Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks edge higher, led by gains in Big Tech

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks edged higher in afternoon trading on Wall Street Thursday a day after a surge in inflation tripped up major indexes. Big tech companies, particularly chipmakers, had some of the strongest gains. The S&P 500 rose 0.3% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 0.8%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 0.2%, largely due to a steep drop in Disney. The entertainment conglomerate sank 7.1% after reporting a slowdown in subscriber gains at its streaming channel. Beyond Meat dropped 14.2% after reporting a much wider loss than analysts were expecting. Bond trading was closed for Veterans Day.

SURRENDERING SHORT SELLERS

Disappearing shorts: As stocks soar, skeptics surrender

NEW YORK (AP) — The skeptics of Wall Street have gone missing. As the stock market surges to record after record, activity has dwindled to a nearly two-decade low for the traders known as short sellers, who make their money betting stocks will fall. That will sadden nearly no one. Critics from Capitol Hill to Main Street often paint short sellers as merchants of pain who only hurt the market. But experts and remaining short sellers say they provide an important service suited for this moment: offering a counterweight against stock prices that may be rising too high, too fast. Despite concerns about the pace of the economic recovery and high inflation, the S&P 500 has set 65 all-time highs so far this year, with the latest coming on Monday.

CONGRESS-BUDGET-ELECTRIC-VEHICLES

Biden bill includes boost for union-made electric vehicles

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress are looking to give U.S. automakers with union employees the inside track when it comes to winning the burgeoning electric vehicle market. The $1.85 trillion spending package that Democrats are trying to get through Congress includes an array of programs designed to curb global warming, including incentives to hasten the transition to electric vehicles, now about 2% of new car sales in the U.S. A provision that would give buyers of vehicles made at unionized manufacturing plants in the U.S. a more generous tax credit is sparking an international and regional political squabble.

RIVIAN-TRADING

Rivian rockets past GM to become 2nd most valuable carmaker

NEW YORK (AP) — Rivian Automotive, a company that has delivered about 150 electric pickup trucks mostly to employees, has surpassed General Motors to become the nation’s second most valuable automaker. The California company’s market valuation exceeded Ford’s in its first day a public company Wednesday. Its shares rose 10% at the opening bell Thursday, pushing its valuation over $90 billion. That’s greater than Detroit’s GM, one of the biggest auto manufacturers in the world, which sold more than 2.5 million vehicles last year. Rivian’s goal this year is to produce 1,000 electric vehicles. The company rolled out its first vehicle, the R1T electric truck, in September and plans to launch its electric SUV, the R1S, in December.

CONGRESS-BUDGET-ELECTRIC-VEHICLES

Biden bill includes boost for union-made electric vehicles

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress are looking to give U.S. automakers with union employees the inside track when it comes to winning the burgeoning electric vehicle market. The $1.85 trillion spending package that Democrats are trying to get through Congress includes an array of programs designed to curb global warming, including incentives to hasten the transition to electric vehicles, now about 2% of new car sales in the U.S. A provision that would give buyers of vehicles made at unionized manufacturing plants in the U.S. a more generous tax credit is sparking an international and regional political squabble.

CLIMATE-COP26

UN chief says global warming goal on ‘life support’

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 F) is “on life support” in the final days of the U.N.‘s climate talks in Glasgow. In an exclusive interview Thursday with The Associated Press, Guterres said the talks have not met any of the U.N.’s three goals. He added that “until the last moment, hope should be maintained.” Guterres says the ongoing negotiations need to accomplish more than securing a weak deal that participating nations agree to support. “The worst thing would be to reach an agreement at all costs by a minimum common denominator that would not respond to the huge challenges,” he said.

EUROPE-COVID DRUGS

EU authorizes 2 medicines for people at risk of severe COVID

AMSTERDAM (AP) — The European Medicines Agency has recommended the authorization of two new medicines against the coronavirus for people at risk of severe disease. In a statement on Thursday, the EU drug regulator said it had concluded that the monoclonal antibody treatments — a combination of casirivimab and imdevimab, and the drug regdanvimab — have both been proven to significantly reduce the risk of hospitalization and death in patients vulnerable to serious COVID-19. The EMA described the safety profile of both medicines as “favorable,” and said that despite a small number of side effects, “the medicines’ benefits are greater than their risks.”

