Sunday, June 23, 2024

Business Highlights

by Associated Press

Wall Street rallies ahead of a potentially turbulent week

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks closed higher Monday at the beginning of a potentially turbulent week for markets. The S&P 500 rose 1.2% after more companies reported stronger profits for the summer than Wall Street feared and as reports on manufacturing came in better than expected. That followed gains across Europe and Asia following better-than-expected economic data there. It’s a busy week for markets, including a meeting on interest rate policy by the Federal Reserve and the government’s monthly jobs report. The headliner is Election Day and what it means for the country and the prospect of more stimulus for the economy.

Google ad costs, not its alleged monopoly, irks businesses

NEW YORK (AP) — Monopoly or not, small business owners’ biggest complaint about Google is that its advertising policies favor companies with big marketing budgets. Companies covet the top spots in Google search results — the first page of rankings, and the top of subsequent pages. But if too many companies are interested, the cost of one of these spots can jump out of reach for a small business, just like the price for prime time TV commercials. Google controls about 90% of global internet searches. The Justice Department sued Google last week, charging that it uses monopoly power in search to squelch competition.

EU faces knotty trade fights with US — no matter who wins

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — European officials and businesses are closely watching the U.S. election to see which way U.S. trade policy goes. Donald Trump’s America First tariffs on steel and aluminum provoked Europe to retaliate against U.S. bourbon and motorcycles. Europeans’ views are closer to Joe Biden’s. But analysts are cautioning that many trade irritants will be tough to solve no matter who wins. A sweeping free trade deal to lower tariffs probably isn’t in the cards. Some of Europe’s stances will present difficulties for any president — like proposed European taxes on Google and Amazon.

Another restaurant chain, Friendly’s, hits wall in pandemic

WILBRAHAM, Mass. (AP) — Friendly’s Restaurants, an East Coast dining chain known for its Fribble milkshake and ice cream sundaes, is filing for bankruptcy protection. All 130 of its locations will remain open while in restructures under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Substantially all of its assets are being sold to the restaurant company Amici Partners Group. The pandemic has hit the restaurant sector hard, particularly those that rely on people in their dining rooms. At least 10 chains have filed for bankruptcy protection since the pandemic began this year. But Friendly’s Restaurant, like most other chains that have stumbled this year, had been struggling. The Wilbraham, Massachusetts, company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2011 as well.

US construction spending up again, rises 0.3% in September

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — U.S. construction spending rose 0.3% in September, the fourth straight monthly gain after a coronavirus-caused spring swoon. The Commerce Department reported that the September gain followed followed a revised gain of 1.3% in August. Spending on residential construction was strong yet again, with single-family home projects jumping 5.7%. Total residential construction was up 2.7%, while government construction spending fell 1.7%. During the first nine months of 2020, construction spending is up 4.1% over the same period last year. Demand for single-family homes remains strong as buyers rush to the market pushed by historically low interest rates under 3%.

US manufacturing activity at highest levels in two years

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. manufacturing posted a strong gain in October to the highest level in two years even as coronavirus cases were beginning to surge again in many parts of the country. The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, said Monday that its manufacturing index rose by 3.9 percentage-points to a reading of 59.3% last month, up from 55.4% in September. It was the highest level for this closely watched barometer of manufacturing health since September 2018. Any reading above 50 signals that manufacturing is expanding.

Treasury projects borrowing $617 billion in current quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Treasury is projecting that it will need to borrow $617 billion in the final three months of 2020 as the government boosts the sale of Treasury securities to cover record budget deficits. Treasury Department officials said Monday that the $617 billion in marketable borrowing for this quarter would be up 35.9% from the $454 billion that the government borrowed in the July-September quarter. But it would be far below the all-time record of $2.75 trillion borrowed in the April-June quarter. The record borrowing came after Congress passed $3 trillion in relief measures to provide such things as $1,200 payments to individuals, support for small businesses and expanded unemployment benefits of $600 per week.

The S&P 500 rose 40.28, or 1.2%, to 3,310.24. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 423.45 points, or 1.6%, to 26,925.05. The Nasdaq composite picked up 46.02 points, or 0.4%, to 10,957.61. The Russell 2000 small-caps index rose 30.11 points, or 2%, to 1,568.59.

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