April 11, 2021

Business Highlights

BESSEMER, Ala. (AP) — Amazon workers voted against forming a union at a warehouse in…

BESSEMER, Ala. (AP) — Amazon workers voted against forming a union at a warehouse in Alabama, The win proved the might of the online shopping giant and cut off a path that labor activists had hoped would lead to similar efforts throughout the company and beyond. Amazon crossed the threshold to secure a majority of votes, with 1,798 warehouse workers voting against the union and 738 voting in favor, according to the National Labor Relations Board, which is overseeing the process. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which led the organizing efforts in Bessemer, said it would file an objection with the NLRB charging the company with illegally interfering with the union vote.

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Ready to buy a home? The trick is finding or affording one

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Homebuyers are facing the most competitive U.S. housing market in decades this spring. Surging prices and a record-low number of homes for sale are narrowing the already difficult path to homeownership for many Americans. From Los Angeles to Boston, homes are selling within days of hitting the market. They often fetch multiple offers that are driving prices well above what sellers are asking. A closely watched index that tracks home prices in 20 U.S. cities recorded an annual increase of 11.1% in January. That’s the biggest gain in seven years. The competitive frenzy is driving homeownership further out of reach for many Americans.

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Tech company gains help push S&P 500 to record high

NEW YORK (AP) — Technology companies helped lift stocks on Wall Street to a record high Friday. Apple and Intel soared about 2%. The S&P 500 rose 0.8% for its third straight weekly gain. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.9%, setting its own record high. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.5%. Levi Strauss shares jumped after the jeans maker posted strong first-quarter results. Stocks have been edging higher most of the week as investors remain cautiously optimistic about economic growth and progress against the pandemic.

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Study: Facebook delivers biased job ads, skewed by gender

Facebook is showing different job ads to women and men in a way that might run afoul of anti-discrimination laws, according to a new study. University of Southern California researchers who examined the ad-delivery algorithms of Facebook and LinkedIn found that Facebook’s were skewed by gender beyond what can be legally justified by differences in job qualifications. Men were more likely to see Domino’s pizza delivery driver job ads on Facebook, while women were more likely to see Instacart shopper ads. The trend also held in higher-paying engineering jobs at tech firms and perpetuated the existing gender breakdown at those companies.

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Musk statement on Tesla production raises questions

DETROIT (AP) — Tesla CEO Elon Musk is once again drawing scrutiny for questionable comments he made to Wall Street analysts, this time involving the status of his company’s vehicle production. On a Jan. 27 conference call to discuss Tesla’s fourth-quarter earnings, Musk stated that the company was producing new versions of its oldest models, the S sedan and X large SUV. In reality, Tesla produced none of either model during the quarter, according to delivery and production figures that the company released late last week. Instead, all the roughly 180,000 vehicles that Tesla made from January through March were of its other models, the 3 small sedan and the Y small SUV.

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Biden budget seeks more for schools, health care and housing

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has released a $1.5 trillion wish list for inclusion in the federal budget. He’s asking for substantial gains for education, health care, housing and environmental protection. But Republicans are complaining that there isn’t more for the military and national defense. Friday’s request, issued by the White House Office of Management and Budget, spells out Biden’s top priorities as Congress weighs its spending plans for next year. It’s the first financial outline of the Democrats’ broader ambitions since the expiration of a 2011 law that capped discretionary spending. The administration says that law caused underinvestment in needed programs.

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Airlines pull Boeing Max jets to inspect electrical systems

CHICAGO (AP) — Airlines are pulling dozens of Boeing 737 Max planes out of service again, this time to inspect them for a possible electrical problem. Boeing says it has informed 16 of its customers that they should address a possible electrical issue in certain 737 Max aircraft before using them further. Boeing said Friday that the recommendation was made “to allow for verification that a sufficient ground path exists for a component of the electrical power system.” It did not specify how many aircraft could be potentially impacted by its recommendation.

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Wholesale prices up 1% in March, energy leads the way again

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — Wholesale prices jumped again in March pushed by another big increase in energy prices, the government reported Friday. The Labor Department’s producer price index, which measures inflation before it reaches consumers, rose 1% in March, follows last month’s 0.5% gain and a record jump of 1.3% in January. Energy prices jumped 5.9%, the Labor Department said Friday. That follows increases of 6% last month, 5.1% in January and 4.7% in December. Energy prices accounted for 60% of the March’s advance in wholesale prices, with gasoline costs up 8.8%.

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The S&P 500 rose 31.63 points, 0.8%, to 4,128.80. The Dow gained 297.03 points, or 0.9%, to 33,800.60. The Nasdaq composite picked up 70.88 points, or 0.5%, to 13,900.19. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies inched up 0.88 points, or less than 0.1%, to 2,243.47.