The S&P 500 emerged from a midday slump to end 0.2% higher Thursday. Even though most stocks in the S&P 500 fell, gains for several tech heavyweights, including Apple and Microsoft, pushed the index higher.
The Nasdaq added 0.4% while a measure of small-company stocks lost 1.5%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average managed a gain of 0.1%. Trading was subdued as investors reviewed the latest corporate earnings and a surprise increase in the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits.
WVa man convicted of using shoplifters for resale scheme
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia man has been convicted of organizing a network of shoplifters to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in store merchandise that he then resold on the internet. Prosecutor say many of those shoplifters were paid in cash to support their drug habits.
A federal jury convicted Nedeltcho Vladimirov of Cross Lanes of three counts of money laundering and one conspiracy count after a three-day trial in Charleston.
Prosecutors said among the stolen items he bought from shoplifters at a Cross Lanes gas station were high-end vacuum cleaners and tools. An investigation found Vladimirov sold more than 7,000 items on an online marketplace account and had more than $550,000 in sales over three years.
He faces up to 20 years in prison along with a forfeiture money judgment. Sentencing is set for Nov. 18.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal health officials signaled Thursday they’re hunting ways to quickly learn if a third COVID-19 vaccine dose might better protect organ transplant recipients and other patients with weak immune systems.
While the vaccines are strongly effective in most people, many Americans with immune-suppressing health problems remain in limbo after immunization, uncertain how protected they really are. France and Israel already have begun offering an extra dose to transplant recipients and other immunocompromised people. In the U.S., those patients increasingly are pushing for — even lying to get — another shot, too.
Thursday, advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed some small studies that hint, but don’t prove, a third dose might help at least some immunocompromised patients. The panel can’t formally recommend an extra dose without Food and Drug Administration permission, but several advisers asked if the government could allow worried patients to sign up for one as part of a study.
California makes change to pay unemployment benefits faster
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California has changed how it will pay unemployment benefits. The Employment Development Department said it will continue to pay some people even while it investigates their eligibility.
Previously, the state would suspend payments until these investigations were complete. But the state has been overwhelmed by millions of claims during the pandemic, causing lengthy delays.
The announcement on Thursday is part of a lawsuit settlement between the state and the advocacy group Center for Workers’ Rights. The change only applies to people who have been certified for benefits and have already received at least one week of payment in the past.
ELEVATOR DANGERS-VACATION RENTAL WEBSITES
Feds urge rental websites to warn of elevator dangers
UNDATED (AP) — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is urging vacation rental websites to warn customers of the dangers of home elevators and require hosts to lock elevators until they’re inspected.
The request comes days after the death of a 7-year-old Ohio boy who got trapped between an elevator car and the shaft at a North Carolina beach house. In a Tuesday letter, the commission’s acting Chairman Robert Adler urged Airbnb, VRBO (VUR’-boh) and others to “act immediately to protect consumers.”
An Airbnb spokesperson says the company is reviewing the letter, but didn’t have further comment.
VRBO will share elevator safety information with property owners with elevators, including a recommendation to disable elevators until they are inspected and common safety issues are addressed, according to a statement from the company Thursday. Elevator safety information has also been posted to a safety page all guests can access.
Mexico to send 2 boatloads of food, medical aid to Cuba
MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Mexican government says it will send two navy ships to Cuba with food and medical aid. The Foreign Relations Department said the ships will set sail to Cuba on Sunday from the Gulf coast port of Veracruz.
The ships will carry oxygen tanks, needles and syringes, and basic food items like powdered milk and beans.
The announcement Thursday came on the same day that the U.S. government tightened sanctions on Cuban officials after they violently put down protests by residents of the island tired of shortages, long lines, price increases and a lack of medicine.
Thousands of Cubans took to the streets of Havana and other cities across the island earlier this month.
The new U.S. sanctions target a Cuban official and a government special brigade the United States says was involved in human rights abuses during the government crackdown.
GENERAL MOTORS-SUPER CRUISE
GM using expanded Super Cruise on 6 vehicles next year
DETROIT (AP) — General Motors says it will feature its expanded Super Cruise hands-free driver-assisted technology on six vehicles next year.
The automaker says the system will able to perform lane changes while following signaling protocols. Drivers of the Super Cruise assisted vehicles will also be able to go hands free while pulling a trailer.
The features will be available on model year 2022 Super Cruise enabled vehicles, including the Cadillac Escalade, Cadillac CT4, Cadillac CT5, Chevrolet Silverado2, GMC Hummer EV Pickup and GMC Sierra2. The features will be introduced on the vehicles in the first quarter of next year.