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US lawmakers have reached a deal on a nearly $900bn economic stimulus package that includes more relief for small businesses and direct payments to American families suffering in the coronavirus pandemic. “We can finally report what our nation has needed to hear for a very long time. More help is on the way,” Mitch McConnell,
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The Federal Reserve has given America’s most profitable banks the green light to resume share buybacks for the first quarter of next year, even as it found that the country’s biggest lenders could face pandemic-related loan losses of more than $600bn.  The US central bank’s decision to lift a six-month-old ban on buybacks followed months
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Eurozone business activity has rebounded faster than expected after services companies benefited from a loosening of coronavirus restrictions in some countries and manufacturers gained from rising exports, according to a widely tracked survey of companies. The IHS Markit flash eurozone composite purchasing manager index, an average of services and manufacturing, rose to 49.8 in December,
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The US has issued an emergency warning after discovering that “nation-state” hackers hijacked software used by almost all Fortune 500 companies and multiple federal agencies to gain entry to secure IT systems. Hundreds of thousands of organisations around the world use SolarWinds’ Orion platform. The US department of Homeland Security’s cyber security arm ordered all
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Talks to unlock a post-Brexit EU-UK trade deal continued late into Saturday night in Brussels and are expected to resume on Sunday, as a deadline for assessing the state of negotiations looms. Boris Johnson, UK prime minister, and Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission president, will speak on Sunday to assess whether there is any
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UK drugmaker AstraZeneca has agreed to buy US biotechnology group Alexion in a $39bn deal, marking the biggest deal struck by a pharmaceutical company since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.  The cash-and-stock takeover announced on Saturday shows the Anglo-Swedish company’s determination to strengthen its position in immunology, already a core focus, alongside cancer treatments
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The US has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on an emergency basis, with the first shots set to be given within 24 hours. The Food and Drug Administration’s decision has been one of the most politically fraught of the pandemic, which has claimed more than 280,000 lives in the US. Critics had accused Donald Trump,
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The US regulator has signalled that it intends to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine soon, as the government prepares to roll out doses of the Covid-19 jab as soon as it is authorised. Stephen Hahn, the Food and Drug Administration commissioner, and Peter Marks, director of the FDA division responsible for overseeing vaccines, said in a
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The US took a step closer to authorising the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on Thursday, after a committee of experts recommended that the Food and Drug Administration grant it an emergency authorisation. The majority of scientists on the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee agreed that the benefits of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine outweighed its risks
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The US Federal Trade Commission and 46 states have filed lawsuits accusing Facebook of violating antitrust rules and calling for penalties that could include forcing the social media group to be broken up.  The FTC said that Facebook engaged in what it described as a “systematic strategy . . . to eliminate threats to its monopoly”, citing the social
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Royal Dutch Shell has been hit by the departure of several clean energy executives amid a split over how far and fast the oil giant should shift towards greener fuels. The wave of resignations comes just weeks before Shell is set to announce its strategy for the energy transition. Some executives have pushed for a
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Uber has abandoned efforts to develop its own self-driving car and will instead swap its operations for a minority stake in Aurora, a driverless vehicle start-up backed by Amazon and Sequoia, at a significantly marked-down valuation. The deal brings to an end one of the most ambitious attempts to develop a fully autonomous vehicle, in
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Brexit trade talks have resumed in Brussels with British ministers warning that they remain “in a very difficult position” after negotiations reached a stalemate on Friday. David Frost, Britain’s chief negotiator, and Michel Barnier, his EU counterpart, have been charged with resolving the toughest remaining issue: the question of a “level playing field” to ensure
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The operations boss of Worthington Industries was talking up the US steel processor’s new stake in a little-known start-up company. Mark Russell told investors on the 2014 earnings call that dHybrid Systems was “a leading manufacturer” of compressed natural gas fuel systems with “significant growth potential”. It also, he stressed, had “very entrepreneurial leadership”. It
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US state and federal officials urged people to do more to combat the accelerating spread of coronavirus as a record number of hospitalisations threatened to put an unprecedented strain on healthcare systems across the country.  Local authorities in California’s Bay Area, home to San Francisco and Silicon Valley, issued a “stay at home” order on Friday
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Talks on an EU-UK trade deal hit a major obstacle on Thursday evening as British officials accused France of making new demands at the eleventh hour, leaving an agreement hanging in the balance. Emmanuel Macron, French president, wants to preserve a substantial chunk of existing fishing rights for the French fleet in British waters after
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The number of Covid-19 patients in US hospitals passed 100,000 for the first time as a leading public health official warned that the country’s medical facilities would come under unprecedented stress this winter. Covid Tracking Project data on Wednesday showed that hospitalisations have more than doubled since the end of October to reach a record
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