US consumer spending up 5.6%, but virus could stall gains
WASHINGTON (AP) — American consumers increased their spending in June by a solid 5.6%, helping regain some of record plunge that occurred after the coronavirus struck hard in March and paralyzed the economy. But the virus’ resurgence in much of the country could impede further gains. Last month’s rise in consumer spending followed a seasonally adjusted 8.5% surge in May after spending had plunged the previous two months when the pandemic shuttered businesses, caused tens of millions of layoffs and sent the economy into a recession.
Trump, GOP soften on opposition to $600 jobless benefit
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House and its GOP allies appear to be retreating from their opposition to a $600-per- week supplemental unemployment benefit that has propped up both the economy and family budgets but is expiring Friday. The idea is a prominent feature of top-level Washington talks that are set to continue Saturday on a major election-season COVID-19 response measure. The two sides took their case to the media Friday. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows accused Democrats of refusing to negotiate, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said a short-term extension only makes sense if agreement is near on the larger relief bill.
Tech giants lead gains as S&P 500 closes 4th winning month
NEW YORK (AP) — Big Tech continues to steamroll through the pandemic, and strong gains for some of the market’s most influential companies on Friday helped Wall Street close out its fourth straight winning month. The S&P 500 rose 0.8% following blowout profit reports from Apple and several other tech titans. The gains didn’t come easily, though, and the stock market flipped up and down through the day amid worries about the economy and whether Congress can find agreement on more aid for it. Other markets continued to show caution, with the 10-year Treasury yield touching its lowest level since March and gold rising again.
Plug it in: Electric car charging station numbers are rising
DETROIT (AP) — As automakers introduce more models powered by electricity, there may not be enough public charging stations to handle the load. There are 26,000 public electric vehicle charging stations in the U.S. with more than 84,000 plugs. The country will need thousands more for drivers to accept vehicles powered by batteries alone. Companies are struggling to raise the numbers now because they’re investing before demand arrives. But the number of stations is rising. On Friday, General Motors and charging company EVGo said they would add 2,700 outlets in the U.S. during the next five years.
Eurozone economy suffers record drop during lockdown months
PARIS (AP) — The economy of the 19-country eurozone shrank by a devastating 12.1% during the second quarter from the quarter before as coronavirus lockdowns shut businesses and hampered consumer spending. It was the largest drop on record. Spain, which suffered a severe virus outbreak that devastated its tourism industry, was the hardest hit with a drop of 18.5%. Italy and Portugal were also hard hit but no country escaped. The decline in Europe compares with a 9.5% quarter on quarter decline for the United States. The outlook is for a long and uncertain climb back to pre-virus levels that could take until 2022 or longer.
3 charged in massive Twitter hack, Bitcoin scam
MIAMI (AP) — A British man, a Florida man and a Florida teen have been identified by authorities as the hackers who earlier this month took over Twitter accounts of prominent politicians, celebrities and technology moguls to scam people around globe out of more than $100,000 in Bitcoin. The 17-year-old boy was arrested Friday in Tampa. The adults face federal charges in California. The arrests came after hackers sent bogus tweets on July 15 from the accounts of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg and a number of tech billionaires including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The tweets offered to send $2,000 for every $1,000 sent to an anonymous Bitcoin address.
Trump says US ‘may be banning’ China-owned video app TikTok
NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump says his administration is weighing action against TikTok, a popular Chinese-owned video app that has been a source of national-security and censorship concerns. Trump’s comments came after published reports that the administration is planning to order China’s ByteDance to sell TikTok. There were also reports Friday that software giant Microsoft is in talks to buy the app. TikTok said it does not comment on rumors or speculation. TikTok has said it has tens of millions of U.S. users and hundreds of millions globally. But its Chinese ownership has raised concerns about censorship of videos and the potential for sharing user data with Chinese officials.
The S&P 500 rose 24.90 points, or 0.8%, to 3,271.12. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 114.67, or 0.4%, at 26,428.32. The Nasdaq composite jumped 157.64, or 1.5%, to 10,745.27. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks slipped 14.67 points, or 1%, to 1,480.43.