Stocks rise...Fed survey finds drags on economy

NEW YORK (AP) — Solid earnings from health care companies are helping to power broad gains for stocks on Wall Street and push the benchmark S&P 500 within range of an all-time high. The S&P 500 was up 0.4% in afternoon trading, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.6% and the Nasdaq was up slightly. Abbott Laboratories, Biogen and Anthem rose after reporting quarterly results that beat analysts’ expectations. Netflix fell after forecasting earnings for its current quarter that were below analysts’ estimates. Technology stocks lagged the broader market. The yield on the 10-year Treasury remained at 1.63%. The price of Bitcoin rose to an all-time high.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve reports that the economy faced a number of headwinds at the start of this month, ranging from supply chain disruptions and labor shortages to uncertainty about the delta variant of COVID. In its latest survey of business conditions around the nation, the Fed said today that a majority of its 12 regions viewed consumer spending, the main driving force for the economy, as remaining positive despite the various speed bumps. The report noted wide differences in performance, however, with auto sales suffering because of constrained inventories due to supply-side problems while manufacturing was growing either moderately or robustly depending on which Fed district was reporting.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Biden administration has dealt a serious blow to the proposed Twin Metals copper-nickel mine on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northeastern Minnesota. The government has ordered a study that could lead to a 20-year ban on mining upstream from the wilderness. The administration says it has filed an application for a “mineral withdrawal.” It would begin with a comprehensive study of the likely environmental and other impacts of mining if it were permitted upstream from the Boundary Waters. The Obama administration tried to kill the project when it launched a similar process, but the Trump administration reversed that decision.

DETROIT (AP) — An arbitrator says the only Michigan official fired in the Flint water disaster likely was a “public scapegoat” who lost her job because of politics. The arbitrator is ordering $191,880 in back pay and other compensation for Liane Shekter Smith, who served as head of the state’s drinking water office when Flint’s water system was contaminated with lead. Shekter Smith was demoted and then fired in 2016. The arbitrator noted that state engineers who had a direct role in Flint were suspended with pay and allowed to return to work. The Michigan environmental agency declined to comment but said an appeal was being considered.

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump’s company is under criminal investigation by a district attorney in a New York City suburb into whether it misled officials to cut taxes for a golf course there. That’s according to the New York Times, citing “people with knowledge of the matter.” The newspaper didn’t say why those people had requested anonymity. The newspaper said the Westchester County district attorney’s office has subpoenaed the Trump National Golf Club and the town handling its taxes, Ossining (AHS’-uh-ning). The district attorney’s office has declined to comment. In a statement, the Trump Organization suggested the probe was politically motivated.

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