AP Business SummaryBrief at 7:55 p.m. EDT

Inflation and wage data suggest US prices will keep climbing

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation surged in June and workers’ average wages accelerated in the spring — signs that Americans won’t likely feel any relief from rising prices anytime soon and that the Federal Reserve will feel compelled to further raise borrowing costs. An inflation gauge closely tracked by the Fed jumped 6.8% in June from a year ago, the biggest such jump in four decades. On a month-to-month basis, too, prices surged 1% in June, the biggest month-over-month rise since 2005. Friday’s figures underscored the persistence of the inflation that is eroding Americans’ purchasing power, dimming their confidence in the economy and threatening Democrats in Congress in the run-up to the November midterm elections.

How to recession-proof your life amid economic uncertainty

NEW YORK (AP) — Prices for gas, food and rent are soaring. The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates to the highest level since 2018. The U.S. economy has shrunk for two straight quarters. Economists are divided over whether a recession is looming. What’s clear is that economic uncertainty isn’t going away anytime soon. But there are steps you can take now to be ready for whatever is ahead. Yiming Ma is an assistant professor at Columbia University. She says it’s not a question of if but when a recession will happen. She says people should prepare but not panic. Making a budget, paying attention to your savings account and buying things second-hand can all help.

Unprecedented profit for major oil drillers as prices soared

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil companies were swimming in record profits the last few months. They were benefiting from high energy costs at a time when Americans struggled to pay for gasoline, food and other basic necessities. Consumers faced high fuel prices not just at the pump, but also baked into delivery costs, which drove up the cost of everything. Exxon and Chevron both reported record profits in the second quarter. When a gallon of gasoline soared above $5 last month, President Joe Biden blamed major oil producers, saying “Exxon made more money than God this year.”

Senate deal should make it easier to buy electric vehicles

DETROIT (AP) — The surprise deal by Senate Democrats on a pared-down bill to support families, boost infrastructure and fight climate change is likely to jump-start sales of electric vehicles. The measure agreed to by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and holdout Sen. Joe Manchin would give EV buyers a $7,500 tax credit starting next year, through the end of 2032. There’s also a new $4,000 credit for those buying used EVs. The vehicles have to be assembled in North America, and there are limits on annual income for buyers. There also are caps on the sticker prices of new EVs and a $25,000 cap on the price that can be paid for used electric vehicles.

Stocks rally again, close out best month since Nov. 2020

Stocks are finishing higher on Wall Street Friday as investors closed out the best month for the S&P 500 since November 2020. New data showed inflation jumped by the most in four decades last month, but sentiment was buoyed by positive earnings news out of technology giants Apple and Amazon, as well as oil giants Exxon and Chevron. The technology-heavy Nasdaq ended July with the biggest gains since April 2020. Stocks have gained momentum this month, fueled by better-than-expected corporate earnings and falling bond yields, which have pulled back after soaring much of this year on expectations of higher interest rates.

Alex Jones’ media company files for bankruptcy amid trial

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ media company Free Speech Systems has filed for bankruptcy, but his attorney says it shouldn’t disrupt the defamation damages trial underway in Texas that seeks to force Jones to pay $150 million or more to the family of one of the children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School attack. The trial in Austin, where Jones lives and Free Speech Systems is based, wrapped up its first week of testimony and is expected to conclude next week. The bankruptcy filing was announced in court late in the day. Courts in Texas and Connecticut have already found Jones liable for defamation for his portrayal of the Sandy Hook massacre as a hoax.

Inflation hits record 8.9% in euro area, but economy grows

LONDON (AP) — Inflation in the European countries using the euro currency shot up to another record in July, pushed by higher energy prices driven partly by the war in Ukraine. But the economy still managed better-than-expected, if meager, growth in the second quarter. The European Union statistics agency said Friday that annual inflation in the eurozone’s 19 countries rose to 8.9% in July, up from 8.6% in June. Inflation has been running at its highest level since record-keeping for the euro began in 1997. The economy grew from April through June, expanding by 0.7% compared with the previous quarter. Economists expect that to be the last glimmer of good news and the region to tip into recession later this year.

Zelenskyy visits port as Ukraine prepares to ship out grain

ODESA, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has visited a Black Sea port to watch crews prepare to export grain trapped by Russia’s five-month-old war. Zelenskyy said Friday that the first ship has been loaded since the war but others that have been stuck with their cargoes of grain would be the first to leave. The work to resume exports is inching forward a week after a deal was struck to allow critical food supplies to flow to millions of impoverished people facing hunger worldwide. A Russian missile strike on Odesa hours after signing the deal has thrown Moscow’s commitment into question and raised concerns about the safety of shipping crews, who also have to navigate waters strewn with explosive mines.

California aims to make its own insulin brand to lower price

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California plans to make its own insulin. The state budget includes $100 million to develop three types of insulin products and invest in a manufacturing facility. The state would contract with a private company to make the insulin under the CalRx brand. This would not be the first time California made its own medicine. The state also makes the only treatment for the rare disease of infant botulism. But millions of people suffer from diabetes. Advocates say the health care industry has conspired to keep the price of insulin high. People with Type 1 diabetes require insulin to survive.

Sony sees profit rise despite waning interest in video games

TOKYO (AP) — Sony has reported its profit edged up 3% in the last quarter, weathering production setbacks from COVID-19 lockdowns in Shanghai and a trend away from video games as pandemic restrictions eased elsewhere. Tokyo-based Sony’s April-June profit totaled 218 billion yen, or $1.6 billion. Quarterly sales rose 2% on the back of strong demand for music, including Harry Styles’ “Harry’s House” and Doja Cat’s “Planet Her.” In movies, Sony is hoping “Bullet Train,” starring Brad Pitt and set for release in August, will do well at the box office. Chief Financial Officer Hiroki Totoki says people are doing less gaming as COVID restrictions ease.

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