Stocks post broad gains
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are broadly higher as the technology sector reverses direction after a sell-off a day earlier.
The S&P 500 rose 1.5%, with technology companies and banks leading the gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.4% and the Nasdaq rose 1.6%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.53% from 1.49%.
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Energy prices rose again, with U.S. oil climbing above $79 per barrel. Natural gas futures jumped 7.1%.
September expansion is 16th straight for US service sector
SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — The U.S. services sector, where most Americans work, grew again in September even as supply chain troubles persisted.
The Institute for Supply Management reports that its monthly survey of service industries rose to a reading of 61.9, following August’s reading of 61.7. The gauge hit a record high of 64.1 in July. Any reading above 50 indicates growth in service industries.
The services index has shown growth for the past 16 months after two months of contraction in April and May of 2020 when the coronavirus triggered widespread shutdowns and millions of job losses.
US trade deficit hits record $73.3 billion in August
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit increased to a record $73.3 billion in August as a small gain in exports was swamped by a much larger increase in imports.
The Commerce Department reports that the monthly trade deficit increased 4.2% in August, rising to an all-time high, surpassing the previous record of $73.2 billion set in June.
The trade deficit represents the gap between what the country exports to the rest of the world and the imports it purchases from other countries. In August, exports rose 0.5% to $$213.7 billion, reflecting revived overseas demand. But imports, even with all the supply chain problems at ports, were up an even stronger 1.4% to $287 billion. The politically sensitive deficit with China surged 10.8% to $31.7 billion.
Yellen: Urgent action needed on debt limit, rejects $1T coin
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says Oct. 18 remains the date she is likely to run out of resources to stave off an unprecedented default on the nation’s debt without congressional action to raise the debt limit.
She’s rejecting the idea of minting a $1 trillion coin to avoid a default.
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Appearing on CNBC, Yellen said that if a default were to occur she would expect a recession. A default also would prevent the government from paying benefits to 50 million Social Security recipients and meeting its other bills. Yellen said it would be “catastrophic” if the government did not have the resources to pay its bills.
IMF says trimming global growth forecast due to rising risks
WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the International Monetary Fund says the agency is trimming its forecast for global growth this year.
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva cites rising risks of inflation, debt and a divergence in growth prospects between nations with access to the coronavirus vaccines and those in need of shots. Georgieva’s comments came in remarks prepared for a university audience in Italy.
She said the goal of the annual meetings next week of the 190-nation IMF and its sister lending agency, the World Bank, will be to address the growing risks in a coordinated way to improve the economy’s outlook.
Blinken rallies developed world to confront inequality
PARIS (AP) — Secretary of State Antony Blinken is calling on the world’s most developed countries to take on and counter widening gaps between the rich and poor. He told the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris that the coronavirus and climate change have exacerbated inequality among and within nations and that action must be taken to reverse the trend.
Blinken also said that ending corporate tax avoidance and discrimination against women and minorities is critical to improving global living conditions. Blinken said the Biden administration is committed to addressing the root causes of inequity.
His comments come as President Joe Biden is struggling to win congressional approval of major initiatives to do that.
Ex-Facebook employee says network hurts kids, fuels division
WASHINGTON (AP) — A former Facebook data scientist has told Congress that the social network giant’s products harm children and fuel polarization in the U.S. while its executives refuse to change because they elevate profits over safety. And she laid responsibility with the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Frances Haugen testified to the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection. She accused the company of being aware of apparent harm to some teens from Instagram and being dishonest in its public fight against hate and misinformation.
Haugen said, “Facebook’s products harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy.”
AstraZeneca asks FDA to authorize COVID antibody treatment
LONDON (AP) — Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca is asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to authorize the emergency use of an antibody treatment to prevent COVID-19. The company says the treatment would be the first long-acting antibody combination to receive an emergency use authorization for COVID-19 prevention.
The FDA has authorized three other antibody drugs already. Two of them can be given after a possible COVID-19 exposure to try and head off symptoms. AstraZeneca’s drug would instead be given as a preventive measure in people who have increased vulnerability to the virus and whose immune systems don’t respond well to vaccines.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-J&J VACCINE
J&J seeks US clearance for COVID-19 vaccine booster doses
WASHINGTON (AP) — Johnson & Johnson has asked U.S. regulators to allow booster shots of its COVID-19 vaccine as the U.S. government moves toward shoring up protection in more vaccinated Americans.
J&J says it filed data with the Food and Drug Administration on giving a booster dose between two to six months after vaccination. The U.S. government last month authorized booster doses of Pfizer’s vaccine in vulnerable groups.
A panel of FDA advisers meets next week to consider boosters for both J&J and Moderna vaccines. It’s part of a sweeping effort by the Biden administration to boost protection amid the delta variant and potential waning of vaccine strength.
