Wednesday, October 20, 2021
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Business Highlights: No airport for Mexico; Crude down, natural gas unchanged

🕐 4 min read

The S&P 500 index fell 17.44 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,641.25. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 245.39 points, or 1 percent, to 24,442.92. The Nasdaq composite lost 116.92 points, or 1.6 percent, to 7,050.29. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 6.51 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,447.31.

The price of U.S. crude oil dropped 0.8 percent to $67.04 per barrel in New York while Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 0.4 percent to $77.34 per barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline added 0.5 percent to $1.82 a gallon and heating oil slid 0.8 percent to $2.28 a gallon. Natural gas was unchanged at $3.19 per 1,000 cubic feet.


Stocks tumble again on report US plans more tariffs

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks close sharply lower in another turbulent day of trading following a report that the U.S. is preparing to put tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports if talks between the countries don’t produce progress soon. Industrial and technology companies too the worst losses. Amazon slid again, and Netflix and Facebook also fell. The S&P 500 index is down 9.4 percent in October, putting it on track for its worst month since the financial crisis.


As stocks plunge, should you overhaul your financial plan?

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are spiraling lower again, bonds are losing money and everything suddenly feels very shaky. Time to overhaul your financial plan, right? Financial advisers hope your answer is an emphatic “no.” Ideally, you already set up your plan with the understanding that something as common as a 10 percent tumble in stocks would occur again and again.


US consumer spending up inflation-adjusted 0.3 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer spending rose by an inflation-adjusted 0.3 percent in September, led by increased spending on health care services and motor vehicles. The Commerce Department also says that the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation returned to the central bank’s 2 annual percent target after having been slightly elevated in prior months. In addition, personal incomes rose 0.2 percent in September, but roughly half of those gains were wiped out by inflation.


Lion Air crash renews concerns about Indonesia airlines

The fatal crash of a Lion Air jet is renewing safety questions about Indonesian airlines, which were banned from the U.S. and Europe for several years. Like other countries in Asia, Indonesia is seeing a boom in air travel, putting pressure on airlines, government overseers and infrastructure to keep up. The plane involved is a new version of Boeing’s popular 737.


IBM’s $34B Red Hat deal is risky bid to boost cloud business

NEW YORK (AP) — IBM’s plan to buy Red Hat is both the biggest acquisition in IBM’s century-long history and a risky effort to position itself as a major player in cloud computing. Cloud computing is big for IBM, but it has been overshadowed by Amazon, Microsoft and others. The Red Hat deal could allow IBM to reset the landscape.


US election integrity depends on security-challenged firms

The real guardians of U.S. elections are a trio of privately held companies with a history of technical problems and security vulnerabilities in the election technology they sell. Experts say the companies have long skimped on security in favor of convenience, making it difficult to detect intrusions or tampering. The businesses face scant federal oversight and operate under a shroud of technical and financial secrecy.


Can a holographic screen help a new phone break out?

NEW YORK (AP) — Most leading phones increasingly offer the same basics: Big screens, decent battery life and good cameras. Yet it can be difficult to break through even with something innovative. One such smartphone launches this week from Red, a company with roots in movie cameras. Its Hydrogen One has a holographic screen that produces 3-D visuals without needing special glasses. But analysts say it will likely remain a niche product.


Mexico referendum nixes partly built $13 billion airport

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s President-elect says he will respect the result of a referendum that rejected a partly built new airport for Mexico City, effectively ending the $13 billion project. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says the voters’ decision is ‘democratic, rational and efficient.’


Google to give away $25 million to fund humane AI projects

SUNNYVALE, Calif. (AP) — Google will give away $25 million to projects that propose ways to use the artificial intelligence of computers to help create a more humane society. The grant program announced Monday is part of a broader Google initiative called “AI for Social Good” aimed at easing mounting concerns that steady advances in artificial intelligence will eliminate jobs and perhaps even be autonomously deployed by the military to kill people. Google’s nonprofit arm will announce the AI grant winners next spring.


Economist: NKorea eying Swiss, Singaporean-style success

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — A senior government economist has told The Associated Press that North Korea is exploring a grand plan to become a regional transportation hub, inspired in part by the successes of Singapore and Switzerland. The economist said Pyongyang would also be open to joining world financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, but said that could only happen if current member states give up their “hostile” policies toward the North.


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