Update on the latest in business:


Stocks rise

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are higher in afternoon trading on Wall Street as investors review encouraging jobs data and a strong batch of corporate earnings reports. The S&P 500 index rose 0.3% while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.5%. The Nasdaq rose 0.6%. The gains were broad in what has been a choppy week of trading, with technology companies leading the way. Banks made solid gains as long-term bond yields rose, which they rely on to charge higher interest on loans. Smaller company stocks outpaced the broader market. Weber, the pioneering maker of grills, rose sharply on its first day of trading. It was up more than 19% at midday after opening at $17.


US jobless claims down 14,000 to 385,000 as economy rebounds

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week by 14,000, more evidence that the economy and the job market are rebounding briskly from the coronavirus recession. The Labor Department says unemployment claims dropped to 385,000 from a revised 399,000 the week before. The applications have more or less fallen steadily since topping 900,000 in early January. Still, they remain high by historic levels: Before the pandemic slammed the United States in March 2020, they were coming in at around 220,000 a week.


US average mortgage rates flat to lower; 30-year at 2.77%

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mortgage rates are flat to lower, with the average for the key 30-year home loan below 3% for the sixth straight week. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average for the 30-year mortgage fell to 2.77% from 2.80% last week. The benchmark rate, which reached a peak this year of 3.18% in April, stood at 2.88% a year ago. The rate for a 15-year loan remained at a historically low 2.10%.


US trade deficit hits record $75.7 billion in June

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit increased to a record $75.7 billion in June as a rebounding American economy sent demand for imports surging. The Commerce Department reports that the deficit rose 6.7% from a revised May deficit of $71 billion. The June deficit set a record, topping the old mark of $75 billion set in March. The trade deficit represents the gap between what the country exports to the rest of the world and what it purchases from other countries. In June, exports edged up a modest 0.5% while imports surged by 2.1%.


Longtime AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka dies at age 72

WASHINGTON (AP) — The longtime president of the AFL-CIO labor union has died at age 72. Richard Trumka had been AFL-CIO president since 2009, after serving as the organization’s secretary-treasurer for 14 years. The AFL-CIO said in a statement Thursday, “The labor movement, the AFL-CIO and the nation lost a legend today.” The organization said Trumka had “devoted his life to working people, from his early days as president of the United Mine Workers of America to his unparalleled leadership as the voice of America’s labor movement.” From his perch as AFL-CIO president, he oversaw a federation with more than 12.5 million members.


Shipping snags prompt US firms to mull retreat from China

WASHINGTON (AP) — Importers are contending with a perfect storm of supply trouble — rising prices, overwhelmed ports, a shortage of ships, trains, trucks — that is expected to last into 2022. The experience is disturbing enough that many are reconsidering cost-saving decisions they made in recent years to shift production out of the United States to China and other low-cost producers. Now, they think, it might make sense to bring manufacturing back across the Pacific — at least to Mexico, if not the United States.

Fifty-two percent of the U.S. manufacturing executives surveyed by the consulting firm Kearney said they have started buying more supplies in the United States in response to COVID-related supply disruptions. Forty-seven percent said they plan to reduce reliance on supplies or factories from a single country; 41% specifically said they wanted to cut their dependence on China.


Moderna COVID-19 vaccine tallies more than $4B in Q2 sales

UNDATED (AP) — Moderna says its COVID-19 vaccine brought in more than $4 billion in second-quarter sales, pushing the vaccine developer into a profit. The company also said today that an analysis showed its vaccine remains 93% effective as much as six months after the second dose. The COVID-19 vaccine is Moderna’s only commercially approved product. It also is developing several vaccines that aim to guard against the flu, Zika and HIV among other viruses. The company’s website says those are all in early stages of clinical testing. Overall, Moderna earned $2.78 billion in the second quarter. That compares to a $117,000 loss last year.


Moderna plans booster doses to help fight virus

WASHINGTON (AP) — Moderna officials say while its COVID-19 vaccine’s protection is holding up, it’s planning for booster doses to help fight the contagious delta variant. Moderna President Dr. Stephen Hoge says a “booster will likely be necessary to keep us as safe as possible” this winter. The shots remain 93% effective four-to-six months after the second dose, according to the latest tracking of Moderna’s 30,000-person vaccine study. That came before the recent surge in delta-caused COVID-19 cases. Real-world evidence from multiple countries shows protection, especially against hospitalizations and deaths, remains strong against the delta variant. Hoge says a half-dose of the original vaccine given six to eight months after people’s second shot may provide a sufficient boost.


