Monday, August 2, 2021 7:35 AM EST
By The Associated Press, AP
Asian stocks rise even as China’s manufacturing slows
SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian stocks have started the week higher, even as China reports a slowdown in manufacturing activity and countries in the region continue to be hammered by the delta variant.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 jumped 1.8% to close at 27,781.02, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong advanced 0.9% to 26,204.46 in afternoon trading. Benchmarks in Seoul, Shanghai and Sydney rose.
The gains in China follow data released Saturday by the National Bureau of Statistics showing the country’s official purchasing managers’ index fell.
It’s in - and big: Senators produce $1T infrastructure bill
WASINGTON (AP) — After much delay, senators have unveiled their $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act clocks in at more than 2,700 pages.
The bipartisan bill is the first phase of the President Joe Biden's infrastructure plan and a key part of his agenda. It calls for $550 billion in new spending over five years above projected federal levels, what could be one of the more substantial expenditures on the nation’s roads, bridges, waterworks, broadband and the electric grid in years.
Senators and staff labored behind the scenes for days to write the massive bill. It was supposed to be ready Friday, but by Sunday even more glitches were caught and changes made.
Pelosi, Democrats call on Biden to extend eviction ban
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democratic leaders are calling on the Biden administration to immediately extend the nation’s eviction moratorium.
The Democrats are calling it a “moral imperative” to prevent Americans from being put out of their homes during a COVID-19 surge.
An estimated 3.6 million Americans are at risk of eviction, some as soon as today. Congress was unable to pass legislation swiftly to extend the ban, which expired at midnight Saturday. The White House had no direct response to the Democrats’ call for action, but administration officials have urged localities and states to tap aid already approved by Congress.
Evictions expected to spike as federal moratorium ends
BOSTON (AP) — Housing courts around the country are expected to get busy starting today after the federal eviction moratorium lifted over the weekend.
Housing advocates fear the end of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moratorium could result in millions of people being evicted in the coming weeks. But most expect an uptick in filings in the coming days rather than a wave of evictions.
The Biden administration announced Thursday it will allow a nationwide ban to expire. It argued that its hands are tied after the Supreme Court signaled the moratorium would only be extended until the end of the month.
Square to buy installment payment firm Afterpay in $29B deal
UNDATED (AP) — Digital payments company Square Inc. says it has agreed to acquire Afterpay, which provides a “buy now, pay later’’ option for merchants, in an all-stock deal valued at about $29 billion.
Square said Sunday it has agreed to buy all of the Australian company’s shares, and that the transaction’s estimated value is based on last Friday’s closing price of Square common stock.
San Francisco-based Square, which processes credit card transactions via devices that plug into mobile devices like tablets or smartphones, plans to integrate Afterpay into its services, enabling merchants to offer customers the option to pay for goods later without relying on a credit card.
After pay says that as of June 30, it was serving more than 16 million users and nearly 100,000 merchants, including major retailers.
Allianz warns of risk, confirms US Justice Department probe
UNDATED (AP) — The Allianz financial services company is warning that lawsuits brought by U.S. investors against the company could end up having a material impact on its future financial results.
The major German company made the disclosure Sunday, noting that it received a request from the U.S. Department of Justice for documents and information related to the company’s Structured Alpha Funds business, which is at the center of the investor lawsuits.
Munich-based Allianz SE said the Department of Justice’s request, plus “information available to Allianz as of today,” prompted the company’s warning.
The investor lawsuits stemmed from fund losses during the stock market’s sharp downturn in the spring of 2020.
Allianz is one of the world’s biggest insurers and financial services companies. In May, the company said it had $2.89 billion in total assets under management as of the end of the first quarter.
China’s July manufacturing weakens amid export weakness
BEIJING (AP) — Two surveys show China’s manufacturing growth in July slowed to its lowest level in 15 months as demand weakened and factories coped with disruptions in supplies of raw materials and components.
A monthly purchasing managers’ index, released by business magazine Caixin, declined to 50.3 from June’s 51.3 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity increasing. A separate PMI issued by an industry group and the Chinese statistics agency fell to 50.4 from 50.9.
China rebounded relatively quickly from the coronavirus pandemic but manufacturers have struggled as they wait for supply chains to return to pre-pandemic activity and foreign markets are hindered by renewed disease outbreaks.
WEST VIRGINA JOBS
Anger mounts as Biden, Congress allow eviction ban to expire
WASHINGTON (AP) — A West Virginia pharmaceutical plant that employed nearly 1,500 people has been idled despite a last-ditch attempt by labor and advocacy groups to keep it open. The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports time ran out Saturday for workers at the former Mylan pharmaceuticals plant in Morgantown.
Drugmaker Viatris Inc. announced in December that it would lay off workers at the end of July. The plant was formerly operated by the generic drug company Mylan, which merged with Upjohn last year to form the new company. Viatris, which announced it would slash 20% of its workforce worldwide, is now one of the world’s dominant manufacturers in the generics industry.
FILM-BOX OFFICE-JUNGLE CRUISE
‘Jungle Cruise’ sails atop box office despite COVID concerns
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Despite growing concerns over the delta variant, “Jungle Cruise” still drew moviegoers out to theaters during the movie’s opening weekend to sail atop the North American box office.
The Disney movie starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt exceeded expectations by pulling in more than $34.1 million over the weekend. The adventure movie was estimated to open with around $25 million to $30 million domestically, but it outpaced those numbers despite the surge in the coronavirus cases.
Globally, “Jungle Cruise” brought in a total with $90 million, including $27.6 million in the international box office and more than $30 million from Disney Plus.