Stocks open higher…GM to recall 400,000 pickups
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are solidly higher in early trading on Wall Street, but the market is on track to end this holiday-shortened week mostly unchanged as investors remain in a holding pattern. Big companies will be reporting their quarterly earnings next week, starting with the major banks like JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America and Wells Fargo. Analysts expect another strong quarter for Wall Street, due to the improving economy and fewer Americans defaulting on loans compared with earlier in the pandemic. Oil prices continue to march higher, with crude oil briefly touching $75 a barrel overnight.
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden is set to sign an executive order the White House bills as an effort to target anticompetitive practices in tech, health care and other parts of the economy while boosting workers’ wages and consumer protections. The sweeping order being signed today includes 72 actions and recommendations the White House says “will lower prices for families, increase wages for workers, and promote innovation and even faster economic growth.” The order includes calls for banning or limiting noncompete agreements to help boost wages and for allowing rule changes that would pave the way for hearing aids to be sold over the counter at drugstores, among other things.
DETROIT (AP) – General Motors is recalling more than 400,000 pickup trucks in the U.S. because the side air bags can explode without warning and spew parts into the cabin. The recall covers certain 2015 and 2016 Chevrolet and GMC Sierra 1500, 2500, and 3500 trucks. Documents posted today by U.S. safety regulators say the air bag inflator can rupture or the end cap can fly off on both sides of the trucks. GM says it has no reports of injuries. The company says a manufacturing defect allowed moisture into the inflator during manufacturing, causing corrosion. Dealers will replace both side air bag modules. GM says it has a limited number of replacement parts available. Owners will be notified starting Aug. 16.
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) – Officials say a fire has engulfed a food and beverage factory outside Bangladesh’s capital, killing at least 52 people, many of whom were trapped inside by an illegally locked door. The fire began Thursday night at the five-story factory just outside Dhaka. Police initially gave a toll of three dead, but piles of bodies were found after the fire was extinguished. A fire official says 52 bodies have been recovered from inside the factory and rescuers have not yet searched the top two floors. Bangladesh has a history of deadly factory fires which are often attributed to safety lapses that still plague the South Asian country despite its rapid economic growth.
LONDON (AP) – The European Medicines Agency says its committee has concluded that the COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna are possibly linked to very rare cases of chest pain and heart inflammation in some people following vaccination. That echoes a similar conclusion reached by U.S. officials in June. The EU drug regulator is recommending that the two conditions, myocarditis and pericarditis, be included as side effects on the vaccine labels, together with a warning to raise awareness among health workers and people receiving the shots. Also, the EMA is recommending people who have a history of a rare condition that causes blood vessels to leak avoid the coronavirus vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson. The regulator advised a warning to raise awareness among health workers.