Update on the latest in business:


Stocks slip as investors digest Fed outlook for the economy

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks edged lower in midday trading on Wall Street as investors continued to interpret new guidance from the Federal Reserve, which is now looking at potentially raising interest rates as soon as 2023. The S&P 500 index fell 0.1%. Banks were the biggest drag on the broader market as bond yields fell significantly. Crude oil prices also slipped and weighed on energy companies. Gold prices slumped and the U.S. dollar rose against several other major currencies. Investors got a bit of mildly disappointing economic news when the Labor Department said the number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits last week rose slightly.


US jobless claims tick up to 412,000 from a pandemic low

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week for the first time since April despite widespread evidence that the economy and the job market are rebounding steadily from the pandemic recession. Jobless claims rose 37,000 from the week before. As the job market has strengthened, the number of weekly applications for unemployment aid has fallen for most of the year. The weekly number of jobless claims generally reflects the pace of layoffs. With vaccinations up and more consumers venturing out to spend — on restaurant meals, airline fares, movie tickets and store purchases — the economy is rapidly recovering from the recession.


Internet outages briefly disrupt access to websites, apps

UNDATED (AP) — A wave of brief internet outages has hit dozens of financial institutions, airlines and other companies. Internet monitoring websites showed disruptions across the globe. Many of the outages were reported by people in Australia trying to do banking, book flights and access postal services. Australia’s central bank also was affected, as was Hong Kong’s stock exchange. Most of the outages appeared to end after an hour or so. Brief internet service outages are not uncommon and are only rarely the result of hacking or other mischief. But the outages have underscored how vital a small number of behind-the-scenes companies have become to running the internet.


High court backs Nestle, Cargill in child slave labor suit

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has sided with food giants Nestle and Cargill in a lawsuit that claimed they knowingly bought cocoa beans from farms in Africa that used child slave labor. The justices ruled 8-1 on Thursday in favor of the food companies and against a group of six adult citizens of Mali that claimed they were taken from their country as children and forced to work on cocoa farms in neighboring Ivory Coast. The justices said an appeals court was wrong to let the group’s lawsuit go forward. Switzerland-based Nestle and Minneapolis-based Cargill have said they have taken steps to combat child slavery and have denied any wrongdoing.


‘Obamacare’ survives: Supreme Court dismisses big challenge

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has dismissed a challenge to the Obama era health care law, preserving insurance coverage for millions of Americans. The justices left the entire law intact Thursday in ruling that Texas, other Republican-led states and two individuals had no right to bring their lawsuit in federal court. The law’s major provisions include protections for people with pre-existing health conditions, a range of no-cost preventive services and the expansion of the Medicaid program that insures lower-income people, including those who work in jobs that don’t pay much or provide health insurance. Also left in place is the law’s now-toothless requirement that people have health insurance or pay a penalty.


Fauci: US to spend $3.2B for antiviral pills for COVID-19

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is devoting more than $3 billion to advance development of antiviral pills for COVID-19 and other dangerous viruses that could turn into pandemics. The pills would be used to minimize symptoms after infection. They are in development and could begin arriving by year’s end, pending the completion of clinical trials. Top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci announced the plan Thursday at a White House briefing. Fauci says the new program would invest in “accelerating things that are already in progress” for COVID-19 but also would work to innovate new therapies for other dangerous viruses.


CureVac: Vaccine data are ‘sobering,’ full results in weeks

BERLIN (AP) — The chief executive of CureVac says interim results from late-stage testing of its coronavirus shot are “sobering.” But the German biotechnology company aims to conclude a final analysis within weeks that will determine whether it continues to seek regulatory approval. CureVac announced late Wednesday that the vaccine had shown an efficacy of 47% against COVID-19 of any severity. This was based on a partial review of data from its trial involving 40,000 participants in Latin America and Europe. The company said more than two dozen variants of the coronavirus were found in its trials, which may have affected the outcome. CureVac is also working on a second-generation vaccine, aiming to start trials this fall.


Scotch whisky makers welcome suspension of costly US tariffs

LONDON (AP) — Scotch whisky makers are breathing a sigh of relief after the United States agreed to suspend tariffs on one of Scotland’s main exports. U.S. President Donald Trump imposed a 25% tariff on Scotch single malt whiskies in 2019 as part of a trade dispute between the U.S. and EU countries over aerospace subsidies. Earlier this week, the U.S. and the EU reached an agreement to end their dispute. The breakthrough paved the way for a 5-year suspension of tariffs both sides put on an array of products, including olive oil and cheese as well as whisky. The Scotch Whisky Association estimates that the tariffs caused more than 600 million pounds ($850 million) in lost exports to the U.S.


No breakthrough during ‘exhausting’ online climate talks

BERLIN (AP) — Officials say no breakthroughs have been made on key issues during three weeks of international climate talks that ended Thursday. There are plans now for a select group of ministers to come together next month in the hope of achieving progress ahead of a U.N. summit in November. The May 31-June 17 climate meeting that took place online was seen as a test of the new cooperative spirit following President Joe Biden’s decision to return the United States to the Paris climate accord. While no formal decisions were expected, participants tried to tackle thorny topics including aid for poor countries and rules for international carbon markets.


Ford says outlook for 2nd quarter is improving

UNDATED (AP) — Ford’s outlook for the second quarter is improving as the automaker is seeing strong customer reservations for four of its new vehicles. Ford Motor Co. now anticipates its quarterly adjusted earnings before interest and taxes to top its expectations and be significantly better than the year-ago period. Although there’s still uncertainty around semiconductor supply, Ford is seeing improvement in its automotive business due to lower-than-expected costs and favorable market factors. It’s also being helped by increased vehicle auction values.


Lordstown Motors reverses, says it has no firm truck orders

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Struggling electric truck maker Lordstown Motors says it doesn’t have any firm orders for its new pickups. This comes just days after its president said the company had enough binding sales to maintain production through 2022. Questions have been mounting about whether Lordstown has enough money to stay in business and about its previous claims that it already had presold 100,000 of its Endurance trucks. Company President Rich Schmidt said this week that Lordstown was on track to begin making the Endurance in the fall and had enough binding orders to keep going through 2022. But the company has since clarified those comments.


Cassill to be paid in cryptocurrency in deal with Voyager

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Landon Cassill will be the first NASCAR driver paid entirely in cryptocurrency in a sponsorship deal that begins Saturday at Nashville Superspeedway. Cryptocurrency brokerage platform Voyager reached a 19-race deal to sponsor Cassill in the Xfinity Series in his JD Motorsports entry. Voyager will transfer the funds in Litecoin to Cassill, who has been avid in the market for several years. Cassill first met Voyager CEO Steve Ehrlich at a crypto conference two years ago when Cassill was speaking on a panel. He’d been pitching the sponsorship idea ever since.

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