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Business Highlights: Amazon’s ‘keys,’ jobless claims

July 22, 2021 GMT

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Amazon’s mission: Getting a ‘key’ to your apartment building

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is pushing landlords around the country to give its drivers the ability to unlock apartment building front doors whenever they need to leave packages in the lobby instead of the street. The service, called Amazon Key for Business, allows delivery workers to make their rounds faster since they don’t have to ring doorbells. And fewer stolen packages could give Amazon an edge over other online retailers. But there could be drawbacks. The device is connected to the internet, which could make it vulnerable to hackers. And tenants may not know that Amazon drivers have access to their building’s front doors.

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US jobless claims rise to 419,000 from a pandemic low

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose last week from the lowest point of the pandemic, even as the job market appears to be rebounding on the strength of a reopened economy. Jobless claims increased to 419,000 from 368,000 the previous week. The weekly number of first-time applications for benefits, which generally tracks layoffs, has fallen steadily since topping 900,000 in early January. Economists say the increase is most likely a blip caused by some one-time factors. Applications for jobless aid jumped last week, for example, in Michigan, where some auto plants have temporarily shut down production because of supply shortages.

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Priest outed via Grindr app highlights rampant data tracking

NEW YORK (AP) — When a religious publication used smartphone app data to deduce the sexual orientation of a high-ranking Roman Catholic official, it exposed a problem that goes far beyond a debate over church doctrine and priestly celibacy. With few U.S. restrictions on what companies can do with the vast amount of data they collect from web page visits, apps and location tracking built into phones, there’s not much to stop similar spying on politicians, celebrities and just about anyone that’s a target of another person’s curiosity — or malice. Privacy experts say such cases will multiply until federal law regulates the handling of this data.

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Biden admin stepping up community grants from COVID bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s administration says it is making $3 billion in economic development grants available to communities — a tenfold increase in the program paid for by this year’s COVID-19 relief bill. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo tells The Associated Press her agency will begin accepting applications for the competitive grants, which officials hope will create hundreds of thousands of jobs. The goal is to help struggling cities and towns make long-term investments to drive development for years to come. The grants will be targeted at supporting local infrastructure, job training programs and developing new industries.

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Indexes inch higher on Wall Street, preserving weekly gains

NEW YORK (AP) — Major indexes edged higher on Wall Street after a day of muted trading, preserving their gains for the week. The S&P 500 emerged from a midday slump to end 0.2% higher Thursday. Even though most stocks in the S&P 500 fell, gains for several tech heavyweights, including Apple and Microsoft, pushed the index higher. The Nasdaq added 0.4% while a measure of small-company stocks lost 1.5%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average managed a gain of 0.1%. Trading was subdued as investors reviewed the latest corporate earnings and a surprise increase in the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits.

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Southwest, American post 2Q profits as air travel picks up

DALLAS (AP) — Travelers are returning to flying, and it’s showing up in higher revenue for the airlines. On Thursday, both American Airlines and Southwest Airlines reported second-quarter profits thanks to generous federal pandemic relief that covers most of their labor costs. The reports show that airlines are making progress in bouncing back after the coronavirus crushed air travel. But they still have a long way to go before they recover fully. Southwest says it made money in June even without federal financial aid, which CEO Gary Kelly is calling an important milestone.

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Twitter posts stronger-than-expected Q2 results, shares jump

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Twitter has posted stronger-than-expected earnings for the second quarter. The strong numbers were due to growing advertising demand across all geographic regions and types of ad products. The San Francisco-based company earned $65.6 million, or 8 cents per share, in the April-June quarter. That’s compared with a loss of $1.38 billion, or $1.75 per share, a year earlier. Revenue jumped 74% to $1.19 billion from $683.4 million, surpassing Wall Street’s expectations. Twitter’s shares jumped 5% in after-hours trading.

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Mercedes sketches out all-electric scenario by decade’s end

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz is stepping up its move into electric cars. It says it can see a market scenario where all sales are electric by the end of the decade. For the shorter term the Stuttgart-based carmaker says it plans to raise its share of battery and plug-in hybrid cars to 50% of sales by 2025. That’s double the previous forecast. Mercedes is forecasting more electrics just as European Union authorities are calling for even lower limits on carbon dioxide car emissions in order to fight climate change. The latest EU proposal foresees eliminating all C02 emissions from cars by 2035, forcing a shift to electrics and other alternative drives.

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The S&P 500 rose 8.79 points, or 0.2%, to 4,367.48. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 25.35 points, or 0.1%, to 34,823.35. The Nasdaq added 52.64 points, or 0.4%, to 14,684.60. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 34.57 points, or 1.5%, to 2,199.48.