Business Highlights

$300 in US jobless aid running out even as more seek help

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation’s unemployment safety net is looking increasingly shaky, with a $300-a-week federal jobless benefit from the Trump administration running out almost as soon as it began and millions of laid-off Americans nearing an end to their state unemployment aid. Most Americans who exhaust their state’s unemployment benefits — typically after six months — can transition to a federal program that provides an additional 13 weeks of aid. Yet they still face a looming deadline: By year’s end, nearly all the federal unemployment supports will expire. Unless Congress were to extend those programs, millions of jobless Americans would receive no further benefits.


Jane Fraser to become Citi CEO; 1st woman to lead major bank

NEW YORK (AP) — Citigroup’s Jane Fraser will become the first woman ever to lead a Wall Street bank when she succeeds CEO Michael Corbat in February. The New York bank announced the succession Thursday. Fraser is currently head of Citi’s global consumer banking division, a major part of the bank that oversees checking and savings accounts but also Citi’s massive credit card business. She’s been with Citi for 16 years. Fraser’s climb to the CEO role is a major accomplishment in an industry long dominated by men. Corbat led Citigroup for eight years, rebuilding the company after it nearly collapsed during the Great Recession and 2008 financial crisis.


Russian hackers target U.S. campaigns, parties: Microsoft

BOSTON (AP) — Microsoft says state-backed hackers have stepped up targeting of U.S. political campaigns and related groups. It says the same Russian military intelligence outfit that hacked the Democrats in 2016 has tried to break into more than 200 organizations including political parties and consultants. Company Vice President Tom Burt says in a blog post that most of the infiltration attempts by Russian, Chinese and Iranian agents were halted by Microsoft software and the targets notified, he said. The company would not comment on who may have been successfully hacked or the impact.


Scarcity of key material squeezes medical mask manufacturing

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — White House officials say the United States has all the medical supplies needed to battle COVID-19, but health care workers, hospital officials and even the FDA say that’s not the case. Shortfalls of medical N95 respirators — commonly referred to as N95 masks — and other protective gear started in March, when the pandemic hit New York. The American Medical Association’s president, Dr. Susan Bailey, says the tremendous pressure on the supply chain continues today. Mask makers say part of the problem is the Trump administration hasn’t committed enough long-term resources to making meltblown textile — the key ingredient in medical-grade masks.


US stocks turn lower again as a wild trading week continues

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks gave up an early gain and moved steadily lower all day, erasing nearly all of a rally from a day earlier and extending their losses for the week. The S&P 500 gave up 1.8% Thursday after having been up 0.8% in the early going. Technology shares once again led the way lower, and the Nasdaq fell 2%. The slide follows a wild stretch where the S&P 500 careened from its worst three-day slump since June to its best day in nearly three months. Apple, Microsoft and chipmaker Nvidia all fell. Treasury yields and oil prices fell.


Virus bill blocked in Senate as prospects dim for new relief

WASHINGTON (AP) — Another coronavirus rescue package has failed in the U.S. Senate. Democrats blocked a Republican bill Thursday that they said shortchanged pressing national needs. The mostly party-line vote capped weeks of wrangling over a fifth relief bill that all sides say they want but are unable to deliver. The $650 billion measure that failed Thursday was roughly half the size of legislation promoted by GOP leaders this summer. But that version was too big for most conservatives, so the bill was stripped back to focus on school aid, jobless benefits and help for small businesses. It’s unclear whether bipartisan talks on a bill will resume.


US wholesale prices rise 0.3% in August as food costs drop

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. wholesale prices rose 0.3% in August, just half the July gain, as food and energy prices decline. The Labor Department said Thursday that the August advance in the producer price index — which measures inflation before it reaches consumers — followed a 0.6% surge in June which was the biggest monthly gain since October 2018. Helping to moderate wholesale prices in August was a 0.4% drop in food costs, the third straight decline after a big jump in May caused by supply bottlenecks related to coronavirus cases at meat packing plants. Energy costs edged down 0.1% in August after sizable gains in the previous three months.


The S&P 500 fell 59.77 points, or 1.8%, to 3,339.19. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 405.89 points, or 1.5%, to 27,534.58. The Nasdaq gave up 221.97 points, or 2%, to 10,919.59. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks lost 18.73 points, or 1.2%, to 1,507.75.