Friday, May 17, 2024

Business Highlights

by Associated Press

Stocks rally worldwide on Election Day; S&P 500 climbs 1.8%

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street posted solid gains on Election Day, sending the S&P 500 up 1.8%. More than anything, what investors hope for is a clear winner to emerge relatively soon from the election. Whether that’s President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden is secondary. But if Biden wins, as polls suggest, the thought is that could open the door to a big support package for the economy, particularly if the Democrats also take control of the Senate. Treasury yields also climbed Tuesday, and a gauge of investor fear in the U.S. stock market receded amid the widespread rally.

Market debut of Chinese e-finance giant Ant Group postponed

HONG KONG (AP) — The planned stock market debut of the world’s biggest online finance company, Ant Group, in Shanghai and Hong Kong has been suspended, disrupting a record-setting $34.5 billion initial public offering that highlighted China’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The Shanghai stock exchange cited regulatory changes in Ant’s industry and a possible failure to meet disclosure requirements but gave no other details Tuesday. Ant said later it would suspend its Hong Kong debut. The suspension follows a meeting Monday between regulators and executives including Ant founder Jack Ma, China’s richest entrepreneur.

Cruise industry throws in the towel on 2020, looks to 2021

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — A cruise ship industry group says its members are extending the suspension of U.S. sailing operations through the end of the year, just days after the U.S. government effectively lifted its no-sail order despite a global spike in coronavirus infections. Cruise Lines International Association said its members will use the rest of the year to implement measures to address COVID-19 safety. On Friday, federal health officials issued new rules that will enable large cruise ships to start sailing again in U.S. waters, though not immediately. The cruise industry group estimates that the suspension of cruises snuffed out more than $25 billion in economic activity and 164,000 American jobs.

English retailers fret over Christmas as lockdown 2.0 looms

LONDON (AP) — A second lockdown in England is set to come into force this week. It’s a big blow to businesses that sweeps away any hopes that the British economy might have recovered by the end of this year a large proportion of the near 25% drop endured in the spring. The economy is now expected to end the year around 12.5% smaller than when it started. The lockdown decision has cemented market expectations that the Bank of England will on Thursday increase its bond-buying program by at least 100 billion pounds ($130 billion) to keep a lid on borrowing rates in the markets.

Australian central bank cuts key interest rate to 0.1%

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s central bank has cut its benchmark interest rate by 0.15 of a percentage point to a record low 0.10% in a bid to lift the economy from a pandemic-induced recession. The move on Tuesday was the first since March when the Reserve Bank of Australia board made two cuts of a quarter of a percentage point each two weeks apart. Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe said the central bank is committed to doing what it can to create jobs. The Australian economy contracted during the first half of the calendar year, although Lowe said he expects official data will reveal some growth in the September quarter.

Ferrari profit steady as it recovers lost lockdown output

MILAN (AP) — Luxury sportscar maker Ferrari reported flat profits in the third quarter as it recovers lost production from the coronavirus shutdown. The company based in the northern Italian city of Maranello said net profit was 171 million in the quarter, compared with 169 million in the same period last year. Shipments were down by 161 units, to 2,313 vehicles. Ferrari said it is still working on recovering the 2,000 vehicle production loss during Italy’s seven-week shutdown.

KLM pilots agree to pay cuts to secure bailout for airline

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Pilots with Dutch national airline KLM say they have agreed to accept pay cuts for as long as the carrier needs a multibillion euro government coronavirus bailout. The decision Tuesday clears the way for the government to agree to free up the next instalment of a 3.4 billion-euro ($3.96 billion) lifeline to help the KLM survive the sharp downturn in air travel amid the pandemic. The package is made up of a 1 billion-euro loan and 2.4 billion euros in guarantees for bank loans. The Dutch finance minister said Saturday he would halt the state aid because not all of KLM’s 30,000 staff had committed to accept pay cuts for the duration of the bailout.

The S&P 500 rose 58.92 points, or 1.8%, to 3,369.16. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 554.98, or 2.1%, to 27,480.03, and the Nasdaq composite added 202.96, or 1.9%, to 11,160.57. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks finished up 45.70 points, or 2.9%, at 1,614.30.

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