Business Highlights: AT&T-Discovery merger, downtown outlook

Oprah and CNN: AT&T is merging media business with Discovery

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. telecom giant AT&T Inc. is combining its WarnerMedia operations with Discovery Inc. The deal will marry the likes of HBO and CNN with HGTV and Oprah Winfrey. And it’s another illustration of the head-spinning speed in which streaming has transformed the media world. The $43 billion agreement was announced Monday after AT&T CEO John Stankey and his Discovery counterpart, David Zaslav, worked out the details in Zaslav’s Manhattan brownstone over the past two months. The hope for the newly merged company is that with a wider array of material than either can offer on its own, it can join Netflix, Amazon and Disney among top streamers.


Downtown stores, businesses await their customers’ return

NEW YORK (AP) — In many downtown areas where companies closed their offices and commuting ground to a halt, sandwich shops, bakeries and other small businesses are waiting with guarded optimism for their customers to come back. With cities reopening and more people being vaccinated, office workers are expected to return — especially with big companies like Goldman Sachs and Bank of America giving staffers dates by which they have to be back in the office. But many businesses are expected to give employees the flexibility to work from home. And some companies have closed offices and gone fully remote.


Biden plan would pick winners, losers in move to green jobs

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some companies are looking to President Joe Biden’s giant infrastructure proposal to help transform the automotive sector as electric vehicles shift from a luxury niche to mainstream America. Biden’s plan reflects an effort to accelerate certain sectors of the economy with the belief they’ll become the engines for growth in the decades to come. In Georgia, school bus-maker Blue Bird has visions of going from selling a few hundred electric buses a year to 15,000. In Michigan, Ford plans to produce an all-electric version of its F-150 pickup truck. Biden will visit Ford’s electric vehicle center in Michigan on Tuesday.


US stocks slip further from records amid inflation fears

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks closed modestly lower Monday, tacking more losses onto last week’s stumble, as worries about inflation continue to dog Wall Street. The S&P 500 lost 0.3% following its 1.4% drop last week from its record high. Big Tech stocks weighed most heavily on the market. The sector has been responsible for big swings in either direction over the last few weeks as investors weigh the impact of rising inflation and a broad economic recovery. Energy and materials companies did better than the rest of the market and helped to limit the losses. Small-company stocks closed higher.


88% of children covered by monthly payments starting in July

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department says 39 million families are set to receive monthly child payments beginning on July 15. The payments are part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. The law expanded the child tax credit for one year and made it possible to pre-pay the benefits on a monthly basis. Nearly 88% of children are set to receive the benefits without their parents needing to take any additional action. Qualified families will receive a payment of up to $300 per month for each child under 6 and up to $250 per month for children between the ages of 6 and 17. The child tax credit was previously capped at $2,000.


US officials seek big fines against more airline passengers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators are continuing to pursue large penalties against a few airline passengers accused of disrupting flights. The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday that it will seek fines totaling more than $100,000 against four passengers on recent flights, including a penalty of $52,500 against a man who was arrested after trying to open the cockpit door and striking a flight attendant in the face. Airlines have reported a spate of troubling incidents in recent months, many of them involving passengers who appear intoxicated or refuse to wear face masks — that’s still a federal requirement even after health officials relaxed guidelines around mask wearing last week.


World Economic Forum cancels big event in 2021 amid pandemic

GENEVA (AP) — World Economic Forum organizers say they have decided to cancel their annual gathering usually held in Davos, Switzerland, each year amid concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. After multiple attempts to find a proper date and venue, most recently settling on hopes to hold it in Singapore in August, the forum’ said that it will not go ahead with the meeting. Organizers said Monday the forum’s next annual gathering will be in the first half of next year, with the final date and location to be determined.


The S&P 500 fell 10.56 points, or 0.3%, to 4,163.29. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 54.34, or 0.2%, to 34,327.79. The Nasdaq fell 50.93 points, or 0.4%, to 13,379.05. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 2.49 points, or 0.1%, to 2,227.12.