Stocks tumble… Consumer spending slows…Britain leaves the EU today
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are tumbling in morning trading on Wall Street amid uncertainty about the potential economic impact of the virus outbreak that originated in China. Technology stocks are leading the losses. Banks and energy companies are also down. Amazon was the standout in the early going as a stellar earnings report helped push its market value to slightly more than $1 trillion.
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. consumer spending slowed in December as Americans spent more on prescription drugs and health care services but those gains didn’t offset a sharp slowdown in spending on new cars. The Commerce Department says consumer spending rose a moderate 0.3% after a stronger 0.4% gain in November. Income growth also slowed in December, rising by 0.2%, just half the 0.4% increase in November. Inflation as measured by a price gauge preferred by the Federal Reserve was up 0.3% in December compared to a 0.1% November increase. However, for the full year, prices rose just 1.6%, well below the Fed’s 2% target.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Americans’ pay and benefits rose at a solid pace last year, but at a slower rate than in 2018. The Labor Department says total salaries and benefits such as health insurance rose 2.7% in 2019, down from 2.9% in the previous year. In the final three months of last year, workers’ compensation grew 0.7%, matching the third-quarter’s increase.
LONDON (AP) – Britain is finally leaving the European Union. Its 47-year EU membership comes to an end at midnight, Brussels time. The road has featured 3 1/2 years of wrangling, rancor and political drama, as Britain’s relationship with its neighbors and its unwritten constitution were both stretched to the limit. And while Britain is leaving the EU, the nature of its European identity and ties with its neighbors are far from resolved. Britain will have until the end of this year to forge new agreements with the EU on trade and in other areas.
UNDATED (AP) – Facebook says it’s working to help limit the spread of misinformation and harmful content about the coronavirus and will focus on providing helpful information to people. Facebook’s head of health said in a post that the social media platform’s third-party fact-checkers are reviewing content and debunking false claims related to the coronavirus. Facebook is also removing content with false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by global health organizations and local health authorities, particularly focusing on claims designed to discourage treatment or taking appropriate precautions.