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Business Highlights: Infrastructure, Fed tapering outlook

August 10, 2021 GMT

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Big win for $1T infrastructure bill: Dems, GOP come together

WASHINGTON (AP) — With a robust vote after weeks of fits and starts, the Senate has approved the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan. A rare coalition of Democrats and Republicans joined together Tuesday to deliver a cornerstone of President Joe Biden’s agenda. Passage provides momentum as it’s now headed to the House. The package would provide almost $550 billion in new spending over five years for roads, bridges, broadband internet, water pipes and other public works systems. Biden said it shows that “democracy can still work.” The Senate turns next to Biden’s bigger package, a $3.5 trillion plan with debate likely to extend into the fall.

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Bullard: Robust job growth supports Fed tapering ‘soon’

WASHINGTON (AP) — Last week’s jobs report demonstrated the ongoing strength of the U.S. economy and underscored the need for the Federal Reserve to rein in its stimulus efforts, a Fed official said Tuesday. St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard said that Friday’s report, which showed a healthy gain of 943,000 jobs last month, means the economy is making sufficient progress to start reducing, or tapering, the Fed’s $120 billion in monthly bond purchases. Those purchases are intended to lower longer-term interest rates and bolster the economy.

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Tenn. Nissan plant to close for 2 weeks due to chip shortage

DETROIT (AP) — Nissan says its huge factory in Smyrna, Tennessee, will close for two weeks starting Monday. The shutdown is due to computer chip shortages brought on by a coronavirus outbreak in Malaysia. The shutdown is among the longest at any U.S. auto plant of this size since the semiconductor shortage started to hit late last year. The shortage has hobbled auto production worldwide. Nissan said in a statement Tuesday that it ran short of chips due to a COVID-19 outbreak at a chip factory in Malaysia. It expects production to resume Aug. 30. The 6 million-square-foot Tennessee factory employs 6,700 people and makes six Nissan models including the Rogue small SUV, its top-selling vehicle.

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Facebook bans firm behind Pfizer, AstraZeneca smear campaign

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Facebook has removed hundreds of accounts linked to a disinformation network operating out of Russia that sought to smear COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and AstraZeneca. The company said Tuesday that it has banned the advertising firm behind the campaign, which had offered to pay social media influencers in Europe if they posted their misleading content. The plan backfired when two of those influencers exposed the network. Facebook said it traced the content to a firm called Fazze which operates from Russia. Messages left seeking comment from Fazze’s parent company, were not returned Tuesday.

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Railroad bidding war for Kansas City Southern is reignited

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Canadian Pacific has jumped back into the bidding war for Kansas City Southern with an increased $31 billion offer for the U.S. railroad. But its latest bid remains lower than the rival $33.6 billion offer from Canadian National that Kansas City Southern accepted back in May. Still, the new offer from Canadian Pacific will give Kansas City Southern shareholders more to think about before they vote on the CN deal on Aug. 19. Investors are also still waiting to hear whether the U.S. Surface Transportation Board will approve a key part of CN’s plan to acquire Kansas City Southern, and that decision could come any day.

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Stocks edge higher as banks, industrials offset tech slide

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks ended another jagged day mostly higher on Wall Street Tuesday as gains in banks and elsewhere in the market outweighed a slide in technology companies. The S&P 500 index rose 0.1% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.5%. The Nasdaq slipped 0.5%. Crude oil rose 2.7% after slumping the day before. Food distributor Sysco surged 6.5% after reporting results that were much better than analysts were expecting. Kansas City Southern jumped 7.5% after Canadian Pacific raised its offer for the railroad operator, reigniting a bidding war with Canadian National. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.35%.

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Without ‘right to repair,’ businesses lose time and money

NEW YORK (AP) — As software and other technologies get infused in more and more products, manufacturers are increasingly making those products difficult to repair, potentially costing business owners time and money. Makers of products ranging from smartphones to farm equipment can withhold repair tools and create software-based locks that prevent even simple updates, unless they’re done by a repair shop authorized by the company. That can cost independent repair shops valuable business and countless labor hours sourcing parts. Farmers can lose thousands waiting for authorized dealers to fix malfunctioning equipment. And consumers end up paying more for repairs -- or replacing items altogether.

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Robinhood to buy shareholder-communications company Say

NEW YORK (AP) — Robinhood, the trading app that’s brought millions of new investors to the stock market, is buying a company that helps people communicate with the businesses whose shares they buy. Robinhood Markets said Tuesday that it agreed to buy Say Technologies for about $140 million in cash. Say helps publicly traded companies hear what questions their investors want answered, and it helps investors vote at companies’ annual meetings.

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The S&P 500 advanced 4.40 points, or 0.1%, to 4,436.75. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 162.82 points, or 0.5%, to 35,264.67. The Nasdaq fell 72.09 points, or 0.5%, to 14,788.09. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gained 4.55 points, or 0.2%, to 2,239.36.