U.S. stocks rise as pound jumps
U.S. equities gained as data signaled a resilient economy and modest pressure on inflation. The pound jumped as the U.K. parliament voted to reject a no-deal Brexit.
The S&P 500 index climbed for a third day, wiping out last week’s losses and reaching a four-month high as it held above the key 2,800 level. Oil prices rallied to the highest this year. Treasury yields edged up as orders for business equipment increased in January by the most in six months as the producer price index rose less than forecast in February.
The U.S. data signaled a positive start to the year for the world’s biggest economy and little pressure on the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, just as investors were digesting disappointing numbers from Japan and Australia. The ongoing Brexit drama, a cut to the U.K.’s growth forecast and a warning from America’s top trade negotiator that tariffs may not be rolled back are adding to the complex picture, with reports on Chinese production and retail sales and a Bank of Japan policy decision also coming up this week.
Facebook hit by hourslong outages
Facebook says it is aware of outages on its platforms including Facebook, Messenger and Instagram and is working to resolve the issue. According to downdetector.com, which monitors websites, the outages started around 12 p.m. EDT on Wednesday in parts of the U.S., including the East and West Coast, parts of Europe and elsewhere. Both Facebook’s desktop site and app appeared to be affected. Some users saw a message that said Facebook was down for “required maintenance.”
Facebook did not say what was causing the outages. As of 1:45, service was restored to some but other users were still reporting problems. Via its Twitter account, Facebook said the outage was not due to a “distributed denial of service” or DDoS attack, a type of attack that hackers use to interrupt service to a site.
Spotify: Apple stifles rival apps
Music streaming service Spotify says Apple is abusing its position and violating European antitrust laws. Spotify said Wednesday it had filed a complaint with European regulators, accusing Apple of using its App Store to squash companies that compete with its services, including Apple Music. Apple’s role as a make-or-break arbiter has long frustrated app makers by imposing rules and charging a fee of up to 30 percent on anything sold through its App Store. Spotify said it had told the European Commission, a regulator of the tech industry, that the policies were not just a costly nuisance but a “tax” that violated competition laws and merited an investigation.