Campaign Coverage 2020

Stocks drift...1.2 million seek jobless aid

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are drifting in morning trading on Wall Street after a report suggested that the pace of layoffs across the country is slowing, though it remains incredibly high. The S&P 500 was little changed after the first 45 minutes of trading. It’s cooling off following a four-day winning streak that had brought it back within 2% of its record high for the first time since February. Treasury yields and gold were making more notable moves, as investors buried into safer ground and as Washington debates more aid for the economy. Stock markets elsewhere around the world were mixed.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 1.2 million laid-off Americans applied for state unemployment benefits last week, evidence that the coronavirus keeps forcing companies to slash jobs just as a critical $600 weekly federal jobless payment has expired. The government’s report did offer a smidgen of hopeful news: The number of jobless claims declined by 249,000 from the previous week, after rising for two straight weeks, and it was the lowest total since mid-March. Still, the pace remains at alarmingly high levels: It is the 20th straight week that at least 1 million people have sought jobless aid. Before the pandemic hit hard, the number of Americans seeking unemployment checks had never surpassed 700,000 in a week.

UNDATED (AP) — Hilton lost $432 million in the second quarter, but occupancy rates began to improve as hotels reopen and coronavirus restrictions were lifted around the world. Occupancy levels rose 20 percentage points in the U.S. and 15 percentage points in Asia between April and June. Tourism in beach towns like Norfolk, Virginia, have recovered more quickly in the U.S. than cities like New York and Seattle, according to STR, a hospitality data and consulting firm. Occupancy averaged 22% at Hilton hotels for the April-June period, down 56% from the same period a year ago. Occupancy levels were highest in Asia, at 29%, and lowest in Europe, at 7%. U.S. occupancy levels averaged 24%.

TOKYO (AP) — Nintendo saw its April-June profit multiply more than sixfold as people stuck at home over the pandemic turned to playing video games. The Japanese manufacturer of Pokemon and Super Mario games, as well as the Switch console, is reporting a quarterly profit of 106.4 billion yen, or about $1 billion, up from 16.6 billion yen last year. Kyoto-based Nintendo’s sales for the period jumped, doubling to 358 billion yen, or $3.4 billion, year on year. Especially popular was “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” which reached cumulative sales of 20 million units. “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” was also a hit.

DETROIT (AP) — Two tests by AAA during the past two years show that partially automated driving systems don’t always function properly. So the auto club is recommending that car companies limit their use. Researchers recently tested systems from five manufacturers over a distance of 4,000 miles. They ran into problems every eight miles. AAA is recommending that automakers stop putting the systems on additional models until they can work out some of the bugs. Most of the issues involved systems designed to keep vehicles in their lane, but the tests discovered that many had trouble spotting simulated broken-down vehicles in their path.

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