Business Highlights

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Soaring wealth during pandemic highlights rising inequality

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans’ household wealth rebounded last quarter to a record high as the stock market quickly recovered from a pandemic-induced plunge in March. Yet the gains flowed mainly to the most affluent households even as tens of millions of people endured job losses and shrunken incomes. The Federal Reserve said households’ net worth jumped nearly 7% in the second quarter to $119 trillion. That figure had sunk to $111.3 trillion in the first quarter, when the coronavirus battered the economy and sent stock prices tumbling. The full recovery of wealth even while the economy has recovered only about half the jobs lost to the pandemic recession underscores what many economists see as America’s widening economic inequality.

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Wall Street falls, S&P 500 down 1.2% as global markets swoon

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell on Wall Street Monday as markets tumbled worldwide on worries about the pandemic’s economic pain. The S&P 500 sank 1.2%, though a last-hour recovery helped it more than halve its loss from earlier in the day. European stocks slid earlier on the possibility of tougher restrictions to stem rising coronavirus counts. Bank stocks fell after a report alleged several are profiting from illicit dealings with criminal networks. Wall Street has struggled this month amid fears that stocks are expensive with the pandemic still worsening and Congress not delivering more economic aid.

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Bank shares slide on report of rampant money laundering

NEW YORK (AP) — The financial sector is being pummeled following a report alleging that a number of banks — JPMorgan, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank and Bank of New York Mellon among them — have continued to profit from illicit dealings with criminal networks despite previous warnings from regulators. According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, leaked government documents show that the banks continued moving illicit funds. The report compounded a massive sell-off across global markets because of gloom and doom over COVID-19 infections and the economic damage from the pandemic.

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Founder of GM electric truck partner quits amid allegations

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The head of an electric truck startup that’s partnering with GM has resigned amid accusations of making false representations about the company’s technology. Shares in Arizona-based Nikola lost over 19% of their value in trading Monday, while GM was off nearly 5%. The company said late Sunday that founder and executive chairman Trevor Milton was stepping aside. Investment fund Hindenburg Research has accused the company of making false representations about its vehicles and technology. Nikola rejects that and has hired a lawyer for potential legal action.

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Ex-UK PM May slams Johnson’s bid to break international law

LONDON (AP) — The British government has won over some domestic political opponents of its plan to breach part of the Brexit divorce deal it agreed with the European Union. But former Prime Minister Theresa May has warned that the move will do “untold damage” to the U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative administration is seeking to pass legislation that gives his government the power to override part of the legally binding withdrawal agreement.

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US cruises vow 100% testing in plan for resuming sailing

NEW YORK (AP) — Major cruise lines say they will test all passengers and crew for COVID-19 prior to boarding as part of their plan for resuming sailing in the Americas. The Cruise Lines International Association says its members will also require masks onboard and on shore excursions whenever physical distancing can’t be maintained. No date has been set for the resumption of cruising in the Americas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a no-sail order for U.S. waters through Sept. 30. The association’s safety plan will now go to the CDC, which will consider it as the agency decides whether to lift that order.

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Micosoft will buy video game maker ZeniMax for $7.5 billion

REDMOND, Wash. (AP) — Microsoft is buying the company behind popular video games The Elder Scrolls, Doom and Fallout. The software giant said Monday that it is paying $7.5 billion for ZeniMax Media, the parent company of video game publisher Bethesda Softworks. Microsoft said it is buying Bethesda in part to beef up its Xbox Game Pass game subscription service, which it says has over 15 million subscribers. Bethesda games, such as Starfield, which is currently in development, will launch on Xbox Game Pass the same day they launch on Xbox or computers. Microsoft has new consoles debuting on Nov. 10, the Xbox Series X and stripped down Series S version.

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Watchdog: Millions in danger of missing virus relief payouts

WASHINGTON (AP) — A government watchdog says millions of Americans are in danger of missing coronavirus relief payments of up to $1,200 per individual because of incomplete government records. The Government Accountability Office, Congress’ auditing arm, said in a report Monday that possibly 8.7 million or more individuals who are eligible for the economic impact payments have yet to receive those payments because of inadequate IRS and Treasury Department records.

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The S&P 500 fell 38.41 points, or 1.2%, to 3,281.06. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 509.72, or 1.8%, to 27,147.70. The Nasdaq composite slipped 14.48, or 0.1%, to 10,778.80. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks finished down 51.53, or 3.4%, at 1,485.25.