Business Highlights

Dozens of states file anti-trust lawsuit against Google

DENVER (AP) — Dozens of states filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Google on Thursday, alleging that the search giant has an illegal monopoly over the online search market that hurts consumers and advertisers. It’s the third antitrust salvo to slam Google during the past two months as the Department of Justice and attorneys general from across the U.S. weigh in with how they believe the company is abusing its immense power. Google says it’s prepared to answer questions about its operations.


Snow days, virtual opera: The office holiday party goes on

NEW YORK (AP) — Many companies are forgoing office holiday parties this year because of virus concerns. But others say their employees want some kind of bash to break up the anxiety and isolation. The challenge is how to organize a virtual celebration that doesn’t feel like yet another Zoom meeting. One marketing firm is organizing a virtual murder mystery party. Another business is holding an outdoor snow day. And one law firm invited opera singers to perform legal-themed arias online. Other companies are skipping the parties and sending their employees gift baskets or making donations to charities they choose.


Wall Street braces for trading surge as Tesla enters S&P 500

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Wall Street is gearing up for an avalanche of trading and volatility ahead of Tesla’s entry into the S&P 500 index. Shares in the electric car maker, led by Elon Musk, have skyrocketed by more than 650% this year, bringing the company’s market value to around $600 billion. That makes Tesla the biggest company ever to be added to the S&P 500, and its inclusion is expected to trigger a torrent of trading by institutional investors. Tesla will be one of the 10 most valuable companies in the index, along with Apple, Microsoft and Facebook, increasing the likelihood that a few big stocks will weigh heavily on the index’s performance.


Stocks reach record highs as investors hope for stimulus

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rose on Wall Street, reaching more record highs, as investors remain optimistic that Washington will deliver another round of financial support for the economy and as vaccines continue to roll out to the public. The S&P 500 rose 0.6% Thursday. Wall Street has been hopeful that Congress will strike a deal on more relief just as the economy shows more signs of stalling. The Labor Department reported that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose to 885,000 last week, the most since September. Unemployment has been edging higher and retail sales have been hurt as tighter restrictions squeeze people and businesses.


Robinhood agrees to pay $65 million to settle SEC charges

WASHINGTON (AP) — Robinhood Financial is agreeing to pay $65 million to settle government charges that it failed to disclose the full details of its dealing with high-speed traders and didn’t get the best prices for customers trading on its app. The company’s app has grown quickly and is particularly popular with younger investors in large part because it lets customers trade stocks for zero commissions. But the Securities and Exchange Commission says that came with a catch, one that Robinhood did not properly disclose for years. Regulators say Robinhood would send its customers’ orders to high-speed traders and other big investors, who would pay for the right to execute the trade.


Demand for deliveries pushes FedEx 2Q profit to $1.2 billion

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — FedEx is off to a fast start during the holiday-shipping season. The company said Thursday that its quarterly profit more than doubled to $1.23 billion. Revenue is up 19%, led by growth in its ground business that handles packages. The quarter ended Nov. 30, meaning that the figures reported Thursday captured only the start of the peak delivery period that runs from Thanksgiving through Christmas. FedEx and rival United Parcel Service have been running at Christmas-like levels for several months already, as the pandemic causes people to do more of their routine shopping online.


Coca-Cola laying off 2,200 workers as it pares brands

ATLANTA (AP) — The Coca-Cola Co. says it’s laying off 2,200 workers, or 17% of its global workforce, as part of a larger restructuring aimed at paring down its brands. The Atlanta-based company said around half of the layoffs will occur in the U.S. Coke employed 86,200 people worldwide at the end of 2019. The coronavirus pandemic has hammered Coke’s business, forcing the company to accelerate a restructuring that was already underway. Coke is reducing its brands by half, to 200, so it can focus on bigger sellers like Minute Maid juices and energy drinks.


The S&P 500 rose 21.31 points, or 0.6%, to 3,722.48. The Dow picked up 148.83 points, or 0.5%, to 30,303.37. The Nasdaq added 106.56 points, or 0.8%, to 12,764.75. The Russell 2000 small-caps index up 25.32 points, or 1.3%, to 1,978.05.