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Business Highlights

Business Highlights

Surge in virus threatens to reverse global economic rebounds

WASHINGTON (AP) — The resurgence of coronavirus cases engulfing the United States and Europe is imperiling economic recoveries on both sides of the Atlantic as millions of individuals and businesses face the prospect of having to hunker down once again. Growing fear of an economic reversal coincided with a report Thursday that the U.S. economy grew at a record 33.1% annual rate in the July-September quarter. Even with that surge, the world’s largest economy has yet to fully rebound from its plunge in spring when the virus first erupted. And now the economy is slowing just as new confirmed viral cases accelerate and rescue aid from Washington has dried up.

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FBI warns ransomware assault threatens US health care system

BOSTON (AP) — Federal agencies say cybercriminals are unleashing a major ransomware assault against the U.S. health care system. Independent security experts say it has already hobbled at least five U.S. hospitals this week, and could potentially impact hundreds more. In a joint alert, the FBI and two federal agencies say they have credible information of an imminent cybercrime threat to U.S. hospitals and health care providers. They say malicious groups are targeting the sector with ransomware that could lead to data theft and disruption of health care services. Although the attacks coincide with the U.S. presidential election, there is no immediate indication they are motivated by anything but profit.

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Wall Street soared under Trump, but it’s been a rocky ride

NEW YORK (AP) — After Donald Trump shocked markets by winning the presidency in 2016, investors quickly agreed on which stocks would benefit most from his election. But four years later, many of those stocks have since fallen back, and stocks that were afterthoughts have become the market’s leaders. In the end, energy stocks slumped to the worst losses in the S&P 500 since Trump’s election. Tech stocks, meanwhile, soared to the biggest gains in part because they’re seen as best able to navigate a post-COVID world. The movements show how hazardous it can be to set your investments based on election results.

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Wall Street ends higher after shaking off a wobbly start

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks closed broadly higher on Wall Street after shaking off a wobbly start. The S&P 500 rose 1.2% Thursday following encouraging data on the pace of layoffs and on how powerfully the economy rebounded during the summer from its coronavirus-induced coma. Economists warn that big challenges still lie ahead, though. The S&P 500 is coming off a 3.5% tumble Wednesday on worries about the worsening pandemic and the further damage it’s likely to cause the economy. A measure of investors’ fear touched its highest level since June before receding, and oil prices continued to fall sharply.

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Largest luxury deal back on, Tiffany agrees to lower price

NEW YORK (AP) — The largest deal in luxury is back on after New York’s famed jeweler Tiffany agreed to a slightly reduced offering price from LVMH in Paris. LVMH will now pay $15.8 billion, down from the $16.2 billion price tag the companies agreed to earlier. The owner of Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Fendi along with a basket of wine and champagne brands, appeared to walk away from buying Tiffany last month after it said the French government had pushed for a delay because of the threat of proposed U.S. tariffs. But the reasons for its cold feet seemed to shift, and there was pressure from investors on both sides to make a deal happen.

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JetBlue is the latest airline to retreat from blocking seats

NEW YORK (AP) — JetBlue says it plans to increase the number of seats it will fill on planes starting in December. That makes JetBlue the latest airline to retreat from blocking middle seats to give passengers more space because of the pandemic. A JetBlue spokesman said Thursday that the airline still plans to limit seating through the holidays but hasn’t decided how many seats to leave empty. Southwest plans to end blocking middle seats on Dec. 1. And Delta and Alaska Airlines say they will limit capacity on flights through Jan. 6, but will end the policy early next year. The airlines are backing away from seat blocking as the number of passengers slowly rises.

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US long-term mortgage rates flat this week; 30-year at 2.81%

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. long-term mortgage rates were little changed this week after marking a new all-time low last week. Home loan rates have declined through the year amid economic anxiety in the recession set off by the coronavirus pandemic. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported that the average rate on the 30-year benchmark loan edged up 2.81% from 2.80% last week. The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage slipped to 2.32% from 2.33%. The low borrowing rates have bolstered demand from prospective homebuyers.

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The S&P 500 rose 39.08 points to 3,310.11. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 139.16 points, or 0.5%, to 26,659.11. The Nasdaq composite climbed 180.72 points, or 1.6%, to 11,185.59. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 18.30, or 1.2%, to close at 1,561.58.