Business Highlights: CEO pay, holiday travel boom
CEO pay rises to $12.7M even as pandemic ravages economy
NEW YORK (AP) — The pandemic crushed the economy, but it was no match for CEO pay, which rose again last year. The typical pay package for CEOs at S&P 500 companies hit $12.7 million, up 5%. Some CEOs took salary cuts, hoping to broadcast they were sharing in the pain as they laid off or furloughed workers. But some boards of directors also rejiggered performance targets to make it easier for CEOs to earn bonuses. Others gave retention bonuses, saying they needed to hold onto CEOs’ leadership through the crisis. Across the rest of the economy, meanwhile, pay gains were much slower for workers.
Travel numbers climb as Americans hit the road for holiday
NEW YORK (AP) — It’s going to be crowded at airports and on the road this Memorial Day weekend. Americans are hitting the road in near-record numbers at the start of the holiday weekend. More than 1.8 million people went through U.S. airports Thursday. The daily number could top 2 million at least once over the weekend, which would be the highest mark since early March 2020. U.S. officials are warning travelers to expect long lines at airports. AAA expects a 60% jump in travel over Memorial Day last year despite higher prices for airline tickets, gasoline and hotels. The rise in travel appears to be fueled by an increase in COVID-19 vaccinations as well as an improving economy.
US blocks seafood from Chinese fleet over crew mistreatment
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government has blocked imports of seafood from the fleet of a Chinese company that authorities say forced crew members to work in slave-like conditions. Customs and Border Protection said Friday that it will place an immediate hold on any imports linked to the more than 30 vessels operated by Dalian Ocean Fishing, under a U.S. law that bars goods suspected to have been produced with forced labor. It’s the first time the U.S. has sought to block imports from a company’s entire fishing fleet. And it’s a sign that the CBP’s investigation found evidence of widespread abuse on Dalian vessels around the world. The company had no immediate comment.
US consumers boosted spending in April as inflation surged
WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans increased their spending by 0.5% in April, a slowdown after a massive gain in March which had been powered by distribution of billions of dollars in individual stimulus checks. Even with the slowdown from a 4.7% surge in spending in March, the April increase provided further evidence that consumers are driving a strengthening recovery from the pandemic recession. Friday’s report from the Commerce Department also showed that personal incomes, which provide the fuel for spending, declined 13.1% in April. But the drop in income was expected, having followed a record 20.9% income gain in March that reflected billions in one-time stimulus checks to most adults.
EU gives TikTok a month to respond to consumer complaints
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Commission has given Chinese-owned video app TikTok one month to answer complaints from an European consumers organization over its commercial practices. The EU’s executive arm said Friday it has started discussions following an alert launched earlier this year by the European Consumer Organisation about alleged breaches of consumers’ rights. The Commission said some contractual terms in TikTok’s policies could be considered misleading and confusing for consumers, adding that concerns relating to issues including hidden marketing and advertising strategies targeting children were raised.
US stocks cling to modest gains and end the week higher
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks held on to modest gains on Wall Street Friday, ending the week higher for the first time in three weeks. The S&P 500 added 0.1%, led by gains in technology and health care companies. The benchmark index added 1.2% for the week. Salesforce.com rose 5.4%, the biggest gain in the S&P 500, after reporting solid results for its latest quarter. Investors took in stride a report showing that a closely watched measure of inflation came in somewhat hotter than expected last month. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 1.58%. U.S. markets will be closed Monday for Memorial Day.
Fiat Chrysler recalls big Ram trucks; wheels could fall off
DETROIT (AP) — Fiat Chrysler is recalling more than a half-million heavy-duty Ram trucks to fix a problem that can cause the wheels to fall off. The recall covers certain 2012 through 2021 Ram 3500 heavy-duty pickups, and Ram 4500 and 5500 chassis cab trucks. The recalled vehicles are mainly in North America. The trucks have dual rear wheels and flanged lug nuts. Fiat Chrysler says some service and owner’s manuals had the wrong torque specifications for tightening the nuts that hold the wheels to the hubs. If the nuts were overtightened, the wheel studs could be damaged and wheels could come off. The company says it doesn’t know of any crashes or injuries.
Southwest delays alcohol service after recent incidents
DALLAS (AP) — Southwest Airlines is pushing back plans to resume selling alcohol on flights after a recent increase in unruly passengers. The airline planned to start selling booze on some flights next month. But on Friday, the airline said it was delaying the move. A Southwest spokesman says the decision might disappoint some customers but is the right decision in the interest of safety. The president of the Southwest flight attendants union has raised concern about selling alcohol again. She says there were 477 incidents of misconduct by passengers on Southwest planes in a recent five-week period.
The S&P 500 rose 3.23 points, or 0.1%, to 4,204.11. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 64.81 points, or 0.2%, to 34,529.45. The Nasdaq rose 12.46 points, or 0.1%, to 13,748.74. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 4.10 points, or 0.2%, to 2,268.97.