Stocks turn mixed in choppy trading
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are mixed in afternoon trading on Wall Street as investors review earnings and inflation data. The broader market started the day with gains, then shifted to slight losses before leveling off. The S&P 500 rose 0.1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 0.4%. Delta Air Lines fell 5.5% after it warned that higher fuel and labor costs could affect its profitability going forward. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.55% even after the government reported another jump in consumer prices last month. Banks are among the heaviest weights on the market.
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Inflation rises 5.4% from year ago, matching 13-year high
WASHINGTON (AP) — Another surge in consumer prices in September pushed inflation up 5.4% from where it was a year ago, matching the highest shift higher since 2008 as tangled global supply lines continue to create havoc. The Labor Department says consumer prices rose 0.4% in September from August as the costs of new cars, food, gas, and restaurant meals all jumped. The annual increase in the consumer price index matched readings in June and July as the highest in 13 years. Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, core inflation rose 0.2% in September and 4% compared with a year ago. Core prices hit a three-decade high of 4.5% in June.
SOCIAL SECURITY-COST OF LIVING
Social Security COLA largest in decades as inflation jumps
WASHINGTON (AP) — Millions of retirees on Social Security will get a 5.9% boost in benefits for 2022. The biggest cost-of-living adjustment in 39 years follows a burst in inflation as the economy struggles to shake off the drag of the coronavirus pandemic. The COLA increase amounts to $92 a month for the average retired worker, according to estimates released Wednesday by the Social Security Administration. The increase affects household budgets for about 1 in 5 Americans, nearly 70 million people, including Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and federal retirees. Policymakers say it’s a safeguard to protect benefits against a loss of purchasing power, and not a pay raise for retirees.
ENERGY COSTS-WINTER OUTLOOK
Heating bills set to soar as inflation hits energy prices
NEW YORK (AP) — With prices surging worldwide for heating oil, natural gas and other fuels, the U.S. government said Wednesday it expects households to see jumps of up to 54% for their heating bills from last winter. The sharpest increases are likely for homes that use propane, but others are also likely to see big increases. Homes that use natural gas, which make up nearly half of all U.S. households, may spend $746 this winter, 30% more than a year ago. A forecast for a colder winter means people will likely be burning more fuel to keep warm, on top of paying more for each bit of it.
EU urges members to protect poor residents amid energy hikes
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s executive branch is advising the 27 EU member countries to adopt tax cuts, state aid and other measures to help households and businesses weather the impact of high energy prices. After the economic instability of the coronavirus pandemic, the European Commission wants a rapid response to mitigate the effects of the price hikes, especially for people living in poverty or on low incomes. The commission proposed Wednesday that countries offer income support through vouchers, bill payment deferrals or partial bill payments, which can be supported with EU revenues. Its other recommendations for national governments are introducing safeguards to avoid service disconnections, cuts in taxation rates and aid for certain companies or industries.
Logjam at busiest UK commercial port adds to Christmas fears
LONDON (AP) — A logjam at the U.K.’s busiest commercial port has ratcheted up concerns that the country could see shortages of toys, food and other items during the crucial Christmas holiday period. Worries have mounted in recent weeks that the U.K.’s economic recovery is being hobbled by an array of shortages, including of truck drivers. The disruption has been most clearly seen in long gas station lines and empty supermarket shelves. Now, a bottleneck of containers at the east England port of Felixstowe is fueling concern about the impact on the British economic recovery. The buildup of cargo prompted shipping company Maersk to divert some of its biggest vessels to other ports in Europe.
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Aim to ease supply chain bottlenecks with LA port going 24/7
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says it’s helped broker an agreement for the Port of Los Angeles to become a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week operation. It’s an effort to relieve supply chain bottlenecks and move the stranded container ships that are driving prices higher for American consumers. President Joe Biden plans to discuss the agreement during a Wednesday afternoon speech about the supply chain issues that have hampered the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, account for 40% of all shipping containers entering the U.S. The supply chain problem is tightly linked with the broader challenge of inflation confronting Biden.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-J&J VACCINE-BOOSTER
FDA grapples with timing of booster for J&J COVID-19 vaccine
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration is wrestling with how to decide on booster doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Other manufacturers want to offer boosters six months after primary vaccination. But J&J proposed a range of times, from two months to six months. In a review posted Wednesday, FDA scientists didn’t reach a firm conclusion, citing shortcomings with J&J’s data. On Thursday and Friday, an FDA advisory panel will recommend whether to back boosters of both the J&J and Moderna vaccines. An extra dose of Pfizer’s vaccine already is available to certain Americans.