US plans to require COVID-19 shots for foreign travelers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is taking the first steps toward requiring nearly all foreign visitors to the U.S. to be vaccinated for the coronavirus. That’s according to a White House official who previewed the developing policy. The requirement would come as part of the administration’s phased approach to easing travel restrictions for foreign citizens to the country. No timeline has yet been determined, as interagency working groups study how and when to safely move toward resuming normal travel. Eventually all foreign citizens entering the country, with some limited exceptions, are expected to need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter the U.S.


Special French court OKs most of new law on health pass

PARIS (AP) — A French constitutional court has validated most aspects of a new law that, starting next week, requires that people carry a special COVID-19 health pass to access cafes, restaurants, long-distance travel and, in some cases, hospitals. But it struck down several measures for not meeting constitutional muster. The Constitutional Council ruled Thursday that the automatic 10-day isolation of people infected with the virus goes against French freedoms. It was unclear what immediate effect that would have. The court also struck down suspension of short-term contracts for those without a health pass. It approved obliging health care workers to be vaccinated against the virus by Sept. 15.


Quebec plans vaccine passport in some areas

MONTREAL (AP) — Canada’s French speaking province of Quebec plans to impose a vaccine passport system following a recent rise in coronavirus infections. Premier François Legault says the province is on the cusp of a fourth wave and the health minister will announce details in the coming days about how the system will work and when it will begin. He says “certain privileges” will be extended to people who are fully vaccinated. The government had said it would wait until September to start requiring people in Quebec to show proof of vaccination to access nonessential services in the province where coronavirus transmission is high. About 87% of eligible people in Quebec have been vaccinated with one dose and 67% are fully vaccinated.


COVID: In Florida hospitals, ‘there are only so many beds’

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A South Florida hospital chain is suspending elective surgeries and putting beds in conference rooms, an auditorium and even a cafeteria as many more patients seek treatment for COVID-19. Memorial Healthcare System’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Marc Napp says they’re seeing “a surge like we’ve not seen before.” Memorial has added 250 beds at its six hospitals in Broward County. Napp says more than 1,600 patients are in the hospital system, the “highest number of patients Memorial has ever seen.” Across Florida, more than 12,000 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Wednesday, and nearly 2,500 of them were in ICU beds. Florida’s pandemic death toll tops 39,000.


FAA head seeks more prosecution of unruly airline passengers

UNDATED (AP) — The nation’s top aviation regulator is asking local officials to consider filing criminal charges more often against people who act up during airline flights. Federal Aviation Administration chief Stephen Dickson says airline crews often ask police to meet their plane when it lands because of unruly passengers. In some cases, flight attendants report being assaulted. Dickson says many of the passengers are interviewed by police and then released without any charges. He calls that a missed opportunity to hold passengers accountable for dangerous behavior.


Qatar Airways grounds 13 Airbus A350s as fuselage degrading

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Qatar Airways says it has grounded 13 Airbus A350s over degradation of the plane’s fuselage. Qatar Airways made the announcement on Thursday, further escalating a monthslong dispute with the European airplane maker. It says the aircraft will be removed “from service until such time as the root cause can be established and a satisfactory solution made available to permanently correct the underlying condition.” Airbus did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Qatar Airways, based in the energy-rich Arabian Peninsula nation of the same name, is a major East-West long-haul carrier. It is one of the biggest buyers of the twin-aisle aircraft.


Texas water park chemical leak blamed on filtration system

SPRING, Texas (AP) — A Texas water park says a chemical exposure that sent dozens of people to hospitals was caused by “improper installation” of a water filtration system. Six Flags officials said Wednesday that a third-party service company improperly installed the system at Hurricane Harbor Splashtown, causing pool-sanitizing chemicals to be released in an outdoor kiddie pool area on July 17. About 30 people were hospitalized as a result, and 200 people have joined a lawsuit against Six Flags, which owns the water park. Six Flags did not identify the company that installed the system. The park was reopening to the public Thursday.

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