Business Highlights

Appeals court gives reprieve to Uber, Lyft in California

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — An appeals court has allowed ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft to continue treating their drivers as independent contractors in California while an appeal works its way through the court. Both companies had threatened to shut down if a ruling went into effect Friday morning that would have forced them to treat all their drivers as employees, a change they said would be impossible to accomplish overnight. At issue is a decision that could re-shape the so-called gig economy as drivers, delivery workers and others who work for popular apps on an as-needed basis seek improved working conditions and benefits that many in the workforce enjoy.


Rise in jobless claims reflects still-struggling US economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — The coronavirus recession struck swiftly and violently. Now, with the economy still in the grip of the pandemic five months later, the recovery looks fitful and uneven — and painfully slow. The latest evidence came Thursday with the government’s report that the number of workers seeking U.S. unemployment benefits rose back above 1 million last week after two weeks of declines. At the same time, a regional manufacturing index grew more slowly in August than in July. Employers are advertising fewer job openings with unemployment still in double digits. Many businesses and consumers remain paralyzed by uncertainty and restricted by lockdowns. Until the pandemic can defeated, any recovery is destined to remain weak.


Huawei, long resilient, suffers under tougher US pressure

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese tech giant Huawei kept its global business growing for almost a decade while Washington piled sanctions on the company and lobbied its allies to keep the company out of telecom networks. Now, Huawei is starting to suffer in earnest as the Trump administration steps up efforts to slam the door on access to Western components and markets in a widening feud with Beijing over technology and security. European phone companies whose orders helped to make Huawei the biggest maker of switching equipment are scrambling to find other vendors. Huawei’s smartphone sales rose in the latest quarter thanks to sales in China, but demand abroad is plunging.


Tech gains send indexes higher even as other stocks fall

NEW YORK (AP) — Major indexes managed to eke out gains on Wall Street even as most stocks fell following more discouraging data on the economy. The government reported that slightly more than 1.1 million workers applied for unemployment benefits last week. Gains for big technology stocks, which have an outsize influence on indexes because of their gigantic values, were enough to push the S&P 500 up 0.3% and the Nasdaq up 1.1%. Small-company stocks fell. Uber and Lyft bounced higher after an appeals court said the ride-hailing giants can continue treating their drivers as independent contractors in California while an appeal works its way through the court.


Young children pose a dilemma for airlines with mask rules

DALLAS (AP) — Airlines are requiring passengers to wear masks, but recent incidents involving young children have put the carriers on the spot for how they enforce rules on face coverings. JetBlue booted a mother and her six children off a plane this week when a 2-year-old wouldn’t keep her mask on. A few days, it was Southwest Airlines that removed a woman and her children after her autistic son refused to keep his mask on. As the pandemic continues, airlines have tightened mask rules banned violators from future flights. But they’re finding it’s tricky when the violators are young children.


American Airlines will drop flights to 15 cities in October

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — American Airlines is dropping flights to 15 U.S. cities in October, when a federal requirement to serve those communities expires. American said Thursday that it will consider other changes unless the federal government provides more money to the embattled airline industry. The decision appears designed to put pressure on Congress and the Trump administration to approve another $25 billion in relief for passenger airlines, which have seen traffic plummet during the coronavirus pandemic. American has already received $5.8 billion and has applied for an additional federal loan of $4.9 billion.


US long-term mortgage rates rise; 30-year at 2.99%

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. average rates on long-term mortgages rose this week though they remain at historically low levels. The key 30-year loan nudged toward 3%. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reports that the average rate on the 30-year home loan increased to 2.99% from 2.96% last week. The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 2.54% from 2.46% from last week. Homebuying demand continues as one of few bright spots in the pandemic-struck economy. The government reported Tuesday that construction of new homes surged 22.6% in July as homebuilders bounced back from a lull induced by the coronavirus pandemic.


The S&P 500 rose 10.66 points, or 0.3%, to 3,385.51. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 46.85 points, or 0.2%, to 27,739.73. The Nasdaq composite rose 118.49 points, or 1.1%, to 11,264.95, The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 7.76 points, or 0.5%, to 1,564.30.