Business Highlights

Dow returns to record, S&P 500 adds to its on vaccine hopes

NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record high Monday, erasing the last of its pandemic losses, after a second drug company announced encouraging progress on developing a coronavirus vaccine. The S&P 500 added to the record high it reached last Friday. The Dow rose 1.6% and the S&P 500 added 1.2% after Moderna said its COVID-19 vaccine appears to be 94.5% effective, according to preliminary data. It comes just a week after Pfizer and BioNTech gave similarly encouraging numbers about their own vaccine candidate. Stocks of companies that would benefit the most from the economy climbing out of its recession led the way higher.


Here comes Santa Claus – with face masks and plexiglass

NEW YORK (AP) — Santa Claus is coming to the mall — just don’t try to sit on his lap. Malls are doing all they can to keep the jolly old man safe from the coronavirus, including banning kids from sitting on his knee, completely changing what a Santa visit looks like. Kids will have to tell him what they want for Christmas from six feet away, and sometimes from behind a sheet of plexiglass. Santa and visitors may need to wear a face mask, even while posing for photos. And some malls will put faux gift boxes and other decorations in front of Santa to block kids from charging toward him. _

PNC to buy US unit of Spain’s BBVA bank for $11.6 billion

NEW YORK (AP) — PNC Financial Services Group says it is buying the U.S. subsidiary of Spain’s BBVA bank for $11.6 billion in cash. BBVA’s U.S. operations are based in Houston, Texas. They have $104 billion in assets and operate 637 branches, mainly in the south and southwest of the country. PNC is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is largely a regional bank. The deal would give it a presence across the U.S. Shares in BBVA jumped more than 15% in Madrid on Monday. PNC’s shares closed up almost 3% on Wall Street.


Home Depot reunites with HD Supply in deal valued at $8B

NEW YORK (AP) — Home Depot is reuniting with former subsidiary HD Supply, buying the company in a deal valued at about $8 billion. The acquisition will give Home Depot a stronger hand in the contractor and professional side of its business, which is booming during the pandemic, just like its more consumer facing, DIY sales. HD Supply is a distributor of maintenance, repair and operations products in the multifamily and hospitality markets. Home Depot initially bought HD Supply in 1997, but sold it in 2007 when began to focus more on its retail operations.


SEC Chair Clayton leaving post as top financial regulator

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jay Clayton, a former Wall Street lawyer who has headed the Securities and Exchange Commission as the financial markets’ top regulator during the Trump administration, is leaving the position at year’s end. Clayton’s term runs through mid-2021. A new SEC chair is expected to be named by President-elect Joe Biden. Clayton has presided over a deregulatory push to soften rules affecting Wall Street and the financial markets, as Trump pledged when he took office. Rules under the Dodd-Frank law that tightened the reins on banks and Wall Street in the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis and the Great Recession have been nipped around the edges.


Facebook, Twitter CEOs to be pressed on election handling

WASHINGTON (AP) — The CEOs of Facebook and Twitter are being summoned before Congress to defend their handling of disinformation in the 2020 presidential election, even as lawmakers questioning them are deeply divided over the election’s integrity and results. Prominent Republican senators have refused to knock down President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims of voting irregularities and fraud, even as misinformation disputing Democrat Joe Biden’s victory has flourished online. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally who heads the Senate Judiciary Committee to which the CEOs will testify Tuesday, has publicly urged, “Do not concede, Mr. President. Fight hard.”


Airbnb details years of losses ahead of planned IPO

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Airbnb was losing money even before the pandemic struck and cut its revenue by almost a third, the home-sharing company revealed in documents filed Monday ahead of a planned initial public offering of its stock. The San Francisco-based company has yet set a date for the IPO but it is laying the groundwork by filing financial records with U.S. security regulators. The documents show that leading up to the coronavirus outbreak earlier this year, AirBnb was spending heavily on technology and marketing to grow its business. Its revenue jumped 32% to $4.8 billion in 2019, but it reported a net loss of $674 million that year. The company also lost money in 2018 and 2017.


The S&P 500 rose 41.76, or 1.2%, to 3,626.91. The Dow jumped 470.63 points, or 1.6%, to 29,950.44. The Nasdaq composite gained 94.84, or 0.8%, to 11,924.13. The Russell 2000 of smaller-company stocks gained 41.29 points, or 2.4%, to end at 1,738.34.