Stocks waver on Wall Street amid latest earnings reports
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks turned mixed in afternoon trading on Wall Street as traders reviewed the latest round of earnings reports from several big U.S. companies. The S&P 500 fell 0.2%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.1% and the Nasdaq fell 0.5%. American Airlines rose after telling investors it expects to turn a profit in the second quarter as more people return to travel. That upbeat outlook helped push rival airlines higher, as well as other companies within the travel industry. Tesla rose after the maker of electric cars and solar panels reported strong sales and a seven-fold increase in profits despite global supply chain kinks.
Fewest Americans collecting jobless aid since 1970
WASHINGTON (AP) — Applications for unemployment benefits inched down last week as the total number of Americans collecting aid fell to its lowest level in more than 50 years. The Labor Department says jobless claims fell by 2,000 to 184,000. The four-week average of claims, which levels out week-to-week volatility, rose by 4,500 to 177,250. About 1.42 million Americans were collecting traditional unemployment benefits in the week of April 9, the fewest since February 21, 1970. Two years after the coronavirus pandemic plunged the economy into a brief but devastating recession, American workers are enjoying extraordinary job security.
Average long-term US mortgage rates highest in 12 years
WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates have risen for the seventh straight week, climbing to their highest level in more than a decade. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on a 30-year mortgage rose to 5.11% from 5% last week. The last time it was higher was in April of 2010 when it reached 5.21%. A year ago the 30-year rate stood at 2.97%. Federal Reserve officials have signaled that they will take an aggressive approach to fighting high inflation this year, which could include multiple half-point hikes. Average rates in recent months have seen the fastest pace of increases since 1994.
US to provide $500 million more in financial aid to Ukraine
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States will provide $500 million more in financial assistance for Ukraine to sustain critical government operations as it fends off Russia’s invasion. The money will help support salaries, pensions and other programs. The announcement came after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met on Thursday with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal against the backdrop of International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings that have been dominated by conversations over how to manage the spillover from Russia’s war. Yellen says the new aid is “only the beginning of what Ukraine will need to rebuild.” The funding is on top of $500 million President Joe Biden unveiled in March.
Florida Legislature votes to strip Disney self-government
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida House of Representatives has given final passage to a bill to dissolve a private government that Walt Disney World has been allowed to operate on its properties for more than five decades. House lawmakers approved the measure on Thursday. The passage is a victory for Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. He has lashed back at the entertainment giant after it publicly declared its opposition to a new law backed by the governor that critics have dubbed “Don’t Say Gay.” The Disney bill would eliminate the self-governed districts by June 2023. But it does allow the districts to be reestablished in the future, leaving the door open for further negotiations.
Amazon extends Prime perks to merchant sites
UNDATED (AP) — Amazon is extending benefits of a Prime subscription to online stores beyond its own site, a move geared toward boosting revenue from merchant fees and expanding its logistics footprint. The company said Thursday the service will be offered through an initiative it calls “Buy with Prime.” It will be available by invitation for merchants who use Amazon’s warehouse and delivery services before it’s widely available for others. Using the service, merchants will be able to put the Prime badge on their sites next to items that are eligible for faster shipping, as well as free delivery and returns. Sellers would pay various fees.
Musk says he has $46.5B in financing ready to buy Twitter
UNDATED (AP) — Elon Musk says he has lined up $46.5 billion in financing to buy Twitter, and he’s trying to negotiate an agreement with the company. The Tesla CEO says in documents filed Thursday with U.S. securities regulators that he’s exploring what’s known as a tender offer to buy all of the social media platform’s common stock for $54.20 per share in cash. But Musk hasn’t decided yet whether to do that. The documents say Twitter has not responded to Musk’s proposal. Last week Twitter’s board adopted a “poison pill” defense that would make a takeover attempt prohibitively expensive.
CNN’s streaming service shutting down a month after launch
UNDATED (AP) — CNN’s brand-new streaming service, CNN+, is shutting down only a month after launch. In a Thursday memo, incoming CNN chief executive Chris Licht said the service would shut down at the end of April. CNN+ launched when its parent was still part of AT&T. It combined with Discovery earlier this month in a new company, Warner Bros. Discovery, under Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who had his own vision for CNN and its Warner siblings. Licht says some CNN+ content will wind up on other company networks, and the streaming service’s employees will get opportunities to apply for jobs elsewhere inside Warner Bros. Discovery.
Ford recalls over 650K trucks; windshield wipers can fail
DETROIT (AP) — Ford is recalling more than 650,000 pickup trucks and big SUVs in the U.S. because the windshield wipers can break and fail. The recall covers certain F-150 pickups, and Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs from the 2020 and 2021 model years. Also included are F-250, 350, 450 and 550 trucks from 2020 through 2022. Ford’s F-Series pickups are the top-selling vehicles in the U.S. Ford says in documents posted Thursday by U.S. safety regulators that teeth on the wipers aren’t the right height. That can cause the wiper arms to become stripped. Dealers will replace both front windshield wiper arms. Owners will be notified by letter starting May 23.
BIRD FLU-FREE RANGE
Bird flu drives free-range hens indoors to protect poultry
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Some farmers are wondering if it’s OK that eggs sold as free-range come from chickens being kept inside. It’s a question that arises lately as farmers try to be open about their product while also protecting hens from a highly infectious bird flu that has killed roughly 28 million poultry across the country. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that chickens be moved indoors to protect against the disease but not everyone agrees. John Brunnquell, the CEO of Indiana-based Egg Innovations says his free-range chickens on more than 50 farms in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Wisconsin will stay in “confinement mode” until the risk passes.
Chicago Fed President Charles Evans to retire next year
WASHINGTON (AP) — Charles Evans will retire early next year after 15 years as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, a tenure that made him the longest-serving regional Fed president. Among Fed officials, Evans has been a vocal supporter of lower interest rates. His departure comes as the Fed is wrestling with how quickly and how high to boost its benchmark short-term rate in its fight against inflation, which is at its worst level in four decades. Regional Fed presidents like Evans take part in the central bank’s eight policymaking meetings each year.