Inflation worries knock stocks lower again; bond yields rise
NEW YORK (AP) — A surprisingly big jump in inflation last month has knocked the stock market lower again as investors worry that the economy may bounce back too fast from its pandemic-induced doldrums. Tech giants, which had soared during the past year of lockdowns, are taking some of the biggest losses. The S&P 500 is flirting with its worst weekly drop since October. Bond yields snapped higher after the government reported that consumer prices rose 0.8% in April, more than expected, and prices rose year-over-year at the fastest rate since 2008. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.68%.
Consumer prices shot up 0.8% in April as worries escalate
WASHINGTON (AP) — A worrisome bout of inflation struck the economy in April, with U.S. consumer prices surging 0.8%, the largest monthly jump in in more than a decade and the year-over-year increase reaching its fastest rate since 2008. The acceleration in prices, which has been building for months, has unsettled financial markets and raised concerns that it could weaken the economic recovery from the pandemic recession. One-third of the April came from a record 10% increase in the price of used cars and trucks. Wednesday’s report from the Labor Department indicated that that the 0.8% rise prices that consumers pay for everything from food and clothes to new cars was the biggest one-month gain.
Rising commodities costs hit Americans at home and on road
NEW YORK (AP) — Rising prices for a variety of commodities are contributing to a jump in prices at the consumer level. The government said Wednesday that consumer prices surged 0.8% in April from March, while the year-over-year rise was the fastest since 2008. The cost of corn and soybeans used for animal feed is at the highest since 2012, boosting the price of meat. The price of lumber is at an all-time high, contributing to record home prices. Higher oil prices and rising demand for gasoline has helped push the average price of a gallon above $3 for the first time since 2014. Diapers and toilet paper are also costlier.
CHIP SHORTAGE-AUTO PRICES
As chip shortage goes on, cars are scarce and prices are up
DETROIT (AP) — Automakers are cutting production as they grapple with a global shortage of computer chips, and that’s making dealers nervous. With sales at a brisk pace despite high prices, and inventories shrinking, many fear they’ll run out of new vehicles to sell this summer. They’re buying up used cars with hopes of selling them to make money until production returns to normal. But no one is sure when that’s going to happen. Ford has warned that it expects to make only half the normal number of vehicles from now through June. General Motors and others have stopped making some smaller cars and SUVs and diverted chips to higher-profit pickup trucks and big SUVs.
Scramble on for new fuel routes after Colonial Pipeline hack
RALEIGH (AP) — State and federal officials are scrambling to find alternate routes to deliver gasoline in the Southeast U.S. after a hack of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline led to panic-buying that contributed to more than 1,000 gas stations running out of fuel. The pipeline runs from the Gulf Coast to the New York metropolitan region, but states in the Southeast are more reliant on the pipeline for fuel. In North Carolina, 28% of gas stations were out of fuel, according to Gasbuddy.com.
UK foreign secretary calls for cooperation on cybersecurity
LONDON (AP) — Britain’s foreign secretary is urging global cooperation to combat cyberattacks by “hostile state actors” and criminal gangs. Dominic Raab today pledged 22 million pounds, or $31 million, in support to “vulnerable” countries in Africa and the Indo-Pacific to improve their digital defense capacity. He said Britain and the West must step up on the issue or face the “multilateral vacuum” being filled by China and Russia.
Amazon wins EU court fight over $300 million tax ruling
BRUSSELS (AP) — A European Union court has overturned a ruling by the European Commission that a tax deal between Luxembourg’s government and Amazon amounted to illegal state support. The European Commission ordered the U.S. online retailer in 2017 to pay around $300 million in back taxes to Luxembourg. But judges at the EU’s General Court said Wednesday that the European Commission didn’t prove “to the requisite legal standard that there was an undue reduction of the tax burden of a European subsidiary of the Amazon group.”
Biden seeks infrastructure deal in meeting with Hill leaders
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden met with the four congressional leaders at the White House for the first time and says wants to reach a compromise on an infrastructure plan. But expectations for a quick deal remain slim despite his history of working with Republicans. At the meeting are Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy. Biden is pushing his $4 trillion jobs and families proposals. At the start of the meeting, Biden said, “We are going to see if we can reach some consensus on a compromise” on his public works proposal.