Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index declined from a record high after U.S. retail sales in July were weaker than expected. Investors watched for the Fed’s release of minutes from its July policy meeting for an update on when the central bank might start reducing bond purchases that pump money into the financial system and look at raising interest rates.
Fed’s Powell: There’s no returning to pre-pandemic economy
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says the U.S. economy has been permanently changed by the COVID pandemic and it’s important that the central bank adapt to those changes.
Powell said Tuesday at a Fed virtual town hall for educators and students that the Fed needs to understand the ways that the economy has changed and what the implications are for the central bank’s monetary policy. He said that it is not clear if the delta variant will have important effects on the economy. But he added that the country has already seen significant changes since the pandemic began shutting the country down in March 2020.
Japan’s imports, exports grow on overseas economic rebound
TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s exports in July jumped 37% from a year ago, highlighting an overseas recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Finance Ministry data show imports also grew 28.5%, rising for the second month of a trade surplus for the world’s third largest economy. Japan’s exports grew to the U.S., Asia and Europe; while imports increased from Brazil, Belgium and Kuwait.
By category, exports grew in food, iron and steel products, and electronic parts. Imports rose in food, auto parts and oil. Japan marked a trade surplus with the U.S., but a deficit with China in July.
KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN-BIDDING WAR
Kansas City Southern delays vote on $33.6B rail takeover bid
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Kansas City Southern will delay this week’s planned shareholder vote on Canadian National’s $33.6 billion offer to buy the railroad because regulators haven’t ruled on a key part of the acquisition plan.
The vote scheduled for Thursday was put on hold while investors wait to hear whether the U.S. Surface Transportation Board will approve Canadian National’s plan to use a voting trust as part of the acquisition. Without that approval, the deal may fall apart.
The STB has said it expects to rule by Aug. 31. If the CN deal gets derailed, Canadian Pacific railroad is waiting in the wings with a competing $31 billion offer to purchase Kansas City Southern.
Thai asphalt giant implicated in Venezuela sanctions case
CLEVELAND (AP) — A major Thai asphalt company has been implicated for money laundering in a criminal complaint against a Miami businessman accused of violating U.S. sanctions for doing maintenance work on Venezuela’s fleet of Russian fighter jets.
Jorge Nobrega was arrested Sunday at Miami’s international airport. A criminal complaint filed Monday in Miami federal court alleges that Nobrega’s company sold to Venezuela’s military a product to prevent its Sukhoi combat aircraft from exploding under enemy gunfire.
An Associated Press investigation last year revealed how Venezuela had been relying on the publicly traded Tipco Asphalt to blunt the impact of U.S. sanctions by paying its obligations in exchange for deep discounts on crude shipments.
Following protests, Cuba lays out laws on social media use
HAVANA (AP) — Cuba’s government has spelled out laws against using social media or the internet to stir up protests or insult the state. And it’s offering people a form to report offenders.
The decrees published Tuesday follow the largest protests Cuba has seen in years, which broke out last month and apparently were fed in part by messages on social media. One of the decrees forbids spreading content that attacks “the constitutional, social and economic” rules of the state or that incite demonstrations or other acts “that alter public order.” It also targets messages that justify violence. It didn’t specify penalties.
Judge mulls key rulings in Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy
DOVER, Del. (AP) — The judge presiding over the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy is considering whether the organization can pursue an $850 million agreement as the foundation for a reorganization plan.
A three-day hearing ended Monday. The agreement involves the national Boy Scouts organization, about 250 local Boy Scout councils and attorneys representing tens of thousands of men who say they were molested as youngsters by Scoutmasters and others. The Boy Scouts and local councils would contribute $850 million and insurance rights to the victims fund in exchange for being released from further liability. The agreement is opposed by insurers, other law firms representing thousands of abuse victims and various church denominations that sponsored troops.