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Business Highlights

Business Highlights

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Netflix promotes content chief to co-CEO; adds 10M new subs

NEW YORK (AP) — Netflix added a flood of new subscribers amid the coronavirus pandemic and also offered clues to a possible successor for founding CEO Reed Hastings, who on Thursday named the company’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, as co-CEO. The company picked up 10.1 million worldwide subscribers during the April-June period, more than triple what it usually adds in that period. The increase announced Thursday with Netflix’s second-quarter earnings eclipsed the gain of 8.3 million subscribers projected among analysts polled by FactSet. Netflix ended June with 193 million worldwide subscribers, including 70 million in the U.S. and Canada, its largest geographic market.

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Rising coronavirus infections threaten US economic recovery

BALTIMORE (AP) — Rising coronavirus infections across dozens of states are threatening the U.S. economic recovery. The virus is forcing businesses and consumers to freeze spending and keeping the unemployment rate stubbornly high. The government reported Thursday that retail sales rose a sharp 7.5% in June, but the positive trend was undercut by more recent data showing that credit card spending has stalled. A separate report showed that more than a million Americans sought unemployment benefits last week — a sign that companies continue to cut jobs as the virus slashes through the heavily populated Sunbelt.

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China becomes first economy to grow since virus pandemic

BEIJING (AP) — China has become the first major economy to grow since the start of the coronavirus pandemic after anti-virus lockdowns were lifted and factories and stores reopened. The world’s second-largest economy expanded by 3.2% over a year earlier in the quarter ending in June. That was a dramatic improvement over the previous quarter’s 6.8% contraction that was China’s worst performance since at least the mid-1960s. But it still was the weakest positive figure since China started reporting quarterly growth in the early 1990s. China, where the coronavirus pandemic began in December, was the first economy to shut down and the first to start the drawn-out process of recovery in March after the ruling Communist Party declared the disease under control.

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Pelosi urges Trump to ‘ask for directions’ on virus crisis

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is comparing President Donald Trump to “the man who refuses to ask for directions.” She is pleading with the White House to seek input from the nation’s scientific leaders to reverse the rise in coronavirus cases and deaths. Tensions are rising as Congress considers the next virus relief package with no apparent endgame in sight to the pandemic that now threatens longer-term economic and societal turmoil that first envisioned. Senate Republicans are poised to come out with their next COVID-19 aid bill as early as next week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is readying the GOP’s $1 trillion package, a counteroffer to the $3 trillion proposal that House Democrats approved in May.

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Experts say Twitter breach troubling, undermines trust

HONG KONG (AP) — Experts say a breach in Twitter’s security that allowed hackers to break into the accounts of leaders and technology moguls is one of the worst attacks in recent years and may shake trust in a platform politicians and CEOs use to communicate with the public. The ruse discovered Wednesday included bogus tweets from Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg and a number of tech billionaires. Hackers used social engineering to target some of Twitter’s employees and then gained access to the high-profile accounts, sending out tweets in an apparent Bitcoin scam. The FBI is now investigating the massive hack.

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Barr says US now overly reliant on Chinese goods, services

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General William Barr says the United States has become overly reliant on Chinese goods and services. Examples include face masks, medical gowns and other protective equipment designed to curb the spread of coronavirus. He’s also accusing hackers linked to the Chinese government of targeting American universities and companies to steal research related to vaccine development. The attorney general spoke just hours after Western agencies made similar claims against Beijing. Barr’s address at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is part of a full-court press by the Trump administration to outline what officials see as Beijing’s burgeoning economic threat to the U.S.

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Homeowners rush to refinance as 30-year rate falls below 3%

LOS ANGELES (AP) — With 30-year mortgage rates falling this week to a half-century low, U.S. homeowners are seizing on the chance to refinance their home loans. Refinancings from January through April more than doubled compared to the same stretch in 2019, according to real estate data company CoreLogic. “Cash-out” refinancing, in which homeowners withdraw equity from their home’s value, rose more than 70% in that period. Refinancing is outpacing home purchase loans, partly because job losses and economic uncertainty have put off would-be buyers and sellers. Economists predict the lending spree will continue while mortgage rates remain near all-time lows into next year.

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Stocks dip on Wall Street as global rally fades, led by tech

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street drifted to a lower close Thursday after mixed reports on the economy highlighted its uncertain path, including one showing that layoffs continue at a stubbornly steady pace. The S&P 500 lost 0.3%, following up on declines across Europe and Asia, as a worldwide rally faded. Travel-related stocks led the S&P 500 to its first loss in three days as cruise-ship operators, airlines and hotels gave up chunks of their big gains from a day earlier. Drops for Microsoft and other tech titans also weighed particularly heavily because they’re the largest stocks in the index. Treasury yields fell.

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EU court cancels US data-sharing pact over snooping concerns

The European Union’s top court has ruled that an agreement that allows big tech companies to transfer data to the United States is invalid, and that national regulators need to take tougher action to protect the privacy of users’ data. Thursday’s ruling does not mean an immediate halt to all data transfers outside the EU, as there is another legal mechanism that some companies can use. But it means that the scrutiny over data transfers will be ramped up and that the EU and U.S. may have to find a new system that guarantees that Europeans’ data is afforded the same privacy protection in the U.S. as it is in the EU.

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Tesla tries to assure workers there’s no big virus outbreak

DETROIT (AP) — Tesla is trying to assure its 55,000 employees that there hasn’t been a big coronavirus outbreak at company facilities worldwide, despite a report by an industry website that over 130 Tesla employees or contractors have tested positive. The company says in an email to workers that since January, it has had fewer than 10 cases of the virus that causes COVID-19 that were transmitted in the workplace. But the email confirmed reports that Tesla is looking into more than 130 positive tests among employees, including those who got the virus outside of Tesla facilities.

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The S&P 500 fell 10.99 points, or 0.3%, to 3,215.57. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 135.39 points, or 0.5%, to 26,734.71. The Nasdaq Composite slid 76.66 points, or 0.7%, to 10,473.83. The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks gave up 10.71 points, or 0.7%, to 1,467.56.


Updated : 2021-01-19 14:13 GMT+08:00