Saturday, April 13, 2024

Business Highlights: $3.5T budget revealed

by Associated Press

Senate Dems unveil $3.5T budget for social, climate efforts

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats have unveiled a budget resolution that maps $3.5 trillion in spending boosts and tax breaks aimed at strengthening social and environmental programs. That sets up a battle this fall over President Joe Biden’s domestic policy ambitions. Democrats will have to overcome likely unanimous Republican opposition. The resolution calls for creating free pre-Kindergarten for three- and four-year-olds and two years of free community college, extending tax breaks for children and some low-income workers, and establishing paid family and sick leave. Medicare coverage would be expanded to cover dental, hearing and vision benefits, and the program’s eligibility age would be lowered from its current 65.


With chicken prices soaring, Sanderson Farms sold for $4.5B

NEW YORK (AP) — With the price of chicken soaring, third-largest poultry producer in the U.S. is being bought for $4.53 billion. Cargill and privately held Continental Grain formed a joint venture to acquire Sanderson Farms. They will pay $203 per share in cash for a company that last year processed more than 4.8 billion pounds of meat. Restaurant chains have begun to offer their own variations of fried chicken sandwiches, further heightening demand for poultry. Sales at Sanderson Farms soared more than 34% during the second quarter compared with the same three-month period last year.


U.S. job openings hit a record 10.1 million in June

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers posted a record 10.1 million job openings in June, another sign that the job market and economy are bouncing back briskly from last year’s coronavirus shutdowns. The Labor Department reported Monday that job openings rose from 9.5 million in May. Employers hired 6.7 million workers in June. The gap between openings and hiring suggests that firms are scrambling to find workers. A record low 1.3 million people were laid off or fired in June. The U.S. economy has rebounded with unexpected strength as the rollout of vaccines allows businesses to reopen or expand hours and encourages cooped-up consumers to get out again and visit restaurants, bars and shops. Still, the fast-spreading delta variant has cast a shadow over the outlook.


Stocks end a wobbly day lower, edging below recent records

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks ended a wobbly day mostly lower on Wall Street Monday, with energy companies logging some of the biggest losses as oil prices took another turn lower. The S&P 500 index fell 0.1% and the Nasdaq rose 0.2%. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 2.6% following a decline of 7.7% last week. That helped pull energy companies lower. Occidental Petroleum fell 3%. Technology companies also weighed down the broader market. Companies are still turning out their latest quarterly earnings reports. Tyson Foods climbed 8.7% after turning in a strong report card. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.32%.


Will gyms go the way of arcades and movie rental stores?

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — The pandemic is reshaping America’s fitness industry and ushering in a new era of home workouts and virtual classes. High-end exercise equipment maker Peloton is breaking ground Monday on its first U.S. factory in Ohio. Soaring sales for the company come as thousands of small fitness centers have gone out of business. An industry trade group says 22% of the nation’s health clubs have closed since March of 2020. Many are struggling to stay afloat and have redesigned their spaces, turned toward personal workouts and added online training. Experts say they expect the digital fitness wave will continue to shake up the industry.


Judge: Norwegian cruises can require proof of vaccination

MIAMI (AP) — A federal judge has temporarily blocked a Florida law that prevents cruise lines from requiring passengers to prove they’re vaccinated against COVID-19. The judge says it appears unconstitutional and won’t likely hold up in court. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the ban on so-called “vaccine passports,” saying he wants to protect medical privacy and prevent discrimination. But Judge Kathleen Williams says it fails to protect people even as it appears to violate the free speech rights of cruise lines. She says Norwegian Cruise Lines has shown that without proof of vaccination, cruising will jeopardize public health by potentially causing “super-spreader” events wherever passengers disembark.


TikTok executive talks shopping and the famous feta pasta

NEW YORK (AP) — Feta cheese was scarce in some stores earlier this year. The culprit? TikTok, where videos that showed an easy-to-make baked feta pasta recipe went viral. TikTok, launched in the U.S. in 2018, has become a force in the shopping world, influencing people to buy things they’ve seen on the app, from cheese to leggings. Now TikTok wants to capitalize on that power. It hired Sandie Hawkins last year, whose job as general manager is to make money for the company in North America. She works with brands directly, getting them to buy ads on the app, create TikTok videos and explain how they can use it to boost sales.


The S&P 500 dropped 4.17 points, or 0.1%, to 4,432.35. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 106.66 points, or 0.3%, to 35,101.85. The Nasdaq rose 24.42 points, or 0.2%, to 14,860.18. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 12.95 points, or 0.6%, to 2,234.81.

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