Stocks fall as volatility hits Wall Street; oil drops
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks have fallen today as Wall Street undergoes a bout of volatility, driven in part by big swings in technology companies.
The S&P 500 was down 0.8% at midday. The benchmark index has risen or fallen by more than 1% the past four days. International markets also sold off, with exchanges in Japan, South Korea, Germany and France all dropping more than 1%.
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Energy prices are retreating after a strong rally that contributed to renewed inflation fears among investors. U.S. oil fell 1.9% and natural gas dropped 7.4%
White House restoring environmental reviews for big projects
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is restoring federal regulations guiding environmental reviews of major infrastructure projects such as highways and pipelines.
It’s the latest reversal of a Trump-era environmental rollback. The White House Council on Environmental Quality says it will restore key provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act, a bedrock environmental law designed to ensure community safeguards during environmental reviews for a wide range of federal projects and decisions.
The reviews were scaled back last year by President Donald Trump in a bid to fast-track projects he said would boost the economy and provide jobs.
GM sets to double revenue, lead US in electric vehicle sales
WARREN, Mich. (AP) — General Motors plans to cash in as the world switches from combustion engines to battery power, promising to double its annual revenue by 2030.
To get there GM plans an array of new electric vehicles, profitable gas-powered cars and trucks, and services such as an electronic driving system that can handle most tasks on the road.
In announcements today ahead of a two-day investor event in suburban Detroit, the company also pledged to unseat Tesla and become the electric vehicle market share leader in U.S., although no time frame was given.
GM teased upcoming new electric vehicles including a Chevrolet small SUV that will cost around $30,000, as well as electric trucks from Chevrolet and GMC.
GM, GE look to develop rare earth materials supply chain
UNDATED (AP) — General Motors and General Electric are looking at developing a supply chain of rare earth materials that help make electric vehicles and renewable energy equipment.
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The companies say the memorandum of understanding between the automaker and GE Renewable Energy will evaluate options to improve supplies of heavy and light rare earth materials as well as magnets, copper and electrical steel.
They initially plan to concentrate on making a a North America- and Europe-based supply chain of magnet manufacturing, as metal alloys and finished magnets made from rare earth materials are critical components used in creating electric motors for automotive and renewable power generation.
The U.S. is trying to increase its production of rare earth materials, so as not to be so reliant on China.
CALIFORNIA OIL SPILL-DELAYED RESPONSE
Delay after alarm puts California spill response in question
UNDATED (AP) — Amplify Energy’s emergency response plan for a major oil spill like the one unfolding in coastal Southern California depended heavily on a quick shutdown of its pipeline if sensors pick up a sudden loss of pressure.
Federal investigators said Tuesday that’s not what happened. They say the Houston-based company waited more than three hours to shut down the pipeline after getting a low-pressure alarm early Saturday.
The alarms also are supposed to trigger immediate follow-up actions to quickly ascertain if anything is wrong. It’s uncertain why that process dragged out hours in San Pedro Bay, potentially worsening the spill.
Saudi Aramco closes near $2T valuation as oil prices rally
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s oil company Aramco closed just shy of a $2 trillion valuation the kingdom’s crown prince has long sought.
Aramco’s market cap is being buoyed by high oil prices and increased demand for energy as economies recover from last year’s pandemic lockdowns.
Aramco touched the $2 trillion mark moment during the day, but ultimately closed at $1.99 trillion. It hasn’t reached this peak in trading since December 2019, days after the company’s debut on the Saudi stock exchange.
Aramco now ranks third behind Microsoft and Apple as the world’s most valuable company, far exceeding the combined value of some of the world’s biggest oil companies.
New HUD rule aimed at preventing public housing evictions
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is trying to prevent evictions from public housing for nonpayment of rent. It’s seeking to shore up protections following the end of the nationwide eviction moratorium that was a response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Under a new rule from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, tenants in HUD-subsidized public housing cannot be evicted for nonpayment without providing them 30 days’ notice and information about available federal emergency rental assistance.
The new rule is scheduled to be published Thursday in the Federal Register. A senior HUD official says the rule change is due to significant concern about a looming wave of evictions.
Sweden suspends Moderna vaccine for those 30 and under
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Swedish health authorities have suspended the use of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for those ages 30 and under.
Sweden’s Public Health Agency saya the move was done out of precaution. The agency said the reason for the pausing is “signals of an increased risk of side effects such as inflammation of the heart muscle or the pericardium.”
Sweden’s chief epidemiologist said they “follow the situation closely and act quickly to ensure that vaccinations against COVID-19 are always as safe as possible and at the same time provide effective protection” against the disease.
The Swedish agency said the vaccine from Pfizer is recommended for these age groups instead. Its decision to suspend the Moderna vaccine is valid until Dec. 1.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-HOME TESTS
US to increase at-home coronavirus rapid tests
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is on pace to have about 200 million at-home COVID-19 rapid tests available per month beginning in December. That’s about four times more than earlier this year.
The White House says the supply boost is the result of a new $1 billion federal investment, on top of the $2 billion committed to increasing the availability of the convenient diagnostic tests in September. The FDA also recently authorized a new test from ACON labs this week.
While less accurate than PCR tests, at-home kits are cheaper and faster, allowing for serial screening of schoolchildren, long-term care residents and office workers.
The White House says it’s working to double the local pharmacies offering free coronavirus testing to 20,000 in the coming weeks.
HOLIDAY TOY DELAYS
Toy makers race to get products on shelves amid supply clogs
NEW YORK (AP) — With three months until Christmas, toy companies are racing to get their toys onto store shelves as they face a severe supply network crunch.
Toy makers are feverishly trying to find containers to ship their goods while searching for new alternative routes and ports. Some are flying in the toys if they can get space instead of shipping by boat to get the goods on shelves well before Christmas.
But companies are also resigning to the harsh realities that they can’t make up for delays and are leaving behind some of the holiday toys, particularly bulkier one, in factories in China.
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