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Business Highlights

By The Associated PressJune 20, 2019

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S&P 500 index closes at record high as stock rally continues

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street capped a broad rally for stocks Thursday by driving the S&P 500 index to an all-time high. The gains came as investors balanced optimism over the possibility that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates in response to a slowing global economy with jitters about the prospects of dimmer corporate profits should a severe slowdown take hold. Traders continued to shift money into gold and U.S. government bonds. Crude oil prices surged as tensions between the U.S. and Iran intensified.

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Trump, Canada’s Trudeau talk trade at White House meeting

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are seeking to demonstrate a united front in the uphill effort to get a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement over the finish line. At Trump’s insistence, the U.S., Canada and Mexico agreed to an update of the 25-year-old agreement. But the agreement faces opposition from many House Democrats and labor unions.

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US long-term mortgage rates little changed; 30-year at 3.84%

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. long-term mortgage rates were little changed this week. The key 30-year, fixed-rate loan hovered around an average 3.8% for the third straight week. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the benchmark 30-year mortgage ticked up this week to 3.84% from 3.82% last week. The average rate for 15-year, fixed-rate home loans slipped this week to 3.25% from 3.26%.

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Work messaging service Slack’s value jumps after stock debut

NEW YORK (AP) — Slack’s newly public shares aren’t slacking off. The work messaging service’s market value grew 49% after it started trading Thursday under the ticker “WORK.” Slack’s debut is the latest in several highly anticipated initial public offerings of stock for tech companies. While some such as Uber hit a few potholes on their opening day, companies focused on business services appear to be doing well.

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New EU summit likely as bloc is split over who gets top jobs

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union leaders are struggling to bridge deep differences over who should be appointed to some of the bloc’s most prestigious jobs, and appear likely to have to call yet another summit in coming days to sort out the top posts. Despite being keen to show that Europe can deliver quick results, France and Germany in particular were split over who should be named. A new leaders’ meeting could be convened as soon as next week.

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Walmart to pay $282 million over foreign corruption

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — Walmart has agreed to pay $282 million to settle civil and criminal allegations of overseas corruption. The settlements were announced Thursday. Criminal prosecutors went after Walmart under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits American companies operating abroad from using bribery and other illegal methods. Prosecutors say a Brazilian subsidiary paid more than $500,000 to an intermediary known as a “sorceress” for her uncanny ability to make permit problems disappear.

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Waymo teams up with Renault, Nissan on robotaxis outside US

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Self-driving car pioneer Waymo is teaming up with automakers Renault and Nissan to make its first journey outside the U.S. with a ride-hailing service that will start with a fleet of robotaxis in France and Japan. The partnership announced late Wednesday underscores Waymo’s intention to deploy its driverless technology throughout the world in an attempt to revolutionize the way people get around. Waymo can afford to try because it’s backed by Google, one of the world’s richest companies.

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Energy stocks swing with economic signals, Mideast tensions

NEW YORK (AP) — Energy stocks have gone along with oil prices on a wild ride this quarter. Oil prices steadily rose through April and then sank as the trade war between the U.S. and China escalated and threatened global economic growth. More recently, rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran have pushed prices higher.

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Bank of England to mull access for likes of Facebook’s Libra

LONDON (AP) — Bank of England Governor Mark Carney is open to letting new payment services such as Facebook’s upcoming Libra hold funds with the central bank — something historically limited to commercial banks. In prepared remarks to bankers in London, Carney says new payment providers “can improve the transmission of monetary policy and increase competition.”

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Climate of guilt: Flying no longer the high road for some

NYKOPING, Sweden (AP) — A small but growing number of travelers in Europe and North America are shunning planes because of the high levels of greenhouse gas emissions they produce. The trend has spawned the term “flight shame” in Sweden, where teenage activist Greta Thunberg and unprecedented forest fires last year have consumers wondering what they personally can do to curb climate change. Airlines argue that flying accounts for just 2% of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

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The S&P 500 climbed 27.72 points, or 0.9%, to 1,954.18. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 249.17 points, or 0.9%, to 26,753.17. The Nasdaq gained 64.02 points, or 0.8%, to 8,051.34. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies picked up 7.92 points, or 0.5%, to 1,563.49.

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