Business Highlights

China trade surplus hits record $75B as Nov exports soar

BEIJING (AP) — China has reported its politically sensitive trade surplus soared to a record $75.4 billion in November as exports surged 21% over a year earlier, propelled by strong demand from American consumers. Exports to the United States rose 46% despite lingering tariff hikes in a trade war with Washington. Total exports rose to $268 billion, up from October’s 11.4% growth. Imports gained 5% to $192.6 billion, up from the previous month’s 4.7%, reflecting the growing strength of China’s economic rebound from the coronavirus pandemic. Exporters are benefiting from China’s relatively early reopening after the Communist Party declared the disease under control in March while foreign competitors still are hampered by anti-virus controls.

US credit card balances fall, though overall borrowing rises

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumers took out more auto and student loans in October, but cut back on credit card borrowing, a sign that they remain cautious about spending amid a spike in virus cases. The Federal Reserve said Monday that consumer borrowing rose 2.1% in October to $4.16 trillion, pushed higher by a 4.8% jump in a category mostly made up of student and auto loans. Credit card borrowing fell 6.7%.

As virus talks drag, Congress prepares temporary funding fix

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers are giving themselves more time to sort through their end-of-session business on government spending and COVID-19 relief. Congress is preparing to pass a one-week stopgap spending bill that would prevent a shutdown this weekend. House Democratic floor leader Steny Hoyer said the temporary government funding bill is slated for a vote on Wednesday. The development comes as Capitol Hill is struggling to figure out how to deliver long-delayed pandemic relief, including additional help for businesses hard hit by the pandemic, further unemployment benefits, funding to distribute COVID-19 vaccines and funding demanded by Democrats for state and local governments.

Aurora to buy Uber’s self-driving vehicles arm

SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Uber is selling off its autonomous vehicles development arm to Aurora as the ride-hailing company slims down after its revenues were pummeled by the coronavirus pandemic. Aurora will acquire the employees and technology behind Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group in an equity transaction, the companies said Monday. Uber will invest $400 million into Aurora. Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will join Aurora’s board of directors, the companies said. After the transaction, Aurora will be worth $10 billion and Uber will hold 26% stake in the company.

Stocks close mostly lower, pushing pause on recent rally

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks closed mostly lower on Wall Street Monday, taking a pause from their recent rally. The S&P 500 lost 0.2%. Companies that would benefit most from a reopening economy, like banks and indsutrial stocks, took some of the sharper losses. Technology stocks, meanwhile, bucked the downward trend and rose, pushing the Nasdaq to another record high. It’s a flip of the market’s recent momentum and a callback to how it was trading earlier this year, before enthusiasm burst higher that one or more COVID-19 vaccines will get the global economy closer to normal next year. Treasury yields fell.

Airbnb hikes share price ahead of expected IPO this week

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Airbnb has raised the price of its shares ahead of its initial public offering this week, betting investors will pay more given its resiliency during the pandemic. In a regulatory filing Monday, Airbnb said it expects to price its shares between $56 and $60 each, up from a planned range of $44 to $50 issued last week. Airbnb is expected to determine a final share price late Wednesday ahead of its Thursday IPO on the Nasdaq stock exchange. The new price would let the San Francisco-based home sharing company raise up to $3.4 billion in the offering.

Survey: Business economists see full recovery by end of 2021

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. economy is likely slowing as 2020 comes to a close, but a growing number of economists expect it to claw back to its strength from before the pandemic by the second half of next year. That’s the view from the latest survey of the National Association for Business Economics. It found that 73% of surveyed forecasters say the economy will return to its pre-pandemic level by late 2021. That’s more optimistic than they were a couple months ago, when just 38% of forecasters thought a full recovery could occur before 2022. Hopes for a coming COVID-19 vaccine are driving the optimism.

Company offering pandemic stock tips accused of $137M fraud

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Federal regulators have filed a lawsuit that accuses operators of an online stock trading services company of defrauding consumers out of more than $137 million. The Federal Trade Commission on Monday sued LLC and the company’s co-founders, Jeffrey Bishop and Jason Bond, in Maryland. FTC attorneys are seeking federal court orders freezing company assets, halting the alleged fraud scheme and awarding refunds and restitution to customers. The FTC says bank records show the company is bilking consumers, many of whom are retirees or immigrants, out of millions of dollars each month.

The S&P 500 index dropped 7.16 points, or 0.2%, to 3,691.96. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 148.47 points, or 0.5%, to 30,069.79. The Nasdaq gained 55.71 points, or 0.4%, to 12,519.95. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks slipped 1.20 points, or 0.1%, to 1,891.25.

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