Fifty years after the 1973 Arab oil embargo, the current crisis in the Middle East has the potential to disrupt global oil supplies and raise prices. But don’t expect a repeat of the catastrophic price hikes and long lines at the gasoline pump, experts say. The head of the International Energy Agency said the latest Israel-Hamas war is “definitely not good news” for oil markets already stretched by cutbacks in oil production from Saudi Arabia and Russia and expected stronger demand from China. Benchmark crude traded at $93 a barrel on Friday, up from $85 the day before Hamas attacked Israel, killing hundreds of civilians.
The teachers union in Portland, Oregon, has voted to go on strike. The Portland Association of Teachers announced the vote results Friday. The strike would begin Nov. 1, unless an agreement is reached with the school district before then. Large class sizes, low pay and a lack of resources were among the main issues cited by teachers. The union has been bargaining for months with the school district for a new contract, which expired in June. Portland Public Schools said it would stay at the bargaining table in the hopes of reaching a fair settlement.
Greece has won new certification of its financial health. Standard & Poor’s has become the first of the three major international ratings agencies to upgrade the formerly struggling country’s credit rating to investment grade. The one-notch upgrade, from BB+ to BBB-, is expected to significantly boost market confidence in the Greek economy, attracting investment and lowering the government’s borrowing costs. The center-right government hailed it Friday as a major success. It came more than a decade after Greece’s bonds were relegated to sub-investment — or junk — grade amid the financial crisis that pushed the country to the brink of financial collapse and forced three massive international bailouts.
Investigators say they found a leak of hydraulic fluid in the landing gear system on a FedEx plane that was forced to make an emergency landing this month in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The National Transportation Safety Board said in a preliminary report Friday that investigators also found a “discontinuity” in the wiring of an alternate system for lowering the landing gear. Pilots of the FedEx Boeing 757 were able to land the plane but ran off the end of the runway on Oct. 4 in Chattanooga. None of the three crew members were injured.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s new health plan for low-income adults has enrolled only 1,343 people through the end of September about three months after launching. The Georgia Department of Community Health has projected up to 100,000 people could eventually benefit from Georgia Pathways to Coverage. But the nation’s only Medicaid program that makes recipients meet a work requirement is off to a very slow start. The Republican governor's administration says it expects to keep adding beneficiaries. Experts say the program’s creeping progress reflects fundamental flaws, and that a less restrictive Medicaid expansion would be better.
Florida lawmakers will return for a special session to impose additional sanctions against Iran, express support for Israel and provide additional security to protect Jewish institutions in Florida. Presidential candidate and Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis supports Friday's call for the special session that will begin Nov. 6. The special session was called by legislative leaders because Iran supports Hamas militants who attacked Israel two weeks ago, though no government worldwide has offered direct evidence supporting that Iran orchestrated the attack. Florida already has sanctions against companies that directly do business with Iran. The session will also take up issues like hurricane relief, property insurance and providing more money for special needs students.
Wall Street closed out its worst week in a month with more losses. The S&P 500 fell 1.3% Friday. The Dow lost 286 points, and the Nasdaq composite dropped 1.5%. The stock market has been under pressure from the bond market, where the yield on the 10-year Treasury briefly touched 5% Thursday evening for the first time since 2007. High yields make borrowing more expensive for everyone, and they slow the economy while dragging on investment prices. The 10-year yield eased Friday, but only after hanging near 4.99% in the morning. Crude oil prices fluctuated, and gold's price rose.
A major Midwestern carbon dioxide pipeline project has been canceled. Navigator CO2 Ventures announced the cancellation of its proposed 1,300-mile Heartland Greenway project on Friday. The pipeline would have carried planet-warming CO2 emissions from more than 20 industrial plans across Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota, to be buried deep underground in Illinois. The cancellation comes soon after the company withdrew its application for a crucial permit in Illinois, and also said it was putting its other permit applications on hold. South Dakota regulators last month denied Navigator a construction permit for its pipeline.
Wall Street closed out its worst week in a month with more losses. The S&P 500 fell 1.3% Friday. The Dow lost 286 points, and the Nasdaq composite dropped 1.5%. The stock market has been under pressure from the bond market, where the yield on the 10-year Treasury briefly touched 5% Thursday evening for the first time since 2007. High yields make borrowing more expensive for everyone, and they slow the economy while dragging on investment prices. The 10-year yield eased Friday, but only after hanging near 4.99% in the morning. Crude oil prices fluctuated, and gold’s price rose.
Stocks that traded heavily or had substantial price changes on Friday: SolarEdge Technologies, Regions Financial fall; Autoliv, Euronet rise.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil for November delivery fell 62 cents to $88.75 a barrel Friday. Brent crude for December delivery fell 22 cents to $92.16 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline for November delivery rose 1 cent to $2.37 a gallon. November heating oil fell 1 cent to $3.16 a gallon. November natural gas fell 6 cents to $2.90 per 1,000 cubic feet. Gold for December delivery rose $13.90 to $1,994.40 an ounce. Silver for December delivery rose 47 cents to $23.50 an ounce and December copper fell 4 cents to $3.56 a pound. The dollar was unchanged at 149.87 Japanese yen. The euro rose to $1.0592 from $1.0581.
Hospitals and health care systems are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence to help summarize doctors’ notes and analyze health records. But a new study led by Stanford School of Medicine researchers cautions that popular chatbots are also perpetuating racist, debunked medical ideas. That is prompting concerns the tools could worsen health disparities for Black patients. Powered by AI models trained on troves of text pulled from the internet, chatbots such as ChatGPT and Google’s Bard responded to the researchers’ questions with a range of misconceptions and falsehoods about Black patients, according to the study published Friday in the academic journal Digital Medicine.
Several families who sent loved ones to a Colorado funeral home where 189 decaying bodies were discovered fear they were given fake ashes. Death certificates and other evidence collected by The Associated Press suggests their loved ones weren’t cremated as claimed. They could instead be among the corpses authorities are trying to identify. Return to Nature Funeral Home gave families death certificates stating their loved ones’ remains had been handled by two crematories that told the AP this week that they were not performing cremation services for Return to Nature when the death certificates were received.
Appointees of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on the board of Walt Disney World's governing district are asking a state judge to dismiss Disney's counterclaims in a lawsuit. The governing district made the request in court papers Wednesday. The counterclaims seek a court declaration that agreements Disney made with supporters on the district's board before it was taken over by the DeSantis allies are valid. The agreements shifted control over design and construction at Disney World from the district to the company. Disney also wants a ruling that the DeSantis allies violated the company’s contracts, free speech and due process rights.