Saturday, April 20, 2024

Business Highlights: Powell on economy, Google delays return

by Associated Press

Fed’s Powell downplays delta variant’s threat to the economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — The spread of the COVID-19 delta variant is raising infection rates, leading some businesses and governments to require vaccinations and raising concerns about the U.S. economic recovery. But Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell injected a note of reassurance, suggesting that the delta variant poses little threat to the economy, at least so far. Powell spoke after the Fed ended its latest policy meeting in which it it signaled that the economy is moving closer to the “substantial further progress” it wants to see before reducing the $120 billion in Treasury and mortgage bonds it is buying each month to try to spur more borrowing and spending.

After rocket ride of growth, Robinhood heads to the market

NEW YORK (AP) — After a rocket rise where it introduced millions of people to investing and shook up the brokerage industry, all while racking up a long list of controversies in less than eight years, Robinhood is about to take the leap itself into the stock market. The company and three of its executives are selling up to 60.5 million shares of its stock in an initial public offering, with trading expected to begin on the Nasdaq Thursday. It’s a huge moment for the fast-growing company, which is trying to convince many of the new generation of investors it created to embrace its own stock too.

Delivery apps expand reach to meet customer demands

NEW YORK (AP) — Restaurant delivery companies like DoorDash and Uber Eats are rapidly expanding their services to grocers, convenience stores, pharmacies, pet stores and even department stores. The move has been spurred by skyrocketing consumer demand during the pandemic. On Wednesday, Uber Eats unveiled its newest delivery option that will let users order flowers as part of a partnership with ProFlowers, an FTD subsidiary. Delivery companies say the partnerships will help them keep the customers they gained in the pandemic. Adding new stores could also help the companies make a profit after years of losses.

Facebook profits top $10B as revenue soars

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — Facebook doubled its profit in the second quarter thanks to a massive increase in advertising revenue, especially the price of ads it delivers to its nearly 3 billion users. The Menlo Park, California-based company earned $10.39 billion, or $3.61 per share, in the April-June period. That’s up from $5.18 billion, or $1.80 per share, a year earlier. Revenue jumped 56% to $28.58 billion. Analysts, on average, were expecting earnings of $3.04 per share and revenue of $24.85 billion, according to a poll by FactSet. Facebook had 2.9 billion monthly users as of June, up 7% from a year earlier.

Google delays return to office, mandates vaccines

SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Google is postponing its plans to bring most of its workers back to the office until mid-October. It’s also rolling out a policy that will eventually require all its employees to be vaccinated once its sprawling campuses are fully reopened in an attempt to fight the spreading delta variant. CEO Sundar Pichai told Google’s more than 130,000 worldwide employees in a Wednesday email that the company is now aiming to bring them back to its offices Oct. 18, instead of its previous target date of Sept. 1. He also disclosed that once offices are fully reopened, everyone working there will have be vaccinated. The requirement will be first imposed in the U.S.

Boeing knocks out a profit for the first time since 2019

CHICAGO (AP) — Boeing reported its first quarterly profit since 2019 and its revenue topped expectations as the giant aircraft maker tries to dig out from the most difficult stretch in its history. Boeing earned $567 million in the second quarter, compared with a $2.4 billion loss a year ago. Industry analysts had expected another sizeable loss and shares of Boeing rose about 5%. The return of the troubled 737 Max jet after two deadly crashes is key to Boeing’s rebound. The company delivered 79 commercial planes in the quarter — including 47 Maxes — compared with 20 a year earlier.

Stocks end mixed after Fed notes progress on the economy

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks ended a wobbly day with mixed results Wednesday after the Federal Reserve said it was seeing improvement in the economy, but not enough to start dialing down its support measures. The S&P 500 ended little changed after giving up a brief gain in the afternoon. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.4% and the Nasdaq added 0.7%. Small-company stocks rose. The latest company earnings have been broadly solid, though reactions from investors have been mixed. Pfizer and Boeing rose after reporting strong financial results. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held steady at 1.23%.

Ford overcomes computer chip shortage, posts surprise profit

DETROIT (AP) — Sky-high sales prices for pickup trucks and SUVs helped Ford Motor Co. turn a surprise second-quarter profit despite a global shortage of computer chips that cut production in half. The Dearborn, Michigan, company says it made $561 million from April through June, largely because of cost cuts and higher-than-expected profits on its vehicles. Ford still lost half of its production for the quarter due to the chip shortage, which was worsened by a fire at Japanese supplier Renesas. That company manufactures many of Ford’s automotive-grade chips.

The S&P 500 fell 0.82 points, or less than 0.1%, to 4,400.64. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 127.59 points, or 0.4%, to 34,930.93. The Nasdaq rose 102.01 points, or 0.7%, to 14,762.58. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gained 33.12 points, or 1.5%, to 2,224.96.

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