AP Business SummaryBrief at 11:59 p.m. EDT

Asian shares track Wall Street slide on expected rate raises

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares are trading mostly lower, tracking the broad slide on Wall Street, as investors braced for higher interest rates and inflation worries for some time. Benchmarks fell in Tokyo, Sydney, South Korea and Hong Kong in early trading, but edged up slightly in Shanghai. The slide in the Nikkei came despite signs of improvement in the Japanese economy. A Finance Ministry...

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Asian shares track Wall Street slide on expected rate raises

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares are trading mostly lower, tracking the broad slide on Wall Street, as investors braced for higher interest rates and inflation worries for some time. Benchmarks fell in Tokyo, Sydney, South Korea and Hong Kong in early trading, but edged up slightly in Shanghai. The slide in the Nikkei came despite signs of improvement in the Japanese economy. A Finance Ministry study on corporate financial statements for April-June showed a 17.6% improvement from the previous year. Stocks closed lower on Wall Street.

Inflation hits 9.1% in countries using euro currency

LONDON (AP) — Inflation in the European countries using the euro currency hit another record in August, fueled by soaring energy prices mainly driven by Russia’s war in Ukraine. Annual inflation in the eurozone’s 19 countries rose to 9.1% in August, up from 8.9% recorded in July. That’s according to the latest figures released Wednesday by the European Union statistics agency. Inflation is at the highest levels since record-keeping for the euro began in 1997. Energy prices surged by 38.3%, while food prices rose by 10.6%. Prices for goods were up 5% and the cost of services rose 3.8%.

Silver lining: Northeast drought benefits some businesses

BOSTON (AP) — There is a silver lining to the drought affecting the northeastern U.S. that has frustrated farmers, dried up rivers and reservoirs, and brought water use restrictions and brush fires to the region. The arid conditions have benefited amusement parks, minor league baseball teams, construction contractors and other businesses that need warm, dry weather to attract paying customers and get jobs completed on time. While several factors have affected the bottom line this summer, including inflation, staffing shortages, and supply chain issues, some businesses say things are generally going well, in part because of the weather.

Europe plan for floating gas terminals raises climate fears

NEW YORK (AP) — As winter nears, European nations, desperate to replace the natural gas they once bought from Russia, have embraced a short-term fix: A series of roughly 20 floating terminals that would receive liquefied natural gas from other countries and convert it into heating fuel. Yet the plan, with the first floating terminals set to deliver natural gas by year’s end, has raised alarms among scientists who fear the long-term consequences for the environment. They warn that these terminals would perpetuate Europe’s reliance on natural gas, which releases climate-warming methane and carbon dioxide when it’s produced, transported and burned.

Robot that stocks drinks is newest thing at the corner store

TOKYO (AP) — A small robot with a clip-like hand and the smarts to know which drinks are popular is part of an effort to make convenience stores even more convenient. The robot named TX SCARA operates behind the refrigerated shelves in the back of a FamilyMart store. It knows what kind of beverages are running short and can lift cans and bottles one by one onto the shelf. Industrial robots are common in factories, and others can map disaster zones and help doctors perform surgery. But TX SCARA aims at the repetitive work done in convenience stores and warehouses. It’s one possible answer to Japan’s worsening labor shortage.

States tapping historic surpluses for tax cuts and rebates

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — State governments flush with money are returning billions of dollars to their residents. Already this year, at least 31 states have enacted some form of tax cut or rebate. That’s likely to grow when Missouri and Idaho convene special sessions in September to consider tax breaks. The number of states enacting tax breaks is far beyond usual. States have extra money because of surging tax revenue and federal pandemic aid. But there are divisions about how far to go. Democratic states generally have tended toward targeted tax breaks and one-time rebates while some Republican states have enacted permanent income tax rate reductions.

Bed Bath & Beyond to close stores, cut jobs in rebound bid

NEW YORK (AP) — Bed Bath & Beyond says that it will shutter stores and lay off workers in a bid to turn around its beleaguered business. The home goods retailer based in Union, New Jersey, said Wednesday it will close about 150 of its namesakes stores and slash its workforce by 20%. It estimated those cuts would save $250 million in the company’s current fiscal year. It also said it is considering selling more of its stock to shore up its finances and had lined up more than $500 million of new financing. But it will keep its buybuy Baby chain, which earlier this year it considered selling. Bed Bath & Beyond’s stock fell more than 20%.

Yellen warns of failure to agree on Russia oil price cap

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is warning that a failure to place a price cap on Russian oil would hurt the global economy. She says without a price cap, “we face the threat of a global energy price spike if the majority of Russian energy production gets shut in.” She spoke at the start of a Wednesday afternoon meeting with her British counterpart, Nadhim Zahawi. The European Union has decided to ban nearly all oil from Russia by the end of the year. It also will ban insuring and financing the maritime transport of Russian oil to other countries. Unless a price cap is implemented, prices will almost certainly spike.

German prosecutors search JPMorgan offices in tax probe

BERLIN (AP) — German prosecutors have raided the office of JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Frankfurt as part of a broader tax evasion investigation targeting numerous banks in Germany and beyond. Cologne prosecutors said Wednesday that dozens of investigators began searching the offices Tuesday of a Frankfurt-based financial institution and several auditing and tax firms. The raids also targeted private apartments of four suspects. Prosecutors said the raids were linked to an investigation into so-called cum-ex share transactions and related tax evasion practices that are said to have cost the German government billions of euros. JPMorgan said in a statement that its Frankfurt offices were “visited” this week and said it was cooperating with German authorities.

WHO: New COVID cases, deaths keep falling nearly everywhere

GENEVA (AP) — The number of new coronavirus cases and deaths reported globally continued to fall nearly everywhere in the world in what the World Health Organization described as a “welcome decline” at a media briefing on Wednesday. The U.N. health agency said there were 4.5 million new COVID-19 cases reported last week, a 16% drop from the previous week. Deaths were also down by 13%, with about 13,500 fatalities. WHO said COVID-19 infections dropped everywhere in the world while deaths decreased everywhere except for Southeast Asia, where they climbed by 15% and in the Western Pacific, where they rose by 3%.

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