Tech companies help pull stocks broadly lower on Wall Street
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are broadly lower on Wall Street as bond yields continue to fall and investors turn cautious after the market hit a series of record highs last week. The S&P 500 was down 0.7% at midday. Technology companies were having some of the biggest losses. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.30% from 1.32% a day earlier. The benchmark yield, which is used to set rates on mortgages and many other kinds of loans, has been falling steadily in recent weeks as traders shift money into bonds. The 10-year yield traded as high as 1.74% at the end of March.
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US jobless claims tick up to 373,000 from a pandemic low
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose slightly last week even while the economy and the job market appear to be rebounding from the coronavirus recession with sustained energy. The government said jobless claims increased by 2,000 from the previous week to 373,000. Weekly applications, which generally track the pace of layoffs, have fallen steadily this year from more than 900,000 at the start of the year. The rollout of vaccinations is driving a potent economic recovery as businesses reopen, employers struggle to fill jobs and consumers emerge from months of lockdown to travel, shop and spend at restaurants, bars, retailers and entertainment venues.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-SMALL BUSINESS-CHANGES
At many companies, changes from COVID-19 are now permanent
NEW YORK (AP) — COVID-19 has changed the way many small businesses operate. Common across many industries is the shift to working from home. And online ordering and curbside pickup are now standard at restaurants and retailers. But many owners also have made very individual adaptations that not only make sense but may have permanently altered the way they do business and make money. Some who made dramatic changes find they’re much happier running their companies. For example, a florist who discovered she’s happier making individual arrangements than wedding designs. A psychotherapist expects to keep seeing clients virtually. And a furniture manufacturer found it really doesn’t need a showroom.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-BALLPARKS-BACK TO WORK
With fans back, ballpark workers enjoy chance to return
UNDATED (AP) — Ballpark employees have had a chance to return to work after the pandemic hit many of them hard. It would be premature to say the scene at major league ballparks has completely returned to normal, but there’s no question this season has been a step in that direction. Delaware North, a concessionaire that operates at 11 big league ballparks, says it has recalled around 8,000 employees and hired around 3,000 new ones since Jan. 1 at those parks. For many employees, the past couple months have been a welcome respite after a tumultuous year.
COVID vaccines still work against mutant, researchers find
UNDATED (AP) — New research from France adds to evidence that widely used COVID-19 vaccines still offer strong protection against a coronavirus mutant that now accounts for most U.S. infections. The delta variant is surging through populations with low vaccination rates. Researchers from France’s Pasteur Institute reported new evidence Thursday in the journal Nature that full vaccination is critical. In laboratory tests, a single dose of the two-dose Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines “barely inhibited” the delta variant. But after a second dose just about everyone experienced a big boost in immunity.
FDA trims use of contentious Alzheimer’s drug amid backlash
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration has approved new prescribing instructions that are likely to limit use of a controversial new Alzheimer’s drug. The update comes one month after approval of Aduhelm, which has sparked a wave of criticism over its price and questionable benefits. The updated prescribing label says the drug is appropriate for patients with early or mild Alzheimer’s. That’s a big change from the original FDA instructions, which said simply that the drug was approved for Alzheimer’s disease in general. The change could ease some scrutiny from experts and lawmakers concerned about the cost of the drug.
Purdue Pharma exit plan gains steam with OK from more states
UNDATED (AP) — OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma’s plan to reorganize into an entity whose profits will be used to combat the U.S. opioid crisis got a big boost as 15 states have dropped their objections to the new business model. The agreement from state attorneys general was disclosed in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court filing late Wednesday. It includes those who had most aggressively opposed Purdue’s original settlement proposal. To win the support, the company agreed to make more documents public and members of the Sackler family who owns it will kick in more money. But the owners have not admitted wrongdoing.
