The county experienced a surge in cases and deaths over the winter. To date, the county has recorded a total of 1.2 million coronavirus cases and more than 24,000 deaths from COVID-19.

CALIFORNIA-TRAVEL BANS

California bans state travel to Florida, 4 other states

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California has added five more states including Florida to the list of places where state-funded travel is banned because of laws that discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community.

Democratic Attorney General Rob Bonta on Monday added Florida, Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia to a list that now has 17 states where state employee travel is forbidden except in limited circumstances.

In 2016, California passed the law banning non-essential travel to states with laws that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The state law has exemptions for some trips including travel that is needed to enforce California law.

TRUMP-LEGAL TROUBLES

Trump Org lawyers make last pitch against prosecution

NEW YORK (AP) — Lawyers for the Trump Organization met again Monday with prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in a last bid to forestall a potential indictment stemming from a long-running investigation into the former president’s company.

Trump Organization lawyer Ron Fischetti told The Associated Press the meeting came as a grand jury nears a potential vote on a case involving fringe benefits the company paid to employees, like use of company cars and apartments. He said prosecutors have told him Trump himself will not be charged at this time but the investigation is continuing. Trump blasted prosecutors Monday as “totally biased.”

FACEBOOK-ANTITRUST LAWSUITS

Judge dismisses gov’t antitrust lawsuits against Facebook

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed antitrust lawsuits brought against Facebook by the Federal Trade Commission and a coalition of state attorneys general, dealing a significant blow to attempts by regulators to rein in tech giants.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled Monday that the lawsuits were “legally insufficient” and didn’t provide enough evidence to prove that Facebook was a monopoly. The ruling dismisses the complaint but not the case, meaning the FTC could refile another complaint. The U.S. government and 48 states and districts sued Facebook in December 2020, accusing the tech giant of abusing its market power to crush smaller competitors.

GAS PRICE-INFLATION

Gas prices rise again, no sign of letting up this summer

UNDATED (AP) — After a brief dip, gas prices in the U.S. are on the rise again, hitting an average $3.09 per gallon.

That’s according to the fuel price tracking app GasBuddy. The national average is now almost 5 cents higher than a month ago and 92 cents higher than one year ago. For consumers, higher gasoline prices are one element of an inflationary mix they’ve encountered as the economy recovers from the pandemic. Rising prices for commodities and materials have also boosted prices for such items as lumber, diapers and meat and poultry. The bad news: Gas prices could go higher this summer before heading lower.

COAL EXPORTS-LAWSUIT

Justices deny Wyoming, Montana coal suit against Washington

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court won’t allow Wyoming and Montana to sue Washington state for denying a key permit to build a coal export dock.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito were in the minority in Monday’s ruling against letting the two states sue in a case that would have gone directly to the high court.

The two coal mining states want to boost coal exports to Asia to prop up an industry in decline. Washington state officials denied an environmental permit for the export dock in 2017. Wyoming and Montana say that violated the U.S. Constitution, but Washington state officials contend the denial was based on valid environmental concerns.

E-CIGARETTES-NORTH CAROLINA

Juul to pay $40M in N. Carolina teen vaping suit settlement

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Electronic cigarette giant Juul Labs Inc. will pay $40 million to North Carolina and take more action to prevent underage use and sales.

That’s according to a landmark legal settlement announced on Monday after years of accusations that the company had fueled an explosion in teen vaping. North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein had accused Juul of unfair and deceptive marketing practices targeting young people to use its vaping products, which deliver addictive nicotine.

Juul promises not to advertise to anyone under 21 in North Carolina and says it will put restrictions in place for sales both online and at brick-and-mortal retailers.

FAA-BOEING PLANE

Boeing’s next airplane likely to be delayed by FAA concerns

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators are indicating they won’t meet Boeing’s schedule for approving the company’s next airliner, a new version of the two-aisle 777 (“Triple-7”) jet.

The Federal Aviation Administration is raising concerns about late changes Boeing is making in the plane’s software and hardware. Boeing shares fell Monday on news of the FAA’s concerns. Among other things, the safety regulator is worried about a test flight in December in which the plane’s nose pitched up or down without the pilots directing it to do so. That was reminiscent of a factor in two crashes of the Boeing 737 Max.

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