Wall Street adds to its records; energy stocks lead the way
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are modestly higher in afternoon trading, adding to gains that helped the stock market close out its best first half of a year since the dotcom bubble.
Investors continued to be encouraged by economic data as they await Friday’s closely watched jobs report. The latest weekly unemployment report showed a steeper drop than analysts expected and the number of claims for benefits was the lowest level since the pandemic walloped the economy.
Oil rose 2.1%, which translated into higher energy company stocks. Bond yields edged higher and helped lift bank stocks. Technology stocks lagged the broader market.
130 countries back deal on global minimum tax for companies
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Some 130 countries have backed a global minimum tax as part of a worldwide effort to keep multinational firms from dodging taxes by shifting their profits to countries with low rates.
The agreement announced by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development also provides for taxing the largest global companies in countries where they earn profits through online businesses but may have no physical presence.
The deal now will be discussed by the Group of 20 countries at meetings later this year in hopes of finishing the details in October and implementing the agreement in 2023.
US construction spending fell 0.3% in May, housing slowing
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. construction spending fell 0.3% in May.
Growth in housing spending, the economy’s standout performer, slowed while activity in areas most directly impacted by the pandemic showed further weakness.
The Commerce Department reported Thursday that the May decline followed a slight 0.1% rise in April and left overall construction spending up 7.5% from a year ago.
Housing construction, which has been a leading force for the economy during the pandemic, posted a tiny 0.2% gain in May as single-family home construction rose 0.8% while apartments and other multifamily construction was flat. Nonresidential construction activity fell 1.1% in May with hotel and motel construction and the category that covers shopping centers both falling.
Glazed Over: Krispy Kreme shares debut on Nasdaq
UNDATED (AP) — Doughnut chain Krispy Kreme opened lower in its debut on the Nasdaq Thursday, getting off to a bit of a lackluster start.
The company, known for its glazed doughnuts, priced its initial public offering of 29.4 million shares at $17 a piece. That’s well below the $21 to $24 it was seeking.
It raised $500 million.
The tepid reaction may mean that the market is unsure if a business that sells doughnuts and coffee is the right pick during a time when people have become increasingly more health conscious.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
US jobless claims fall to 364,000, a new pandemic low
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment aid fell again last week to the lowest level since the pandemic struck last year, further evidence that the job market and the broader economy are rebounding rapidly from the coronavirus recession.
Jobless claims dropped by 51,000 to 364,000. Applications for unemployment benefits have fallen more or less steadily since the year began.
The rollout of vaccines has sharply reduced new COVID-19 cases, giving consumers the confidence to shop, travel, eat out and attend public events as the economy recovers.
WHO decision challenges West to recognize Chinese vaccines
GENEVA (AP) — The World Health Organization says any COVID-19 vaccines it has authorized for emergency use should be recognized by countries as they open up their borders to inoculated travelers. Thursday’s move could challenge Western countries to broaden their acceptance of two apparently less effective Chinese vaccines, which the U.N. health agency has licensed but most European and North American countries have not.
In its aim to restore travel across Europe, the European Union said in May that it would only recognize people as vaccinated if they had received shots licensed by the European Medicines Agency — although it’s up to individual countries if they wish to let in travelers who have received other vaccines.
Africa’s COVID-19 envoy blasts EU, COVAX over vaccine crisis
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The African Union special envoy tasked with leading efforts to procure COVID-19 vaccines for the continent is blasting Europe as Africa struggles amid a crushing third wave of infections.
Strive Masiyiwa said that “not one dose, not one vial, has left a European factory for Africa.” Masiyiwa also took aim Thursday at the global COVAX effort to distribute vaccines to low-and middle-income countries, accusing COVAX of withholding crucial information including that key donors had not met funding pledges.
The African continent of 1.3 billion people is now in the grip of a third wave of infections the Africa CDC calls “extremely aggressive.”
House approves $715 billion transportation, water bill
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic-led House has approved a sizable $715 billion transportation bill. The bill passed Thursday includes spending for roads, rail, public transit and water and could serve as a marker in the negotiations over a bipartisan infrastructure bill.
President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of senators have already agreed to a blueprint for a roughly $1 trillion infrastructure package, but it has not yet been turned into legislation. House Democrats will be pushing to include many of their provisions when Congress negotiates the broader bipartisan product this summer.
Trump Organization CFO surrenders ahead of expected charges
The Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial officer has surrendered to authorities ahead of an expected court appearance on the first criminal indictment in a two-year investigation into business practices at Donald Trump’s company.
Allen Weisselberg was photographed walking into the the complex that houses criminal courts and the Manhattan district attorney’s office at around 6:20 a.m. Thursday.
New York prosecutors were expected to announce an indictment accusing Weisselberg and the company of tax crimes related to fringe benefits for employees.
The Trump Organization issued a statement defending Weisselberg, saying prosecutors were using him as “a pawn in a scorched-earth attempt to harm the former president.”
Navy ditches futuristic railgun, eyes hypersonic missiles
BATH, Maine (AP) — The U.S. Navy has pulled the plug on research on a futuristic weapon that fires projectiles at up to seven times the speed of sound using electricity.
The Navy has spent more than a decade developing the electromagnetic railgun and once considered putting them the stealthy new Zumwalt-class destroyers built at Bath Iron Works.
A Navy spokesperson says the decision frees up resources for hypersonic missiles, laser systems and electronic warfare systems. The Department of Defense has turned its attention to hypersonic missiles to keep up with China and Russia.