Dow Today – Business Highlights: Jobless rate, service sector growth
US jobless rate sinks to 4.2% as many more people find jobs
WASHINGTON (AP) — America’s unemployment rate tumbled last month to its lowest point since the pandemic struck, even as employers appeared to slow their hiring — a mixed picture that pointed to a resilient economy that’s putting more people to work. The government reported Friday that private businesses and other employers added just 210,000 jobs in November, the weakest monthly gain in nearly a year and less than half of October’s gain of 546,000.
Growth in US service sector reaches new heights in November
WASHINGTON (AP) — Growth in the services sector, where most Americans work, hit an all-time high in November, surpassing the previous record set in October. The Institute for Supply Management reported Friday that its monthly survey of service industries increased by 2.4 percentage points in November from October record to a reading of 69.1 percent. Some of the strength in the services sector is coming from supply chain troubles that are making it harder to meet increased demand.
Struggling Chinese developer warns it could run out of money
BEIJING (AP) — A troubled Chinese developer struggling under $310 billion in debt has warned it may run out of money to “perform its financial obligations.” Regulators rushed to reassure investors that China’s financial markets can be protected from a possible impact. Evergrande Group’s struggle to comply with official pressure to reduce debt has fueled anxiety that a possible default might trigger a financial crisis. Economists say global markets are unlikely to be affected but that banks and bondholders might suffer losses because Beijing wants to avoid a bailout. The central bank and bank and securities regulators said China’s financial system is strong and that Beijing will keep lending markets functioning.
Sanders to Biden: Cut back looming Medicare premium hike
WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Bernie Sanders is asking the White House to cut back a big Medicare premium hike set to take effect in weeks and tied to a pricey Alzheimer’s drug whose benefits have been widely questioned. In a letter Friday to President Joe Biden, the Vermont Independent called on the president to prevent the portion of an “outrageous increase” in Medicare premiums that’s attributable to Aduhelm, a newly approved Alzheimer’s medicine from drugmaker Biogen priced at $56,000 a year. A planned increase of $21.60 a month this January in Medicare’s “Part B” premium for outpatient care would be slashed closer to $10.
Stocks slump after murky jobs report as markets swing
NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street closed out a bumpy week with more losses on Friday following a mixed reading on U.S. jobs markets that investors said was tough to parse. The S&P 500 gave up an early gain and closed 0.8% lower. The benchmark index is coming off a jolting stretch where it swerved by at least 1.2% in five straight days, pounded by uncertainty about how the newest coronavirus variant and about when the Federal Reserve will halt its support for markets. Treasury yields fell, rose and then fell again as investors struggled to square what the jobs report means the Fed will do.
No currency manipulator labels from US, China on watch
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration will not designate any country as a currency manipulator, but it did name China, Vietnam and Taiwan among the nations that have failed to live up to global agreements not to use their currencies to gain unfair trade advantages. In a report to Congress released Friday, the Treasury Department cited China for a number of failures that prevent trading partners from gaining full knowledge of how it is manages its currency. The Treasury plans to closely monitor the foreign exchange activities of China’s state-owned banks to get a clearer picture of China’s currency practices, according to the report.
China’s Didi to leave US stock market amid tech crackdown
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Global Inc. says it will pull out of the New York Stock Exchange and shift its listing to Hong Kong as the ruling Communist Party tightens control over tech industries. Didi gave no explanation, but the company’s U.S. market debut in June was disrupted by a data security crackdown launched by Chinese regulators. The company earlier denied reports it planned to buy back its U.S. shares. The share price tumbled after the government announced it was investigating how Didi gathered and handled data on customers, an increasingly sensitive issue in China. The company raised about $4.4 billion in its June market debut.
DAs, retailers say California needs stronger shoplifting law
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Prosecutors and retailers are pushing back on assertions by California’s governor and attorney general that they have enough tools to combat shoplifting and other retail thefts. California Retailers Association President Rachel Michelin says recent large-scale thefts in which groups of individuals steal in plain sight or smash and grab from display cases raises it to a whole new level. California is hardly alone, with similar problems elsewhere in the country. California critics point to a 7-year-old ballot measure that reduced certain theft and drug possession offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta say police and prosecutors still have the legal tools to go after such perpetrators.
The S&P 500 fell 38.67 points, or 0.8%, to 4,538.43. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 59.71 points, or 0.2%, to 34,580.08. The Nasdaq tumbled 295.85 points, or 1.9%, to 15,085.47. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies dropped 47.02 points, or 2.1%, to 2,159.31.