US talks global cybersecurity without a key player: Russia
WASHINGTON (AP) — Amid an epidemic of ransomware attacks, the U.S. is discussing cybersecurity strategy with 30 countries while leaving out one key player: Russia. The country that, unwittingly or not, hosts many of the criminal syndicates behind ransomware attacks around the world was not invited to a two-day meeting starting Wednesday that’s aimed at developing new strategies to counter the threat. A Biden administration official says discussions will focus in part on efforts to disrupt and prosecute ransomware networks like the one behind an attack on a U.S. pipeline company that led to East Coast gas shortages. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan says “No one country” can solve the ransomware problem.
IMF head pledges renewed efforts to protect data integrity
WASHINGTON (AP) — The embattled head of the International Monetary Fund, who successfully fought to keep her job following a data-manipulation scandal, is pledging renewed efforts to bolster data integrity while focusing on the main job of helping countries recover from a devastating global pandemic. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said Wednesday that she was glad the IMF’s 24-member executive board had expressed confidence in her ability to head up the 190-nation IMF. The board looked into accusations that Georgieva, while at the World Bank, had pressured staff to boost the rankings of China and other countries in 2018 in an influential business climate report.
US regulators seek answers from Tesla over lack of recall
DETROIT (AP) — U.S. safety investigators want to know why Tesla didn’t file recall documents when it updated Autopilot software to better identify parked emergency vehicles, escalating a simmering clash between the automaker and regulators. In a letter to Tesla, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told the electric car maker that it must recall vehicles if an over-the-internet update mitigates a safety defect. The latest showdown further reveals an escalating confrontation between Tesla and the agency that regulates partially automated driving systems. In August the agency opened an investigation into Autopilot after getting multiple reports of Teslas crashing into emergency vehicles parked on highways with warning lights flashing.
Delta posts $1.2 billion Q3 profit, touts holiday bookings
UNDATED (AP) — Delta Air Lines is reporting a $1.2 billion profit for the third quarter, thanks in large part to federal aid to help the industry get through the pandemic. Delta said Wednesday that travel demand is improving after flattening out in late summer, when coronavirus cases spiked in the U.S. But lucrative corporate and international travel continue to lag. Meanwhile, Delta is trying to set its own course on vaccine policy. Unlike other airlines, Delta is letting employees pick regular testing as an alternative to getting the shots. That could run afoul of President Joe Biden’s order that federal contractors require their employees to be vaccinated — not tested in place of getting vaccinated.
JPMorgan’s 3Q profits rise, but low rates weigh on revenue
NEW YORK (AP) — JPMorgan Chase says profits rose 24% in the third quarter, largely driven by one-time items that boosted its results, as the bank struggled to grow revenues with interest rates at near-zero levels. The nation’s largest bank by assets said Wednesday that it earned a profit of $11.69 billion, or $3.74 per share, compared with a profit of $9.44 billion, or $2.92 per share, in the same period a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, JPMorgan’s profit was $3.03 a share, barely higher than the $3.00 a share that analysts were looking for, according to FactSet.
Deere workers prepare for strike after rejecting contract
MOLINE, Ill. (AP) — More than 10,000 Deere & Co. workers appear ready to go on strike if negotiators can’t deliver a new agreement by the end of Wednesday. The United Auto Workers union has said its members would walk off the job if no deal has been reached by 11:59 p.m. The vast majority of the union rejected a contract offer earlier this week that would have delivered 5% raises to some workers and 6% raises to others. Thirty-five years have passed since the last major Deere strike, but workers are emboldened to demand more this year after working long hours throughout the pandemic and because companies are facing worker shortages.
Film TV workers union says strike to start next week
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The union representing film and television crews says its 60,000 members will begin a nationwide strike on Monday if it does not reach a deal that satisfies demands for fair and safe working conditions. A strike would bring a halt to filming on a broad swath of film and television productions and extend well beyond Hollywood, affecting productions in Georgia, New Mexico and other North American shoots. International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees International President Matthew Loeb said Wednesday that the strike would begin at 12:01 a.m. Monday unless an agreement is reached rest and meal periods and pay for its lowest-paid workers.
Moccasin maker apologizes for profiting off Native culture
NEW YORK (AP) — Moccasin maker Minnetonka is publicly apologizing for making money off Native culture and promised to do more to support Indigenous communities in the future after 75 years in business. In a statement posted Monday on its company website, Minnetonka CEO David Miller said the company is not a Native-owned business. He noted the Minneapolis-based company acknowledged its appropriation in the summer of 2020, but Miller said this public apology was long overdue. To better address the needs of the Native American community, Minnetonka said it has hired Adrienne Benjamin as a reconciliation adviser. She is a Minnesotan, Anishinaabe, and a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.
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