The daily business briefing: May 12, 2021
Stock futures fall after Dow's bad day, gas prices rise as pipeline shutdown causes Southeast shortages, and more
Stock futures fall after Dow's worst day since February
The sell-off in technology stocks spread to other areas on Tuesday, dragging down the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 1.4 percent in its worst day since February. Home Depot, Chevron, and American Express fell by 2.6 percent or more, contributing to the Dow's decline. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq fell by 0.9 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively. U.S. stock index futures fell early Wednesday. Futures for the Dow and the S&P 500 were down by 0.2 percent several hours before the opening bell. Futures for the tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped by 0.4 percent ahead of fresh data expected to show accelerating inflation. "It's a bit of a topsy-turvy market," said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer of Independent Advisor Alliance.
Gas prices climb as pipeline shutdown crimps Southeast supply
Gasoline prices climbed to a six-year high on Tuesday as gas stations in the Southeast started reporting shortages linked to the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline due to a ransomware attack. The pipeline carries about 45 percent of the East Coast's fuel. Motorists lined up at gas stations from Florida to Virginia in a rush of panic buying. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) declared a state of emergency Monday, suspending fuel regulations to "ensure adequate fuel supplies throughout the state." The pipeline company said it expected to restore service by the end of the week. The national average price for a gallon of gasoline was $2.98 on Tuesday, 8 cents higher than last week, according to AAA.
Biden: Uber, Lyft to offer free rides to COVID-19 vaccination sites
President Biden on Tuesday announced that Uber and Lyft will offer all Americans free rides to and from COVID-19 vaccination sites beginning on May 24 through July 4, the day Biden has targeted for the U.S. reaching a 70 percent vaccination rate. While the U.S. vaccine rollout has been swift for the most part over the last few months, demand is dwindling. Some of that is due to general hesitancy, but access is still an issue. The free rides from the ride-sharing companies, Biden said, are aimed at making sure "transportation is less of a barrier."
Pandemic program offers millions $50 off internet service
Some Americans can apply for $50 off their monthly internet bill starting Wednesday under a $3.2 billion emergency government program to help people hold onto broadband access that has become vital for jobs, school, and health care during the pandemic. The program was included in the $900 billion coronavirus relief package passed in December. Tens of millions of Americans are eligible, including those who receive food stamps, have children receiving free or reduced-price school lunches, use Medicaid, or lost income due to the pandemic and made $99,000 or less for single filers or $198,000 for joint filers. Hundreds of cellphone carriers and broadband providers are participating, including industry giants such as AT&T, Charter, Comcast, T-Mobile, and Verizon.
Biden administration approves 1st major offshore wind farm in the U.S.
The Biden administration on Tuesday approved the Vineyard Wind project, the country's first large-scale offshore wind farm. As proposed, the wind farm would be off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, consisting of 62 turbines able to produce enough electricity to power 400,000 homes, The Washington Post reports. "I believe that a clean-energy future is within our grasp in the United States," Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said during a Tuesday conference call with reporters, adding that the Vineyard Wind project is "a significant milestone in our efforts to build a clean and more equitable energy future while addressing the climate emergency." Officials said the project will create roughly 3,600 jobs. Wanting to move away from fossil fuels, the Biden administration has set the goal of producing 30,000 megawatts of electricity from offshore wind by 2030, able to power 10 million homes.