Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian stocks fall after Australia inflation accelerates

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets are lower after Australia reported unexpectedly strong inflation, highlighting global pressures for prices to rise. Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong retreated.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index gained 0.2% following solid earnings reports from some major companies.

Australia’s government reported its underlying consumer inflation rose by 0.7 percentage points to an annual rate of 2.1% in the quarter ending in September.

Investors worry global central banks might feel pressure to contain rising inflation by withdrawing economic stimulus that is pushing up stock prices.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-PFIZER-KIDS

FDA panel backs Pfizer’s low-dose COVID-19 vaccine for kids

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. health advisers have endorsed kid-size doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for young children. The vote Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration panel moves the nation closer to vaccinating children ages 5 to 11.

The FDA isn’t bound by the recommendation and is expected to make its own decision within days. If regulators agree, shots could begin as early as late next week. Young children would get just a third of the dose given to teens and adults. A study found kid-size vaccinations are nearly 91% effective at preventing symptomatic infections.

VACCINES-NATIONAL LAB

More workers sue US nuclear lab over vaccine mandate

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Another group of workers is suing Los Alamos National Laboratory over its COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The complaint argues the mandate discriminates against employees who seek religious or medical exemptions. The lawsuit was filed in federal court by a Chicago-based law firm on behalf of eight workers. The lab’s policy says those with exemptions have to use vacation time or go without pay until lab management determines it’s safe for them to return. The law firm says the policy amounts to accommodation by termination and that the one-size-fits-all approach is illegal. The lab has declined to comment on pending litigation over the mandate. A judge rejected a previous effort by more than 100 workers who sought to put the vaccine requirement on hold.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-IN-N-OUT

California county closes In-N-Out over vaccine verification

PLEASANT HILL, Calif. (AP) — Another California county has closed down an In-N-Out restaurant because the popular burger chain refuses to enforce COVID-19 vaccination rules.

Contra Costa County health officials indefinitely shut the Pleasant Hill restaurant on Tuesday after it ignored repeated warnings to verify that indoor customers had vaccination cards.

San Francisco closed the only In-N-Out in the city for several days earlier this month for the same reason. In-N-Out says it doesn’t want to become what it calls “the vaccination police for any government.” Public health authorities, however, see vaccine verification as a a vital tool in slowing COVID-19.

CHINA-US-CHINA-TELECOM

Washington orders Chinese phone carrier out of US market

BEIJING (AP) — U.S. regulators are expelling a unit of China Telecom Ltd., one of the country’s three major state-owned carriers, from the American market as a national security threat amid rising tension with Beijing.

China Telecom (Americas) Corp. is required to stop providing domestic interstate and international service in the United States within 60 days, under an order approved by the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC cited the danger that Beijing might use the company to eavesdrop or disrupt U.S. communications and “engage in espionage and other harmful activities against the United States.”

The FCC said in 2019 that due to security concerns it planned to revoke licenses to China Telecom and another state-owned carrier, China Unicom Ltd.

CONGRESS-BUDGET

Half its original size, Biden’s big plan in race to finish

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s big domestic policy bill is now half its original size and being pulled apart and reconfigured as Democrats edge closer to satisfying their most reluctant lawmakers.

They’re trying to wrap up talks on what’s now about a $1.75 trillion package. A proposed billionaires’ tax is running into criticism as cumbersome, leaving the revenue needed to pay for the package deeply in flux. That’s forcing difficult reductions of proposals for health care and paid family leave, among others.

Biden met Tuesday with lawmakers at the White House, including two holdout Democrats, Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

TRUMP-SOCIAL MEDIA

Trump could get big ‘bonus’ shares in new social media firm

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump’s social media company will get tens of millions of special bonus shares in a new publicly traded entity if it performs well.

That would potentially hand the former president billions of dollars in paper wealth based on current stock prices. That is based on figures in a prospectus filed with security regulators on Tuesday. The filing says Trump’s company will be able to exercise warrants convertible to as many as 40 million shares in a new public company over three years. That is on top of nearly 90 million shares granted to his company in the merger that was previously announced.

STOCK TRADER-ARREST

Feds: Ohio stock trader fleeced Twitter users in pump-&-dump

NEW YORK (AP) — An Ohio trader in penny stocks has been arrested on charges alleging he repeatedly lied to more than 70,000 Twitter followers to earn more than $1 million illegally in what authorities are calling a new twist on an old stock manipulation game.

Steven Gallagher of Maumee, Ohio, was charged Tuesday in New York federal court with securities fraud, wire fraud and market manipulation. He was arrested in Ohio.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams says Gallagher put a new spin on old-school boiler room tactics. Williams calls it a social media pump-and-dump scheme. It was not immediately clear who would represent Gallagher at an initial court appearance in Ohio.

JAPAN-NISSAN-GREG KELLY

Defense says American charged in Ghosn pay case not involved

TOKYO (AP) — The defense for former Nissan executive Greg Kelly has argued there is no evidence or motives linking him to alleged under-reporting of his ex-boss Carlos Ghosn’s compensation.

Kelly’s chief defense lawyer, Yoichi Kitamura, said in wrapping up the defense’s arguments that Kelly is innocent, and he had no knowledge of the complex calculations over Ghosn’s unpaid remuneration.

At the center of the charges is a 1 billion yen, or $9 million, a year pay cut Ghosn voluntarily took, starting in 2009, when disclosure of big executive salaries became legally required in Japan.

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