Stocks tumble as virus fears spark sell-off; Dow falls 453
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks fell sharply Monday, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average down by more than 450 points, as investors grappled with fresh worries about the spread of a new virus in China that threatens global economic growth. The sell-off gave the Dow its first 5-day losing streak since early August and handed the S&P 500 its worst day since early October. Both indexes were off about 1.5%, giving up a significant portion of their gains this month. The latest bout of selling on Wall Street came after China announced a sharp rise in cases of the virus.
UK faces choice on Huawei with global implications
LONDON (AP) — Britain faces a crucial choice over whether to allow China’s Huawei Technologies to build its next-generation wireless networks. The country’s National Security Council will decide whether to allow the company to build parts of its new high speed cellular network known as 5G. Britain sees the infrastructure as critical to its economic future. The decision expected Tuesday has implications for the country’s diplomatic relations with the United States, which is pushing allies to shun Huawei over cybersecurity concerns.
Fed seems content with low rates but confronts challenges
WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time in years, Federal Reserve officials will hold their latest policy meeting this week feeling broadly satisfied with where interest rates are and with seemingly no inclination to change them anytime soon. Chairman Jerome Powell has expressed a sense of gratification with Fed policy, thanks in large part to a steady if unspectacular economy driven by a robust job market. The unemployment rate is at a 50-year low, and growth remains solid if modest. On Wednesday, economists expect the Fed will keep its benchmark short-term rate in a range of 1.5% to 1.75%, a historically low level.
Workers criticize Amazon on climate despite risk to jobs
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hundreds of employees are openly criticizing Amazon’s record on climate change despite what they say is a company policy that puts their jobs at risk for speaking out. On Sunday, more than 300 employees of the online retail giant signed their names and job titles to statements on blog post on Medium. The online protest was organized by a group called Amazon Employees For Climate Justice, an advocacy group founded by Amazon workers that earlier this month said the company had sent letters to its members threatening to fire them if they continued to speak to the press.
GM to invest $2.2B in Detroit to build electric vehicles
DETROIT (AP) — General Motors is spending $2.2 billion to refurbish an underused Detroit factory so it can build electric and self-driving vehicles, eventually employing 2,200 people. GM says the factory will start building the company’s first electric pickup late in 2021. It will be followed by a self-driving shuttle for GM’s Cruise autonomous vehicle unit. The truck will be the first of several electric vehicles to be built at the plant. The company has plans to revive the Hummer nameplate for one of the vehicles.
US new-home sales slipped 0.4% in December
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. sales of newly built homes fell 0.4% in December, cooling ever so slightly after low mortgage rates fueled sales growth for much of 2019. The Commerce Department said Monday that new single-family houses sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 694,000 last month. But for all of 2019, sales climbed 10.3% to 681,000. That is the highest total since 2006 when 1.05 million new homes sold at the height of the housing bubble.
China virus outbreak rams global tourism, costing billions
NEW YORK (AP) — The travel sector around the globe is taking a heavy hit as tens of millions of Chinese are ordered to stay put and others avoid travel as a new virus spreads. Tourism from China was already weakening before the virus forced much of the country into a standstill. In Asia it is one of the biggest holiday seasons, the Lunar New Year. In Thailand, a favorite tropical destination for the period, officials estimate potential lost revenue at 50 billion baht ($1.6 billion). In Asia and much farther away, hotels, airlines, cruise operators and others who depend on big spending Chinese tourists are ruing their absence.
Irish leader says EU to have stronger hand in UK trade talks
LONDON (AP) — Ireland’s prime minister has warned Britain that Brexit is far from finished. Leo Varadkar also says the European Union will have the stronger hand in upcoming negotiations on future relations between the two sides because of its size. The U.K. is due to leave the EU on Friday, entering an 11-month transition period in which the two sides must work out new deals on trade, security and other areas. Varadkar met Monday in Dublin with EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.
The S&P 500 index dropped 51.84 points, or 1.6%, to 3,243.63. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 453.93 points, or 1.6%, to 28,535.80. The Nasdaq lost 175.60 points, or 1.9%, to 9,139.31. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks gave up 18.09 points, or 1.1%, to 1,644.14.