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-RUSSIA

Russia prepares new restrictions amid persistent virus surge

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian authorities say they are preparing new restrictions to counter the unrelenting surge of coronavirus infections that has engulfed the vast country in recent weeks. The state coronavirus task force announced Thursday it was drafting legislation to expand the system of QR codes, already used in many regions to restrict access to certain public places, to include public transport, cafes and shops. The system only allows access to people who have been vaccinated, have recovered from the virus recently or can provide a negative coronavirus test no older than 72 hours. It wasn’t immediately clear when the new measures could be imposed. The task force on Thursday reported 40,759 new cases and 1,237 deaths.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-AUSTRIA

Austrian leader says lockdown for the unvaccinated is likely

BERLIN (AP) — Austria’s chancellor has stepped up threats of lockdown measures for unvaccinated people as new coronavirus cases in the Alpine country are soaring. The country’s worst-affected province said Thursday that it plans to take that step next week. Austria has taken a series of measures in recent weeks in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 and encourage more people to get vaccinated. On Monday, new rules took effect barring unvaccinated people who haven’t recovered from an infection from restaurants, hotels, hairdressing salons and large public events. Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said last month that unvaccinated people could face new lockdown restrictions if case numbers continue to rise. On Thursday, he said a lockdown for the unvaccinated is “probably unavoidable.”

VIRUS OUTBREAK-GERMANY

Germany mulls new COVID-19 measures as infections spike

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s national disease control center has reported a record-high number of more than 50,000 daily coronavirus cases. The infections spike comes as German lawmakers are mulling new legislation that would pave the way for new coronavirus measures. The Robert Koch Institute registered 50,196 new cases on Thursday, up from 33,949 daily cases a week earlier. Infections have multiplied so quickly in recent days that hospitals in hardest-hit regions canceled planned surgeries again so medical personnel could focus on COVID-19 patients. The institute also reported 237 daily COVID-19 deaths, bringing Germany’s pandemic death toll to 97,198. Unlike some other European countries, Germany has balked at making vaccinations mandatory for certain categories of workers.

GERMANY-CARNIVAL

Germans celebrate Carnival again despite high virus numbers

BERLIN (AP) — Carnival revelers in the western Germany city of Cologne were lining up to show proof of their COVID-19 vaccinations before they could begin the start of the outdoors celebrations — after a hiatus due to the pandemic last year. Despite strict pandemic rules, the start of the carnival season on Thursday was overshadowed by a coronavirus infection of Cologne’s official head of celebrations. Carnival Prince Sven I. announced Tuesday that he had tested positive despite being vaccinated and canceled all public appearances. On Cologne’s Heumarkt square in the old city, however, thousands of revelers dressed up as clowns, bees, pirates or tigers and seemed unfazed by the country’s spiking virus numbers as they danced tightly to brass band live music.

EUROPE-ECONOMY

Europe’s economic recovery faces hit from high energy costs

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The European Commission has raised its growth forecast for the year for the 19 countries using the euro, saying the economy was bouncing back from the worst of the coronavirus pandemic as people went back to work in consumer-facing jobs. But the EU’s executive branch on Thursday also lowered the forecast for 2022, warning that high energy prices would eventually hit utility bills and weigh on people’s ability to spend. The economy also faces obstacles from supply chain logjams and rising COVID-19 infections. The autumn forecast raised the growth outlook for this year to 5% from 4.8% in the summer predictions, while the 2022 growth forecast dropped to 4.3% from 4.5%.

CHINA-SINGLES’ DAY

Chinese shoppers spend $139 billion during Singles’ Day fest

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese shoppers spent $139.1 billion during this year’s annual Singles’ Day shopping extravaganza, breaking last year’s record even though consumer spending slowed amid economic uncertainty during the coronavirus pandemic. Experts say that the world’s largest online shopping festival has taken on a more muted tone this year with less marketing hype on the back off a regulatory crackdown on the technology industry. This year, e-commerce platforms reduced marketing hype in line with the Chinese government’s push for less extravagance. Shoppers say deep discounts during Singles’ Day are a thing of the past.

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