Stocks slip…Jobless claims rise…EU antitrust probes slow
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are lower in early trading on Wall Street as mounting coronavirus infections and evidence of the damage being cause to people’s livelihoods rolls in. The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose last week for the first time in five weeks, the latest sign that a resurgence in virus infections is leading employers to cut jobs. The modest recovery in the U.S. economy is increasingly at risk. New confirmed daily infections in the country have jumped 80% over the past two weeks, leading to greater restrictions on businesses, social gatherings and kids going to school.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose last week to 742,000, the first increase in five weeks and a sign that the resurgent viral outbreak is likely slowing the economy and forcing more companies to cut jobs. The Labor Department’s report Thursday showed that applications for benefits rose from 711,000 in the previous week. Claims had soared to 6.9 million in March when the pandemic first intensified. Before the pandemic, applications typically hovered about 225,000 a week. The economy’s modest recovery is increasingly at risk, with newly confirmed daily infections in the United States having exploded 80% over the past two weeks to the highest levels on record.
LONDON (AP) – A report says that the EU’s efforts to rein in the power of big tech companies such as Google and Facebook through antitrust investigations have taken too long, dulling their effectiveness. Legal tools available to the bloc’s competition regulators, meanwhile, have not kept pace with digital markets, allowing Silicon Valley giants to eliminate rivals. That’s according to the report by the European Court of Auditors, which examined the EU’s enforcement of competition rules over the past decade. European Union authorities have been at the forefront of global efforts to bring the tech giants to heel but they’ve been criticized for lengthy investigations.
BRUSSELS (AP) – The Brexit trade negotiations have been suspended at a crucial stage because an EU negotiator has tested positive for the coronavirus. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said that together with his U.K. counterpart David Frost “we have decided to suspend the negotiations at our level for a short period.” He added that talks among lower-ranking officials level would continue. Any long suspension of talks will make it even tougher for the negotiator to clinch a deal ahead of the Jan. 1 deadline.
DETROIT (AP) – Mazda beat traditional winners Lexus and Toyota to win top honors as the most dependable auto brand in Consumer Reports’ annual reliability survey. Ford and its Lincoln luxury brand fell in the survey with Lincoln finishing last among 26 brands after introducing new SUVs. Electric car maker Tesla was second from the bottom with reliability troubles on three of its four models. Mazda took top honors for the first time in the survey. Toyota, Lexus, Buick and Honda rounded out the top five brands. Tesla, Volkswagen, Mini and Ford finished out the bottom five. Consumer Reports surveyed organization members who own more than 300,000 vehicles from model years 2000 to 2020.