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Business Highlights: Jobs report, Pfizer pill – Hub News Report


US employers shrugged off virus and stepped up hiring

WASHINGTON (AP) — America’s employers boosted their hiring in October, adding a solid 531,000 jobs, the most since July and a sign that the recovery from the pandemic recession is overcoming a virus-induced slowdown. The unemployment rate fell to 4.6% last month from 4.8% in September. The jobs report also showed that the gains in August and September weren’t as weak as initially reported: The government revised its estimate of hiring for those two months by a hefty combined 235,000 jobs. All told, the figures point to an economy that is steadily recovering from the pandemic recession, with healthy consumer spending prompting companies in nearly every industry to add workers.


Pfizer says COVID-19 pill cut hospital, death risk by 90%

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pfizer says its experimental pill for COVID-19 cut rates of hospitalization and death by nearly 90% among patients with mild-to-moderate infections. The company announced Friday it will soon ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and international regulators to authorize its pill, which is taken twice a day for five days. A similar pill from competitor Merck is currently under FDA review and was cleared Thursday by U.K. regulators. Drugmakers around the world have been racing to develop an easy-to-use pill to blunt the effects of COVID-19. All therapies now authorized in the U.S. require an IV or injection.


Biden’s bet that economy would boost Democrats falls flat

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy was supposed to help President Joe Biden and Democrats, but as of late it’s been hurting them with voters. Americans have turned pessimistic about the economy as inflation has persisted. On Tuesday, voters in Virginia rewarded Republican Glenn Youngkin with a win in the governor’s election in part based on a belief that he would be better for economic growth. The president could not ignore these realities, yet he said Friday at the White House that the latest numbers show a ruggedly energetic economy.


Lawsuits over workplace vaccine rule focus on states’ rights

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The attorneys general of 26 states have filed federal lawsuits challenging a vaccine mandate for employers issued by the Biden administration. They generally contend that the authority to compel vaccinations rests with the states, not the federal government. The new mandate applies to private employers with at least 100 workers. The Biden administration says it is confident its requirement will withstand the challenges, but legal experts are divided over which side is likely to prevail. Several businesses also joined the lawsuits filed Friday, saying they don’t want to insert themselves into their employees’ health care decisions.


S&P 500 sets seventh straight all-time high on Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks pushed further into record heights on Friday following an encouraging report on hiring across the country. The S&P 500 closed 0.4% higher, clinching an all-time high for the seventh straight day. Trading was scattershot, though, and after climbing to an early gain of 0.8%, the S&P 500 at one point gave up virtually all of it. Stocks retrenched in the middle of the day as Treasury yields surprisingly slumped. The 10-year yield, which tends to move with expectations for the economy and inflation, dropped to 1.44% and is near its lowest level since September. Crude oil prices rose.


Peloton hits the wall after sprinting through pandemic

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — Peloton has suffering its worst day as a publicly traded company. The sell-off came after the exercise bike and treadmill company told investors that it will likely lose more money than it had expected in fiscal 2022. Peloton thrived during the pandemic, recording its first and only profitable quarters. Americans unable to hit the gym, instead set up places to work out at home. But Peloton’s sky-high sales have stalled since the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. Gyms have re-opened and people are beginning to spend money on other things, like travel and restaurants. Its stock lost 35% of its value.


China lashes out at press freedom survey in Hong Kong

HONG KONG (AP) — China has criticized a press freedom survey from the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents’ Club that found nearly half its members are considering leaving the city. The survey says the members are concerned about a decline in press freedoms under a sweeping national security law imposed by Beijing following massive anti-government protests in 2019. Eighty-three of the 99 journalists polled said that the working environment had changed for the worse since the law was introduced last June, leading to the arrests of over 120 people. The Commissioner’s Office of China’s Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong warned the FCC to stop making noise and accused the organization of being black hands that intervene in the city’s affairs. It says there is no absolute press freedom anywhere.


Aaron Feuerstein, famously generous mill owner, dies at 95

BROOKLINE, Mass. (AP) — Aaron Feuerstein has died at age 95 after a life in which he gained fame for continuing to pay workers at his Massachusetts textile mill even after a fire shuttered operations. Feuerstein died Thursday night of complications from a fall days before at his home in Brookline. He used to own Malden Mills. The textile factory in Lawrence was known for its Polartec synthetic fleece fabric. The complex burned in December 1995. But Feuerstein continued to pay his workers for months after the blaze. He also committed to rebuilding the factory. His grandfather had opened it in 1906.


The S&P 500 added 17.47 points, or 0.4%, to 4,697.53. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 203.72 points, or 0.6%, to 36,327.95. The Nasdaq gained 31.28 points, 0.2%, to 15,971.59. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 34.65 points, or 1.4%, to 2,437.08.

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