Markets rally as economy grows
NEW YORK -- A relief rally swept around the globe, with the Standard & Poor's 500 Index capping its biggest two-day gain since 2009 and Chinese shares snapping a five-day losing streak. Oil jumped the most in more than six years as the U.S. economy grew more than forecast in the second quarter.
The S&P 500 briefly pared gains in late afternoon trading, cutting an advance of as much as 2.5 percent to less than 0.5 percent before reversing course and rallying again, indicating markets are still vulnerable to sudden swings.
Shares surged from Asia to the United States after the biggest advance in the S&P 500 in four years helped restore some appetite for riskier assets.
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Better-than-expected gross domestic product bolstered confidence in the outlook for the American economy as the Federal Reserve prepares to raise interest rates for the first time in almost a decade. Meanwhile, Chinese stocks surged in the last hour of trading as people familiar with the matter said the government stepped in to shore up prices.
The S&P 500 advanced 2.4 percent at 4 p.m. in New York, after Wednesday's 3.9 percent surge. The two-day gain was the biggest since the bull market began more than six years ago. The rally halted a six-day plunge that wiped out $2.2 trillion and sent the S&P 500 into a correction.
Ruling could ease way for unions at fast-food chains
NEW YORK -- It could be easier for unions to bargain for better pay and working conditions on behalf of millions of workers at McDonald's, Burger King and other fast-food chains after a National Labor Relations Board ruling Thursday.
The ruling, which came from a case involving a waste management company and its staffing company, refines the board's standard for determining when parties can be identified as employers.
The ruling could have broader implications for unions that have struggled to organize workers at many fast-food restaurants, which often are owned by big companies but run by franchisees.
The companies have said their franchisees -- not the companies themselves -- have control over decisions about hiring, firing or worker pay in locations that are run by franchisees. That has made it difficult for unions to organize workers across an entire restaurant chain, since that means they would have to deal with a patchwork of hundreds or thousands of franchisees.
But the labor board's ruling could make it easier for unions to bargain with corporations like McDonald's on behalf of workers, instead of dealing with individual franchisees. In its decision, the National Labor Relations Board said Browning-Ferris Industries is a joint employer along with Leadpoint Business Services, a staffing agency that supplied Leadpoint with workers.
-- Herald wire reports