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Business Highlights: Consumer spending, Trump’s company

June 25, 2021 GMT

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May consumer spending flat; incomes fall and prices jump

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumer spending was flat in May with incomes dropping for a second month as the impact of the government’s pandemic stimulus payments waned. Inflation, however, posted a sizable gain with prices excluding food and energy jumping by the largest amount in nearly three decades. Consumer spending was unchanged in May, a marked slowdown following gains of 0.9% in April and a 5% surge in March, the Commerce Department reported Friday. The spending surge in March had been fueled by distribution of payments of up to $1,400 per individual from a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, the Commerce Department reported Friday. With those payments winding down, incomes fell by 2% in May after an even bigger drop of 13.1% in April.

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Trump’s company could face criminal charges in New York City

NEW YORK (AP) — Manhattan prosecutors are considering filing criminal charges soon against Donald Trump’s company stemming from a long-running investigation into the former president’s business dealings. The New York Times reported that charges could be filed against the Trump Organization as early as next week related to fringe benefits it gave to top executives, such as use of apartments. The Times cited people familiar with the matter. Trump Organization lawyer Ron Fischetti confirmed to The Associated Press that he met virtually with prosecutors Thursday and that criminal charges were likely. He called them “absolutely outrageous.” The Manhattan district attorney’s office declined to comment.

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Infrastructure deal now in doubt; GOP senators ‘blindsided’

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure deal has been thrown in doubt, barely 24 hours after it was announced. Two people familiar with the conversations say Republican senators felt “blindsided” Friday by the president’s insistence that the bipartisan infrastructure deal move in tandem with his bigger package of investments. The White House said the strategy should have come as no surprise, given that Biden has publicly discussed it. The quick turn of events comes a day after Biden strode to the White House driveway to announce the nearly $1 trillion compromise, flanked by 10 senators from the bipartisan group.

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Stock close higher, S&P 500 has best week since February

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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks ended mostly higher Friday, helping the S&P 500 index close out its best week since February. It’s a notable turnaround for the market, which only the previous week had its worst week since February on concerns about inflation. The Dow’s gains were driven by a surge in Nike, which reported blowout earnings late Thursday and gave investors a strong outlook for the year. Investors cheered data that showed cooler inflation than expected, as well as the infrastructure deal between President Biden and a bipartisan group of senators. With Friday’s gains, the S&P 500 index ended the week up 2.7%.

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Virgin Galactic gets FAA’s OK to launch customers to space

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Virgin Galactic finally has the federal government’s OK to start launching customers into space from New Mexico. Richard Branson’s rocketship company announced the Federal Aviation Administration’s updated license on Friday. It’s the final hurdle in Virgin Galactic’s yearslong effort to send paying passengers on short space hops. The company plans three more test flight before taking passengers. Branson is expected to be on one of those test flights later this year. Another billionaire — Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos — plans to ride his own rocket into space July 20 from Texas.

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High court expands eligibility for Clean Air Act exemption

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says an expanded number of small refineries can seek an exemption from certain renewable fuel requirements. The high court ruled 6-3 on Friday that a small refinery that had previously received a hardship exemption from complying with Clean Air Act requirements may obtain an “extension” of that exemption. That’s even if the refinery let a previous exemption lapse. The Biden administration argued that to get an extension a refinery had to have maintained a continuous exemption since 2011. Refineries in Wyoming, Utah and Oklahoma argued that siding with the Biden administration would eliminate the exemption for most small refineries in the United States.

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US mortgage rates rise over 3%; 30-year at 3.02%

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mortgage rates rose above the 3% mark this week for the first time in 10 weeks, as the economic recovery from the pandemic recession continues and inflation remains elevated. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported that the average for the key 30-year home loan rose to 3.02% from 2.93% last week. The rate for a 15-year loan jumped to 2.34% from 2.24% last week. A government report Friday showed that consumer spending was flat in May but inflation posted a sizable gain, with prices excluding food and energy jumping by the largest amount in nearly three decades.

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Rory Gamble, who led UAW through scandal, pandemic, retires

DETROIT (AP) — United Auto Workers President Rory Gamble, who led the union through a corruption scandal and the coronavirus pandemic, is retiring effective June 30. The 65-year-old Gamble took over the 397,000-member union in 2019 as federal prosecutors closed in on then-president Gary Jones in an embezzlement scheme. Gamble fended off a threatened federal takeover by agreeing to spending controls and a court-appointed monitor to watch the union’s business. Gamble also agreed to let members decide whether they want to vote directly for union leaders. That vote has to take place by November.

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The S&P 500 rose 14.21 points, or 0.3%, to 4,280.70. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 237.02 points, or 0.7%, to 34,433.84. The Nasdaq fell 9.32, or 0.1%, to 14,360.39. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies added 0.77 points, less than 0.1%, to 2,334.40.