Business strategy

Business Highlights: TikTok Shopping, Rallying Stocks

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As seen on TikTok is the new As seen on TV

NEW YORK: TikTok, an app best known for dancing videos with 1 billion users worldwide, has also become a shopping phenomenon. National chains, hoping to get TikToks mostly young users into its stores, are setting up TikTok sections, reminiscent of As Seen On TV stores that sold products hawked on infomercials. The hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has gotten more than 5 billion views, and the app has made a grab-bag of products a surprise hit: leggings, purses, cleaners, even feta cheese. Brands are often caught off guard. TikTok wants a cut of those viral product sales and is gearing up to challenge Facebook as a social-shopping powerhouse.

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US stocks rally the most since March as momentum builds

Stocks rallied on Wall Street Thursday as the market shook off several days of wobbly trading. The S&P 500 jumped 1.7%, its biggest gain since March. The wave of buying built on momentum from a day earlier, when the market broke a three-day losing streak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.6%, while the Nasdaq rose 1.7%. Health care stocks did especially well, led by a 4.2% gain in UnitedHealth Group after the leading health insurer easily beat analysts earnings forecasts and raised its outlook. Apple and Microsoft each rose more than 2%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.52%.

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US wholesale prices rose record 8.6% over 12 months

WASHINGTON: Inflation at the wholesale level rose 8.6% in September compared to a year ago, the largest advance since the 12-month change was first calculated in 2010. The Labor Department reported Thursday that the increase in its producer price index, which measures inflationary pressures before they reach consumers, was 0.5% for September compared to a 0.7% gain in August. The 8.6% rise for the 12 months ending in September compared to an 8.3% increase for the 12 months ending in August. The jump in inflation this year reflects higher prices for food and energy and a number of other items from furniture to autos as the pandemic has snarled supply chains and demand has outstripped supply.

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US unemployment claims fall to lowest level since pandemic

WASHINGTON: The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell to its lowest level since the pandemic began, a sign the job market is still improving even as hiring has slowed in the past two months. Unemployment claims dropped 36,000 to 293,000, the second straight drop, the Labor Department said Thursday. Thats the smallest number of people to apply for benefits since March 2020, when the pandemic intensified.

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Bank profits soar, helped by merger frenzy, fewer bad loans

NEW YORK: Four of the largest U.S. banks said their profits grew by double-digits last quarter, as a healthier U.S. economy has allowed banks to have fewer bad loans and charge-offs. The results for Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley saw all four benefitted from various one-time boosts to their profits. The only headwind facing the big Wall Street banks appears to be low interest rates, which have put some pressure on banks abilities to grow their profits. Some of them, like Bank of America, are making up for it by lending significantly more than they did in the early months of the pandemic, a sign of confidence in the U.S. economy.

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IMF warns economy recovery threatened by virus, inflation

WASHINGTON: The International Monetary Fund is warning of rising threats to a global recovery posed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and an outbreak of inflation. The lending agency says the Federal Reserve and other central banks must respond quickly if current inflation pressures prove not to be transitory. The IMF panel that sets policy for the 190-nation organization wrapped up its annual meeting Thursday with a joint statement that also expressed concerns about the wide divergence in vaccination rates between wealthy and poor countries. The group urged greater efforts by wealthy nations to help achieve a goal of having 40% of the population of all countries vaccinated by the end of this year and 70% by the middle of next year. ___

Deere & Co. workers go on strike after rejecting contract

MOLINE, Ill.: More than 10,000 Deere & Co. workers have walked out strike after the United Auto Workers union said negotiators couldnt deliver a new agreement that would meet the demands and needs of workers. The vast majority of the union rejected a contract offer earlier this week that would have delivered 5% raises to some workers and 6% raises to others. Thirty-five years have passed since the last major Deere strike, but workers are emboldened to demand more this year after working long hours throughout the pandemic and because companies are facing worker shortages. Illinois-based Deere says its committed to resolving the strike with an agreement that benefits all employees.

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For first time in a decade, Dominos same-store sales slip

ANN ARBOR, Mich.: Dominos Pizza says shortages of cooks, drivers and other staff are pinching sales at its U.S. stores. The worlds largest pizza chain said Thursday its same-store sales __ or sales at stores open at least a year __ dropped 1.9% in the July-September period. It was the first time in a decade that the companys U.S. same-store sales have fallen. The job hunting site Indeed.com currently lists 14,558 job openings at Dominos U.S. stores. Dominos CEO Ritch Allison said lack of staff forced some stores to shorten their hours and lengthened delivery times.

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The S&P 500 rose 74.46 points, or 1.7%, to 4,438.26. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 534.75 points, or 1.6%, to 34,912.56. The Nasdaq gained 251.79 points, or 1.7%, to 14,823.43. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies added 32.21 points, or 1.4%, to 2,274.18.

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