Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian shares mostly higher after wobbly rally on Wall St

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares are mostly higher in Asia after U.S. stocks rallied. Hong Kong shares surged on heavy buying of technology shares. Benchmarks also gained in all regional markets after Japan reported its economy contracted at a lower pace than earlier reported in the January-March quarter.

Oil prices remained near $120 per barrel.

Wall Street remains wobbly as investors...

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FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian shares mostly higher after wobbly rally on Wall St

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares are mostly higher in Asia after U.S. stocks rallied. Hong Kong shares surged on heavy buying of technology shares. Benchmarks also gained in all regional markets after Japan reported its economy contracted at a lower pace than earlier reported in the January-March quarter.

Oil prices remained near $120 per barrel.

Wall Street remains wobbly as investors wait for more clarity on where interest rates, inflation and the economy are heading. The S&P 500 climbed 1% after bouncing back from an early loss of the same size. Technology stocks were some of the biggest forces lifting the U.S. market. Stocks of energy producers also rose along with oil prices.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-NOVAVAX

FDA advisers back Novavax COVID shots as 4th US option

WASHINGTON (AP) — A more traditional kind of COVID-19 vaccine is a step closer to becoming the fourth option for U.S. adults.

Advisers to the Food and Drug Administration voted Tuesday to recommend authorization of shots made by Novavax. It’s a protein vaccine, a more conventional technology than the dominant Pfizer and Moderna shots, and the lesser-used Johnson & Johnson option.

If the FDA ultimately agrees, the Novavax shots could be an option for adults who haven’t yet gotten vaccinated. The company eventually hopes to offer its shots as a booster, like they’re used in some other countries.

CRYPTO-LEGISLATION

Amid crypto turmoil, senators propose sweeping oversight

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wide-ranging bipartisan legislation unveiled Tuesday would regulate cryptocurrencies and other digital assets following a series of high-profile busts and failures.

It’s unclear, though, whether the bill proposed by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., can clear Congress, especially at a time of heightened partisanship ahead of midterm elections. The bill also comes as advocates for cryptocurrency have become bigger — and more free-spending — players in Washington.

The bill, called the Responsible Financial Innovation Act, proposes legal definitions of digital assets and virtual currencies; would require the IRS to adopt guidance on merchant acceptance of digital assets and charitable contributions; and would make a distinction between digital assets that are commodities or securities, which has not been done.

BIDEN-SOLAR-ENERGY

US solar companies weigh challenge to Biden pause on tariffs

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. solar manufacturers are considering legal challenges after President Joe Biden declared a two-year pause on tariffs for solar imports from Southeast Asia.

Biden’s action Monday was intended to jumpstart solar installations that have slowed amid a Commerce Department inquiry into possible trade violations involving Chinese products. But some domestic producers, including a California company that filed a complaint with Commerce about unfair competition from China, said Biden’s actions would help China’s state-subsidized solar companies at the expense of U.S. producers.

The White House said Biden’s actions would boost an industry crucial to his climate change-fighting goals while not interfering with the Commerce inquiry.

JAPAN-ECONOMY

Japan’s economy contracts, but at smaller rate than thought

TOKYO (AP) — The government says Japan’s economy contracted in the first quarter though at a slower rate than expected.

The Cabinet Office says the world’s third-largest economy contracted at a 0.5% annual rate, smaller than the 1.0% contraction in the preliminary estimate for Japan’s real gross domestic product.

The latest data found consumer spending and other private demand was not as weak as earlier thought. The upward revision was a pleasant surprise for analysts. They also now expect a second-quarter rebound in the GDP, though surging prices for imported commodities might limit the gains.

The expected reopening of the country to tourists as limits imposed to curb COVID-19 infections are lifted, should also boost growth.

AUSTRALIA-ROCKETS

NASA to launch 3 rockets from private Australian space port

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — NASA is gearing up to launch a research rocket from remote northern Australia this month. It will be the agency’s first blast off from a commercial space port outside the United States.

NASA and the launch pad’s owner, Equatorial Launch Australia, say three suborbital sounding rockets will be launched from the Arnhem Space Center on Indigenous-owned land near a mining town in the Northern Territory on June 26, July 4 and 12. The launch site was chosen for its location in the Southern Hemisphere close to the equator.

The 40-foot rockets will focus on the Alpha Centauri A and B star systems. A third mission would study the clouds of gases and particles in the space between stars.

SHRINKFLATION

No, you’re not going crazy – package sizes are shrinking

UNDATED (AP) — It’s the inflation you’re not supposed to see. From toilet paper to yogurt to corn chips, manufacturers are quietly shrinking package sizes without lowering prices. It’s dubbed “shrinkflation,” and it’s accelerating worldwide.

In the U.S., a small box of Kleenex now has 60 tissues; a few months ago, it had 65. In the U.K., Nestle slimmed down coffee tins from 100 grams to 90 grams.

Experts say shrinkflation isn’t new, but it proliferates in times of high inflation as companies grapple with rising costs for ingredients, packaging, labor and transportation.

AMAZON-COUNTERFEITS

Amazon says it prevented 4 billion bad listings in 2021

UNDATED (AP) — Amazon says in its second-annual report that it prevented 4 billion bad listings from making it onto its site and got rid of more than 3 million phony products last year. The results, released Wednesday, were mixed compared with 2020, when Amazon blocked 10 billion listings and got rid of 2 million phony products. The Seattle-based e-commerce juggernaut also saw a decrease in complaints of intellectual property infringement in 2021 while growing the number of active brands on its site. Counterfeit sellers have long plagued Amazon and other e-commerce retailers, including eBay. And Amazon has stepped up efforts to fight it in recent years amid heightened scrutiny from brands and lawmakers pushing for anti-counterfeit legislation.

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