Business Highlights

Pre-election economy: Unemployment falls, but hiring slows

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. unemployment rate has dropped to 7.9%, but hiring is slowing and many Americans have given up looking for work. That’s according to the final jobs report from Washington before the voters decide whether to give President Donald Trump a second term. While unemployment fell from 8.4% in August, that mainly reflected a decline in the number of people seeking work, rather than a surge in hiring. The government doesn’t count people as unemployed if they aren’t actively looking for a job.


Stocks end bumpy day lower after Trump’s positive virus test

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street’s major stock indexes fell on Friday after President Donald Trump tested positive for the coronavirus, but the losses ended up milder than investors braced for early in the morning. The S&P 500 lost 1% after paring an earlier 1.7% drop. Still, most of the stocks in the index were higher, and the S&P 500 managed to close out its first winning week in the last five. Big technology stocks remained weak and were the main reason for the day’s loss. Treasury yields ticked higher, and smaller stocks were stronger than the rest of the market in a sign of optimism.


Congress takes another run at airline bailout; fate unclear

WASHINGTON (AP) — With airlines starting to furlough thousands of workers, Congress is making another effort to give a bailout to the troubled industry. House Democrats have introduced a new plan to give the airlines and their contractors up to $28.8 billion to avoid furloughs for six more months. The move comes after American and United began laying off 32,000 workers. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she wants the airlines to delay those furloughs while Congress works on providing aid. Airlines are slashing costs to survive a pandemic that has devastated air travel. The number of people getting on planes in the U.S. is down nearly 70% from a year ago.


Airbnb blocking some rentals over Halloween to halt parties

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Airbnb will prohibit one-night rentals over Halloween weekend as part of its ongoing effort to crack down on party houses. The action comes nearly a year after a deadly shooting at an Airbnb in Orinda, California. Five people were killed in the shooting, which happened during an unauthorized Halloween party. Airbnb says it will ban one-night rentals of entire homes in the U.S. and Canada on Oct. 30 or Oct. 31. Previously booked rentals will be cancelled and Airbnb will offer refunds. Airbnb says it will also look more closely at two- and three-night reservations during that period.


Europe’s central bank moves toward introducing digital euro

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The euro could be going digital. That’s the message from the European Central Bank. The euro’s issuer said on Friday that it would consult with bankers, academics and cititzens about whether they think official digital money would meet their needs. The ECB put out a detailed report on the subject, calling attention to the increasing use of cashless ways of paying for things. There’s also a concern about competition from private digital money that could disrupt the financial system. Other countries are also exploring the possibility. The U.S. Federal Reserve says it is looking at the issues involved but no decision to move ahead has been made.


Tesla sales surge as global demand picks up speed

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Tesla’s third-quarter sales rose 44% from a year ago as global demand for its electric vehicles proved stronger than most other automakers. The company said it delivered 139,000 SUVs and sedans from July through September compared with 97,000 deliveries during the same period a year ago. The sales outpaced Wall Street estimates. Analysts polled by data provider FactSet expected the company to sell 137,000 vehicles during the quarter. The sales increase bodes well for Tesla to post its fifth straight profitable quarter when it releases third-quarter earnings later this month.


Walmart to sell UK chain Asda in $8.8 billion deal

LONDON (AP) — Retail giant Walmart has agreed to sell its British chain of supermarkets, Asda. It is selling to the investors behind an international group of gas stations and food shops in a deal that values Asda at 6.8 billion pounds ($8.8 billion). Brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa, along with TDR Capital will acquire a majority of Asda. Walmart will retain a minority stake and a seat of the board. The parties issued a joint statement on Friday that did not provide further details of the deal. The move comes as Walmart has been shedding some of its international operations in recent years.


Mexican workers send home huge amounts of money amid virus

PHOENIX (AP) — Mexican workers have confounded economists by sending home huge sums of money during the coronavirus pandemic. Experts had predicted that as the American economy took a dive, migrant workers would send their families less money, known as remittances. But payments from Mexican workers in August amounted to $3.57 billion, the second-highest level on record for a single month. Most remittances to Mexico come from the U.S.


The S&P 500 fell 32.38 points, or 1%, to 3,348.42. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 134.09 points, or 0.5%, to 27,682.81. The Nasdaq composite fell 251.49, or 2.2%, to 11,075.02. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 8.09 points, or 0.5%, to 1,539.30.