Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian shares mostly lower after tech-led retreat on Wall St

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares are mostly lower in Asia after a retreat on Wall Street led by technology companies. Investors are weighing the implications of higher interest rates, surging coronavirus cases and tensions between Beijing and Washington.

Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai declined while Sydney was higher.

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian shares mostly lower after tech-led retreat on Wall St

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares are mostly lower in Asia after a retreat on Wall Street led by technology companies. Investors are weighing the implications of higher interest rates, surging coronavirus cases and tensions between Beijing and Washington.

Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai declined while Sydney was higher.

U.S. shares dropped a day after the Federal Reserve said it’s preparing to begin raising rates next year to fight inflation. The S&P 500 fell 0.9% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq slid 2.5%, its biggest drop since September. Traders were also considering other moves by global central banks.

The Bank of England became the first central bank among leading economies to raise interest rates.

RESULTS-RIVIAN

Upstart electric vehicle maker Rivian posts $1.23B Q3 loss

DETROIT (AP) — Electric vehicle upstart Rivian Automotive posted a $1.23 billion net loss in the third quarter due to expenses from starting production of its pickup truck. The company said in its first public earnings report since its initial stock offering that it lost $12.21 per share for the quarter.

Revenue was $1 million from deliveries of 11 pickups.

The loss came about one month after the company’s $13.7 billion initial public stock offering in November. Rivian said Thursday that net orders of its R1T electric pickup increased to 71,000 as of Wednesday.

EUROPE-RUSSIA

EU hopes fresh talks, not sanctions, will avert Ukraine war

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union leaders are pressing Russia to enter peace talks with Ukraine. At the same time, they are renewing a threat to impose unprecedented sanctions should Moscow send its troops over the border. Ukraine’s president is pleading for more sanctions to be imposed before Russia moves, rather than after.

The EU leaders said Thursday that the bloc “encourages diplomatic efforts and supports the Normandy format in achieving the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements,” in reference to French and German brokered talks between the two sides aimed at enforcing a 2015 peace deal. They repeated a message sent with international partners in recent weeks that “any further military aggression against Ukraine will have massive consequences and severe cost in response.”

CONGRESS-BUDGET

Biden acknowledges $2T bill stalled, but vows it must pass

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has all but acknowledged negotiations over his sweeping domestic policy package will have to be pushed into the new year. It was a setback Thursday as Senate Democrats rushed to try to send the roughly $2 trillion bill to his desk by Christmas.

But Biden does not yet have the votes, in large part because of opposition from one holdout: Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Biden says in their discussions, Manchin has reiterated his support for the bill’s framework.

The president says he is confident it will eventually pass. Biden also says Democrats must press forward on voting rights legislation.

OPIOID CRISIS-PURDUE BANKRUPTCY

Judge rejects Purdue Pharma’s sweeping opioid settlement

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge has rejected OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma’s sweeping deal to settle thousands of lawsuits over the toll of opioids.

U.S. District Court Judge Colleen McMahon in New York found flaws in the way the bankruptcy settlement protects members of the Sackler family who own the company from lawsuits.

Purdue sought bankruptcy protection in 2019 as it faced thousands of lawsuits claiming the company pushed doctors to prescribe OxyContin, helping spark an opioid crisis that has been linked to more than 500,000 deaths in the U.S. over the last two decades.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-J&J VACCINE

CDC recommends Pfizer, Moderna COVID-19 shots over J&J’s

UNDATED (AP) — U.S. health officials say most Americans should get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines instead of the Johnson & Johnson shot. Thursday’s decision came after government advisers reviewed new safety data about rare but potentially life-threatening blood clots linked to J&J’s shot.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines don’t come with this risk and are widely available.

Of the 200 million fully vaccinated Americans, only a small fraction — about 16 million — got the J&J option. The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention accepted the panel’s unusual recommendation.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-JAPAN

Japan PM, Pfizer CEO hold call to discuss vaccine supply

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has spoken by phone with Pfizer Inc. CEO Albert Burla, apparently to ensure a fast supply of COVID-19 vaccines for booster shots amid the global spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Japan, which lacks home-developed vaccines, has so far approved Pfizer and Moderna Inc. vaccines for booster shots. Japan is moving to shorten the interval between second jabs and boosters from eight months to six amid a global upsurge in cases and fears of more community transmissions at home.

CALIFORNIA WILDFIRE-UTILITY PENALTY

California utility faces $550M in penalties for 5 wildfires

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A major California utility has agreed to more than half a billion dollars in fines and penalties related to five wildfires in its territory in 2017 and 2018. The California Public Utilities Commission approved the settlement agreement with Southern California Edison on Thursday.

It relates to the major Thomas and Woolsey Fires, which the utility’s equipment sparked, and three smaller fires.

The utility’s shareholders will pay $110 million to California’s general fund and spend $65 million on safety improvements. The agreement bars the utility from tapping customers to cover $375 million in insurance-related costs for the two major fires.

KELLOGG’S STRIKE

Kellogg’s reaches tentative agreement with striking workers

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Kellogg’s has reached a new tentative agreement with its 1,400 striking cereal plant workers that could bring an end to the strike that began Oct. 5. Members of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union will vote Sunday on the new offer that includes cost-of-living adjustments and a $1.10 per hour raise for all employees.

Kellogg’s CEO Steve Cahillane said he hopes the union will approve this contract.

Last week, the union overwhelmingly rejected a previous offer that included 3% raises but only some employees would have received cost-of-living adjustments.

The strike includes four plants in Omaha, Nebraska; Battle Creek, Michigan; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Memphis, Tennessee.

The results of the contract vote are expected to be released Tuesday. Union officials declined to comment Thursday on the details of the new five-year deal.

GM-CRUISE CEO LEAVING

CEO of GM’s Cruise autonomous vehicle unit to leave company

DETROIT (AP) — The CEO of General Motors’ Cruise autonomous vehicles subsidiary is leaving the company. In a statement Thursday, GM gave no reason for Dan Ammann’s departure. But the company said that Cruise President and Chief Technical Officer Kyle Vogt would be interim CEO.

The leadership change comes just as Cruise is about to start a fully autonomous ride-hailing service without human safety drivers. GM said last week that commercial autonomous ride-hailing would start next year in San Francisco.

SHIP EXPLOSION-FLORIDA

NTSB: Used vehicle battery caused weeklong cargo ship fire

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Officials say an electrical fault from an improperly disconnected battery in a used vehicle led to the fire aboard a cargo ship docked in Florida that resulted in $40 million worth of damage. The National Transportation Safety Board released a report of its findings Thursday, along with eight safety recommendations to federal regulators and the companies involved in the June 2020 blaze.

According to the NTSB report, nine firefighters were injured while responding to the Höegh Xiamen at the Port of Jacksonville. None of the vessel’s 21 crewmembers was injured. The fire took over a week to extinguish.

The ship and its cargo of 2,420 used vehicles were declared a total loss.

SCHOOL THREATS-TIKTOK

Schools step up security in response to threats on TikTok

UNDATED (AP) — Educators have announced plans to increase security in response to TikTok posts warning of shooting and bomb threats at schools around the country Friday as officials assured parents the viral posts were not considered credible. The posts circulating online warned that multiple schools would receive shooting and bomb threats.

The threats had many educators on edge, as they circulated in the aftermath of a deadly school shooting in Michigan, which has been followed by copycat threats to schools around the country. TikTok said it was working with law enforcement to investigate.

The posts follow a disturbing trend that has had students acting out in response to social media challenges.

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