Update on the latest in business:


Stocks sway between gains and losses

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are swaying between small gains and losses as investors review the latest batch of quarterly earnings reports and wait for a policy update from the Federal Reserve. Wall Street will be looking closely at the central bank’s latest statement to get a better sense of when it might start easing up on its support for the economy.

The latest company earnings have been broadly solid, though reactions from investors have been mixed. Pfizer and Boeing rose after reporting strong financial results.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.25%.


Infrastructure deal: Senate ready to move ahead on $1T bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans have reached a deal with Democrats over major outstanding issues in a $1 trillion infrastructure bill. They say they are ready to vote to take up the bill, and an evening test vote is possible.

The infrastructure measure is a key part of President Joe Biden’s agenda. The outcome will set the stage for the next debate over Biden’s much more ambitious $3.5 trillion spending package, which includes child care, tax breaks and health care.

The Republican senators met Wednesday morning with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who appears to have given his nod to proceed to consider the emerging legislation.


Google delays workers’ return to office, mandates vaccines

SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Google is postponing its plans to bring most of its workers back to the office until mid-October and rolling out a policy that will eventually require everyone to be vaccinated once its sprawling campuses are fully reopened in an attempt to fight the spreading Delta variant.

CEO Sundar Pichai told Google’s more than 130,000 employees in a Wednesday email that the company is now aiming to bring them back to its offices Oct. 18, instead of its previous target date of Sept. 1. He also disclosed that once offices are fully reopened, everyone working there will have be vaccinated. The requirement will be first imposed in the U.S.


NY to require state employees to get vaccines, or get tested

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York will require all state employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus by Labor Day or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the policy Wednesday in a Zoom call with the nonprofit Association for a Better New York. In mandating either the shots, or frequent testing for government workers, the Democrat is following on the heels of California and New York City.

New York, like other states, has seen a rising number of coronavirus cases linked to the Delta variant. New infections have climbed more than 400% since the end of June.

Cuomo also said vaccines would be mandatory for “front-line” workers at state-owned hospitals.


2021 outlook grows murky for insurers as COVID-19 surges

UNDATED (AP) — Surging COVID-19 cases are blurring the view for health insurers of how 2021 will play out.

Humana said Wednesday that it was maintaining its 2021 earnings forecast, citing “heightened uncertainty” about the ongoing pandemic. That came a day after another insurer, Centene, also maintained its forecast for the year instead of raising it like rivals UnitedHealth Group and Anthem when they reported second-quarter results earlier this month.

Data from Johns Hopkins University shows that a rolling average for daily new U.S. cases has jumped from about 24,000 shortly before UnitedHealth reported earnings July 15 to more than 61,000 Tuesday.


US moves to better protect infrastructure from cyber threats

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is taking steps to harden cybersecurity defenses for critical infrastructure. It’s announcing the development of performance goals and a voluntary public-private partnership to protect core sectors.

The actions are an acknowledgment of the cybersecurity vulnerabilities of critical industries, a reality made clear by the May hack of the nation’s largest pipeline. A senior administration official says they’re also meant to address the “patchwork of sector-specific statutes” that have been adopted piecemeal over time and leave the government without a uniform or adequate cybersecurity threshold.

Wednesday’s presidential order will direct the departments of Homeland Security and Commerce to develop cybersecurity performance goals for critical infrastructure.


Gun maker offers $33M to settle suit by Sandy Hook families

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The maker of the rifle used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting has offered some of the victims’ families nearly $33 million to settle their lawsuit over how the company marketed the firearm to the public.

Lawyers for now-bankrupt Remington filed the proposals late Tuesday in a Connecticut court, offering the nine families suing the company nearly $3.7 million apiece. The families’ lawyers say they are considering the proposals. A lawyer for Remington declined to comment.

Remington made the Bushmaster rifle used to kill 20 first-graders and six educations at the Newtown, Connecticut, school in 2012. The families say the company shouldn’t have marketed such a dangerous weapon to the public.


Pfizer hikes 2021 outlook after vaccine boosts sales, profit

UNDATED (AP) — Strong sales of its COVID-19 vaccine and other medicines helped Pfizer nearly double its second-quarter revenue and boost its profit an impressive 59%, beating Wall Street expectations. That led the drug giant to sharply hike its 2021 sales and profit forecasts. Amid the surging coronavirus pandemic, the COVID-19 vaccine became Pfizer’s top seller overnight, bringing in $7.84 billion.

New York-based Pfizer on Wednesday reported second-quarter net income of $5.56 billion, or 98 cents per share. The drugmaker also beat revenue expectations, posting revenue of $18.98 billion. Pfizer now anticipates revenue from that vaccine this year to reach $33.5 billion for 2.1 billion doses.


For the first time since 2019, Boeing knocks out a profit

UNDATED (AP) — Boeing reported its first quarterly profit since 2019 and revenue topped expectations as the giant aircraft maker tries to dig out from the most difficult stretch in its history.

Boeing earned $567 million in the second quarter, compared with a $2.4 billion loss a year ago. Industry analysts had expected another sizeable loss.


Crispy chicken, boy bands and dining in; McDonald’s rebounds

UNDATED (AP) — McDonald’s posted better-than-expected sales in the second quarter as dining rooms reopened and new products like the Crispy Chicken Sandwich drew customers.

The Chicago-based fast food giant said revenue jumped 57% to nearly $5.9 billion in the April-June period. That beat Wall Street’s forecast of $5.6 billion. McDonald’s said its global same-store sales, or sales at locations open at least a year, rose 40.5% from the same period a year ago, when lockdowns shuttered stores and sales plunged.


Norfolk Southern’s Q2 profit doubles as volume returns

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Norfolk Southern’s second-quarter profit more than doubled as the number of shipments the railroad hauled rebounded 25% from the worst of the coronavirus pandemic a year ago.

The railroad said it earned $819 million, or $3.28 per share. That is up from $392 million, or $1.53 per share, last year. The results beat Wall Street expectations. The analysts surveyed by FactSet expected Norfolk Southern to report earnings per share of $2.95.

In last year’s second quarter, the number of shipments the railroad delivered fell 26% as restrictions designed to slow the spread of the virus slowed the economy to a crawl. This year, shipments were up in every category.


McCormick recalls some seasonings due to salmonella concern

UNDATED (AP) — McCormick is voluntarily recalling some seasonings due to possible salmonella contamination. The company said this week that it’s recalling McCormick Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning, McCormick Culinary Italian Seasoning and Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Ranch Seasoning.

No illnesses have been reported to date in relation to the recalled products. McCormick said that the potential risk was brought to its attention by the Food and Drug Administration during routine testing.


Israeli lawmakers urge Ben & Jerry’s to drop settlement ban

JERUSALEM (AP) — Three-quarters of the members of the Israeli parliament have called on Ben & Jerry’s to reverse its decision to stop selling ice cream in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and contested east Jerusalem.

In a letter to the Vermont-based ice cream maker, the lawmakers said Wednesday they were “standing together against the shameful actions” of the company. The letter was signed by 90 of the Knesset’s 120 members spanning almost the entire political spectrum.

Ben & Jerry’s, known for its progressive politics, announced its decision last week. It is is one of the strongest steps by a well-known company against Israel’s settlements.

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