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Business Highlights: Retail sales, Wall Street’s big week

October 15, 2021 GMT

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Retail sales climb despite rising prices, supply issues

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans continued to spend at a solid clip in September even while facing sticker shock in grocery aisles, car lots and restaurants as snarled global supply chains slow the flow of goods. Retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.7% in September from the month before, the U.S. Commerce Department said Friday. While that was a bigger number than economists had expected, concerns are mounting as to how resilient shoppers will be as they head into the crucial holiday season, should rising prices stick and frustrations grow amid short supplies. Right now, however, there is no evidence that Americans are pulling back, and the spending last month was broad-based from clothing retailers to sporting goods and hobby retailers and auto dealers.

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Stocks end higher, giving S&P 500 its best week since July

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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks ended higher again on Wall Street Friday, giving the S&P 500 its best week since July. The benchmark index added 0.7% and ended the week up 1.8%. Encouraging reports on the economy and corporate profits helped the market steady itself following a shaky few weeks. J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Goldman Sachs, Alcoa and other companies turned in solid earnings reports. That dovetailed with a report showing people spent much more at U.S. retailers last month than Wall Street expected. Treasury yields also climbed following the encouraging data. Crude oil prices rose, while natural gas fell.

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White House targeting economic risks from climate change

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is taking steps to address the economic risks from climate change. It issued a 40-page report Friday on government-wide plans to protect the financial, insurance and housing markets and the savings of American families. The report lays out steps that could potentially alter the mortgage process, stock market disclosures, retirement plans, federal procurement and government budgeting. It’s a follow-up to a May executive order by President Joe Biden that essentially calls on the government to analyze how the world’s largest economy could be affected by extreme heat, flooding, storms, wildfires and the broader adjustments needed to address climate change.

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China crackdown on Apple store hits holy book apps, Audible

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Amazon’s audiobook service Audible and phone apps for reading the holy books of Islam and Christianity have disappeared from the Apple store in mainland China. The steps are the latest examples of the impact of China’s tightened rules for internet firms. Audible said Friday that it removed its app from the Apple store in mainland China last month due to what it described as permit requirements. The makers of apps for reading and listening to the Quran and Bible say their apps have also been removed from Apple’s China-based store at the government’s request. Apple didn’t immediately return requests for comment Friday.

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China’s central bank says Evergrande risks ‘controllable’

BEIJING (AP) — China’s central bank says financial risks from China Evergrande Group’s debt problems are “controllable” and unlikely to spill over, amid growing investor concerns that the crisis could ripple through other developers. Evergrande is the world’s most indebted developer, with over $300 billion in liabilities. The company has missed a third round of interest payments on its offshore bonds this week, spooking investors globally and sparking concern that other companies in the sector may also default on payments. People’s Bank of China official Zou Lan told a news briefing that authorities will provide financial support for the resumption of Evergrande’s construction projects. He says Evergrande was poorly managed and failed to operate cautiously.

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Goldman Sachs’ profits jump 60% helped by deal-making frenzy

NEW YORK (AP) — Goldman Sachs’ profits jumped 60% from a year earlier, as the deal-making bonanza that dominated financial markets this summer brought in hundreds of millions of dollars in fee revenue for the investment bank. The New York-based firm said it earned a profit of $5.28 billion, or $14.93 per share, compared with a profit of $3.23 billion, or $8.98 a share, in the same period a year earlier. The results were significantly better than the $10.10-per-share profit that analysts had been expecting, according to FactSet.

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Nippon Steel sues Japan business partner Toyota over patent

TOKYO (AP) — Nippon Steel Corp. is suing Toyota Motor Corp. over a patent for a technology used in electric motors in a rare case of legal wrangling between Japan’s top steelmaker and automaker over intellectual property. Nippon Steel filed the lawsuit in Tokyo District Court, demanding compensation for damages totaling 20 billion yen ($177 million). Also named in the lawsuit is Baoshan Iron & Steel Co., or Baosteel, a Chinese steelmaker. Toyota said it learned of the lawsuit “with great regret.” Baosteel said it will defend itself against the claims. The patent is critical for electric motors used in ecological models.

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EU agencies crack down on pandemic recovery fund fraud

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — European Union agencies are launching a year-long operation to crack down on fraud targeting the bloc’s multibillion euro COVID-19 pandemic recovery fund. The EU police agency Europol said Friday that Operation Sentinel will coordinate the fight against fraud, tax evasion, excise fraud, corruption, embezzlement, misappropriation and money laundering and and boost the exchange of information and intelligence. Europol has repeatedly warned about organized crime gangs seeking to cash in on the global pandemic in ways ranging from selling counterfeit COVID-19 tests to hacking computers as employees work from home. the EU is now ratcheting up its vigilance as billions of euros are poured into economic recovery plans.

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The S&P 500 added 33.11 points, or 0.7%, to 4,471.37. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 382.20 points, or 1.1%, to 35,294.76. The Nasdaq rose 73.91 points, or 0.5%, to 14,897.34. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 8.52 points, or 0.4%, to 2,265.65.