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Business Highlights: Holmes saga, 2021 auto sales

Business Highlights: Holmes saga, 2021 auto sales

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Elizabeth Holmes saga still has some loose ends to resolve

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A jury has ended the suspense surrounding the fraud trial of former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes by finding her guilty on four of the 11 charges facing her, but some issues in the legal drama remain unresolved. Perhaps the biggest question centers on how long Holmes will be sent to prison for crimes that could theoretically incarcerate her for decades. For now, she will remain free on bail and is widely expected to appeal the guilty verdicts. Her trial has also raised the interest in her former lover and business partner, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, who faces a similar fraud trial scheduled to begin next month.

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New auto sales up in 2021, but long way before full recovery

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. new vehicle sales rebounded slightly last year from 2020′s dismal numbers, but forecasters expect them to be more than 2 million below the years before the coronavirus pandemic. The problem isn’t consumer demand. It’s low vehicle supplies caused by the global shortage of computer chips. Cox Automotive expects 2021 sales to be 14.9 million vehicles, up 2.5% from 2020, the year the pandemic hit the U.S. But during the five years before the pandemic, sales averaged 17.3 million. Most automakers are releasing December and full-year sales numbers on Tuesday. General Motors was unseated by Toyota as the nation’s top-selling automaker. GM sales were down nearly 13% while Toyota was up 10.4%

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OPEC, allies keep gradually pumping more oil amid omicron

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — OPEC and allied oil-producing countries have decided to pump more oil to the world economy amid hope that travel and demand for fuel will hold up despite the rapid spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19. The 23-member OPEC+ alliance led by oil cartel member Saudi Arabia and non-member Russia said Tuesday that it would add 400,000 barrels per day in February, sticking with a road map to slowly restore cuts in output made during the depths of the pandemic. Oil prices rose with the news. The production increases are gradually restoring deep reductions made in 2020, when demand for motor and aviation fuel plummeted because of pandemic lockdowns and travel restrictions.

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Slumping tech stocks weigh on S&P 500 even as Dow gains

NEW YORK (AP) — Slumping technology stocks left the S&P 500 slightly lower on Wall Street Tuesday, even as the Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 blue-chip companies marked another record high. The S&P 500 slipped 0.1%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq gave up 1.3%. Microsoft, Apple, and major chipmakers like Nvidia sank, even as banks and other sectors rose. Bond yields continued to climb. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.65%. Oil prices rose, which helped send energy stocks higher. Economic reports and company earnings get rolling again this week after the year-end holidays.

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A record 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in November

WASHINGTON (AP) — A record 4.5 million American workers quit their jobs in November, a sign of confidence and more evidence that the U.S. job market is bouncing back strongly from last year’s coronavirus recession. The Labor Department also reported Tuesday that employers posted 10.6 million job openings in November, down from 11.1 million in October but still high by historical standards. In its monthly Jobs Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) the Labor Department also reported that employers hired 6.7 million people in November, up from 6.5 million in October.

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US manufacturing activity slows to 11-month low in December

WASHINGTON (AP) — Growth in U.S. manufacturing slowed in December to an 11-month low as companies continued to combat supply chain problems.The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, reported Tuesday that its index of manufacturing activity fell to a reading of 58.7 in December, 2.4 percentage points below the November reading of 61.1. Any reading above 50 indicates growth in the manufacturing sector which has recorded 19 straight months of growth going back to the spring of 2020 when the pandemic hit. The December reading was the lowest since a matching 58.7 in January 2021.

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Activists urge Tesla to close new Xinjiang showroom

BEIJING (AP) — American activists are appealing to Tesla Inc. to close a new showroom in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang, where officials are accused of abuses against mostly Muslim ethnic minorities. The appeals add to pressure on foreign companies to take positions on Xinjiang, Tibet, Taiwan and other politically charged issues. The ruling Communist Party pressures companies to adopt its positions in their advertising and on websites. It has attacked clothing and other brands that express concern about Xinjiang. Tesla on Friday announced the opening of its showroom in Urumqi, the Xinjiang capital. The Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Tesla to close the showroom and “cease what amounts to economic support for genocide.”

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AT&T, Verizon delay new 5G service after Buttigieg request

NEW YORK (AP) — AT&T and Verizon say they will delay new 5G wireless service for two weeks, putting off a planned start this Wednesday. The company says it’s delaying the launch after a request from Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and concern about possible interference with systems on board planes. AT&T and Verizon had planned to launch the new 5G service on Wednesday in many U.S. cities. Last week, a trade group for the airline industry asked the Federal Communications Commission to delay the so-called C-Band 5G service around airports.

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The S&P 500 fell 3.02 points, or 0.1%, to 4,793.54. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 214.59 points, or 0.6%, to 36,799.65. The Nasdaq dropped 210.08 points, or 1.3%, to 15,622.72. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies slipped 3.68 points, or 0.2%, to 2,268.87.