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Business Highlights

Last Updated May 29, 2020 at 5:28 pm EDT

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Twitter obscures, warns on Trump tweet ‘glorifying violence’

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Twitter has added a warning to one of President Donald Trump’s tweets about protests in Minneapolis. The company says the tweet violated the platform’s rules about glorifying violence. Trump has been at war with Twitter since earlier this week, when it applied fact checks to two of his tweets about mail-in ballots. The third tweet to be flagged is about violent protests over the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer kneeled on his neck. Trump tweeted, “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

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US consumer spending sinks by record 13.6% in face of virus

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer spending plunged by a record-shattering 13.6% in April as the viral pandemic shuttered businesses, forced millions of layoffs and sent the economy into a deep recession. Last month’s spending decline was far worse than the revised 6.9% drop in March, which itself had set a record for the steepest one-month fall in records dating to 1959. The figures reinforced evidence that the economy is gripped by the worst downturn in decades, with consumers unable or too anxious to spend much. Even with employers cutting millions of jobs, though, incomes soared 10.5% in April, reflecting billions of dollars in government payments in the form of unemployment aid and stimulus checks.

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Stocks erase a loss as worries over China tensions fizzle

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market erased an early drop and ended mixed, capping a strong week and month. Major U.S. indexes had started the day lower Friday as traders worried that President Donald Trump would reignite a trade war with China, but in a late-afternoon announcement from the White House he instead said the U.S. would cut ties with the World Health Organization, saying it had failed to adequately respond to the coronavirus because China has “total control” over the global organization. The S&P 500 rose 0.5% and closed out its second straight monthly gain. Bond yields fell.

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Powell: Fed to soon begin ‘challenging’ Main Street lending

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged that the Fed faces a major challenge with the launch in the coming days of a program through which the Fed will lend directly to private companies for the first time since the Great Depression. The Fed’s Main Street Lending is geared toward medium-sized companies that are too large for the government’s small business lending program and too small to sell bonds or stock to the public. The loans will technically be made by banks, but the Fed will buy 85% to 95% of each loan, thereby reducing the risk to banks and freeing them to do more lending.

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Debate over $600 in jobless aid to intensify as claims rise

WASHINGTON (AP) — A debate in Congress over whether to extend $600 a week in federally provided benefits to the unemployed looks sure to intensify with the number of people receiving the aid now topping 30 million — one in five workers. The money, included in a government relief package enacted in March, is set to expire July 31. Yet with the unemployment rate widely expected to still be in the mid-teens by then, members of both parties will face pressure to compromise on some form of renewed benefits for the jobless. Democrats have proposed keeping the $600-a-week payments through January in a $3 trillion relief package that the House approved this month along party lines.

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White House punts economic update as election draws near

WASHINGTON (AP) — The economic news is likely to continue to be bad throughout much of this year. Now, the White House is taking the unusual step of deciding not to release an updated economic forecast for this year. It’s a fresh sign of the administration’s anxiety about how the coronavirus has ravaged the nation just months before the November presidential election. The decision was revealed by a senior Trump administration official who was not authorized to publicly comment on it and spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity. An astonishing 41 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since shutdowns intended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus began in mid-March.

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Slaughterhouses reopen but farmers still euthanizing pigs

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Meatpacking plants that had to briefly close due to coronavirus outbreaks have been back up and running for weeks, but production backlogs are forcing farmers to euthanize thousands of hogs that can’t be processed, drawing complaints from animal welfare advocates. The preferred methods of euthanizing hogs include gunshots or electrocution, but when thousands must be destroyed en masse, producers shut off the ventilation, causing heat to build up in barns and kill them. Animal welfare groups say that is inhumane and should be stopped. An estimated 2.5 million hogs are backed up on farms nationwide.

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The S&P 500 rose 14.58 points, or 0.5%, to 3,044.31. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 17.53 points, or 0.1%, to 25,383.11. The Nasdaq composite gained 120.88 points, or 1.3%, to 9,489.87. The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks gave up 6.64 points, or 0.5%, to 1,394.04.

The Associated Press

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