Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine is looking 90% effective

NEW YORK (AP) — Pfizer says an early peek at its vaccine data suggests the shots may be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19. Monday’s announcement doesn’t mean a vaccine is imminent. The interim analysis, from independent data monitors, looked at 94 infections recorded so far in a study that has enrolled nearly 44,000 people. Pfizer did not provide any more details about those cases, and cautioned the initial protection rate might change by the time the study ends. The shots are made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech. Pfizer has said it plans to seek U.S. review later this month.


Stocks rally worldwide with hopes for a return to “normal”

NEW YORK (AP) — Brimming hopes that people will again return to office buildings, shopping centers and normal life sent markets rallying worldwide on Monday, following encouraging data about a potential coronavirus vaccine. The S&P 500 rose 1.2% after Pfizer said an early peek at its vaccine data suggests the shots may be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19, though that doesn’t mean its release is imminent. The index had been up as much as 3.9% earlier in the day, above its record high. Drops in Big Tech companies like Apple and Microsoft, which have thrived during the pandemic, dragged the Nasdaq composite lower.


EU puts tariffs on US but hopes for change with Biden

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union has agreed to put tariffs on up to $4 billion worth of U.S. goods and services in response to illegal aid to plane maker Boeing. The move comes a year after the World Trade Organization authorized the United States to slap penalties on EU goods worth. The WTO had ruled that Boeing was given an unfair edge over Airbus by tax breaks from Washington state. But after the WTO decision, the state repealed the tax breaks, making the EU’s complaint obsolete in the view of U.S. officials. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Washington is disappointed by the EU action.


California wine country adapting to annual wildfire threat

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Harvest season in Northern California’s wine country draws millions of visitors each year. But harvest season now overlaps with fire season as wildfires, too, have become a yearly reality in the region. In three of the past four years, major wildfires driven by changing climate have devastated parts of the world-class region, leaving little doubt that it’s vulnerable to smoke, flames and blackouts during the fall. Visitors are second-guessing their plans and tourism officials are rethinking their marketing plans. They’re encouraging visitors from far away to plan for winter or spring weddings and conferences. In the fall, they plan to focus on people who can make last-minute bookings due to living nearby.


For Biden, how to help mangled economy is next obstacle

BALTIMORE (AP) — Joe Biden will inherit a mangled U.S. economy — one that never fully healed from the coronavirus and could suffer again as new infections are climbing. It will in some ways be a reprise of when Biden became vice president at the depths of the financial crisis in 2008-09, with possibly fewer tools and less political leverage to press an agenda to both corral the virus and stoke economic growth. The risk that the recovery goes into reverse could mean the difference between a successful presidency and a floundering one.


UK, EU make one more push for elusive Brexit trade deal

LONDON (AP) — Negotiators from Britain and the European Union are meeting to seek a breakthrough in gridlocked trade talks, with just days until a deadline to strike a post-Brexit deal. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier met his British counterpart, David Frost, in London, as members of Britain’s House of Lords prepared to rip up a contentious Brexit bill that threatens to derail negotiations. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has infuriated the EU with a bill that breaches parts of the legally binding withdrawal agreement between the two sides.


Updated menu, celeb collaborations, pump McDonald’s sales

NEW YORK (AP) — McDonald’s U.S. sales came roaring back in the third quarter, amped up by the introduction of spicy chicken nuggets and a meal deal promotion with rapper Travis Scott. And McDonald’s says more is coming. The company says a much-anticipated big chicken sandwich will go on sale in the U.S. early next year. McDonald’s says it’s also developing a plant-based burger, McPlant. McDonald’s same-store sales jumped 4.6% in the U.S. in the July-September period. But sales worldwide were down, and McDonald’s warned that resurgent cases in Europe could restrict store hours and capacity.


GM to add 3,000 tech jobs to develop vehicles and software

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors says it will hire 3,000 more technical workers by early next year to help with virtual product testing and to develop software as a service. The automaker says it will offer more remote work opportunities to develop electric and autonomous vehicles. GM wants to hire electrical system and infotainment software engineers as well as developers for Java, Android, iOS and other platforms. The company says it wants to increase diversity with the new hires to build on its existing software expertise.


The S&P 500 rose 41.06, or 1.2%, to 3,550.50. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 834.57 points, or 2.9%, to 29,157.97. The Nasdaq composite lost 181.45 points, or 1.5%, to 11,713.78. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 60.88 points, or 3.7%, to 1,705.04.

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