Update on the latest in business:


Stocks slip

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are lower in midday trading on Wall Street as investors weigh the latest batch of corporate earnings and jobs data. The S&P 500 fell back 0.3%, a day after it managed to set another record high. A mix of retailers, consumer goods makers and industrial companies weighed down the broader market. A survey from payroll processor ADP showed employment at private companies was weaker than expected last month. The government’s broader jobs report comes out on Friday. Investors brushed off solid earnings for several large companies, sending shares of General Motors and CVS lower. Oil prices fell more than 3%.


Growth in US services sector hits record high in July

WASHINGTON (AP) — Growth in the U.S. services sector, where most Americans work, increased to a record pace in July even as businesses continued to face challenges in hiring workers. The Institute for Supply Management reports that its monthly survey of service industries rose to a reading of 64.1 in July, up from 60.1 in June. It was the fastest pace since this series began in 2008. Any reading above 50 indicates growth in service industries. On Monday, ISM reported that growth in manufacturing had slowed for a second straight month amid on-going supply-chain problems.


Treasury announces auctions to raise $126 billion next week

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department says it will raise $126 billion to finance the government in a series of auctions next week by employing emergency measures to keep from broaching the newly imposed debt limit. The Treasury announcement, part of Treasury’s quarterly refunding operations, will see the $126 billion raised by auctioning 3 and 10-year notes and a 30-year bond with the auctions occurring on Tuesday through Wednesday of next week. Those auctions will raise money to meet debt-servicing requirements on $58.6 billion in Treasury notes and bonds that are coming due plus raising approximately $67.4 billion in new cash to keep the government operating.


Robinhood shares fly again, soaring as much as 80%

NEW YORK (AP) — Robinhood’s stock is flying again Wednesday, jumping so much that trading was temporarily halted three times in the first half hour after the market opened. Robinhood Markets was up more than 28% in late morning, accelerating what’s already been a blistering week of gains. At one point the stock was up 80%. It’s a sharp turnaround from the lackluster debut last week, when Robinhood’s stock dropped 8.4% from its initial price of $38 on Thursday. Even ahead of its initial public offering, experts warned that Robinhood’s stock could be primed for a more jagged ride than others on Wall Street because of its popularity among smaller investors.


GM posts $2.8B profit, but cautious tone sinks share price

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors made a healthy $2.8 billion net profit in the second quarter, despite a computer chip shortage that temporarily closed some of its factories. The earnings came even though GM plants cranked out 200,000 fewer vehicles than they did during the same period in 2019, the last comparable quarter before the pandemic. The automaker told the same story as rivals Ford and Stellantis, saying that high prices and strong demand for expensive pickup trucks and luxury SUVs overcame inventory shortages. Excluding one-time items, GM made $1.97 per share, beating Wall Street estimates of $1.82. Revenue was $34.2 billion, which also exceeded analysts’ estimates. GM raised its guidance for the full year to pretax earnings of $11.5 billion to $13.5 billion.


CVS Health tops 2Q forecasts; grows cautious about next year

UNDATED (AP) — Vaccines and a return to normal care levels helped push CVS Health past Wall Street’s second-quarter expectations, but the resurging COVID-19 pandemic is clouding the health care giant’s 2022 expectations. Chief Financial Officer Shawn Guertin told analysts the company always aims for double-digit growth in adjusted earnings per share. But he wouldn’t repeat that goal for next year, given rising COVID-19 cases and falling vaccination rates. He said his lower expectations had nothing to do with the company’s core business. CVS Health shares fell deeper than the broader market in Wednesday trading.


Head of UN health agency seeks vaccine booster moratorium

GENEVA (AP) — The head of the World Health Organization is calling for a moratorium on administering booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines as a way to help ensure that doses are available in countries where few people have received their first shots. The WHO director-general made the appeal on Wednesday mostly to wealthier countries that have far outpaced the developing world in numbers of vaccinations. WHO officials say the science is unproven about whether giving booster shots to people who have already received two vaccine doses is effective in preventing the spread of the coronavirus. WHO has repeatedly called for rich countries to do more to help improve access to vaccines in the developing world.


