Thursday, May 30, 2024

Business Highlights

by Associated Press

As virus resurges, so does fear of more economic pain ahead

WASHINGTON (AP) — Prospects for more federal economic stimulus this year appear all but dead, clouding the future for the unemployed, for small businesses and for the U.S. economy as a whole. Now, with confirmed COVID cases surging across the United States, so is the risk that the economy could weaken again as more people choose to hunker down at home — and that even more stimulus might be needed next year than negotiators in Washington are contemplating. Johns Hopkins University data shows that more than 83,000 infections were reported both Friday and Saturday — well above the previous record high.

Stocks have their worst day in a month as virus cases surge

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market had its worst day in a month as virus cases surge and help for the economy from Washington remains nowhere in sight. The S&P 500 fell 1.9% Monday, deepening its losses from last week. Stocks of companies that need the virus to abate and the economy to return to normal had some of the biggest losses. Cruise lines and airlines fell sharply. Energy stocks also dropped in tandem with crude oil prices. In another sign of caution, Treasury yields pulled back after touching their highest level since June last week. Overseas markets also fell.

Chinese leaders focus on tech as they make 5-year plan

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese leaders are meeting to formulate an economic blueprint for the next five years that is expected to emphasize development of semiconductors and other technology at a time when Washington is cutting off access to U.S. technology. That reflects the urgency felt by President Xi Jinping’s government to promote self-sustaining growth supported by domestic consumer spending and technology development as tensions with trading partners hamper access to export markets and technology. The ruling Communist Party wants Chinese companies to rely on domestic suppliers and consumers. Economists warn that while this might help to reduce disruption of trade disputes, it will increase costs and reduce productivity.

Chinese fintech could shatter records with $35B share offer

HONG KONG (AP) — The world’s largest fintech company, China’s Ant Group, will try to raise nearly $35 billion in a public offering of stock that would be the biggest ever. Alibaba-affiliated Ant Group, which operates a suite of financial products including the widely-used Alipay digital wallet in China and one of the world’s largest money market funds, will hold dual listings in Shanghai and Hong Kong. The company will raise about $34.5 billion from the share offering, which is expected to surpass oil company Saudi Aramco’s $29 billion share sale last year, making Ant Group’s offering the biggest in the world.

Fed up: California restaurants seek booze, health fee refund

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California restaurants want state and county officials to refund more than $100 million in fees for liquor and health permits and tourism assessments that they say were charged while their businesses were shut down or partially closed because of coronavirus rules. Claims filed say governments in what was described as “a cruel twist” forced restaurants to close because of the virus, but continued to collect fees. The establishments say they were threatened with permanent closure if they didn’t pay up.

Sept. new home sales fall 3.5%, after strong summer season

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Sales of new homes fell by 3.5% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 959,000 million units, the Commerce Department said Monday, as the housing market’s summer buying season came to a close. The Commerce Department said Monday that despite the modest decrease, sales of new homes are up 32.1% from a year earlier. However, the pandemic may start to weigh on the market as the colder winter months arrive and with coronavirus cases spiking across much of the U.S. .

Dunkin’ shares hit all-time high after holding buyout talks

NEW YORK (AP) — The Dunkin’ doughnuts and coffee chain has confirmed it’s held talks to be taken private by a private equity firm, sending its shares rocketing to an all-time high Monday. Dunkin’ Brands Group said it’s in preliminary discussions with Inspire Brands, which also owns Arby’s and Jimmy John’s Sandwiches. In a prepared statement Sunday, Dunkin’ said it is not yet certain a deal would be reached and would not comment further. Inspire Brands said it had no comment Monday. Dunkin’, based in Canton, Massachusetts, also owns the Baskin-Robbins ice cream chain.

Germany’s Bayer to buy US gene therapy specialist AskBio

BERLIN (AP) — German health care company Bayer said Monday it is buying Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, a U.S.-based firm specializing in gene therapy, in a deal worth up to $4 billion. Bayer said it will pay $2 billion up front for privately held AskBio plus “potential success-based milestone payments” of up to another $2 billion. About three-quarters of the latter are expected to be due over the next five years, it added. AskBio is headquartered at Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and has facilities in Edinburgh, Paris and San Sebastián, Spain.

The S&P 500 fell 64.42 points, or 1.9%, to 3,400.97. The Dow slumped 650.19 points, or 2.3%, to 27,685.38. The Nasdaq composite lost 189.34 points, or 1.6%, to 11,358.94. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks ended down 35.29 points, or 2.2%, to 1,605.21.

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