Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks fall as investors seek direction

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell in afternoon trading on Wall Street as investors struggle to find some direction for markets amid persistently choppy trading. The S&P 500 fell 0.5%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.4% and the Nasdaq fell 0.5%.

European markets were posting bigger declines after the European Central Bank said it would start raising interest rates next month for the first time...

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FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks fall as investors seek direction

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell in afternoon trading on Wall Street as investors struggle to find some direction for markets amid persistently choppy trading. The S&P 500 fell 0.5%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.4% and the Nasdaq fell 0.5%.

European markets were posting bigger declines after the European Central Bank said it would start raising interest rates next month for the first time in more than a decade. That would bring Europe’s policymakers in line with other central banks like the Federal Reserve in the U.S. which have been trying to fight inflation with higher interest rates.

EUROPE-ECONOMY

Europe’s central bank to hike rates in July, 1st in 11 years

AMSTERDAM (AP) — The European Central Bank will raise interest rates next month for the first time in 11 years, followed by another hike in September.

The bank made the surprise announcement Thursday, saying inflation had become a “major challenge” and that those forces had “broadened and intensified.”

The ECB is catching up with other central banks worldwide in pivoting from supporting the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic to squelching inflation. It also will end its economic stimulus program next month.

The move underlines concerns about record levels of inflation in the 19 countries that use the euro.

GAS PRICES

Gas prices rise toward $5 a gallon in U.S.

DALLAS (AP) — Gasoline is closing in on $5 a gallon nationwide for the first time ever, according to AAA. The auto club said the national average for a gallon of regular hit $4.97 on Thursday.

High gas prices are another drain on the wallets of consumers who are paying more for many other essentials too. Prices are up a quarter in just the last week and up $1.90 from where they were a year ago. Pump prices have been rising steadily for months, as global oil prices rise and demand for gas increases. Prices range from an average $6.40 a gallon in California to $4.41 in Georgia.

BRITAIN-GAS PRICES

Average cost of filling up car in UK hits record 100 pounds

LONDON (AP) — The average cost of filling up a typical family car has exceeded 100 pounds, or $125, for the first time in Britain as Russia’s war in Ukraine drives gasoline prices higher.

The average price of a liter of gas at U.K. pumps hit a record 182.3 pence on Wednesday. That takes the average cost of filling a 55-liter family car to 100.27 pounds. The prices are the equivalent of about $8.80 per gallon.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine worsened soaring energy prices, hitting people at the pump across Europe and in the United States. Britain’s government announced a fuel tax cut of 5 pence per liter in March, but many say it barely scratched the surface.

BIDEN-SHIPPING

Biden pushing to lower ocean shipping costs, fight inflation

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is launching a renewed push to reduce the costs of shipping goods across oceans. It’s a major challenge for retailers that the White House said has pushed up prices as the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.

The White House is releasing a video that features Biden talking with retail CEOs and calling on the House to pass the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022. The Senate passed it at the end of March. It would empower the Federal Maritime Commission to investigate late fees and prohibit ocean carriers and marine terminals from refusing to fill available cargo space.

MORTGAGE RATES

Mortgage rates jump again, buyers head to the sideline

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates jumped back up ahead of next week’s Federal Reserve meeting where it’s expected to announce another increase to its main borrowing rate.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the 30-year rate jumped to 5.23% this week from 5.09% last week. The brisk jump in rates, along with a sharp increase in home prices, has been pushing potential homebuyers out of the market.

The Mortgage Bankers Association says mortgage applications decreased 6.5% from one week earlier. The group’s composite index, a measurement of mortgage loan application volume, is at its lowest level in 22 years.

TESLA-AUTOPILOT-INVESTIGATION

US advances probe of Teslas running into emergency vehicles

DETROIT (AP) — Teslas with partially automated driving systems are a step closer to being recalled after the U.S. elevated its investigation into a series of collisions between the electric vehicles and emergency vehicles or trucks with warning signs.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it’s upgrading the probe to an engineering analysis, another sign of increased scrutiny of the electric vehicle maker and automated systems that perform at least some driving tasks. An engineering analysis is the final stage of an investigation, and in most cases NHTSA decides within a year if there should be a recall or the probe should be closed.

The agency cites reports of 16 crashes into emergency vehicles or vehicles with warning signs, causing 15 injuries and one death.

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