Attorneys: Pharmacy companies blameless for opioid crisis
CLEVELAND (AP) — Attorneys for three retail pharmacy chains say the companies are blameless for the ongoing opioid crisis and did not create a public nuisance in two Ohio counties suing them in federal court.
Attorneys for CVS, Walmart and Giant Eagle delivered their opening statements today in Cleveland. Attorneys for Walgreens and Lake and Trumbull counties outside Cleveland gave their opening statements on Monday.
The counties allege that the four pharmacy chains have contributed to an opioid crisis that will cost them $1 billion each to abate. Attorneys for the companies argue that pharmacists fill prescriptions written by physicians for legitimate medical needs.
GENERAL MOTORS-BATTERY LAB
GM building giant battery development lab in Detroit suburb
WARREN, Mich. (AP) — General Motors says it’s building a huge new electric vehicle battery lab in Michigan. There scientists will work on chemistry to cut costs 60% over current vehicles and allow people to travel 500 to 600 miles per charge.
Structural steel already is in place for the 300,000-square-foot lab on the grounds of GM’s Technical Center in the Detroit suburb of Warren. Executives say the lab will be operational by mid-to-late next year and will house hundreds of engineers and others who will work on battery innovations and how to manufacture them.
Shipping industry group aims for net-zero emissions by 2050
BERLIN (AP) — A major shipping industry group says its members will aim for “net-zero” carbon emissions by 2050. The current target set by the United Nations’ maritime agency is to reduce emissions from international shipping by 50% by 2050.
The International Chamber of Shipping says it has submitted a proposal to the U.N. for the industry to stop adding CO2 to the atmosphere by mid-century.
Environmental activists gave the announcement a cautious welcome but noted that the proposal only covers carbon dioxide, not other greenhouse gas emissions.
The U.N.’s annual climate change conference starts Oct. 31 in Glasgow, Scotland.
GAS PIPELINE INVESTIGATION
Pipeline developer charged in connection with contamination
UNDATED (AP) — Pennsylvania’s attorney general has filed criminal charges against the developer of a pipeline that takes natural gas liquids from the Marcellus Shale gas field to an export terminal near Philadelphia.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the charges at a news conference at Marsh Creek State Park in Downingtown. That’s where the Sunoco Pipeline LP spilled more than 8,000 gallons of drilling fluid last year. The spill occurred during construction of the troubled Mariner East 2 pipeline. The multibillion-dollar pipeline project has been the focus of criminal probes.
Texas-based Energy Transfer owns Sunoco and says “it intends to vigorously defend itself.”
Foundations, new donors build $48M fund to support workers
UNDATED (AP) — A fund created by a group of social-justice-minded foundations including Ford and Rockefeller and donors like Jack Dorsey and MacKenzie Scott shortly after COVID hit has more than quadrupled in size to $48 million and is now pouring money into activities and advocacy to strengthen the social safety net and increase worker pay.
Among the efforts it is funding: building a new career option by training people who can help the nation recover after natural disasters and persuading employers that these roles — dubbed resiliency workers — deserve decent compensation.
Trading apps move to get a live person to hear your problems
NEW YORK (AP) — It’s one of the downsides of apps that make things like ordering food or buying stocks and cryptocurrencies easier: What happens when something goes wrong?
It’s often a frustrating chase, tapping through menu after menu in hopes of reaching a person to fix the problem. It’s also something that upstart companies upending the trading industry are increasingly acknowledging.
Robinhood announced today that it’s offering 24/7 phone support for all its customers to cover almost every issue. It follows up on an announcement by Coinbase, which said last month it would launch 24/7 phone service by the end of the year for many customers.
VOLVO-AIR BAG RECALL
Volvo recalls older cars; air bag inflators can explode
DETROIT (AP) — Volvo is recalling nearly 260,000 older cars in the U.S. because the front driver’s air bag can explode and send shrapnel into the cabin. The recall is in addition to one from November of 2020, which was done after an unidentified U.S. driver was killed.
The latest recall covers S80 sedans from 2001 to 2006 and S60s from 2001 through 2009.
The problem is similar to widespread trouble with air bag inflators made by Takata. The company used volatile ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate the air bags. The Volvo inflators were made by ZF/TRW and do not use ammonium nitrate. But the propellant can still deteriorate and explode with too much force.
Dealers will replace inflators with new ones. Owners will get letters starting Nov. 29.
Hertz names ex-Ford Motor chief Mark Fields as interim CEO
UNDATED (AP) — Car rental company Hertz has named industry veteran Mark Fields as its interim CEO.
Fields, the former president and CEO of Ford Motor Co., joined Hertz’s board in June. He takes over the top post at Hertz from Paul Stone, who will now serve as the company’s president and chief operations officer.
Hertz filed for bankruptcy protection in May 2020, hurt by the plunge in travel during the pandemic.
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