Stocks climb; indexes on pace for weekly gain

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are climbing in afternoon trading on Wall Street, putting the market on track for a strong finish in a week that opened with a stumble. The major indexes are all on pace for gains this week, essentially brushing off a sharp sell-off on Monday. Investors are monitoring the latest round of corporate earnings for a clearer picture of how companies are faring as people try to get back to pre-pandemic activities. American Express and Twitter rose after reporting solid financial results.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has told Congress that she will start taking emergency measures next week to keep the government from an unprecedented default on the national debt. In a letter to House and Senate leaders, Yellen said that her actions would buy time until Congress can pass legislation to either raise the debt limit or suspend the limit again for a period of time. The debt limit has been suspended for the past two years but will go back into effect on July 31.

UNDATED (AP) — As U.S. regulators weigh giving the final stamp of approval for certain COVID-19 vaccines, governors in states hard hit by the pandemic hope the move will help persuade the many holdouts in their states to finally get the shot. All three vaccines approved for use in the U.S. were authorized for emergency use. The governors of Arkansas and Ohio have appealed in recent days for full approval as virus cases and hospitalizations skyrocket in their states. They say the move would help combat vaccine resistance and could also clear the way for more businesses to require their employees to be inoculated.

ATLANTA (AP) — Federal workplace safety officials are proposing nearly $1 million in fines against four companies following a January liquid nitrogen leak that killed six workers at a northeast Georgia poultry processing plant. U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh announced the citations and fines by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Friday. Foundation Food Group, which owns the Gainesville plant, was cited for 26 violations with a proposed fine of $595,474. OSHA fines and citations are often lowered following informal and formal appeal processes. Foundation Food did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment. A new freezing line malfunctioned on the morning of Jan. 28, sending a cloud of liquid nitrogen vapor.

NEW YORK (AP) — Disgraced chef Mario Batali, his business partner and their New York City restaurant company have agreed to pay $600,000 to resolve a four-year investigation by the state attorney general’s office into allegations that Batali, restaurant managers and other workers sexually harassed employees. The money will be split among at least 20 former employees of B&B Hospitality and their Manhattan restaurants Babbo, Lupa and the now-closed Del Posto, all of which Batali co-owned with Joseph Bastianich until March 2019. New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the settlement today.

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