Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

US stocks slip in mixed trading as rate pressure ratchets up

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes are edging lower in afternoon trading as another swell higher for Treasury yields adds pressure on big technology stocks.

The S&P 500 was down 0.5% even though nearly as many stocks in the index were rising as falling.

The spotlight was again on the bond market, where the yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.74%. Its jump this year has forced investors to reconsider paying such high prices for many stocks, particularly the tech giants that were big winners earlier in the pandemic. Yields perked higher after a report showed consumers are even more confident than economists expected.

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

Consumer confidence surges in March to highest point in year

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence surged in March to the highest reading in a year, helped by increased vaccinations and more government economic support.

The Conference Board says its consumer confidence index rose to 109.7 in March, the best showing since it stood at 118.8 in March of last year as the pandemic was beginning to hit the United States.

The present situations index, based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions, rose to 110.0, up from 89.6 in February. The expectations’ index, based on consumers outlook for income, business and labor market conditions also improved, rising to 109.6 in March, up from a reading of 90.9 in February.

HOME PRICES

US home prices soared in January by most in seven years

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices increased at the fastest pace in seven years in January as the pandemic has fueled demand for single-family houses even as the supply for such homes shrinks.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 11.1% in January from a year earlier. That’s the biggest gain since March 2014. Prices rose in all 20 cities, and the 12-month increase was larger in January for all cities than in the previous month.

GLOBAL FINANCE-IMF

IMF head: global growth prospects rising but dangers remain

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the 190-nation International Monetary Fund says prospects for global growth have brightened since January, helped by a $1.9 trillion U.S. rescue package. But she warns that uneven progress in fighting the pandemic could jeopardize the economic gains.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva says when the IMF releases its updated economic forecast next week, it will show the global economy growing at a faster pace than the 5.5% gain it projected at the start of the year. In remarks hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, she said that the $1.9 trillion support package that President Joe Biden signed into law on March 11 along with rising confidence from increased vaccinations in many advanced economies were primary reasons for the forecast upgrade.

VIRGIN GALACTIC

Virgin Galactic rolls out latest generation of spaceship

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Virgin Galactic rolled out its latest spaceship as the company gets ready to resume test flights in the coming months at its headquarters in the New Mexico desert.

The newest ship dubbed the VSS Imagine was designed and manufactured in California. Company officials say it will likely be summer before the ship begins glide flight testing at Spaceport America in southern New Mexico.

CEO Michael Colglazier says the addition of the new ship marks the beginning of a Virgin Galactic fleet that will ferry paying customers and scientific payloads to the fringe of space. He said the company is still aiming for commercial operations in 2022.

BRITAIN-EPIC GAMES-APPLE

Epic Games complains about Apple to UK competition watchdog

LONDON (AP) — Epic Games has submitted a complaint about Apple to the U.K. competition watchdog, which is investigating the iPhone maker over its dominant position in app distribution.

Epic Games is the maker of the popular video game Fortnite. Its move is the latest salvo in its bitter battle over Apple’s App Store that includes legal challenges in the United States and Australia and an antitrust complaint in the European Union. The U.K. complaint accuses Apple of anticompetitive behavior and setting strict rules on app distribution and payments in alleged violation of British competition rules.

Apple said Epic wants to operate under different rules than the ones that apply to all other developers.

DAPPER LABS-NBA-TOP SHOT FUNDING

Dapper Labs, creators of NBA Top Shot, get $305M in funding

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — Canadian blockchain technology company Dapper Labs has secured $305 million in private funding — some of it from current and former NBA players, including Michael Jordan — to scale up its virtual NBA trading card site.

Dapper says NBA Top Shot has rung up $500 million in sales and registered more than 800,000 accounts since October.

The virtual cards come in the form of a floating digital cube with a video highlight of an NBA player. A LeBron James dunk sold for $210,000 recently but more common cards can often be had for less than $10.

DRAFTKINGS-VSiN

DraftKings buys VSiN sports betting video broadcast company

UNDATED (AP) — DraftKings has bought Vegas Sports Information Network, a multiplatform broadcast and content company delivering sports betting news, analysis, and data to U.S. customers.

The acquisition provides more content for DraftKings, which has retail or online sports betting operations in 14 states. Terms of the deal were not released.

It continues a nascent trend in the industry of sports betting and gambling companies acquiring broadcast partners in an effort to reach more potential sports betting customers, a tactic employed last year by Bally’s Corp. in partnering with Sinclair Broadcast Group. VSiN’s on-air roster includes the noted sports broadcaster Brent Musburger.

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