Dow Today – Debt limit, World Bank inquiry
House to try suspending cap on borrowing authority next week
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats said Friday they planned to take action next week to suspend the cap on the government’s borrowing authority. At the same time, the White House ratcheted up pressure on Republicans by warning state and local governments that severe cuts lie ahead if the measure fails in the Senate. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said Republicans won’t vote to raise the debt limit and so Democrats must act on their own. McConnell says Republicans will not facilitate another “reckless spending spree.” The debt limit is the amount of money Congress allows the Treasury to borrow.
Inquiry puts ex-World Bank officials under scrutiny on China
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former officials of the World Bank are under pressure after an investigation found that they pressured staff members to alter data on global business conditions in order to favor China and some other governments. The World Bank said it would discontinue its “Doing Business” report in the wake of the investigation, which was conducted by the law firm WilmerHale after internal assertions of “data irregularities” in the 2018 and 2020 editions of the report and possible “ethical matters” involving bank staff.
US panel backs COVID-19 boosters only for elderly, high-risk
WASHINGTON (AP) — An influential federal advisory panel has overwhelmingly rejected a plan to give Pfizer booster shots against COVID-19 to most Americans, but it endorsed the extra doses for those who are 65 or older or run a high risk of severe disease. The twin votes Friday represented a heavy blow to the Biden administration’s sweeping effort to shore up nearly all Americans’ protection amid the spread of the highly contagious delta variant. The decision was made by a committee of outside experts who advise the Food and Drug Administration.
Man sentenced to 12 years in $200 million phone-fraud scheme
SEATTLE (AP) — A Pakistan resident has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for a conspiracy to “unlock” phones from AT&T’s network, a scheme that the company says cost it more than $200 million. Muhammad Fahd began bribing employees of an AT&T call center in Bothell, Washington, in 2012, to use their credentials to unlock phones — allowing them to be removed from AT&T’s network, even if customers had not finished paying for the expensive devices. He later had them install malware on the company’s network, allowing him to unlock the phones from Pakistan. He paid three AT&T workers $922,000 from 2012 to 2017 before he was arrested in Hong Kong.
China applies to join Pacific trade pact abandoned by Trump
BEIJING (AP) — China has applied to join an 11-nation Asia-Pacific free trade group in an effort to increase its influence over international policies. The Commerce Ministry said Beijing submitted an application to New Zealand, which acts as a representative of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. The CPTPP previously was known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It was promoted by then-President Barack Obama as part of Washington’s increased emphasis on relations with Asia. Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, pulled out of the group in 2017. The CPTPP, which took effect in 2018, includes agreements on market access, movement of labor and government procurement.
MacKenzie Scott dominates donations to racial equity
Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has funded organizations that received the most money for racial equity in 27 different states following the police killing of George Floyd. According to an AP analysis of new preliminary data from the philanthropy research organization Candid, Scott was responsible for approximately $567 million given to these organizations. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been gifted to HBCU powerhouses like Morehouse College and other little-known groups. In at least 11 states, Scott provided the majority of racial equity-oriented contributions to the top recipients. But the scope of her impact could be much larger in some states, mainly because it’s unclear how all of her donations have been fragmented to individual groups.
Stocks fall on Wall Street, giving up the week’s gains
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks closed lower on Wall Street Friday, marking a feeble ending to an up-and-down week of trading. The S&P 500 index lost 0.9%. The benchmark index had its second straight weekly loss. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.5% and the Nasdaq fell 0.9%. Roughly 80% of the stocks in the benchmark S&P 500 fell, and every sector except health care was in the red. Technology and communications companies were the biggest drags on the market. Energy prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.38% from 1.33% a day earlier.
Union Pacific CEO sees strong economy coming out of pandemic
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — As Union Pacific’s CEO, Lance Fritz has had to find ways to keep the freight moving during the coronavirus pandemic as the economy nearly ground to a halt and then roared back to life. Now he is working to help clear up a major backlog in imported shipments. In the spring of 2020 — at the height of the restrictions related to the pandemic — shipping volume fell more than 20% before rebounding sharply later that year. Railroads had to cut staff quickly while still making sure they had enough people to cover virus-related illnesses and quarantines before rehiring at a fast pace to handle the return in volume. Current shipping volumes are nearly even with 2019 signaling that demand is back at pre-pandemic levels and the economy is strong, although it has weakened a bit recently as virus cases surged.
The S&P 500 fell 40.76 points, or 0.9%, to 4,432.99. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 166.44 points, or 0.5%, to 34,584.88. The Nasdaq dropped 137.96 points, or 0.9%, to 15,043.97. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 3.96 points, or 0.2%, to 2,236.87.