Business News

Elaine Grace Jenkins Fox
December 26, 2023
December 26, 2023
Business News

AP-Summary Brief-Business


December 26, 2023

Americans ramped up spending during the holidays despite some financial anxiety and higher costs

NEW YORK (AP) — Mastercard SpendingPulse said Tuesday that holiday sales rose this year. The indicator, which tracks all kinds of payments including cash and debit cards, found sales from the beginning of November through Christmas Eve climbed 3.1%, a slower pace than the 7.6% increase from a year earlier. The sales growth this year was a bit lower than the 3.7% increase Mastercard SpendingPulse had expected back in September. The data released Tuesday excludes the automotive industry and is not adjusted for inflation. However, it indicates consumer spending remained resilient during the critical shopping season even as shoppers deal with still stubborn inflation in some areas as well as other financial worries.

The secret life of gift cards: Here’s what happens to the billions that go unspent each year

Americans are expected to spend nearly $30 billion on gift cards this holiday, according to the National Retail Federation. Most will be redeemed. But many gift cards wind up forgotten or unused. In a July survey, Bankrate found that 47% of U.S. adults had at least one unused gift card worth an average of $187. That’s a total of $23 billion in unspent money. Under federal law, gift cards can’t expire for five years after they’re purchased. But experts say it’s wise to use them sooner than that, since inflation and inactivity fees can eat away at their value.

Book Review: Ralph Nader profiles corporate leaders he sees as role models in ‘The Rebellious CEO’

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader profiles business leaders he actually likes in “The Rebellious CEO: 12 Leaders Who Did It Right.” The Associated Press’ Andrew DeMillo says the book offers an interesting perspective on business leadership from someone who built his life’s reputation on fighting corporate America. Nader profiles CEOs who he portrays as putting a premium on social responsibility as much as the bottom line. It also gives Nader a chance to highlight what he sees as the shortcomings of many of today’s corporations. DeMillo writes that at times the book strays into adulation of the CEOs profiled.

Tokyo court only holds utility responsible to compensate Fukushima evacuees and reduces damages

TOKYO (AP) — A Tokyo court has held only the operator of the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant responsible for paying damages to dozens of evacuees. And the court slashed the amount to half of what the lower court had ordered and relieved the government of responsibility. It was a decision that plaintiffs and their lawyers criticized as belittling their suffering and the severity of the disaster. The decision on Tuesday comes at a time Japan’s government accelerates reactor restarts to maximize nuclear energy to meet decarbonization targets while seeking to tone down the impact of the nuclear disaster 13 years ago and its memory gradually fades.

Stock market today: Wall Street ends higher at the start of a holiday-shortened week

Stocks closed higher on Wall Street at the start of a holiday-shortened week. Tech and industrial companies climbed, and energy companies rose along with oil prices. The S&P 500 and the Dow each rose 0.4%, and the Nasdaq climbed 0.5%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury held steady at 3.90%. Biotech company RayzeBio doubled after agreeing to be acquired by pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb. Wall Street closed its eighth straight winning week with a quiet finish on Friday following reports showing inflation is on the decline even as the economy appears stronger than expected.

Shipping firm Maersk says it’s preparing for resumption of Red Sea voyages after attacks from Yemen

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Shipping firm Maersk says it is preparing to allow vessels to resume sailing through the Red Sea. It comes at the start of a U.S.-led multinational naval operation to protect shipping from attacks by Houthi rebels in Yemen. Houthi attacks have led to a major disruption of shipping through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea, one of the most important arteries for trade in oil, natural gas, grain and consumer goods between Europe and Asia. Maersk said in a statement Sunday it’s preparing to resume Red Sea journeys as soon as possible now that the Operation Prosperity Guardian has started.

Paris City Hall plaza draws holiday visitors and migrant families seeking shelter as Olympics nears

PARIS (AP) — The forecourt of Paris City Hall sparkles with activity this holiday season, including a Christmas market and huge signs advertising the 2024 Olympics. It also hosts dozens of migrant families searching for a roof over their heads. About 50 families with children between three months and 10 years old gathered on City Hall plaza on Christmas evening. Aid workers distributed food, blankets and diapers and helped find temporary lodging. A similar scene plays out most nights at this site overlooking the Seine River. Many of the families are from French-speaking African countries, including Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Senegal.

Apple seeks a path to getting 2 of its best watches back on shelves during a bitter patent dispute

Apple is filing an emergency motion asking a court to let it keep selling two of its most popular watches until a final decision on its broader appeal in a patent dispute is decided. In the motion, Apple said it would suffer “irreparable harm” if the previous orders were kept in place for the two weeks that it said the U.S. International Trade Commission will take to respond to its appeal. On Oct. 26, the ITC determined that Apple infringed on two patents owned by Masimo Corp. and Cercacor Laboratories, both U.S.-based companies. After a 60-day review, the ITC’s decision became final on Tuesday.

Subscription-based care moves beyond peddling birth control and helping with hair loss

Online, direct-to-consumer health care has grown well beyond its roots mostly treating hair loss and acne or selling birth control pills. Companies like Hims & Hers and Ro have started weight loss programs. Rival Lemonaid Health has added seasonal affective disorder treatments to a care lineup that includes help with depression and insomnia. These companies provide quick access to specialists and prescription deliveries for a regular fee. Their approach offers solutions to two common difficulties in the U.S. health care system: access to care and prescription refills. But it also stirs concern from some doctors about care quality.

Disney says in lawsuit that DeSantis-appointed government is failing to release public records

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Disney has filed a lawsuit claiming that the oversight government for Walt Disney World, which was taken over by appointees of Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this year, has failed to release documents and properly preserve records in violation of Florida public records law. Disney said in the lawsuit filed last Friday that the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District has been so slow in fulfilling its public records duties that it has failed to respond completely to a request the company made seven months ago. Disney, DeSantis and the DeSantis appointees are battling for control of the district in two pending lawsuits.