Britain to expand vaccine to youths ages 16-17

LONDON (AP) — The British government has accepted the advice of scientists to expand its coronavirus vaccination to youths ages 16 to 17. Health Secretary Sajid Javid says he’ll accept the recommendation from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization to offer a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. He says he asked the National Health Service to prepare to vaccinate them “as soon as possible.” The government’s deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, says the expanded rollout should begin within weeks. The committee didn’t recommend vaccinating under-16s without underlying health conditions, saying it will continue to review its advice. Other countries in Europe, including France and Germany, are offering vaccines for children aged 12 and older.


Microsoft to require US employees to be fully vaccinated

REDMOND, Wash. (AP) — Microsoft says employees must be fully vaccinated to enter the company’s U.S. offices and other worksites, starting next month. The Redmond-based tech giant has told employees it will require proof of vaccination for all employees, vendors, and any guests entering Microsoft buildings in the U.S. The company also said it will have a process to accommodate employees “who have a medical condition or other protected reason, such as religion, which prevent them from getting vaccinated.” The company is also delaying its return to the office until Oct. 4.


Delta variant forces cancellation of New York auto show

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York International Auto Show has become a casualty of the fast-spreading coronavirus delta variant. Show organizers said Wednesday that they’ve decided to cancel it this year, a little over two weeks before the scheduled start. The reasons are the growing spread of the variant and recent restrictions announced by state and local officials to fight it. The show was scheduled to begin with a press day on Aug. 19. A spokesman says the next show will be in April.


Hundreds rally for striking coal miners in Alabama

BROOKWOOD, Ala. (AP) — Hundreds of union members are rallying for Alabama miners who’ve been on strike against Warrior Met Coal Inc. since early April. The demonstration held Wednesday in the Tuscaloosa County town of Brookwood included speakers, music and donations to help the striking miners. Roughly 1,100 union members are on strike at two Warrior Met mines and other facilities. The union says workers sacrificed to bring the company out of the Walter Energy bankruptcy five years ago, so they deserve better benefits now. Warrior Met says it has offered workers a competitive package.


Judge: Preserving evidence key to Florida collapse probe

A judge says preserving the evidence is critical to understanding why a Florida oceanfront condominium collapsed and to protecting the legal rights of victims and others. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman said at a hearing Wednesday that evidence will be available to determine the cause of the June 24 Champlain Towers South collapse, as well as for lawsuits filed in the aftermath. The 12-story condominium building in Surfside collapsed for unknown reasons, killing 98 people and leaving dozens more homeless. Hanzman says the lawsuits will be combined into a single class action affecting everyone with claims, including renters who lost possessions.


Mexico sues US gun manufacturers over arms trafficking toll

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Mexican government is suing U.S. gun manufacturers and distributors, arguing that their commercial practices have unleashed tremendous bloodshed in Mexico. The unusual lawsuit was filed in U.S. federal court in Boston. Among those being sued are some of the biggest names in guns. The Mexican government argues that the companies know that their practices contribute to the trafficking of guns to Mexico and facilitate it. Mexico wants compensation for the havoc the guns have wrought in its country. The sale of firearms is severely restricted in Mexico, but thousands of guns are smuggled into Mexico by the country’s powerful drug cartels.


US blocks seafood from Fiji ship accused of enslaving crew

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. has ordered a halt to seafood imports from a tuna fishing vessel based in the Pacific Island nation of Fiji that is accused of enslaving crew members. It’s part of an ongoing effort to remove goods linked to forced labor from the United States. Customs and Border Protection on Wednesday added the Hangton No. 112 to a growing number of Asian ships on an import blacklist for abusing vulnerable migrant workers at sea. The agency determined there was credible evidence that the crew was subjected to conditions defined as forced labor under international standards.


International conference on Lebanon raises over $357 million

SAULIEU, France (AP) — France says an international conference on Lebanon has gathered over $357 million in aid required to meet the Mideast country’s humanitarian needs, one year after the massive explosion at Beirut’s port. Wednesday’s virtual conference was co-hosted by France and the United Nations. French President Emmanuel Macron said France will provide 100 million euros, or about $118.6 million, in the coming months. Paris will also send 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the country. President Joe Biden, who addressed the conference in a video message, pledged to give $100 million in new aid.

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