China tries to quell investor fears about internet companies
BEIJING (AP) — China’s government is trying to quell investor fears about tighter controls on internet companies that caused share prices to plunge, saying Beijing supports their growth. A foreign ministry spokesman said today that regulators are reviewing data security “in accordance with the law” in order to prevent “national security risks.” Chinese internet stocks tumbled in New York and Hong Kong after ride-hailing service Didi was ordered to stop signing up new users while it overhauled its handling of customer information. Others have been penalized for anti-monopoly and other violations, prompting concern the ruling Communist Party is trying to rein in companies that pervade Chinese life.
EU fines 4 German car makers $1B over emission collusion
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union has fined four major German car manufacturers $1 billion because they colluded to limit the development and rollout of car emission-control systems. The European Commission said Thursday that Daimler, BMW, VW, Audi and Porsche avoided competing on technology to restrict pollution from gasoline and diesel passenger cars. Daimler wasn’t fined after it revealed the cartel to the EU Commission. It was the first time the commission imposed collusion fines on holding back the use of technical developments, not a more traditional practice like price fixing. Volkswagen says it is considering an appeal to the European Court of Justice.
Stellantis: Most models to have electric versions by 2025
DETROIT (AP) — Stellantis is a little late to the global electric vehicle party, but on Thursday it pledged to catch up and pass its competitors. CEO Carlos Tavares says that by 2025, 98% of its models in Europe and North America will have fully electric or plug-in gas-electric hybrid versions. The automaker that combined Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot is developing four electric vehicle platforms with ranges up to 800 kilometers (497 miles). The models include a fully electric Ram pickup and hybrid Jeep Grand Cherokee and even an electric Dodge muscle car. The company says it will spend no less than 30 billion euros ($35.6 billion) over the next five years on EVs. It will build five battery factories in the U.S. and Europe.
NORTH DAKOTA-OIL LEASES
North Dakota sues feds over oil, gas lease sale suspension
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota has sued the Biden administration over its suspension of new oil and gas leases on federal land and water. President Joe Biden shut down oil and gas lease sales from the nation’s public lands and waters in his first days in office, citing worries about climate change. The lawsuit filed Wednesday claims the move is unlawful and will cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue. The lawsuit seeks to force the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to reschedule two lease sales that already have been canceled and block the agency from revoking others in the future.
Canada’s Flair Airlines plans flights to US in October
UNDATED (AP) — A small Canadian discount airline says it’s going to start new service between Canada and the United States this fall. Flair Airlines says it will begin flying to six U.S. leisure destinations including Las Vegas; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Palm Springs, California, on Oct. 31. Flair executives believe that they can undercut bigger airlines on price. Flair serves about 20 cities in Canada and plans to fly to the U.S. from eight of them, including Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. The airline is led by a former executive of Hungary’s Wizz Air. It flew charters before converting to a mix of low fares and lots of fees, similar to U.S. carriers Spirit and Allegiant.
Billionaire Blastoff: Rich riding own rockets into space
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Two billionaires are putting everything on the line to ride their own rockets into space. It’s intended to be a flashy confidence boost for customers seeking their own short joyrides. The lucrative, high-stakes chase for space tourists will unfold on the fringes of space, beginning this weekend with Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson. He’s due to take off Sunday from New Mexico, launching with two pilots and three other company employees aboard an air-launched rocket plane. Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos departs nine days later from West Texas. He’ll blast off in an automated capsule with three guests including a 82-year-old female aviation pioneer.
TED TURNER-NEBRASKA RANCHLAND
Ted Turner to give land to nonprofit but keep paying taxes
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Media mogul and billionaire bison rancher Ted Turner is donating an 80,000-acre ranch he owns in western Nebraska to a nonprofit agriculture ecosystem research institute and says he might do the same with four other ranches in Nebraska’s Sand Hills. But he says he’ll continue to pay taxes on the land. The Omaha World-Herald reports that news comes as a relief to state and local officials who had feared Turner might donate the nearly 500,000 acres of Nebraska ranchland he owns and remove them from property tax rolls. Turner Enterprises Inc. and Turner Ranches recently announced the launch of the Turner Institute of Ecoagriculture.
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