Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks rise broadly; J&J leads gains for health care sector

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are moving higher on Wall Street in afternoon trading as corporate earnings reporting gets into full swing. The benchmark S&P 500 was up 0.7%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.5%.

Health care companies were making some of the biggest gains. Johnson & Johnson climbed 2.7% after raising its 2021 profit forecast again. Insurance company Travelers rose 2.5% after releasing results that easily beat analysts’ forecasts. The first exchange-traded fund to track Bitcoin futures rose 2.9% on its first day of trading.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.63%.

JOHNSON & JOHNSON-RESULTS

J&J hikes 2021 profit forecast, COVID-19 vaccine sales grow

UNDATED (AP) — Sales of the cancer treatment Darzalex helped Johnson & Johnson deliver better-than-expected third quarter earnings, while COVID-19 fueled vaccine revenue and had more customers reaching for Tylenol.

The world’s biggest maker of health care products also says it has raised its 2021 earnings forecast.

Sales of J&J’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine started to pick up in the quarter and nearly doubled what it brought in during the first half of 2021. J&J also said sales of over-the-counter drugs, which do not need prescriptions, grew 18% globally as more customers bought Tylenol and Motrin partly for vaccine symptom relief.

HOME CONSTRUCTION

US home construction declines 1.6% in September

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — U.S. home construction fell 1.6% in September as builders continue to be tripped up by supply chain bottlenecks. The Commerce Department reports that the decline in September left home construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.56 million units, 7.4% above the rate one year ago.

August’s home construction starts number was revised upward to 1.72 million from 1.62 million. Applications for building permits, a barometer of future activity, declined 7.7% from August to 1.59 million but are virtually unchanged from September 2020.

FACEBOOK-WORKER DISCRIMINATION

Facebook paying fine to settle US suit on discrimination

WASHINGTON (AP) — Facebook is paying a $4.75 million fine and up to $9.5 million to eligible victims to resolve the Justice Department’s allegations that it discriminated against U.S. workers in favor of foreigners with special visas to fill high-paying jobs.

Facebook also agreed in the settlement to train its employees in anti-discrimination rules and to conduct more widespread advertising and recruitment for job opportunities in its permanent labor certification program.

The department said Facebook “routinely refused” to recruit, consider or hire U.S. workers, a group including U.S. citizens and nationals, asylees, refugees and lawful permanent residents, for positions it had reserved for temporary visa holders.

HEARING AIDS

US regulators lay out plan for over-the-counter hearing aids

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. health officials are laying out plans to let most Americans buy hearing aids without a prescription.

The announcement is a long-awaited move intended to make the devices more accessible to millions of Americans with hearing problems. The Food and Drug Administration said the proposal would let people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss buy hearing aids at pharmacies and other stores.

More than 15% of U.S. adults have trouble hearing. But only about one-fifth of people who can benefit from hearing aids use one. Getting a hearing aid and having it fitted can cost $5,000. Insurance coverage is limited, and Medicare doesn’t pay for hearing aids.

USDA-SALMONELLA

USDA rethinks approach to controlling salmonella in poultry

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Federal health officials are rethinking their approach to controlling salmonella in poultry plants in the hope of reducing the number of illnesses linked to the bacteria each year.

The USDA says the industry has succeeded in reducing the level of salmonella contamination found in poultry plants in recent years, but that hasn’t translated into a significant reduction in the 1.35 million salmonella illnesses reported each year. So the agency wants to set up pilot projects that focus more on the strains of salmonella that cause the most illnesses and on steps farmers can take to reduce salmonella before chickens and turkeys are slaughtered.

CLIMATE-BRITAIN

UK courts green investment to fuel carbon-cutting plans

LONDON (AP) — The United Kingdom is hosting a meeting aimed at attracting billions of dollars in foreign investment for green projects in Britain.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said today at the Global Investment Summit in London that private sector investment and consumer pressure are key to slashing carbon emissions and controlling climate change. He told business leaders that he “can deploy billions. But you in this room, you can deploy trillions.”

The government says the one-day gathering has attracted pledges of 10 billion pounds in new overseas investment.

Britain has vowed to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and announced today that it will phase out home heating with fossil fuels by 2035.

CLIMATE-INVESTORS

BlackRock backs new hub for company climate data

LONDON (AP) — Investment giant BlackRock says it is backing a new London-based research hub which will provide asset managers with information on how the companies they invest in are addressing the risk resulting from climate change.

BlackRock says it's joining the Transition Pathway Initiative, a London-based group that is already supported by dozens of major institutional investors, from banks to public retirement funds. The initiative, which says it now has the backing of investors with a combined $40 trillion of assets under management or advisement, said it will significantly expand from 400 the number of companies it reports on.

The announcement comes days before the start of a U.N. climate summit in Glasgow.

BRITAIN-MUSIC STREAMING

UK music streaming faces scrutiny from competition watchdog

LONDON (AP) — Regulators are stepping up scrutiny of the United Kingdom’s music streaming market to see whether there’s enough competition. It follows concerns that major online platforms like Spotify may be too dominant.

The U.K.’s competition watchdog said today that it will carry out a “market study” to assess whether fresh measures are needed to improve streaming competition. The watchdog said the review was needed because the way people listen to music has transformed over the past decade, with streaming now accounting for over 80% of all the music played in the U.K.

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