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Business Highlights

Business Highlights

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Can job market sustain its gains? Uncertainties cloud future

WASHINGTON (AP) — Layoffs are slowing, unemployment is declining and hiring is gradually rising, suggesting that a steady rebound is afoot in the U.S. job market. Or is it? So many uncertainties are overhanging the economy that no one knows whether hiring will more likely expand steadily or merely plateau as employers recall only enough of their laid-off staffers to partially reopen their businesses. The most dangerous risk is that the coronavirus will roar back with renewed intensity, forcing millions of businesses to shut down again and resume deep job cuts. At a news conference, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell used the words “uncertain” or “uncertainty” seven times to describe the outlook for economy.

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Fear turns to greed on Wall Street as Fed details bond buys

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market shook off a weak start and ended higher after the Federal Reserve announced its latest measure to support markets. The central bank said Monday it will begin buying individual corporate bonds to help keep lending markets running smoothly. That helped the S&P 500 erase an early loss of 2.5% to finish with a gain of 0.8%. It’s the latest set of swings for markets as a remarkable, weekslong rally shows some cracks. Worries are rising that additional waves of coronavirus infections could derail the swift recovery that Wall Street had seemed so sure was on the way just a week ago.

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Federal Reserve launches corporate bond-buying program

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve said Monday that it will begin purchasing corporate bonds as part of a previously-announced program to ensure companies companies can borrow through the bond market during the pandemic. The program will purchase already-issued bonds on the open market and will seek to build a “broad and diversified” portfolio that will mimic a bond-market index. The bonds will have to be from highly-rated, investment-grade companies, or firms that fit that description before the viral outbreak struck.

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Feds: eBay staff sent spiders, roaches to harass couple

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Six former eBay Inc. employees have been charged with waging an extensive campaign to terrorize and intimidate the editor and publisher of an online newsletter with threats and disturbing deliveries to their home, including live spiders and cockroaches. Authorities said Monday that the employees set out to terrorize the Massachusetts couple who ran the newsletter with threatening messages and deliveries because executives were upset about the newsletter’s coverage of the company. The committee formed by the company’s board of directors to oversee the investigation said eBay “took these allegations very seriously from the outset” and “moved quickly investigate thoroughly and take appropriate action.” ___

BP takes $17.5B hit as pandemic accelerates emissions cuts

LONDON (AP) — Energy company BP says it is writing off up to $17.5 billion from its oil and gas assets. It will also review its plans to develop oil wells as the COVID-19 pandemic hits demands. BP says the crisis is accelerating its goal of decreasing its reliance on fossil fuels, something that analysts say will become more common across the industry. The CEO said Monday that the pandemic is forcing the company to face the long-term impact on the economy and the likelihood of weaker demand for a longer period of time. The company pledged in February to become a net-zero company by 2050.

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Europe’s borders reopen but long road for tourism to recover

BERLIN (AP) — Many European countries are reopening borders to each other after three months of coronavirus closures, restoring freedom of movement that was interrupted abruptly in March. But some restrictions persist, and it’s unclear how keen Europeans will be to travel this summer. The continent is still mostly closed to Americans, Asians and other international tourists. Border checks were dropped overnight Monday in Germany, France and elsewhere, nearly two weeks after Italy opened its frontiers. Countries in the European Union and a few non-EU nations, such as Switzerland, aren’t expected to start opening to international visitors until at least next month. Even inside Europe, there is caution after more than 182,000 virus-linked deaths.

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Report: Bezos may testify on Big Tech, but with other CEOs

WASHINGTON (AP) — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is willing to testify to the congressional panel investigating the market dominance of Big Tech, but along with other tech industry CEOs, lawyers for the company say, according to a published report. Last month, leaders of the House Judiciary Committee asked Bezos to testify to address possible misleading statements by the company on its competition practices. They threatened a subpoena if he didn’t agree voluntarily to appear. Amazon is willing to make “the appropriate executive” available to testify — including Bezos with other tech CEOs at a hearing, an attorney for Amazon told the lawmakers in a letter, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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The S&P 500 rose 25.28 points, or 0.8%, to finish at 3,066.59. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 157.62 points, or 0.6%, to end at 25,763.16 . The Nasdaq composite added 137.21, or 1.4%, to 9,726.02. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 31.92 points, or 2.3% to 1,419.61.