___ Biden’s climate steps could have big impact on energy firms NEW YORK (AP) — President Joe Biden has put his team to work reviewing dozens of actions taken by former President Donald Trump, aiming to reverse orders that he says harm the environment or endanger public health. For the energy and auto industries, the impact could be far-reaching. Biden aims to reduce harmful emissions from cars, trucks and SUVs. Oil and gas operations are being scrutinized as well — from how companies extract resources from the ground to the safety of pipelines that distribute the fuels. The new president aims to transition the country to 100% renewable energy for electricity generation by 2035 and net-zero emissions in the overall economy by 2050. ___ Biden inherits damaged economy, with signs of hope emerging WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has inherited a badly damaged economy pulverized by the pandemic, with 10 million fewer jobs than a year ago and as many as one in 6 small businesses shut down. Yet there are also signs of resilience and recovery that suggest the prospect of a rebound, perhaps a robust one, by the second half of his first year in office. Despite the bleakness of the economic landscape, Biden by most accounts faces a less daunting challenge than he confronted as vice-president under Barack Obama more than a decade ago in the depths of the Great Recession. ___ Judge says Amazon won’t have to restore Parler web service Amazon won’t be forced to restore web service to Parler after a federal judge ruled Thursday against a plea to reinstate the fast-growing social media app favoured by followers of former President Donald Trump. U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein in Seattle said she wasn’t dismissing Parler’s “substantive underlying claims” against Amazon but said it fell short in demonstrating the need for an injunction forcing it back online. Amazon kicked Parler off its web-hosting service last week, and in court filings said the suspension was a “last resort” to block it from harbouring violent plans to disrupt the presidential transition. ___ Facebook’s oversight board to rule on Trump ban OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Facebook is passing the buck for its indefinite suspension of former president Donald Trump to a quasi-independent oversight board, setting up a major test of the recently established panel. The social media giant said Thursday that it believes it made the right decision to suspend Trump after he incited his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol in a deadly assault on Jan. 6. But it said it’s referring the matter to the oversight board for what it called an “independent judgment” on on upholding the decision. Twitter, by contrast, has permanently banned Trump from its platform. ___ Trump returns to a business empire ravaged by pandemic NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump is returning to a family business ravaged by pandemic shutdowns, with revenue plunging more than 40 per cent at his Doral golf property, his Washington hotel and both his Scottish resorts. Trump’s financial disclosure released as he left office this week was just the latest bad news for his financial empire after banks, brokerages and golf organizations announced they were cutting ties with his company following the storming of the Capitol by his political supporters. A bright spot was that revenue at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, his new post-presidency home, rose by a few million dollars. ___ US government approves routes for Wyoming CO2 pipelines CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The U.S. government has approved routes for a potential system of pipelines that would move carbon dioxide across Wyoming. The greenhouse gas could be captured from coal-fired power plants, keeping it out of the atmosphere where it causes global warming. The captured gas would instead be pumped underground to boost production from oil fields. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management designated 1,100 miles of federal land for pipeline development through the Wyoming Pipeline Corridor Initiative. The Casper Star-Tribune reports that Interior Secretary David Bernhardt signed the plans Friday, days before leaving office with the rest of President Donald Trump’s administration. ___ Stocks drift to mixed close; S&P 500 ekes out another record Stocks drifted to a mixed close on Wall Street Thursday as the earnings reporting season for U.S. companies ramped into higher gear. The S&P 500 edged up just one point, enough to mark another record high. The Dow and other market measures fell, as did most stocks. Insurer Travelers jumped after reporting a stronger-than-expected profit, as most companies have been doing so far in this earnings season. United Airlines fell after reporting a worse loss than expected. Economic reports were mixed, including one showing 900,000 workers applied for unemployment benefits last week. Treasury yields continued to move higher. ___ US long-term mortgage rates slip; 30-year loan at 2.77% WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. long-term mortgage rates slipped this week while remaining at record-low levels. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reports that the average rate on the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate home loan eased to 2.77% from 2.79% last week. The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate loans declined to 2.21% from 2.23%. The damage from the coronavirus pandemic on the U.S. and global economies suppressed home loan rates through most of 2020. Economists forecast modest increases in mortgage rates this year. But they likely will remain relatively low as the Federal Reserve keeps interest rates near zero as needed until the economy recovers, Freddie Mac’s chief economist says. ___ Union Pacific delivered 3% more freight as economy recovered OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Union Pacific’s fourth-quarter profit chugged ahead as shipping volume improved for the first time since before the coronavirus pandemic slowed the economy to a crawl last year. The Omaha, Nebraska-based railroad said Thursday that it earned $1.38 billion, or $2.05 per share, in the quarter, but the results were weighed down by a one-time charge of $278 million. The results beat Wall Street expectations. The railroad said it delivered 3% more shipments as the economy continued to recover from the worst of the pandemic. In last year’s second quarter, volume plummeted more than 20% as many businesses and factories shut down. ___ US home construction jumps 5.8% in December to 1.67 million WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home construction jumped 5.8% in December to 1.67 million units, a 14-year high, as housing wrapped up its best year since 2006. The better-than-expected December gain followed an increase of 9.8% in November when housing starts climbed to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.58 million units, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. The December pace was the strongest since a building rate of 1.72 million units in September 2006. Housing has been one of the star performers this year even as the overall economy has been wracked by the coronavirus. Record-low mortgage rates and the desire of many people to move to larger homes during the extended stay-at-home period has fueled demand. ___ The S&P 500 rose 1.22 points, or less than 0.1%, to 3,853.07. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 12.37 points, or less than 0.1%, to 31,176.01. The Nasdaq composite climbed 73.67 points, or 0.6%, to 13,530.91. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 19.20 points, or 0.9%, to 2,141.42. The Associated Press
Rory McIlroy again put himself in contention to win an event where he has had so many near misses, shooting an 8-under 64 Thursday in the first round of the season-opening Abu Dhabi Championship. In 10 appearances in Abu Dhabi, McIlroy has finished second on four occasions and third three times. ''It feels good,'' McIlroy said after surpassing his previous best score in Abu Dhabi.