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Money & Markets

Used vehicle prices up as supply sinks, but relief is coming

DETROIT — It cost a whole lot more to buy a used SUV, car, truck or van last month than it did before the coronavirus hit, and that almost singlehandedly caused September’s modest consumer price increase. Blame it on the pandemic, which knocked supply and demand way out of whack, causing ...

Microsoft attempts takedown of global criminal botnet

Microsoft announced legal action Monday seeking to disrupt a major cybercrime digital network that uses more than 1 million zombie computers to loot bank accounts and spread ransomware, which experts consider a major threat to the U.S. presidential election. The operation to knock offline ...

Business council paints rosier picture on Iowa economy

Executives of Iowa’s 22 largest companies are more bullish on the next six months after the beginning of the year saw the worst economic darkness since the Great Recession. The Iowa Business Council’s quarterly outlook survey found its members expecting to hire at a greater clip in the ...

Democrats call for Congress to rein in, break up Big Tech

WASHINGTON — Democratic lawmakers are calling for Congress to rein in Big Tech, possibly forcing Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple to break up their businesses, while making it harder for them to acquire others and imposing new rules to safeguard competition. The proposals in a report ...

Pandemic pushes start of holiday shopping earlier than ever

NEW YORK — Add last-minute holiday shopping to the list of time-honored traditions being upended by the coronavirus pandemic. Retailers are kicking off the holiday season earlier than ever this year in hopes of avoiding big in-store crowds and shipping bottlenecks in November and ...

Amazon: Nearly 20,000 workers tested positive for COVID-19

NEW YORK — Amazon said Thursday that nearly 20,000 of its front-line U.S. workers have tested positive or been presumed positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. But the online retail behemoth, revealing the data for the first time, said that the infection rate of its employees was well ...

Pelosi and Mnuchin have ‘extensive’ talks on COVID relief

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin held an “extensive conversation” Wednesday on a huge COVID-19 rescue package, meeting face to face for the first time in more than a month in a last-ditch effort to seal a tentative accord on an additional round ...

US judge orders stop to Postal Service cuts, echoing others

PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Philadelphia joined others Monday in ordering a halt to recent Postal Service cuts that critics say are causing mail delays and threatening the integrity of the presidential election. Six states and the District of Columbia presented “compelling ...

House Democrats unveil new $2.2T proposal for virus aid

WASHINGTON — House Democrats unveiled a scaled-back $2.2 trillion aid measure Monday in an attempt to boost long-stalled talks on COVID-19 relief, though there was no sign of progress in continuing negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The ...

COVID-19 danger continues to drive joblessness in US

WASHINGTON — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to 860,000, a historically high number of people that illustrates the broad economic damage still taking place nine months after the first case of COVID-19 was detected in the U.S. The Labor Department ...

Fed sees rates near zero through 2023, perhaps longer

WASHINGTON — With the economy still struggling to recover from the pandemic recession, Federal Reserve policymakers signaled Wednesday that their benchmark short-term interest rate will likely remain at zero at least through 2023 and possibly even longer. Fed chair Jerome Powell said at a ...

Apple debuts discount watch, but no new iPhones … yet

SAN RAMON, Calif. — Apple introduced a cheaper version of its smartwatch, its latest attempt to broaden the appeal of its trend-setting products while many consumers are forced to scrimp during the coronavirus pandemic. The scaled-down Apple Watch follows on the heels of a budget iPhone ...

Oracle and TikTok struck a deal. What it is, none will say

The short-video app TikTok has chosen Oracle as its corporate savior to avoid a U.S. ban ordered by President Donald Trump. The U.S. government will review the prospective deal. That much is known. Everything else is confusion, at least to outsiders. For instance: — What does it mean ...

Russian hackers targeting U.S. campaigns, Microsoft says

BOSTON — The same Russian military intelligence outfit that hacked the Democrats in 2016 has renewed vigorous U.S. election-related targeting, trying to breach computers at more than 200 organizations including political campaigns and their consultants, Microsoft said Thursday. The ...

Luxury goods giant LVMH cancels $14.5B deal for Tiffany

NEW YORK — Luxury goods giant LVMH is ending its takeover deal of jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co., saying the French government had requested a delay to assess the threat of proposed U.S. tariffs. Wednesday’s announcement came after the deal’s value had been eroded by wider ...

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine study paused after one illness

Late-stage studies of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate are on temporary hold while the company investigates whether a recipient’s “potentially unexplained” illness is a side effect of the shot. In a statement issued Tuesday evening, the company said its “standard review ...

White House faces skepticism over prospects for a vaccine

Could the U.S. really see a coronavirus vaccine before Election Day? A letter from federal health officials instructing states to be ready to begin distributing a vaccine by Nov. 1 — two days before the election — has been met, not with exhilaration, but with suspicion among some public ...

Budget deficit to hit record $3.3T due to virus, recession

WASHINGTON — The federal budget deficit is projected to hit a record $3.3 trillion as huge government expenditures to fight the coronavirus and to prop up the economy have added more than $2 trillion to the federal ledger, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. The spike in the ...

Zoom rides pandemic to another quarter of explosive growth

SAN RAMON, Calif. — Zoom’s videoconferencing service is deepening its integral role in life during the pandemic as tens of thousands more businesses and other users pay for subscriptions to get more control over their virtual meetings. The surge in paying customers enabled Zoom to hail ...

Fed: Rates to stay ultra-low even after inflation picks up

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve announced a significant change Thursday in how it manages interest rates by saying it plans to keep rates near zero even after inflation has exceeded its 2% target level. The change means the Fed is prepared to tolerate a higher level of inflation than it ...