Business News

Robert L. “Bob” Robertson
August 7, 2023
August 8, 2023
Business News


August 8, 2023

US inflation has steadily cooled. Getting it down to the Fed’s target rate will be the toughest mile

WASHINGTON (AP) — Over the past year, inflation in the United States has tumbled from 9% all the way to 3%, softening most of the price pressures that have gripped the nation for more than two years. Now comes the hard part. Squeezing out the last bit of excess inflation and reducing it to the Federal Reserve’s 2% target rate is expected to be a much harder and slower grind. The stickiness of inflation could endanger the possibility that the Fed will achieve a rare “soft landing” — a scenario in which it manages to slow inflation down to its target level through higher interest rates without derailing the economy.

China’s July exports tumble by double digits, adding to pressure to shore up flagging economy

BEIJING (AP) — China’s exports tumbled by double digits in July, adding to pressure on the ruling Communist Party to reverse an economic slump. Customs data shows exports plunged 14.5% from a year earlier to $281.8 billion. Imports fell 12.4% to $201.2 billion in a sign of weak domestic demand. Chinese leaders are trying to shore up business and consumer activity after the world’s second-largest economy grew by only 0.8% in the second quarter of 2023 from the previous three-month period. The ruling party has promised measures to support entrepreneurs and to encourage home purchases and consumer spending but hasn’t announced large-scale stimulus spending or tax cuts.

Stock market today: Wall Street dips in premarket on Chinese export data, Moody’s bank downgrades

Wall Street futures tumbled after data showed Chinese exports fell sharply and Moody’s downgraded the credit ratings for several U.S. banks. Futures for the S&P 500 slid 0.7% and futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.6% before the bell Tuesday. Data showed that China’s exports plunged by 14.5% in July compared with a year earlier, adding to pressure on the ruling Communist Party to reverse an economic slump. Bank stocks broadly declined after Moody’s downgraded the credit ratings 10 mid-size banks. UPS fell about 5% after it said revenue dropped off in the second quarter and lowered its full-year outlook.

Italy proposes bank tax to help consumers and businesses cope with interest rate hikes

ROME (AP) — Italian bank stocks have plunged after the Cabinet approved a proposal to apply a temporary tax on some 2023 bank profits. Transport Minister Matteo Salvini announced the tax at a Monday evening press conference. He said it was a measure of “social equity” to make up for a series of interest rate hikes from the European Central Bank. Italy’s five major banks saw their shares tumble by up to 10%. The Association of Italian Banks hasn’t yet commented publicly on the proposal, whose approval apparently took banks by surprise. It must now be converted into legislation and be approved by Italy’s Parliament.

UPS lowers 2023 revenue expectations, citing tentative labor deal with 340,000 unionized workers

Revenue declined at UPS in the second quarter and the package delivery company lowered its full-year revenue expectations by $4 billion, primarily due to a tentative labor contract reached late last month with its 340,000 unionized workers. Shares for the Atlanta company are more than 5% before the opening bell Tuesday. UPS reached a tentative deal with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, potentially averting a strike that threatened to disrupt package deliveries for millions of businesses and households nationwide. UPS earned $2.08 billion and posted revenue of $22.06 billion.

Japan’s tech investor SoftBank trims losses and promises offensive turnaround

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese technology company SoftBank Group continued to rack up losses for the fiscal first quarter as technology investments soured amid a market downturn. But the April-June red ink, at 477.6 billion yen, or $3.4 billion, was smaller than a year ago. Losses came from what SoftBank calls its Vision Funds. Chief Financial Officer Yoshimitsu Goto struck an upbeat tone on Tuesday, stressing that the environment for technology issues was improving. SoftBank Vision Fund 1 marked a $12.4 billion gain since its inception, while SoftBank Vision Fund 2, set up after the first fund, was still performing at a loss of $18.6 billion.

Meme stocks are back as investors buy shares of beaten-down companies such as Yellow and Tupperware

NEW YORK (AP) — A new class of meme stocks has sprung up during the stock market’s surprise recent rally, raising concerns about investors’ willingness to take on bigger risks amid a still uncertain economy. Meme stocks are typically weak companies on the verge of failing, but that still manage to garner attention from individual investors willing to take on risky bets and drive the stock price higher. Investors recently drove up shares of trucking giant Yellow Corp., which on Sunday filed for bankruptcy, and Tupperware, which earlier this year warned that it was in dire financial shape.

Nonprofits are lobbying a lot less than two decades ago, according to new research

A generation ago nonprofit organizations regularly lobbied for legislation and served as advocates on issues. But according to a recent survey, charities are now far more reluctant to seek to influence lawmakers and other policymakers. The survey, conducted for Independent Sector, a membership organization of nonprofits and grantmakers, found that less than one-third of nonprofits have actively advocated for policy issues or lobbied on specific legislation over the past five years, down from nearly three-quarters of nonprofits in 2000. And even though nonprofits work on a range of issues that are affected by policy choices, less than one-third of nonprofits said they were well-versed in how much lobbying they were permitted to do.

Beyond Meat revenue plummets in the second quarter due to flagging US demand

Beyond Meat said its revenue plunged 30.5% in the second quarter as consumer demand for its plant-based meat substitute fell despite price cuts. The El Segundo, California-based company lowered its full-year revenue forecast as a result. For the April-June period, Beyond Meat reported revenue of $102.1 million, which was lower than Wall Street forecast. Beyond Meat President and CEO Ethan Brown said the company is struggling to appeal to new customers because of perceptions that its products are unhealthy and overly processed. Brown said Beyond Meat hopes to change that with a new ad campaign that launched last week.

New Zealand is partnering with BlackRock in aim to reach 100% renewable electricity

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand’s government says it will partner with U.S. investment giant BlackRock as it aims to become one of the first nations in the world to have its electricity grid run entirely from renewable energy. The government said it was helping BlackRock launch a $1.2 billion fund to ramp up investments in wind and solar generation, as well as battery storage. Some of the investment is expected to come from government-owned companies. New Zealand’s electricity grid already runs off about 82% renewable energy. The government said it aims to reach 100% renewable generation by the end of the decade.