Business Highlights

US jobless claims rise to 898,000 with layoffs still high

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose last week to 898,000, a historically high number that is evidence that layoffs remain a hindrance to the economy’s recovery from the pandemic recession that erupted seven months ago. Thursday’s report from the Labor Department shows that the job market remans fragile, and it coincides with other recent data that have signaled a slowdown in hiring. The economy is still roughly 10.7 million jobs short of recovering all the 22 million jobs that were lost when the pandemic struck in early spring.


As election uncertainty sweeps markets, the pros hold steady

NEW YORK (AP) — This presidential election is clearly unlike any other, but investors might be wise to treat it just like most of the previous ones. History shows the stock market’s performance doesn’t correlate that closely with which party controls the White House: It tends to rise following elections regardless of who wins. Because of that, many fund managers are sticking with their investment strategies and focusing on the long term — even in a year when the election’s outcome could be in doubt past Election Day, and the nation is in the grip of a pandemic.


IMF warns global economy could be permanently scarred

WASHINGTON (AP) — The global economy’s recovery from the pandemic recession is tentative and uneven and “marked by significant uncertainty” as confirmed coronavirus cases spread in many countries, global finance ministers warned Thursday. The policy-setting panel of the 189-nation International Monetary Fund concluded a virtual meeting Thursday with a joint statement that warned of permanent damage from the worst global downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s unless countries receive further economic support.


Stocks fall on Wall Street as coronavirus spreads in Europe

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks ended mostly lower on Wall Street, giving the S&P 500 its third straight loss this week. The benchmark index slipped 0.2% Thursday. Rising infections in Europe and new measures to contain the coronavirus there motivated traders to pull money out of riskier investments. European markets fell broadly after France imposed a curfew on many of its biggest cities and Londoners faced new travel restrictions. United Airlines slumped after reporting that its revenue plummeted over the summer. Crude oil prices fell and Treasury yields were mixed. Small-cap stocks bucked the downward trend and ended higher.


YouTube follows Twitter and Facebook with QAnon crackdown

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — YouTube is following the lead of Twitter and Facebook, saying that it is taking more steps to limit QAnon and other baseless conspiracy theories that can lead to real-world violence. The Google-owned video platform said Thursday it will now prohibit material targeting a person or group with conspiracy theories that have been used to justify violence. One example would be videos that threaten or harass someone by suggesting they are complicit in a conspiracy such as QAnon, which paints President Donald Trump as a secret warrior against a supposed child-trafficking ring run by celebrities and “deep state” government officials.


Shares of Chinese retailer Miniso jump in 1st day of trading

HONG KONG (AP) — Miniso, a Chinese discount retailer known for its fashionable but affordable household products, raised $608 million in a U.S. initial public offering in New York. The Guangzhou-based retailer is the latest Chinese company to list in the U.S., amid tensions that have taken U.S.-China relations to their worst level in decades. Miniso founder Ye Guofu, who owns an 80% stake in the company, is set to become a billionaire following the listing, with a net worth of about $4 billion. Miniso found success in brick-and-mortar retailing by modeling itself after Japan’s 100-yen stores, which sell a variety of products at about $1 each.


US long-term mortgage rates fall to low; 30-year at 2.81%

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell this week as the key 30-year loan reached a new all-time low for the tenth time this year. Home loan rates have marked a year-long decline amid economic anxiety in the recession set off by the coronavirus pandemic. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reports that the average rate on the 30-year mortgage fell to 2.81% from 2.87% last week. The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage declined to 2.35% from 2.37%. The low borrowing rates have bolstered demand by prospective homebuyers. But the demand has been constrained by the economic hardship brought by the coronavirus pandemic.


DOJ charges Texas billionaire in $2 billion tax fraud scheme

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Federal prosecutors have charged Texas billionaire Robert Brockman in a $2 billion tax fraud scheme that they say is the largest such case against an American. Department of Justice officials said at a news conference Thursday in San Francisco that 79-year-old Brockman hid the money over 20 years in a complicated scheme involving false returns and secret bank accounts. Prosecutors also charged him with investor fraud. The indictment was unsealed Thursday and Brockman is scheduled to make an appearance. Prosecutors also announced that Robert Smith will cooperate in the investigation and pay $139 million to settle a tax probe.


The S&P 500 fell 5.33 points, or 0.2%, to 3,483.34. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 19.80 points, or 0.1%, to 28,494.20. The Nasdaq composite gave up 54.86 points, or 0.5%, to 11,713.87. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks rose 17.23 points, or 1.1%, to 1,638.88.