The Canadian Press
This holiday season, everyone is shopping from home
NEW YORK (AP) — The viral pandemic is accelerating a transformation of America’s holiday shopping season. Few people showed up to the mall this weekend, with pandemic-wary shoppers staying home to shop online. The result? Overall holiday sales are projected to rise a slight 0.9% in November and December — and even that modest gain will be due to an explosion in online shopping, according to the research firm eMarketer. It expects online sales to jump nearly 36%, while sales at physical stores fall 4.7%. Once the final numbers are tallied up, Cyber Monday is projected to become the biggest online shopping day in American history.
Biden names liberal econ team as pandemic threatens workers
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — With unemployment still high and a new economic slump possible this winter, President-elect Joe Biden has announced a liberal team of economic advisers. His picks have long focused on workers, inequality, and the disadvantaged. Janet Yellen, Biden’s nominee for treasury secretary, served as chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018, when she placed a greater emphasis than previous Fed chairs on maximizing employment, and less focus on price inflation. Biden also named Cecilia Rouse as chair of the council of economic advisers, and Heather Boushey and Jared Bernstein as members of the council. All are outspoken supporters of more stimulus spending to boost growth and government efforts to address economic inequality.
Moderna asking US, European regulators to OK its virus shots
Moderna Inc. says it will ask U.S. and European regulators to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine as new study results confirm the shots offer strong protection. Multiple vaccine candidates must succeed for the world to stamp out the coronavirus pandemic. Moderna is just behind Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech in seeking to begin vaccinations in the U.S. in December. The Massachusetts company revealed the new results Monday. It says of 196 COVID-19 cases so far in its huge U.S. study, only 11 were trial participants who received the real vaccine. Thirty people got severely ill, and all of them got the placebo.
Powell says pace of economic improvement has moderated
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says that the pace of improvement in the economy has moderated in recent months with future prospects remaining “extraordinarily uncertain.” In remarks released by the Fed on Monday, Powell said that the increase in new COVID-19 cases both in the United States and abroad was “concerning and could prove challenging for the next few months. A full economic recovery is unlikely until people are confident that it is safe to reengage in a broad range of activities.” Powell said while progress on developing vaccines had been “very positive,” significant challenges remained regarding the timing, production and distribution of the vaccines and it remained difficult to assess the economic implications of this process with any degree of confidence.
Congress returns with virus aid, federal funding unresolved
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is returning to Washington for one last attempt at deal-making this year. The only absolute must-do is preventing a government shutdown on Dec. 11. But lawmakers are also debating whether to deliver another round of coronavirus relief before President Donald Trump leaves office. A virus bill would provide funding for vaccines and testing, for reopening schools and for helping small businesses. But the parties remain divided on the details and the cost. Failure to pass a measure would push virus aid to the top of President-elect Joe Biden’s legislative agenda.
Holiday air travel surges despite dire health warnings
The TSA says nearly 1.2 million people went through U.S. airports on Sunday. That’s the highest number since the coronavirus pandemic gripped the country back in March. And the uptick came despite the pleadings of public health experts for people to stay home over Thanksgiving to limit further spreading the virus. The Transportation Security Administration screened at least 1 million people on four of the last 10 days through Sunday. But that’s still far lower than normal. Last year, airport crowds often topped 2 million people per day over the Thanksgiving period.
GM rethinks planned stake in electric vehicle maker Nikola
NEW YORK (AP) — General Motors will no longer be taking stake in the electric vehicle company Nikola which announced Monday that it would scuttle one of its marquee vehicles, an electric and hydrogen-powered pickup that was to be called the Badger. Shares of Nikola plunged 26%. Nikola released updated terms between the companies for a supply agreement related to GM’s fuel-cell system. The new deal excludes an 11% stake in Nikola for GM. The initial agreement would also have allowed Nikola to use GM’s new battery electric truck underpinnings for the Badger. With that agreement off, Nikola said Monday that it will begin refunding all deposits made by customers for first dibs on the pickup.
Zoom reports big 3Q gains, but slowing growth sinks stock
SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Zoom’s videoconferencing service remains a fixture in pandemic life, but its breakneck growth is showing signs of tapering off as investors debate whether the company will be able to build upon its recent success after a vaccine enables people to intermingle again. Zoom highlighted its head-spinning success story again Monday with the release of its quarterly results for the August to October period. Both revenue and profit soared above analysts’ estimates expectations, but Zoom’s high-flying stock sank more than 4% in extended trading as the number of additional companies signing up for subscriptions dropped off significantly from the two previous quarters.
IMF: Greek debt sustainable despite pandemic-linked spike
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The International Monetary Fund says Greece’s huge public debt remains sustainable in the medium term despite “unprecedented uncertainty” to all sectors of the economy due to the pandemic. Following completion of a new round of monitoring discussions with Athens, the IMF said Monday that Greece’s economy is expected to contract 9.5% this year before expanding 5.7% in 2021. The public debt will reach a record high 208% of GDP this year, before decreasing to 199% in 2021 — compared to an already high 181% last year. The IMF, together with Greece’s European bailout creditors, continues to monitor the country’s economy beyond the end of the 2010-2018 financial crisis and rescue loan program.
Philip Green’s retail empire Arcadia calls in administrators
LONDON (AP) — British retail empire Arcadia Group, which owns well-known fashion chains including Topshop, has gone into bankruptcy protection, putting 13,000 jobs at risk. In another blow to a retail industry hammered by the coronavirus pandemic, Arcadia said it had called in administrators from Deloitte after the pandemic “severely impacted” sales across its brands. Overseen by tycoon Philip Green, one of Britain’s best-known and most controversial business figures, Arcadia includes brand such as Burton, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins. It runs 444 stores in the UK and 22 overseas. The shops have have suffered during the pandemic and the associated restrictions across the U.K.
The S&P 500 lost 16.72 points, or 0.5%, to 3,621.63. The Dow fell 271.73 points, or 0.9%, to 29,638.64. The Nasdaq composite slipped 7.11 points, or 0.1%, to 12,198.74. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gave up 35.45 points, or 1.9%, to 1,819.82.
The Associated Press