FINANCIAL MARKETS

More modest losses

NEW YORK (AP) — Disappointing results from several retailers weighed on U.S. stocks in midday trading today, extending the market's modest losses from the day before.

The consumer discretionary sector, which includes retailers, was down the most. Banks also declined, reflecting a steep drop in bond yields. Energy stocks led the gainers as crude oil prices rebounded.

At 12:55 p.m. Eastern Time, the Dow Jones industrial average slid 20 points, to 21,164.

The Nasdaq composite index was down 3 points, to 6,292. And the S&P 500 dropped 3 points, to 2,433.

Small-company stocks fell more than the rest of the market. The Russell 2000 gave up 4 points, to 1,392.

JOB OPENINGS

US companies post record number of open jobs in April

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers advertised the most open jobs in April in 16 years, yet hiring fell and fewer people quit work. The figures suggest that businesses are struggling to find qualified employees as the unemployment rate declines.

Job openings rose 4.5 percent in April to more than 6 million, the most since December 2000, when the Labor Department first began tracking the data. Meanwhile, hiring fell 4.8 percent to just over 5 million.

The data is a sign the economy is nearing "full employment," when nearly all those who want a job have one and the unemployment rate mostly reflects the temporary churn of people who are temporarily out of work. Typically, when unemployment falls that low, companies are forced to offer more pay, but that hasn't yet happened.

VOLKSWAGEN

VW independent monitor: company is trying to change

WOLFSBURG, Germany (AP) — The independent monitor overseeing Volkswagen's efforts to prevent a repeat of its emissions scandal says his initial impression is that the company is making a serious effort to change its ways.

Former U.S. deputy attorney general Larry Thompson must certify the policies and practices Volkswagen is putting in place to ensure compliance with anti-fraud and environmental laws. The appointment of an independent monitor was part of Volkswagen's guilty plea to U.S. criminal charges.

Volkswagen has agreed to pay up to $25 billion to settle civil and criminal cases stemming from its practice of equipping cars with software that evaded diesel emission controls. Seven former Volkswagen employees are facing criminal charges.

GENERAL MOTORS-SHAREHOLDERS MEETING

Shareholders reject plan by activist investor

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors shareholders have overwhelmingly turned down an activist shareholder's plan to split the company's stock into two classes.

Only about 9 percent of the stockholders voted for the plan from David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital hedge fund in a preliminary vote count. They also re-elected all 11 GM board members, rejecting the three candidates backed by Greenlight.

Einhorn proposed splitting the stock into capital appreciation and dividend classes. He says the plan would unlock the stock's value. Despite making $42 billion since 2010, GM shares have appreciated only about 5 percent.

TRUMP-HOTEL EXPANSION

Trump Organization to launch 'American Idea' hotel chain

NEW YORK (AP) — The sons of President Donald Trump say their company is launching a new hotel chain inspired by their travels with their father's campaign.

The Trump Organization is calling the new mid-market chain "American Idea" and says it will start with three hotels in Mississippi.

At a party at Manhattan's Trump Tower, Donald Trump Jr. said he and his brother, Eric, got a "crash course in America" while traveling across the country with their father's presidential campaign.

The first of dozens of hotels in another new Trump chain called "Scion" is also under construction in Mississippi.

TRUMP-CEO CONFIDENCE

Survey: Top CEOs still back some of Trump's major policies

WASHINGTON (AP) — Leading U.S. CEOs remain supportive of some of President Donald Trump's key policies despite his still-hazy plan for cutting taxes and recent actions by Trump that have intensified attention on an FBI investigation into his campaign.

The Business Roundtable, a trade association for CEOs, says the executives' economic outlook has reached its highest level in three years.

The association found in its survey of CEOs that plans for capital investment rose 4.6 percentage points since the first quarter, while sales expectations increased 0.5 percentage point.

Still, the executives' plans to hire over the next six months slipped.

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase and chairman of the roundtable, suggested that the results reflect confidence in prospects for overhauling taxes and the administration's "commitment to creating a more favorable regulatory environment."

BEEF RECALL

Kentucky supplier recalls more than 22,000 pounds of beef

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says a Kentucky-based food distributor has issued a recall on more than 22,000 pounds of ground beef and other beef products due to possible E. coli bacteria contamination.

USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service says the Creation Gardens Inc. products subject to the recall were shipped to food service locations in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.

The department says the problem was discovered Monday when plant management at the Louisville-based company notified Food Safety and Inspection Service officials of positive test results for E.coli.

Officials say the raw ground beef and beef primal cut products affected by the recall were produced from May 31 to June 2. The products subject to recall bear establishment number "EST. 7914" inside the USDA mark of inspection.

SOUTH AFRICA-RECESSION

South Africa's economy falls into recession

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa's economy — one of Africa's biggest — is in recession.

The South African government says a 0.7 percent decline in GDP in the first quarter of this year followed a 0.3 percent contraction in the last quarter of 2016, meeting the definition of a recession as two or more quarters of negative growth.

The country's economy was already struggling with official unemployment of 27.7 percent, as well as financial fallout from scandals surrounding President Jacob Zuma.

GOOGLE-ONLINE SAFETY FOR KIDS

Google to teach school kids about online safety, etiquette

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) — Google is spearheading an educational campaign to teach pre-teens how to protect themselves from scams, predators and other trouble.

The program is called "Be Internet Aware." Google coordinated the curriculum with several online safety groups, including the Family Online Safety Institute, the Internet Keep Safe Coalition and Connect Safely .

The lessons are tailored for kids from eight to 12 years old, a time when many of today's children are getting their own smartphones and other devices that connect to the internet. To make the experience more fun, Google and its partners developed a game called "Interland" to help teach children about the ins and outs of online safety.

Google is encouraging teachers to use elements of its program in their classrooms, too.

EUROPE-GUESS

EU competition watchdog probes clothes maker Guess

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's competition watchdog has launched a probe into U.S. clothes maker Guess on suspicion that it might be preventing retailers from selling its products across borders within the EU.

The EU's executive Commission says it wants to find out whether Guess's distribution agreements restrict retailers from selling online to customers in other European countries.

Guess designs, distributes and licenses clothing and accessories. Its products are marketed under various names including Guess? and Marciano.

UPSTATE UBER

Uber, Lyft service in upstate NY, Long Island starts June 29

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Upstate New York, your Uber is arriving.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation last night, allowing Uber and Lyft to begin service in cities like Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany as well as all of Long Island on June 29.

The ride-hailing apps had been limited to the New York City area until lawmakers voted earlier this year to allow them to expand later this summer.