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Business Highlights: Jobless claims, Disney results

August 12, 2021 GMT

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US jobless claims near pandemic low as economy strengthens

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell for a third straight time last week, the latest sign that employers are laying off fewer people as they struggle to fill a record number of open jobs and meet a surge in consumer demand. Thursday’s report from the Labor Department showed that jobless claims fell for a third straight week to 375,000 from 387,000 the previous week. The number of applications has fallen steadily since topping 900,000 in early January as the economy has increasingly reopened in the aftermath of the pandemic recession.

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Back-to-back price hikes, wholesale costs up 1% in July

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation at the wholesale level jumped a higher-than-expected 1% in July, disappointing hopes for a slowdown in price increases. The Labor Department reported Thursday that the July gain in its producer price index, which measures price pressures before they reach consumers, matched the June increase with both months advancing by the highest amount since a 1.2% rise in January. Over the past 12 months, prices at the wholesale level are up a record 7.8%, surpassing the old record of a 7.3% gain set for the 12 months ending in June.

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Disney turns to profit as reopened parks bolster revenue

BURBANK, Calif (AP) — The Walt Disney Co. turned a profit in its most recent quarter as reopened parks provided a revenue bounce. Revenue in the parks and products division surged to $4.3 billion from $1.1 billion a year ago, as theme parks closed last year were open for part or all of this year’s quarter. Overall revenue climbed 45% to $17.02 billion, and the company swung to a profit from a loss. Disney ended the quarter with 116 million Disney+ subscribers, about double compared with a year ago, and nearly 174 million streaming subscribers including Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu.

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Stocks end higher on Wall Street as Big Tech climbs

NEW YORK (AP) — Major U.S. stock indexes shook off a weak start and ended higher Thursday, notching another round of record highs for the S&P 500 and, just barely, the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The S&P 500 added 0.3% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq also rose 0.3%. Small-company stocks fell. Gains for several big technology companies including Apple countered weakness in other sectors including industrial companies. News on the economy was mixed. Unemployment claims fell for the third straight week, another sign the job market is healing. However, wholesale prices rose 1% last month.

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DoorDash’s Q2 orders hit record high but revenue gains slow

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — DoorDash booked a record number of orders in the second quarter, even as its revenue growth slowed slightly from pandemic-induced highs. The San Francisco-based delivery company said its total orders rose 69% to 345 million in the April-June period. The company says much of the growth came from new partnerships with convenience stores like 7-Eleven and groceries like Albertsons. Revenue was up 83% to $1.24 billion, surpassing Wall Street’s expectations. But the growth was lower than the double- and even triple-digit percentage revenue gains DoorDash saw over the prior four quarters as the pandemic juiced demand for delivery.

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Airbnb cuts 2Q loss to $68 million, revenue exceeds 2019

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Airbnb says it lost $68 million in the second quarter, but that’s smaller than losses it posted in the same quarter last year and in 2019. The company reported Thursday that its quarterly revenue was $1.34 billion, or 10% higher than in the same period during 2019, before the pandemic. Still, the resurgence of COVID-19 infections is casting a shadow over the travel business. Airbnb says new variants of the virus will make bookings and cancellations harder to predict. Airbnb’s business has picked up along with the recovery in travel that, at least in the U.S., began early this year as Americans began to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

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UK watchdog: Facebook’s ownership of Giphy hurts competition

LONDON (AP) — Facebook’s ownership of Giphy will hurt competition for animated images, U.K. regulators said Thursday following an investigation. The Competition and Markets Authority said in provisional findings that the acquisition would hurt competition among social media platforms because there’s only one other big provider of GIFs, Google’s Tenor. Giphy’s library of short looping videos, or GIFs, are a popular tool for internet users sending messages or posting on social media. The deal will also reduce digital advertising competition by removing a potential challenger from the market, the watchdog said. Facebook said it disagreed with the preliminary findings, which it didn’t we believe to be supported by the evidence.

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Victims slam Tesla subsidy from East German communist fund

BERLIN (AP) — Victims of communism in East Germany have criticized the decision to grant electric automaker Tesla a subsidy of almost $10 million from a trust fund managing what’s left of the regime’s fortune. German media reported that the state of Brandenburg is allocating the funds to pay for infrastructure costs related to the Tesla Gigafactory being built on the outskirts of Berlin. An association representing victims of communism in East Germany said Thursday it welcomed the construction of the factory, but questioned “why the state government of Brandenburg is helping the third-richest man in the world.” The opposition Left party in Brandenburg state likewise criticized the decision. Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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The S&P 500 gained 13.13 points, or 0.3%, to 4,460.83. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 14.88 points, or less than 0.1%, to 35,499.85. The Nasdaq added 51.13 points, or 0.3%, to 14,816.26. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 6.27 points, or 0.3%, to 2,244.07.