Business Highlights News Staff


Biden treads carefully around Trump’s combative trade policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — In his first weeks in office, President Joe Biden has wasted no time in dumping a batch of major Trump administration policies. Biden and his team are tiptoeing, though, around one of Donald Trump’s most divisive signature legacies: His go-it-alone moves to start a trade war with China and to bludgeon some of America’s closest allies with a gale of tariffs on their steel, aluminum and other goods. Trump’s moves upended seven decades of presidential support for free trade. Yet for now, the Biden administration seems intent on approaching trade with caution and deliberation.


Bezos and Bloomberg among top 50 US charity donors for 2020

NEW YORK (AP) — America’s 50 top donors in 2020 channeled big sums to food banks, COVID-19 relief and racial justice efforts. As the world grappled with COVID, a recession, and a racial reckoning, the ultrawealthy gave to a broader set of causes than ever before — bestowing multimillion-dollar gifts on food pantries, historically Black colleges and universities, and organizations that serve the poor and the homeless, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual rankings of the 50 Americans who gave the most to charity last year.


Dems propose $1,400 payments as part of Biden virus relief

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee are proposing an additional $1,400 in direct payments to individuals, bolstered unemployment benefits and more generous tax breaks for families with children and for lower earners. The panel is unveiling its bill as Congress starts piecing together a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. The plan is expected to closely follow President Joe Biden’s proposed package to address the tolls of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 460,000 Americans, and the nation’s still staggering economy, which has lost 10 million jobs since the crisis began last year.


Analysis: Child poverty a hidden focus of virus relief plan

BALTIMORE (AP) — Tucked inside President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan is a seemingly radical notion that children should not grow up in poverty. Congressional Democrats are now sketching out that vision more fully by proposing to temporarily raise the child tax credit to as much as $3,600 per child annually. Their plan would also make the credit fully available to the poorest families. The plan has shifted some of the politics around child poverty. Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah has proposed his own plan to provide at least $3,000 per child to families. But those payments would be funded by cutting other government programs and tax credits for parents.


Twitter posts strong Q4 results as user base, revenue jumps

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Twitter posted solid results for the last three months of 2020, capping what CEO Jack Dorsey called “an extraordinary year” for the platform. New users signed on in large numbers to follow the world’s events in real time despite the challenges of election misinformation and intensifying calls to ban now former President Donald Trump. Twitter had 192 million daily users, on average, in the third quarter, up 27% year-over-year. By comparison, Facebook had 1.84 billion daily users on average in December 2020, an increase of 11% year-over-year. Twitter does not disclose monthly user figures.


China blocks Clubhouse, app used for political discussion

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese authorities are blocking access to Clubhouse, a social media app that allowed users in China to discuss sensitive topics with people abroad including Taiwan and treatment of the country’s Muslim minority. The move adds Clubhouse to thousands of websites and social media apps to which the ruling Communist Party blocks access to try to control what China’s public sees and reads. A non-profit monitor of Chinese internet filtering says service to Clubhouse users in China was interrupted late Monday. President Xi Jinping’s government refuses to acknowledge the existence of the internet blocking.


US hiring plunged in December even as job openings ticked up

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers cut back sharply on hiring in December, particularly in pandemic-hit industries such as restaurants and hotels, as soaring virus infections and government restrictions weakened the economy that month. The number of available jobs rose slightly and layoffs fell, according to the Labor Department’s Tuesday report, known as the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS. The report provides more granular detail about the job market than the government’s monthly employment figures.


Huawei founder sees no end to US sanctions

BEIJING (AP) — The founder of Huawei says he doubts President Joe Biden will remove U.S. sanctions that battered the telecom equipment giant’s smartphone sales but expressed confidence the company can survive. Ren Zhengfei said strong sales of network gear and other technology should make up for Huawei’s weaker handset business, according to a transcript released by the company. Huawei Technologies Ltd., China’s first global tech brand, is at the centre of a conflict with Washington over technology and security. American officials say the maker of network equipment and smartphones might facilitate Chinese spying, an accusation Ren and other executives deny.


The S&P 500 index slipped 4.36 points or 0.1%, to 3,911.23. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 9.93 points, or less than 0.1%, to 31,375.83. The Nasdaq rose 20.06 points, or 0.1%, to 14,007.70. The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks rose 9.24 points, or 0.4%, to 2,299.

The Associated Press

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