Stocks climb on Wall Street following encouraging jobs data
NEW YORK (AP) — Stock indexes are ticking higher again on Wall Street.
The S&P 500 was up 0.7% in afternoon trading and on pace for its seventh straight gain, though more stocks were falling in the index than rising. The Dow and Nasdaq are also modestly higher.
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The gains follow the government’s June employment report, which showed the nation’s job market was stronger last month than expected. It’s a sign that more workers are returning to the labor force, though there’s still a ways to go before it returns to full strength. Some investors say that should keep the Federal Reserve on course to maintain its support for the economy a while longer.
Treasury yields were flat to lower.
US adds a solid 850,000 jobs as economy extends its gains
WASHINGTON (AP) — America’s employers added 850,000 jobs in June, well above the average of the previous three months and a sign that companies may be having an easier time finding enough workers to fill open jobs.
The Labor Department report also show the unemployment rate edge up to 5.9%. Despite the job market’s steady gains, unemployment remains well above the 3.5% rate that prevailed before the pandemic struck, and the economy remains 6.8 million jobs short of its pre-pandemic level. Still, joblessness has plummeted from the 14.8% rate in April of last year.
The June report comes as the latest sign that the reopening of the economy is propelling a powerful rebound from the pandemic recession. Restaurant traffic across the country is nearly back to pre-pandemic levels, and more people are shopping, traveling and attending sports and entertainment events. The number of people flying each day has regained about 80% of its pre-COVID-19 levels.
US trade deficit increases to $71.2 billion in May
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit widened in May as $71.2 billion as a small increase in exports was offset by a bigger rise in imports.
The Commerce Department reports the deficit rose 3.1% from the revised April deficit of $69.1 billion The U.S. trade deficit had hit a monthly record of $75 billion in March.
In May, exports of U.S. goods and services rose 0.6% to $206 billion. But that was offset by a 1.3% gain in imports which hit $277.3 billion.
Through the first five months of this year, the U.S. trade deficit totals $353.1 billion, up a sizable 45.8% from the deficit during the same period last year when Americans’ appetite for imported goods was being held back by the pandemic.
CONDOS DEEMED UNSAFE-FLORIDA
Firm alerts county to ‘significant’ issues at condo complex
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KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — Engineers from a private firm alerted officials in central Florida this week to significant structural problems discovered at a condominium complex two months ago but never addressed by the homeowners association.
The warning came days after another condominium, the Champlain Towers South, partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida, killing at least 20 and leaving 128 still missing.
The Orlando Sentinel reports the firm Farmer Architecture told Osceola County officials Tuesday they’d warned the homeowners association at Kissimmee’s Images Condominiums on April 30 that three buildings were “unsafe and in danger of collapse.” But they haven’t heard back on a proposal to make repairs. On Wednesday, the county declared 72 units unsafe and told residents to enter at their own risk.
Justices turn away florist who refused same-sex wedding job
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has declined to take up the case of a florist who refused to provide services for a same-sex wedding.
The justices have left in place a decision that she broke Washington state’s anti-discrimination laws. Those laws say that businesses offering services to opposite-sex couples must provide the same service to same-sex couples.
The florist said she’d refused to provide the flowers on religious grounds. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch said that they would have agreed to hear the case and review the decision.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-FOURTH OF JULY
Biden: Concern about unvaccinated during holiday
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden says he’s concerned lives will be unnecessarily lost to COVID-19 as unvaccinated people contract and transmit the coronavirus over the July 4 holiday.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Biden emphasized that for most Americans who are vaccinated, the holiday weekend will be worth celebrating. Says Biden: “This year is different than the Fourth of July of last year and it’s going to be better next year.”
But the president says he’s worried about those who haven’t yet gotten a shot. “I am concerned that people who have not gotten vaccinated have the capacity to catch the variant and spread the variant to other people who have not been vaccinated,” he says. “But I am concerned. Lives will be lost.”
Experts estimate well over 3 million people could pass through the nation’s airports.
Tesla delivers more than 200,000 vehicles in 2nd quarter
DETROIT (AP) — Tesla says it delivered 201,250 electric vehicles in the second quarter as it overcame a global computer chip shortage that has hit nearly every automaker.
The sales figures fell a bit short of Wall Street estimates of 207,000 vehicles, according to FactSet. But it was better than first-quarter sales of 185,000 and put the company on a path to double last year’s annual deliveries of just under 500,000.
Sales from April through June more than doubled from a year ago, when the start of the coronavirus pandemic forced Tesla and other automakers to close factories for much of the quarter.
China watchdog launches review of Didi Global days after IPO
HONG KONG (AP) — China’s internet watchdog said Friday that it has launched an investigation into ride-hailing company Didi Global Inc. to protect national security and public interest.
The Cyberspace Administration of China said in a statement on its website that it would conduct a cybersecurity review in accordance with China’s cybersecurity law. While the investigation is ongoing, Didi will not accept registrations of new users.
Didi said in a statement it would cooperate with authorities during the review.
The investigation comes days after Didi went public in New York, as authorities grow increasingly concerned over the influence of China’s technology firms.
US plans to make airlines refund fees if bags are delayed
UNDATED (AP) — The Biden administration is planning to require that airlines refund fees on checked baggage if the bags get seriously delayed.
The proposal would also require refunds for fees on extras like internet access if the airline fails to provide the service during the flight.
An administration official says the Transportation Department will issue the proposal in the next several days, and it could take effect by next summer.
Airlines made nearly $5.8 billion from checked-bag fees in 2019, the last year before the pandemic crushed air travel.
Boy Scouts of America reaches $850M agreement with victims
DOVER, Del. (AP) — The Boy Scouts of America have reached an $850 million agreement with attorneys representing some 60,000 victims of child sex abuse in what could prove to be a pivotal moment in the organization’s bankruptcy case.
The settlement would mark one of the largest sums in U.S. history involving cases of sexual abuse.
Attorneys for the BSA filed court papers late Thursday outlining a restructuring support agreement with attorneys representing abuse victims. The BSA sought bankruptcy protection last year, moving to halt lawsuits and create a compensation fund for men who were molested as youngsters decades ago.
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