Saturday, April 13, 2024

Business Highlights: Consumer watchdog, aid to states

by Associated Press

Consumer watchdog agency rediscovers its teeth under Biden

NEW YORK (AP) — The nation’s consumer watchdog is signaling a more aggressive approach toward the financial services sectors after a few years of being on a tight leash. Under President Biden, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has rescinded or scaled back a number of policies put in place by the Trump administration. And the bureau is staffing up in anticipation of taking a more active role in regulation and enforcement, as it did during the Obama administration. Under acting director Dave Uejio, the CFPB has broadened the scope of what it considers abusive behavior by the financial services industry and taken steps to enforce a government moratorium on evictions.

Treasury to start paying out $350B in state and local aid

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department is launching its $350 billion program to distribute aid to state and local governments. It will give the U.S. economy an added boost after relatively modest hiring in April. The aid is part of President Joe Biden’s larger $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that became law in March. Biden said Monday that the country is “moving in the right direction” but that no one ever said the process would be easy. Administration officials say payments could begin to go out in the coming days to eligible governments, allowing state, local, territorial and tribal officials to offset the economic damage from the pandemic.

States push jobless from virus recession to return to work

STOWE, Vt. (AP) — States are pushing the unemployed to return to work to help businesses large and small find the workers they need to emerge from the COVID-19 recession. Some argue the generous unemployment benefits offered when the economy crashed are making it too easy for people to not return to work. Now some states are reinstating a requirement that anyone who collects unemployment must look for work. At least three states, Arkansas, Montana and South Carolina, are ending the $300 supplemental benefit that is on top of state benefits. Labor experts say the shortage is not just about the payment, with some people reluctant to look for work because they fear catching the virus. Others have found new jobs.

FBI names pipeline cyberattackers as company promises return

WASHINGTON (AP) — The operator of a major U.S. pipeline hit by a cyberattack says it hopes to have service mostly restored by the end of the week. Colonial Pipeline offered that update Monday after revealing that it had halted operations because of a ransomware attack. The FBI has linked the attack to a criminal gang. The cyberattack is raising concern that supplies of gasoline, jet fuel and diesel could be disrupted in parts of the East Coast if the outage lasts several more days. The Colonial Pipeline transports gasoline and other fuel through 10 states between Texas and New Jersey, delivering roughly 45% of fuel consumed on the East Coast.

Tech sell-off drags stocks lower, pulling market below highs

NEW YORK (AP) — Drops in several Big Tech companies led the stock market lower Monday, pulling major indexes below the record highs they set last week. The S&P 500 lost 1% after spending the first half of the day wobbling between small gains and losses. The tech-heavy Nasdaq gave back 2.5% as Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google’s parent company fell. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had been higher for much of the day but dipped into the red in the last half-hour of trading. Small-company stocks also did poorly, dragging the Russell 2000 index down 2.6%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.61%.

Job market for new grads: Much hiring but much competition

NEW YORK (AP) — This year’s graduating class of college seniors is poised for better prospects than were the 2020 graduates, who had the misfortune to graduate in the depths of the disastrous coronavirus recession. Though the competition will be stiff — this year’s graduates will have to compete, in many cases, with 2020 graduates who are still seeking their first full-time job — employers are ramping up hiring. And many are desperate for workers. The pace of job openings in the United States is now far above pre-recession levels, including in professional occupations that college students are more likely to seek and that can typically be done from home.

AGs urge Facebook to drop ‘Instagram for kids’ proposal

NEW YORK (AP) — Attorneys general from across the U.S. have written to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg urging him to drop company plans for a version of Instagram for children under the age of 13. The attorneys general say they’re concerned about social media’s effects on the physical and emotional well-being of children. That includes the potential for increased cyberbullying, possible vulnerability to online predators, and what they called Facebook’s “checkered record” in protecting children on its platforms. Facebook in a statement Monday said it’s just exploring Instagram for kids and would make every effort to protect children and would not show advertising on such a platform.

NTSB: Tesla owner got into driver’s seat before deadly crash

DETROIT (AP) — Home security camera footage shows that the owner of a Tesla got into the driver’s seat of the car shortly before a deadly crash in suburban Houston. That’s according to a preliminary government report Monday. But the report on the crash that killed two men doesn’t explain why police found no one behind the wheel of the car, which burst into flames after crashing about 550 feet from the owner’s home. The National Transportation Safety Board says it’s still investigating. An onboard data storage device in the console was destroyed by fire.

The S&P 500 down 44.17 points, or 1%, to 4,188.43. The Dow Jones Industrial Average down 34.94, or 0.1%, to 34,742.82. The Nasdaq fell 350.38 points, or 2.5%, to 13,401.86. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 58.93 points, or 2.6%, to 2,212.70.

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