Business Highlights

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Looting devastates businesses already shaken by virus

NEW YORK (AP) — Looting and vandalism in cities across the country have dealt another blow to small businesses that were already reeling from the coronavirus outbreak. Along with big chain stores like Target, Walgreen and Macy’s, independent retailers in neighborhoods and downtown sections were targets of vandals and looters who struck as demonstrators took to the streets in reaction to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Many businesses had been closed as government officials tried to contain the spread of the coronavirus, leaving owners with little or no revenue since March. Now, already facing an uncertain future amid ongoing restrictions related to the virus, owners must figure out how to rebuild or relocate their companies.

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Brands weigh in on national protests over police brutality

NEW YORK (AP) — As thousands of protesters take to the street in response to police killings of black people, companies are wading into the national conversation but taking care to get their messaging right. Netflix’s normally lighthearted Twitter account took on a more somber tone on Saturday: “To be silent is to be complicit. Black lives matter. We have a platform, and we have a duty to our Black members, employees, creators and talent to speak up.” That got retweeted over 216,000 times and “liked” over a million times. The streaming service is just one of many corporate brands that have turned to social media to voice their concerns over racial injustice.

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Virus leaves the US travel industry struggling to recover

NEW YORK (AP) — Few pockets of the economy have U.S. endured as much devastation from the coronavirus as the travel business. Economists and company executives say it will take years for the industry to regenerate the revenue it produced last year, potentially leaving airlines, hotels, rental car companies, restaurants and convention centers in peril. And as long as travel remains depressed, the U.S. economy as a whole could struggle to accelerate. About 10% of all jobs flow from the travel sector. Industry-wide unemployment now tops 50%, a level that could presage bankruptcies and business closures.

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French virus tracing app goes live amid debate over privacy

PARIS (AP) — France is rolling out an official coronavirus contact-tracing app aimed at containing fresh outbreaks as lockdown restrictions gradually ease. It is the first major European country to deploy the smartphone technology amid simmering debate over privacy fears. The French will able to download the app starting Tuesday, the same day they’ll once again be allowed to go to restaurants and cafes, parks and beaches and museums and monuments.

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Stocks extend gains on Wall Street to a 3rd straight day

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are closing higher on Wall Street for the third day in a row, continuing a stretch of gains for the market. Major indexes wavered through the morning then turned solidly higher late in the day. The S&P 500 rose 0.8%. The gains came despite spreading unrest in the U.S. as investors hope that the gradual lifting of lockdown provisions will help economies recover from the damage caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Energy stocks far outpaced the rest of the market as the price of crude oil rose again. Bond yields rose, another sign that pessimism is ebbing.

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Tech-rights group sues Trump to stop social-media order

NEW YORK (AP) — A tech-focused civil liberties group has sued to block President Donald Trump’s executive order that sought to regulate social media, saying it violates the First Amendment and chills speech. Trump’s order, signed last week, could allow more lawsuits against internet companies like Twitter and Facebook for what their users post, tweet and stream. The order was more political than substantive, with many experts questioning whether it was constitutional. Trump, without evidence, has long accused tech companies of being biased against conservatives. The tech industry, civil rights and libertarian organizations and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce all criticized Trump’s order.

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Bell, Telus give 5G contracts to Europeans, Huawei shut out

TORONTO (AP) — Two of Canada’s three major telecommunication companies have announced they’ve decided not to use Chinese tech giant Huawei for their next-generation 5G wireless network. Bell Canada announced Tuesday that Sweden-based Ericsson will be its supplier and Telus Corp. later announced that it had also selected Ericsson and Nokia Canada and its security agencies have been studying whether to use equipment from Huawei as phone carriers prepare to roll out fifth-generation technology.

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Zoom booms as pandemic drives millions to its video service

SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Zoom Video Communications is rapidly emerging as the latest internet gold mine as millions of people flock to its conferencing service to see colleagues, friends and family while tethered to their homes during the pandemic. The once-obscure company provided a window into the astronomical growth that has turned it into a Wall Street star with Tuesday’s release of its first-quarter results. The numbers exceeded analysts’ already heightened expectations, providing another lift to a rocketing stock that has already more than tripled in price so far this year. Zoom’s market value of $59 billion now exceeds the combined value of the four biggest U.S. airlines.

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The S&P 500 gained 25.09 points, or 0.8%, to 3,080.82. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 267.63 points, or 1.1%, to 25,742.65. The Nasdaq composite added 56.33 points, or 0.6%, to 9,608.37. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 12.84 points, or 0.9%, to 1,418.21.