Business Highlights

Controversial Fed nominee Shelton stalls in Senate test vote

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s controversial nominee to the Federal Reserve has stalled in the Senate after Vice President-elect Kamala Harris returned to the chamber to cast a key vote. Shelton’s nomination to join the Federal Reserve’s powerful board of governors is in limbo after a handful of GOP senators missed the tally because of COVID-related concerns. Shelton is an unusually caustic critic of the Fed and was opposed by three Republican senators. She was opposed by Senate Democrats, most economists and many former Fed officials for her past support of the gold standard and for writings that questioned the Fed’s political independence.


Twitter, Facebook CEOs defend election actions, promise more

WASHINGTON (AP) — The CEOs of Twitter and Facebook have defended their safeguards against disinformation in the presidential election. Testifying before Congress, they also promised vigorous action for two special elections in Georgia that could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee they have strong programs in place to protect their platforms from being used to disseminate falsehoods or discourage people from voting in the Georgia elections. Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal said he was concerned they could let their guard down for the Georgia elections and fail to act against dangerous information.


Amazon opens online pharmacy, shaking up another industry

NEW YORK (AP) — Now sold on Amazon: insulin and inhalers. The company said Tuesday that it has opened an online pharmacy, giving shoppers the chance to buy their medication on their phones and computers. The move propels Amazon into a new business and could shake up the pharmacy industry. Big chains like CVS and Walgreens rely on their pharmacies to bring them a steady flow of shoppers who stop by frequently to pick up their medications. Amazon said it will offer commonly prescribed medications starting, including creams, pills and medications that need to stay cold, like insulin. Shoppers have to set up a profile on Amazon’s website and have doctors send prescriptions to Amazon. _

Weak 0.3% US October sales gain spreads some holiday unease

NEW YORK (AP) — Retail sales in the U.S. grew a slower-than-expected 0.3% in October, even as retailers offered early holiday discounts online and in stores. Analysts had expected the number to rise 0.5%. October’s growth was much smaller than in September, when it rose 1.6%. Tuesday’s retail sales report is the sixth straight month of growth. Retail sales plunged in the spring after stores and malls were ordered closed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.


Twitter launches disappearing tweets that vanish in a day

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Twitter is launching tweets that disappear in 24 hours called “Fleets” globally, echoing social media sites like Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram that already have disappearing posts. The company says the ephemeral tweets, which it calls “fleets,” are designed to allay the concerns of new users who might be turned off by the public and permanent nature of normal tweets. The new “Fleets” feature is reminiscent of Instagram and Facebook “stories” and Snapchat’s snaps, which let users post short-lived photos and messages. Such features are increasingly popular with social media users looking for smaller groups and and more private chats.


Another booming quarter for Walmart, but sales are slowing

NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart turned out another stellar quarter as the world’s largest retailer powers through a pandemic that has felled other national chains. But sales at stores opened at least a year slowed during the latest period ended Oct. 31. Shoppers made fewer trips to its stores and spent more while there, and also focused more on online shopping. Still the results offer the latest evidence that Walmart’s efforts to expand online grocery services are widening the gap between itself and traditional rivals. In September, it launched its much-awaited membership program as it harnesses the strength of its grocery business and caters to people looking for more convenience.


Stocks fall as virus worries force big rally to take a pause

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks took a pause from their big rally this month that has vaulted them back to record heights. The S&P 500 lost 0.5% Tuesday, after falling 1.1% earlier. Treasury yields also dipped after a report showed U.S. shoppers spent less at retailers last month than economists expected. The numbers underscore how the coronavirus pandemic is worsening and threatening to drag the economy lower, at least in the near term. Stocks that stormed higher this month on hopes that a vaccine or two may get the global economy back to normal next year receded amid the worries.


The S&P 500 fell 17.38 points, or 0.5%, to close at 3,609.53. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 167.09, or 0.6%, to 29,783.35. The Nasdaq composite slipped 24.79, or 0.2%, to 11,899.34. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 6.58 points, or 0.4%, to 1,791.91