Stocks rebound…Consumer prices rise
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are rebounding in early trading on Wall Street, carrying the S&P 500 back toward the cusp of its record high. The benchmark index was up 1% after the first half-hour of trading and on pace for its eighth gain in nine days. It pulled within 0.6% of its record for the first time since the day after it set its high in February. The lift followed up on gains for stocks across Europe and much of Asia, while Treasury yields continued their sharp rally after a report on inflation came in higher than expected for the second straight day. Wall Street is on the edge of erasing the last of the losses taken after the coronavirus pandemic sent the economy into recession.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Consumer prices jumped in July as gasoline prices continued to rise. The Labor Department says the 0.6% jump in its consumer price index matched June’s increase. The uptick was about twice what economists expected. But inflation remains in check: Consumer prices are up just 1% over the past year. Gasoline prices rose 5.3% from June to July but are down 20.3% in the past 12 months as the coronavirus recession has kept Americans from driving. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, so-called core inflation was up 0.6% last month from June and 1.6% from a year ago.
UNDATED (AP) – Companies are rushing to test what may be the next best thing to a coronavirus vaccine: antibody drugs that fight the virus right away, without having to train the immune system to do the job. Antibodies are proteins the body makes when an infection occurs. They attach to a virus and help it be eliminated. The experimental drugs are concentrated versions of antibodies that worked best against the coronavirus in lab an animal tests. They’re being tested to treat COVID-19 and to prevent infection. Results of key studies are expected by fall. If they work, they could be approved before a vaccine.
UNDATED (AP) – Microsoft is back to selling smartphones for the first time since it abandoned its mobile business more than four years ago. The company began taking orders today for the Surface Duo, a new dual-screen Android device that costs almost $1,400 and begins shipping in September. The high-priced gadget is designed to impress, but is also arriving during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, with unemployment in double digits and budget-wary consumers spending more time at home to avoid the coronavirus pandemic. Microsoft is pitching the Duo as more useful than a conventional smartphone, since it enables users to multitask with two separate apps at once.
UNDATED (AP) – Sumner Redstone, who built a media empire from his family’s drive-in movie chain, has died. He was 97. Redstone built his operations through aggressive acquisitions, but many headlines with his name focused on his severing ties with wives, actors and executives. In multiple interviews, he said he’d never die. His tight-fisted grip on the National Amusements theater chain, which controls both CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc. through voting stock, has been passed down to his daughter Shari Redstone, who battled top executives to re-merge the two entities that split in 2006.