Stocks fall as investors mull inflation concerns, recovery
NEW YORK (AP) — The main stock indexes are mixed in afternoon trading amid concerns about rising interest rates and the potential for inflation down the road. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite have been down since the open, but the Dow has moved into positive territory.
Wall Street remains hopeful that another round of government aid can give the economy a jolt as vaccine distribution continues. The U.S. House of Representatives is likely to vote on President Joe Biden’s proposed stimulus package by the end of the week.
Crude oil prices rose and helped lift energy stocks, while rising Treasury yields gave banks a boost.
EMERGENCY LANDING-ENGINE FAILURE
Boeing: 777s with engine that blew apart should be grounded
UNDATED (AP) — Boeing has recommended that airlines ground all 777s with the type of engine that blew apart after takeoff from Denver this weekend, and most carriers that fly those planes said they would temporarily pull them from service.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration ordered United Airlines to step up inspections of the aircraft after one of its flights made an emergency landing Saturday. Pieces of the casing of the Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engine rained down on suburban neighborhoods.
United is among the carriers that has grounded the planes.
The FAA administrator said in a statement Sunday that “the inspection interval should be stepped up for the hollow fan blades that are unique to this model of engine, used solely on Boeing 777 airplanes.”
BIDEN-PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM
Biden boosts pandemic lending to smallest businesses
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is targeting more federal pandemic assistance to the nation’s smallest businesses and ventures owned by women and people of color.
The administration is establishing a two-week window, starting on Wednesday, in which only businesses with fewer than 20 employees can apply for forgivable loans under the Paycheck Protection Program.
Such businesses make up the majority of small businesses in the U.S. Biden’s team is also carving out $1 billion to direct toward sole proprietors, such as home contractors and beauticians, the majority of which are owned by women and people of color.
Key senators oppose Biden budget pick, confirmation at risk
WASHINGTON (AP) — Moderate Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah say they’ll vote against confirming President Joe Biden’s nominee for budget director.
The opposition of the two Republicans casts further doubt on Neera Tanden’s chances of being confirmed to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget.
Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia on Friday became the first Democratic lawmaker to oppose Tanden, who’d be the first woman of color to lead the agency.
The White House calls Tanden “an accomplished policy expert” and says it’s standing by her.
Tanden during her confirmation hearings apologized for attacking Republicans and other lawmakers on her Twitter account.
VOTING COMPANY LAWSUIT-LINDELL
Dominion Voting Systems sues ‘MyPillow Guy’ for $1.3 billion
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Dominion Voting Systems has filed a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against the founder of Minnesota-based MyPillow.
The lawsuit alleges Mike Lindell falsely accused Dominion of rigging the presidential election and ignored repeated warnings from Dominion to stop. Dominion accuses Lindell of repeatedly telling what the lawsuit labels the “Big Lie” that the company stole the election.
Lindell says he’s glad Dominion sued and that the legal process will vindicate him.
The voting technology company has filed similar lawsuits against Donald Trump lawyers Rudolph Giuliani and Sidney Powell.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in the District of Columbia Monday.
Microsoft, EU publishers seek Australia-style news payments
LONDON (AP) — Microsoft is teaming up with European publishers to push for a system to make big tech platforms pay for news.
The move raises the stakes in the brewing battle over whether Google and Facebook should pay for journalism.
The U.S. tech giant and four big European Union news industry lobbying groups have unveiled a plan to work together to come up with a solution to “mandate payments” for use of news content from online “gatekeepers with dominant market power.” They said they will “take inspiration” from proposed legislation in Australia to force tech platforms to share revenue with news companies and which includes an arbitration system to resolve disputes over a fair price for news.
Fukushima nuclear plant operator: Seismometers were broken
TOKYO (AP) — The operator of the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant says two seismometers at one of its three melted reactors have been out of order since last year and did not collect data when a powerful earthquake struck the area earlier this month.
The acknowledgement raised new questions about whether the company’s risk management has improved since a massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011 destroyed much of the plant.
The malfunctioning seismometers surfaced during a Nuclear Regulation Authority meeting to discuss new damage at the plant resulting from a magnitude 7.3 quake that struck the region on Feb. 13. Cooling water and pressure levels fell in two reactors, indicating additional damage.
Sanofi to help second rival produce COVID-19 vaccines
PARIS (AP) — French drug maker Sanofi is going to produce as many as 12 million coronavirus vaccine doses per month for rival Johnson & Johnson.
The deal is the second time the French drug maker is turning over production facilities to speed up supplies of a rival company’s vaccine, while its own vaccine candidate faces delays.
Sanofi’s announcement on Monday was quickly trumpeted by French President Emmanuel Macron. Sanofi said its Marcy l’Etoile vaccine manufacturing plant near the city of Lyon will formulate and fill vials of the single-dose vaccine for Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen companies.
Shops, haircuts return in April as UK lifts lockdown slowly
LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a gradual easing of one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns on, saying children will return to class and people will be able to meet a friend for coffee in a park in two weeks’ time.
But people longing for a haircut, a restaurant meal or a pint in a pub have almost two months to wait, and people won’t be able to hug loved ones that they don’t live with until May at the earliest.
Under the plan announced Monday, schools reopen March 8, while shops and hairdressers can reopen April 12. So can pubs and restaurants, though only outdoors.
Britain has had Europe’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak, with more than 120,000 deaths.
Huawei unveils flagship foldable smartphone
BEIJING (AP) — Struggling under U.S. sanctions, Chinese tech giant Huawei has unveiled a new flagship foldable smartphone but says it will only be sold in China.
The Mate X2 marks a fresh effort by Huawei Technologies Ltd. to reinforce its status as a tech leader but highlights its challenges after Washington cut off access to U.S. processor chips and Google services.
Last year, Huawei fell from No. 1 among smartphone brands to sixth place. Huawei, China’s first global tech brand, was battered by being put on an export blacklist by then-U.S. President Donald Trump in 2019 as a security risk, an accusation the company denies.
Huawei sold its budget-priced Honor handset business in November to focus its resources on higher-end models.