AP NEWS
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Business Highlights

October 30, 2020 GMT

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Tech losses drive Wall Street down again, ending grim week

NEW YORK (AP) — Sharp drops in Apple, Facebook and other big technology companies ended a miserable week on Wall Street on another sour note. The S&P 500 gave back 1.2%, sealing back-to-back weekly losses and the second straight losing month for the benchmark index since March. Surging coronavirus cases in the U.S. and Europe have spooked investors into dumping riskier assets. Washington’s failure to deliver badly needed aid to the recession-struck economy and uncertainty about the presidential election have also cast a pall on markets. The drops in several high-flying Big Tech stocks came after those companies issued uncertain outlooks for the future.

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Chinese promise market opening amid technology push

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese officials say the ruling Communist Party will promote “technological self-reliance” in the coming five years but will open further to trade. The comments Friday reflect growing official urgency about nurturing Chinese producers of processor chips and other technology at a time when tension with Washington and Europe threatens to choke off access to components needed by fledgling Chinese tech industries.

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Global travel and tourism projected to shed 174 million jobs

LONDON (AP) — A leading industry group says the global travel and tourism industry is on course to lose 174 million jobs this year if restrictions to curb the coronavirus remain in place. The projection from the World Travel & Tourism Council on Friday was lower than previously expected largely because of a rebound in countries such as China. In June, the group warned that there could be 197 million job losses worldwide in a sector that many countries are hugely reliant on economically.

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Scaled-back Thanksgiving plans leave turkey farmers in limbo

NEW YORK (AP) — For the turkey industry, this Thanksgiving is a guessing game. Millions of Americans are expected to have scaled-down celebrations amid the pandemic, heeding official warnings against travel and large indoor gatherings. That leaves an anxious turkey farmers and grocers scrambling to predict what people will want on their holiday tables. Kroger and Walmart say they have purchased more turkeys, but they will also be offering smaller turkey breasts and other meats like ham for people who don’t want a whole bird.

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US wages and benefits grow at sluggish pace amid pandemic

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Wages and benefits for U.S. workers grew slowly this summer as employers sought to hold the line on pay gains in the midst of the pandemic. U.S. workers’ total compensation rose 0.5% in the July-September quarter, the second straight quarter of slower growth in wages, the Labor Department said Friday. That’s down from 0.8% in the first three months of the year. For the year ending in September, wages and benefits increased 2.4%, the slowest pace in three years. The data comes from the Labor Department’s Employment Cost Index, which measures pay changes for workers that keep their jobs. The data isn’t affected by the mass layoffs in the spring.

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Netflix raising US streaming prices amid booming growth

SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Netflix is raising most of its U.S. prices by 8% to 13% as its video streaming service rides a wave of rising popularity spurred by government-imposed lockdowns that corralled people at home during the fight against the pandemic. The increases imposed Friday boost the cost of Netflix’s most popular U.S. streaming plan by $1 to $14 per month while a premium plan that allows more people to watch the service on different screens simultaneously will now cost $2 more at $18 per month. The higher prices may test the bounds of Netflix’s popularity amid tougher and cheaper competition from the likes of Disney, Apple and Amazon.

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US consumer spending rose a moderate 1.4% in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumers increased their spending by 1.4% in September, a slightly better gain than expected but still well below the big increases seen in May and June, adding to concerns that Americans remain cautious with the viral pandemic resurging across the country and impeding the economy. The September gain marked the fifth straight monthly increase in consumer spending, the primary driver of the U.S. economy, since the virus erupted in early spring and flattened the economy. But the recent gains in consumer spending have been been slight and reflect an economy weakened by the virus and by the failure of Congress to provide another stimulus package to struggling individuals and businesses.

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Walmart returns guns and ammunition to US store displays

NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart has reversed course, announcing it is returning ammunition and firearms to their displays in its U.S. stores. On Thursday the nation’s largest retailer said it had removed the displays due to “civil unrest” in some areas of the country. But on Friday it said the items had been restored to displays because the unrest has remained isolated. The moves come after several days of protests, widespread vandalism, and an overnight curfew in Philadelphia after police fatally shot a Black man with a history of mental health problems. The Arkansas-based retailer sells firearms in about half of its 4,700 stores.

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The S&P 500 lost 40.15 points, or 1.2%, to 3,269.96. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 157.51 points, or 0.6%, to 26,501.60. The Nasdaq composite gave up 274 points, or 2.5%, to 10,911.59. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 23.10 points, or 1.5%, to end at 1,538.48.