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Business Highlights

Last Updated Sep 25, 2020 at 5:30 pm EST

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Stocks post solid gains as technology shares lead rally

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks closed with solid gains Friday, the latest shift in a recent stretch of turbulence for the market. The S&P 500 rose 1.6%, led by technology and health care stocks. Apple gained 3.8% and Microsoft added 2.3%. Still, the S&P 500 finished with a weekly loss of 0.6%, capping the benchmark index’s first four-week losing streak in more than a year. Trading has been erratic in September, with stocks setting new highs to start the month and then falling sharply as investors worried that values for some of the technology giants had risen too high.

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Desk shortage forces people to get creative about workspaces

NEW YORK (AP) — First it was toilet paper. Disinfectant wipes. Canned beans. Coins. Computers. Now, desks are in short supply. The slew of kids attending virtual school has parents scrambling to find furniture for them even as workers realize they’re home for the long haul and need to update their home offices. It’s a small indignity compared with the kids who don’t even have home internet, but it’s a hassle for parents lucky enough to have the space and money to afford desks just the same. To find desks, people are scouring stores near and far and even making their own.

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Google parent agrees to $310M misconduct lawsuit settlement

NEW YORK (AP) — Google’s parent company has reached a $310 million settlement in a shareholder lawsuit over its treatment of allegations of sexual misconduct by executives. Thousands of Google employees walked out of work in protest in 2018 after The New York Times revealed Android creator Andy Rubin received $90 million in severance even though several employees filed misconduct allegations against him. Shareholder lawsuits followed and in 2019 Google launched a board investigation over how it handles sexual misconduct allegations. Alphabet Inc. said Friday it will prohibit severance packages for anyone fired for misconduct or is the subject of a sexual misconduct investigation.

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Facebook critics start rival, independent ‘oversight board’

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A group of prominent Facebook critics, including one of the social network’s early investors and a journalist facing jail time in the Philippines, are launching their version of an “oversight board” to rival the company’s own. The group says Facebook is taking too long to set up its oversight panel, which they argue is too limited in its scope and autonomy. The move comes a day after Facebook said its own, quasi-independent oversight board, which has faced numerous delays since the company announced its creation in 2018, will launch in October.

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EU leader Michel lashes out at Britain over post-Brexit plan

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union leader Charles Michel has used the virtual pulpit of the U.N. General Assembly to lash out at Britain for its threats to renege on parts of the withdrawal treaty it signed with the EU. Michel warned Britain that the 27-nation bloc won’t back down in the final weeks of acrimonious talks on a free trade deal. Michel made unmistakable references to the United Kingdom on Friday when he said that “respect for treaties, a basic principle of international law, comes to be considered optional even by those who, until recently, were its historical guarantors.”

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Landlords suing to push back against eviction ban

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Landlords are going to courts around the country, claiming that a national eviction moratorium unfairly strains their finances and infringes on their rights as property owners. At least 25 such lawsuits have been filed, including federal challenges of President Donald Trump’s directive halting evictions for many renters through year’s end. In Memphis, Tennessee, seven landlords who manage or own more than 5,000 rental units filed a sweeping complaint this month. The Centers for Disease Control imposed the eviction ban in its capacity to protect public health, calling it an effective measure against the spread of coronavirus among people who could be left homeless.

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Orders for big-ticket manufactured goods ticks up just 0.4%

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods increased just 0.4% in August following a much larger gain in the previous month. It was the fourth consecutive monthly increase, but the most recent uptick was far weaker than the 11.7% surge in July, according to Commerce Department data Friday. Economists had expected production to ease somewhat after manufacturers rebounded strongly in previous months from COVID-19 related shutdowns, but the growth in August was less than half what economists had projected.

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EU Commission appeals after losing Apple $15B tax case

LONDON (AP) — The European Commission said Friday it’s appealing a court decision that had ruled Apple doesn’t have to repay $15 billion in back taxes to Ireland. The appeal comes after the U.S. tech giant recently scored a big legal victory in its long battle with the European Union’s executive Commission, which has been trying to rein in multinationals’ ability to strike special tax deals with individual EU countries. The EU’s General Court had ruled that the commission wrongly declared in 2016 that Apple was given illegal state aid in its tax arrangements with Irish authorities.

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The S&P 500 rose 51.87 points, or 1.6%, to 3,298.46. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 358.52 points, or 1.3%, to 27,173.96. The Nasdaq composite climbed 241.30 points, or 2.3%, to 10,913.56. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks picked up 23.09 points, or 1.6%, to 1,474.91.

The Associated Press