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Stocks fell yesterday, slipping from record highs, as investors grappled with a jump in reported coronavirus cases and the virus’ possible economic impact.


The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits in early February rose slightly, but there’s still no sign of widespread layoffs in an economy that has been expanding for a record 10 and a half years.  Initial jobless claims edged up by 2,000 to 205,000.


The cost of staples such as rent, medical care and prepared food rose in January to push consumer prices higher, but inflation more broadly was still relatively tame.  The consumer price index edged up 0.1% last month, marking the smallest increase in four months.  The cost of living in the past 12 months, meanwhile, climbed to 2.5% from 2.3% — the highest level since the fall of 2018.


Amazon has won a temporary restraining order from a federal court to block Microsoft award of a $10 billion Pentagon cloud-computing contract.  Amazon, which lost out on the bitterly disputed deal, filed a lawsuit last month asking the court to halt Microsoft’s work on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract. Amazon Web Services alleged the yearslong evaluation process included “clear deficiencies, errors and unmistakable bias.”

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