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Business Highlights: Infrastructure wait, solar ambitions

May 24, 2021 GMT

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White House ‘eager’ for GOP counteroffer on infrastructure

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Joe Biden is awaiting an infrastructure counteroffer from Senate Republicans. But talks are at standstill before a Memorial Day deadline. A core group of GOP negotiators rejected Biden’s latest $1.7 trillion proposal as too big. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday the president is “eager to engage” with Republicans. No new talks are scheduled. Psaki said the Republicans have “a ways more to go” to find common ground with the administration. Biden dropped $500 billion from his initial $2.3 trillion offer. Psaki said Republicans raised their $568 billion offer by about $50 billion.

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Biden’s solar ambitions collide with China labor complaints

BEIJING (AP) — The Biden administration’s solar power ambitions are colliding with complaints the global industry depends on Chinese raw materials that might be produced by forced labor. A big hurdle is polysilicon, used to make solar panels. The global industry gets 45% of its supply from Xinjiang, the northwestern region where the ruling Communist Party is accused of mass incarceration of minorities and other abuses. Other parts of China supply 35%. Only 20% comes from U.S. and other producers. Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, says Washington is deciding whether to block solar products from Xinjiang. That would conflict with President Joe Biden’s plans to cut climate-changing U.S. carbon emissions by promoting solar.

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Stocks climb on Wall Street as appetite for risk returns

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks closed broadly higher on Wall Street as investors regained an appetite for risk following two straight weeks of losses for major indexes. The S&P 500 rose 1% Monday, with technology stocks leading the gains. Microsoft and Google’s parent company both rose more than 2%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 1.4%. Safe-play sectors like utilities lagged the rest of the market. Virgin Galactic jumped almost 28% after the company made its first rocket-powered flight from New Mexico to the fringe of space in a manned shuttle over the weekend. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.60%.

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Mexico to buy Shell share of Texas refinery for $600 million

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico will says it will buy Shell’s 50% share in the jointly owned Deer Park refinery near Houston. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Monday that Mexico will pay about $600 million for the plant, which already processes a lot of Mexican crude. It is part of López Obrador’s central policy to build, acquire or renovate oil refineries, when most countries are trying to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. The Mexican president had complained recently that Deer Park had not yielded any benefits for Mexico under the current scheme. But he acknowledged it does process 340,000 barrels of crude per day.

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Judge digs into Apple app store policies as Epic trial ends

SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — The judge who will decide a case challenging Apple’s stranglehold on its iPhone app store has indicated she would like to promote more competition. Yet it appears she also believes that should be done without dismantling a commission system that reaps billions of dollars for the technology powerhouse. U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers opened a window into her thinking during a three-hour session with lawyers for Apple and its adversary, Epic Games, during the final day of a three-week trial. The judge seemed to side with Apple’s defense of the commissions it charges for in-app purchases on iPhones, but also openly wondered if apps should be allowed to alert consumers to other payment options.

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Russian to be deported after failed Tesla ransomware plot

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A Russian man was sentenced to what amounted to time already served and will be deported for trying to pay a Tesla employee $500,000 to install computer malware in a bid to steal company secrets for ransom. Egor Kriuchkov apologized to a federal judge on Monday in Reno, Nevada. The judge acknowledged the attempted hack wasn’t successful and the company network wasn’t compromised. The 27-year-old Kriuchkov has been in custody since his arrest last August in Los Angeles, and will remain in custody until he leaves the country. Tesla CEO Elon Musk previously acknowledged that his company was the target of the scheme.

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Peloton plans to build first US factory in Ohio, add 2K jobs

NEW YORK (AP) — Peloton plans to spend about $400 million to build its first U.S. factory in Ohio. The exercise equipment maker said Monday that the Peloton Output Park will make the Peloton Bike, Bike+ and Peloton Tread starting in 2023. It will have more than 200 acres and more than 1 million square feet of manufacturing, office and amenities space. The site will eventually employ more than 2,000 workers. The exercise equipment maker has been working to keep up with soaring demand during the pandemic.

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New $1.7B Los Angeles International Airport concourse opens

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A massive new $1.73 billion concourse with 15 gates has opened at Los Angeles International Airport. The West Gates expansion went into service Monday after a ceremony marking more than four years of work as part of a $14.5 billion airport modernization project. The concourse will serve international and domestic flights. Located just west of the Tom Bradley International Terminal, the five-level, 750,000-square-foot West Gates concourse is 1,700 feet long. Officials say it is based around a digitally based travel experience. It includes biometric boarding gates, thousands of places to plug in, wireless internet and touchscreen kiosks.

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The S&P 500 rose 41.19 points, or 1%, to 4,197.05. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 186.14 points, or 0.5%, to 34,393.98. The Nasdaq tacked on 190.18 points, or 1.4%, to 13,661.17. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gained 12.07 points, or 0.5%, to 2,227.34.