US unemployment claims jump to 965,000 as virus takes toll
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking unemployment aid soared last week to 965,000, the most since late August and evidence that the resurgent virus has caused a spike in layoffs. The latest figures for jobless claims, issued Thursday by the Labor Department, remain at levels never seen until the virus struck. Before the pandemic, weekly applications typically numbered around 225,000. Last spring, after nationwide shutdowns took effect, applications for jobless benefits spiked to nearly 7 million — 10 times the previous record high.
Instacart, others push incentives to get workers vaccinated
NEW YORK (AP) — As vaccinations continue across the U.S., some companies are offering financial incentives to encourage their workers to get the shots. Grocery delivery service Instacart said Thursday it will provide a $25 stipend to workers who get the shots. Grocery chain Trader Joe’s said it will give workers two hours of pay for each shot they receive. Earlier this week, Dollar General said it would provide four hours’ worth of extra pay to workers who get vaccinated.
Most major US airlines ban guns in luggage for DC flights
DALLAS (AP) — Airlines say they are stepping up security on flights to Washington before next week’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Delta, United, Alaska and American airlines said Thursday they will bar passengers flying to Washington from putting guns in checked bags. Other airlines announced more modest steps. American Airlines will stop serving alcohol on flights to and from the Washington area — a policy it imposed temporarily after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump. Meanwhile, key lawmakers and the head of the nation’s largest union of flight attendants are asking that anyone arrested in connection with the riot be put on the government’s no-fly list.
Powell signals Fed will keep aiding economy with bond buying
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is seeking to tamp down any concerns that the Fed might soon withdraw some of its support for the U.S. economy. He’s also stressing that any such pullback would be signalled far in advance. During an online discussion hosted by Princeton University, the Fed chair said the economy’s recovery from the pandemic recession is still far short of its goals.
A $12 billion loss for 2020, Delta is cautious in early 2021
ATLANTA (AP) — Delta Air Lines is reporting a $755 million loss for the fourth quarter, which brings its loss for all of 2020 to more than $12 billion, a company record. And Delta gave a cautious outlook Thursday for the first quarter of 2021, saying it expects to lose $10 million to $15 million a day in the next three months. After that, however, executives at the Atlanta-based airline think things will get better. CEO Ed Bastian is sticking to a prediction that Delta will reach break-even sometime this spring. Delta is the first U.S. airline to report its fourth-quarter numbers.
Google muscles up with Fitbit deal amid antitrust concerns
SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Google has completed its $2.1 billion acquisition of fitness-gadget maker Fitbit. It’s a deal that could help the internet company grow even stronger while U.S. government regulators pursue an antitrust case aimed at undermining its power. Thursday’s completion of the acquisition comes 14 months after Google announced a deal that immediately raised privacy alarms. But Google wound up entering a series of commitments in Europe and other parts of the world pledging it won’t use the health and fitness data from Fitbit’s 29 million users to sell more of the digital ads that generate most of its revenue.
Late drop in Big Tech stocks pulls indexes mostly lower
NEW YORK (AP) — A late slide in several Big Tech stocks left major indexes lower on Wall Street, even as small-company stocks marched to another record high. The S&P 500 turned lower in the last hour of trading to wind up with a loss of 0.4% Thursday. The benchmark index was weighed down by losses in Apple, Microsoft and other huge tech companies. Small-company stocks continued to rally, a sign that investors are feeling more optimistic about the economy. Treasury yields also rose. Investors are waiting to hear from President-elect Joe Biden, who’s expected to detail his plan bolster the economy in a speech later Thursday.
Poshmark’s shares soar in debut to public markets
NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Poshmark Inc. have more than doubled in their debut trading in the public markets. It’s a testament to investor enthusiasm for the online marketplace for second-hand goods. The company’s stock soared more than 140% in its first day of trading on Nasdaq.
Petco goes public again as spending on dogs and cats soars
NEW YORK (AP) — Petco, the San Diego-based pet store chain, has gone public again, hoping to bank on people’s obsession with their furry friends. Petco’s stock opened at $18 Thursday and rose 63% to close at $29.40. That values the company at more than $6 billion.
The S&P 500 fell 14.30 points, 0.4%, to 3,795.54. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 68.95 points, or 0.2%, to 30,991.52. The Nasdaq composite dropped 16.31 points, or 0.1%, to 13,112.64. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks rose 43.38 points, or 2.1%, to 2,155.35.
The Associated Press