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Business Highlights: The Fed's task, Lordstown Motors execs

·5 min read

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Delicate task for Fed: When to pull back on low-rate support

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve is poised this week to discuss when it will take its first steps toward dialing back its ultra-low interest rate policies. It will be a fraught discussion, one likely to occur over several months. Yet the escalating inflation that has forced consumers and businesses to pay more has intensified pressure on the Fed to consider pulling back soon on the extraordinary support it’s provided through low borrowing rates. With the economic picture still clouded by the chaos of reopening from the pandemic, no major decisions are expected Wednesday when the Fed’s latest policy meeting ends and Chair Jerome Powell holds a news conference.

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Lordstown Motors’ rough road continues; CEO and CFO are out

LORDSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — The top two executives at Lordstown Motors have resigned as problems at the Ohio electric truck startup continue to mount. CEO Steve Burns and Chief Financial Officer Julio Rodriguez stepped down, the company said early Monday, sending shares already down 40% this year tumbling 16% at the opening bell. The departures come less than a week after Lordstown cautioned that it may not be in business a year from now as it struggles to secure funding to begin full production at a former General Motors plant in Ohio near Youngstown.

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GM exec: Company to announce more battery plants this week

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors President Mark Reuss says his company plans to announce more U.S. battery factories later this week. He didn’t give any details about where the factories would be located or exactly what they would manufacture. He spoke in a weekend interview at an IndyCar race on an island park near downtown Detroit. Company spokesman Jim Cain wouldn’t comment Monday on the announcements, but said GM has previously stated it would build more factories to add battery capacity as electric vehicle sales grow. GM has set a goal to stop selling internal-combustion passenger vehicles by 2035.

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Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

NEW YORK (AP) — The Girl Scouts have an unusual problem this year: 15 million boxes of unsold cookies. The 109-year-old organization says the coronavirus shut down in-person sales at cookie booths. The Girl Scouts usually make around $800 million each year selling 200 million boxes of cookies. It won’t say how many cookie boxes were sold this year. But 15 million boxes remain at local councils or at the two bakers authorized to make them. Those councils and bakers are trying to sell or donate boxes that are left.

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Workers push back against hospitals requiring COVID vaccines

HOUSTON (AP) — Jennifer Bridges, a registered nurse in Houston, is steadfast in her belief that it’s wrong for her employer to force hospital workers like her to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or lose their jobs. But that’s a losing legal argument so far. A federal judge bluntly ruled over the weekend that if employees of the Houston Methodist Hospital system don’t like it, they can go work elsewhere. Legal experts say such vaccine requirements, particularly in a public health crisis, will probably continue be upheld in court as long as employers provide reasonable exemptions, including for medical conditions or religious objections.

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Odds of settling US-EU trade rifts? Hope may outrun progress

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has vowed to mend America’s trade relations with its European allies, which were stretched to the breaking point by President Donald Trump’s mercurial behavior, combative policies and aversion to multinational alliances. Yet when he meets Tuesday with European Union leaders in Brussels, Biden may find that making up is hard to do. The prospect of forging an agreement to resolve their differences — and perhaps form a united front against an increasingly confrontational China — may be stymied by European skepticism.

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Gains for some tech giants nudge S&P to another record high

NEW YORK (AP) — Gains in several big-name tech companies including Apple helped nudge the S&P 500 to another record high Monday, even as other parts of the market faltered. The benchmark index was lower for most of the day, then turned higher in the last 10 minutes of trading, ending up 0.2%. The Nasdaq rose 0.7%, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average and small-company stocks fell. Trading has been choppy as investors gauge the strength of the economic recovery and whether emerging signs of inflation will be transitory, as the Federal Reserve believes. The Fed holds its latest meeting on interest rate policy this week.

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Ferrari enters luxury fashion, targeting uninitiated youth

MARANELLO, Italy (AP) — Ferrari V12 production cars remained suspended over the factory floor as the 74-year-old luxury carmaker launched a new era as a lifestyles brand. The Italian company famed for its Formula One racing machines and luxury street cars unveiled its first ready-to-wear collection aimed at a younger generation that might not be aware of its Formula One racing pedigree and coveted performance street cars. Models walked along the halted production line in a symbolic gesture that underlined the creative interplay between Ferrari’s long lineage of sleek, curved automotive bodies and the fashion line by creative director Rocco Iannone.

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The S&P 500 gained 7.71 points, or 0.2%, to 4,255.15. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 85.85 points, or 0.2%, to 34,393.75. The Nasdaq added 104.72 points, or 0.7%, to 14,174.14. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 9.66 points, or 0.4%, to 2,326.15.

The Associated Press

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