Tuesday, May 18, 2021
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Business Highlights: Banks, insurers pull stocks lower; oil snaps 12-day skid; crude up, natural gas soars

NEW YORK (AP) — A turbulent day of trading on Wall Street ended Wednesday with a fifth consecutive loss for the benchmark S&P 500 index. Technology companies, banks and insurers fared the worst, their losses outweighing gains in other sectors. Bond prices rose as traders shifted money into low-risk assets. That pulled yields down, which hurts banks by driving interest rates on loans lower. Energy stocks rebounded as crude oil prices snapped a 12-day losing streak. Precious metals also rose.


The S&P 500 index fell 20.60 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,701.58. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 205.99 points, or 0.8 percent, to 25,080.50. The Nasdaq composite dropped 64.48 points, or 0.9 percent, to 7,136.39. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gave up 12.30 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,502.51.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil gained 1 percent to settle at $56.25 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 1 percent to close at $66.12 a barrel in London. Natural gas soared 17.9 percent to $4.84 per 1,000 cubic feet. Heating oil rose 1.6 percent to $2.10 a gallon and wholesale gasoline gained 1.2 percent to $1.56 a gallon.___

Big question for Amazon’s 2 chosen cities: Will it pay off?

WASHINGTON (AP) — The awarding of Amazon’s second headquarters to two affluent localities has fanned intense speculation around a key question: For the winning cities, will the economic payoff prove to be worth the cost? Amazon’s decision will bring to Arlington, Virginia, and to the Long Island City section of New York jobs and investment. But the influx is sure to swell already-high home prices and apartment rents and could overwhelm public transportation systems.


May wins Cabinet backing for Brexit deal but pitfalls remain

LONDON (AP) — In a hard-won victory, British Prime Minister Theresa May has persuaded her Cabinet to back a draft divorce agreement with the European Union, a decision that triggers the final steps in the long and rocky road to Brexit. But she still faces pitfalls and threats from her domestic opponents as she tries to navigate the U.K.’s orderly exit from the EU.


Hearing reveals chilling details of fatal Southwest flight

WASHINGTON (AP) — The harrowing details from a fatal Southwest flight in April were released for the first time Wednesday during a hearing with the National Transportation Safety Board. Passengers and flight attendants described a woman hanging out of the plane’s window and trying to pull her back in after the engine failed on Southwest Flight 1380, which carried 144 passengers and five crew members.


California’s PG&E rocked as wildfire liability concerns rise

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — PG&E’s stock has lost more than 20 percent of its value Wednesday after the utility said it does not have nearly enough insurance coverage if it is found liable for a Northern California wildfire that has left at least 48 people dead and destroyed about 7,700 homes. San Francisco based Pacific Gas & Electric Co. told Wall Street regulators that if its equipment were found to have caused the fire it “could be subject to significant liability in excess of insurance coverage.”


EU trade chief says hit list of US products being developed

WASHINGTON (AP) —European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom says that the EU is preparing a target list of American products it will hit with punitive tariffs if the Trump administration goes through with its threat to impose tariffs on European auto imports. Malmstrom reported no breakthroughs on resolving the auto dispute or the battle over tariffs the United States has already imposed on steel and aluminum imports.


US government: 3 SKorean firms to pay $236M in bid-rig plot

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department says three South Korean companies have agreed to pay $236 million to settle allegations they were part of a bid-rigging scheme that overcharged the U.S. military for fuel at bases in South Korea. The settlement of the criminal and civil charges was announced Wednesday. The three companies will pay about $82 million in criminal fines. They’ll also pay $154 million in civil damages.


Volkswagen to devote 3 German plants to electric car push

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — German automaker Volkswagen says it will convert three factories in Germany to manufacture electric cars, getting ready to ramp up production ahead of tougher European emissions standards. The company said on Wednesday it would begin local production of electric-powered vehicles at its facilities in Emden and Hannover in 2022. A plant in Zwickau was designated previously for e-car production. Volkswagen personnel head Gunnar Kilian says workers were given a jobs guarantee through 2028.


Feds subpoena Snap over shareholder lawsuit

NEW YORK (AP) — Snap Inc. has received federal subpoenas related to a class-action lawsuit stemming from its 2017 initial public offering. The lawsuit, filed last May, claims that Snap misled investors about its user growth before going public. The company said in a statement Wednesday that it has been responding to subpoenas and requests for information from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice.


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