Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks fall on fears of contagion from China real estate

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are broadly lower, following declines overseas and extending a weak patch that has brought the U.S. market down over the past two weeks.

The S&P 500 was down 1.8% in morning trading. The benchmark index hasn’t had a decline of more than 1% since mid-August.

Hong Kong’s main index dropped 3.3%, its biggest loss since July, over worries about ripple effects from the severe troubles of the debt-laden Chinese real estate company Evergrande. European markets were also down about 2%.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury dropped to 1.32% as investors turned to lower-risk assets.

FEDERAL RESERVE

Fed likely to signal a coming pullback in economic support

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve is expected this week to send its clearest signal yet that it will start reining in its ultra-low-interest rate policies later this year, the first step toward unwinding the extraordinary support it’s given the economy since the pandemic struck 18 months ago.

Many economists think the Fed will formally announce a pullback in November, in response to a steady recovery from the pandemic recession and an acceleration in inflation that has raised widespread concerns. This week’s Fed policy meeting could lay the groundwork for that announcement.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-TRAVEL

US easing foreign travel restrictions; vaccinations required

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Joe Biden will ease foreign travel restrictions into the U.S. beginning in November. Foreign citizens will be allowed into the country by plane if they have proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test.

The new rules replace a hodgepodge of restrictions that had barred non-citizens who had been in certain countries in the prior 14 days from entering the U.S. The changes will allow families and others who have been separated by the travel restrictions for 18 months to plan for long-awaited reunifications.

The new rules will require all foreign travelers flying to the U.S. to demonstrate proof of vaccination before boarding, as well as proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of flight.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-PFIZER VACCINE-KIDS

Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine works in kids ages 5 to 11

UNDATED (AP) — Pfizer says its COVID-19 vaccine works for children ages 5 to 11. The vaccine maker says it plans to seek authorization for this age group soon in the U.S., Britain and Europe.

The vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech already is available for anyone 12 and older. But many parents are anxiously awaiting vaccinations for their younger children.

Pfizer studied a lower dose of its two-dose vaccine in more than 2,200 kindergartners and elementary school-aged kids. The kids developed coronavirus-fighting antibody levels just as strong as teenagers and young adults.

BIDEN-CLIMATE-HEAT STRESS

US unveils plan to address ‘silent killer’ extreme heat

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is moving to protect workers and communities from extreme heat. The initiative comes after a dangerously hot summer that spurred an onslaught of drought-worsened wildfires and caused hundreds of deaths from the Pacific Northwest to hurricane-ravaged Louisiana.

Under a plan being announced today, the Labor Department and other federal agencies are launching actions intended to reduce heat-related illness and protect public health. White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy calls heat stress a “silent killer” that disproportionately affects the poor, elderly and minority groups.

CLIMATE-COMPANIES-PLEDGE

HP, Procter & Gamble join companies pledging to cut emissions

BERLIN (AP) — Computer-maker HP, consumer goods business Procter & Gamble and coffee capsule company Nespresso have joined a corporate pledge to sharply cut their greenhouse gas emissions over nearly two decades.

The Climate Pledge is a grouping of companies and organizations spearheaded by Amazon. It said todat that it has signed up 86 new members for its voluntary measures. The group said it now has 201 members with global annual revenues of more than $1.8 trillion.

The group’s members are encouraged to eliminate as many emissions as possible. Those that can’t be avoided need to be completely offset in the next two decades. That means paying for measures to ensure as many emissions are absorbed by then as the companies continue to emit.

RISING PRICES-HOMEBUILDING

Inflation forces homebuilders to take it slow, raise prices

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rising costs and shortages of building materials and labor are rippling across the homebuilding industry, delaying construction and prompting many builders to pump the brakes on how many homes they put up for sale.

Lumber futures hit their lowest level in more than a year last week after vaulting nearly fivefold to an all-time high in May. The roughly 64% drop since then reflects an uptick in production and a pullback in demand from builders as prices skyrocketed. Still, the decline has yet to translate into lower costs for many builders.

Meanwhile, the industry is contending with a bevy of other elevated costs for windows, doors, flooring, roofing and other types of construction products.

UN-INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

UN agency: Innovation continued even as coronavirus emerged

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N.’s intellectual property agency says innovation marched forward last year despite the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Technology, pharmaceuticals and biotech industries boosted their investments, even as hard-hit sectors like transport and travel eased back on spending.

The findings released today emerged from WIPO’s latest innovation index report, which ranked Switzerland, Sweden, the United States, Britain, and fast-climber South Korea — driven partly from creativity like K-Pop music — as the most innovative economies. China and France edged up in the rankings, which continue to be dominated by Asia, Europe and North America.

CHINA-UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

Universal Studios opens Beijing park under anti-virus curbs

BEIJING (AP) — Harry Potter fans came dressed as wizards as Universal Studios opened its first theme park in China under anti-virus controls. The Hollywood studio’s “Jurassic Park,” “Kung Fu Panda” and “Harry Potter” film franchises, plus Minions from “Despicable Me” feature prominently at the park on the eastern outskirts of Beijing, the Chinese capital. The opening went ahead despite coronavirus outbreaks in China’s southeast that prompted the government to tighten travel controls in some areas.

Universal Studios Beijing is the Chinese capital’s first foreign-themed amusement park. It is the fifth worldwide for Universal Studios and the third in Asia.

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