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Business Highlights

Business Highlights

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Fed leaders agree: Economics has a racial-disparity problem

WASHINGTON (AP) — Top Federal Reserve policymakers underscored their concern that Black and Hispanic people are sharply underrepresented in the economics field, which lessens the perspectives that economists can bring to key policy issues. At a webinar sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, the officials and many outside economists addressed the problem on the same day that a study from the Brookings Institution reported that the top ranks of Fed remain disproportionately white, particularly at the 12 regional Fed banks. The viral pandemic and last summer’s racial justice protests have thrown a national spotlight on longstanding racial and gender disparities within the U.S. economy.

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Poll: 15% of Americans worse off a year into pandemic

While most Americans have weathered the pandemic financially, about 38 million say they are worse off now than before the outbreak began in the U.S. Overall, 55% of Americans say their financial circumstances are about the same now as a year ago, and 30% say their finances have improved. That’s according to a new poll from Impact Genome and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. But 15% say they are worse off. The problem is more pronounced at lower-income levels. Twenty-nine percent of those living below the federal poverty level say their personal finances worsened in the past year.

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Stocks close mixed as regulators seek pause in J&J vaccine

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks closed mixed on Wall Street Tuesday as gains from a handful of Big Tech companies were tempered by weakness elsewhere in the market. Treasury yields fell, which hurt banks but helped tech companies. The S&P 500 rose 0.3%, notching another record high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.2% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 1.1%. Among major tech stocks, Apple gained 2.4%. Johnson & Johnson fell 1.3% after U.S. regulators recommended a pause in using its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of possibly dangerous blood clots. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.62%.

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Grab to list in US via $40 bln merger with Altimeter Growth

HONG KONG (AP) — Southeast Asia’s largest ride-hailing company, Grab Holdings, said Tuesday that it plans to merge with U.S.-based Altimeter Growth Capital in a deal that would value it at nearly $40 billion and allow it to trade on the Nasdaq Stock Market. This would be the largest merger ever involving a SPAC, or special purpose acquisition company, more than double current record-holder United Wholesale Mortgage’s $16 billion merger in January. The merger will make Grab the most valuable Southeast Asian company to list shares in the U.S. After the deal closes, the combined company expects to trade under the ticker “GRAB.”

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IRS chief expects new child payments to start this summer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The IRS says it expects to meet the July 1 deadline under the new pandemic relief law for starting a groundbreaking tax program aimed at reducing child poverty. That means new advance monthly payments of as much as $300 per child could begin flowing to lower-income families this summer. In testimony to a Senate hearing, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said it will cost nearly $400 million and require the hiring of 300 to 500 people to get the new monthly payment system and electronic portal in place.

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Consumer prices jump 0.6% in March, biggest gain since 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer prices increased a sharp 0.6% in March, the biggest increase since 2012, while inflation over the past year rose a sizable 2.6%. The big gains were expected to be a temporary blip and not a sign that long dormant inflation pressures were emerging. The Labor Department reported Tuesday that the March increase in its consumer price index followed a 0.4% increase in February and was the biggest one-month gain since a 0.6% rise in August 2012. While the 2.6% advance was significantly higher than the Federal Reserve’s 2% target for inflation, the jump reflected in large part the fact that a year ago prices were actually falling as the pandemic shut down the country.

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Bally’s buying Tropicana hotel on Las Vegas Strip for $308M

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Tropicana Las Vegas Hotel and Casino is being sold to Bally’s Corp. The company announced Tuesday it will acquire the iconic Las Vegas Strip property from Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. for about $308 million. The agreement also involves a sale-and-leaseback transaction relating to Bally’s Black Hawk, Colorado, and Rock Island, Illinois, properties. Bally’s President and CEO George Papanier says having a nearly 1,500-room property on the Las Vegas Strip is a key step for the Rhode Island-based company. The transaction is expected to close early next year. Bally’s Corp. does not own Bally’s Las Vegas on the Strip. It is owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment Inc.

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US investigating possible air bag failures in GM vehicles

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. government’s highway safety agency is investigating complaints that the air bags may not inflate in a crash on thousands of General Motors vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the probe covers nearly 750,000 Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC vehicles from the 2020 and 2021 model years. Most are full-size pickup trucks and SUVs. The agency says in documents posted Tuesday on its website that it has 15 complaints of air bag malfunctions, including six crashes with eight reported injuries.

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The S&P 500 rose 13.60 points, or 0.3%, to 4,141.59. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 68.13 points, or 0.2%, to 33,677.27. The Nasdaq gained 146.10 points, or 1.1%, to 13,996.10. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gave up 4.86 points, or 0.2%, to 2,228.92.


Updated : 2021-05-08 13:27 GMT+08:00