Business Highlights: Facebook’s Trump ban, restaurant relief
Facebook board upholds Trump ban, just not indefinitely
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Former President Donald Trump won’t return to Facebook — at least not yet. Four months after Facebook suspended Trump’s accounts, having concluded that he incited violence leading to the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the company’s quasi-independent oversight board upheld the bans. But it told Facebook to specify how long they would last, saying that an “indefinite” ban on the former president was unreasonable. The ruling, which gives Facebook six months to comply, effectively postpones any possible Trump reinstatement and puts the onus for that decision squarely back on the company.
Biden touts $28.6B restaurant relief program, orders tacos
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has made a Cinco de Mayo taco and enchilada run to highlight his administration’s $28.6 billion program to help eateries that lost business because of the coronavirus pandemic. Biden visited Taqueria Las Gemelas in Washington on Wednesday and ordered lunch. The restaurant is owned in part by Mexican immigrants and was a beneficiary of a pilot version of the restaurant relief program. Biden says the restaurant industry was “badly hurt” by the pandemic. The aid for eateries is part of the administration’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. The White House says 186,200 restaurants, bars and other eligible businesses applied for the program over its first two days of accepting applications.
Small business COVID-19 relief program runs out of money
NEW YORK (AP) — The government’s key COVID-19 relief program for small businesses has run out of money. The Small Business Administration said Wednesday that the Paycheck Protection Program has been exhausted. As of Sunday, the PPP had given out nearly 10.8 million loans worth more than $780 billion since April of last year. The program, which has run out of cash and refunded by Congress twice before, was scheduled to expire May 31. It’s not yet known if lawmakers will approve another round of funding. The SBA said in a statement that loan applications that have been approved would still be funded.
GM expects big 2021 profit, says it’s managing chip shortage
Detroit (AP) — General Motors’ first-quarter net income surged to $2.98 billion as strong U.S. consumer demand and higher prices overcame production cuts brought on by the global shortage of computer chips. The big profit increase was 12 times larger than the same period last year, when the start of the coronavirus pandemic forced automakers to shutter factories, limiting GM’s net income to $247 million. Despite the semiconductor shortage, GM stuck with full-year pretax earnings guidance of $10 billion to $11 billion issued earlier in the year. It predicted earnings at the higher end of the range. The company predicts a strong first half with a pretax profit of around $5.5 billion.
US stock indexes mixed as tech rebound fades; Peloton sinks
NEW YORK (AP) — Major U.S. stock indexes closed mixed Wednesday after an early technology company rebound faded, tempering the market’s recovery from a sell-off a day earlier. The S&P 500 eked out a 0.1% gain after having been up 0.7% in the early going. The Dow Jones Industrial Average managed a 0.3% gain, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq slid 0.4%. Financial and energy companies led the gainers. JPMorgan Chase rose 1.3% and Exxon Mobil added 3%. Losses for retailers and other companies that rely primarily on consumer spending kept those gains in check. Technology stocks, which led the market’s blockbuster rebound in 2020, fell for the seventh straight day.
Peloton recalls treadmills, halts sales, after a child dies
NEW YORK (AP) — Peloton is recalling about 125,000 of its treadmills. The move comes less than a month after the company denied the machines were dangerous and said it would not pull them from the market, even though they were linked to the death of a child and injuries of 29 others. Peloton said Wednesday that it will now offer full refunds for the Peloton Tread+ treadmill, which cost more than $4,200. It will also stop selling them. The recall comes after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warned on April 17 that people with children and pets should immediately stop using the Tread+ treadmill after a child was pulled under it and died. Those who own the treadmill have until Nov. 6, 2022, to get a full refund from Peloton.
Uber demand jumps as delivery grows, ride-hailing recovers
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Uber saw record demand in the first quarter as its food delivery business grew while lockdowns ended and more customers hailed rides. The San Francisco-based company said Wednesday that its overall bookings jumped 24% to $19.5 billion __ an all-time high __ in the January-March period. Delivery bookings rose 166% from the same period last year. Mobility bookings were down 38%, but that was narrower than the year-over-year losses the company saw most of last year. Without one-time charges, Uber reported $3.5 billion in revenue, topping Wall Street’s estimate of $3.27 billion.
US services sector slows slightly in April after record high
WASHINGTON (AP) — Activity in the U.S. services sector, where most Americans work, slowed slightly in April after hitting an all-time high in March. The Institute for Supply Management said its monthly survey of service industries showed a drop to a still high reading of 62.7, 1 percentage point lower than the record high of 63.7 set in March. April. Any reading above 50 indicates the sector is expanding. The April level marks the 11th straight month of expansion in the services sector after a two-month contraction in April and May last year when the country was struggling with widespread shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The S&P 500 rose 2.93 points, or 0.1%, to 4,167.59. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 97.31, or 0.3%, to 34,230.34. The Nasdaq fell 51.08 points, or 0.4%, to 13,582.42. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 6.92 points, or 0.3% to 2,241.37.