Stocks pull back…Spending rises…Vaccine for kids
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are pulling back in the early going on Wall Street, easing the S&P 500 below the record high it set a day earlier. The index is still on track to close out its third solid monthly gain in a row. It was down 0.5% in the first few minutes of trading Friday, and technology and communications stocks were doing the most damage.
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. consumer spending rose at the fastest pace in nine months while incomes soared by a record amount in March, reflecting billions of dollars in government support payments aimed at putting the country firmly on the road to recovery. The Commerce Department says consumer spending rose 4.2% last month, the best showing since a 6.5% spending increase in June.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Wages and benefits grew quickly for U.S. workers in the first three months of the year, a sign that businesses are starting to offer higher pay to fill newly-opened jobs. The Labor Department says U.S. workers’ total compensation rose 0.9% in the January-March quarter, the largest gain in more than 13 years. That’s up from 0.7% in the final three months of last year.
LONDON (AP) – Pfizer and BioNTech have submitted a request to the European drug regulator for the approval of their coronavirus vaccine to be extended to include children aged 12 to 15 years old. It’s a move that could offer younger and less at-risk populations in Europe access to the shot for the first time. The two pharmaceuticals said their submission to the European Medicines Agency is based on an advanced study in more than 2,000 adolescents that showed their vaccine to be safe and effective.
GENEVA (AP) – Swiss authorities are taking issue with comments from President Joe Biden to Congress that many companies use Switzerland as a tax haven. A spokesperson for the Swiss Federal Department of Finance called such claims “inappropriate and completely out of date.” She said the Swiss finance minister would address the issue with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Biden said in a speech to Congress on Wednesday that “a lot of companies also evade taxes through tax havens in Switzerland and Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.”