Business News

Ivan Scott Elliott
December 27, 2023
December 27, 2023
Business News

AP-Summary Brief-Business


December 27, 2023

The year in clean energy: Wind, solar and batteries grow despite economic challenges

Led by new solar power, the world added renewable energy at breakneck speed in 2023, a trend that if amplified will help Earth turn away from fossil fuels and prevent severe warming and its effects. China, Europe, and the U.S. each set records for a single year, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. China’s additions dwarfed those of all other countries. By the end of 2023, the world will also have added enough wind energy to power nearly 80 million homes, making it a record year. And one in five cars sold across the globe this year is expected to be electric. That meant it also turned out to be another banner year for batteries.

Social media companies made $11 billion in US ad revenue from minors, Harvard study finds

A study from Harvard says social media companies collectively made over $11 billion in U.S. advertising revenue from minors last year. The researchers say the findings show a need for government regulation of social media since the companies that stand to make money from children who use their platforms have failed to meaningfully self-regulate. They also note such regulations, as well greater transparency from tech companies, could help alleviate harms to youth mental health. And curtail potentially harmful advertising practices that target children and adolescents. The platforms themselves don’t make public how much money they make from minors.

Odds for more sports betting expansion could fade after rapid growth to 38 states

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Sports betting has spread rapidly across U.S. states in the past five years. But the odds for further expansion may be fading as state legislatures prepare to return to work in 2024. A 2018 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court opened the way for states to legalize sports betting. Since then, a total of 38 have done so. But proposals in some other states have become bogged down by political resistance and competing financial interests from casinos, tribal gaming groups, horse tracks and other gambling operations. California and Texas — the two most populous states — are among the dozen where sports betting still is illegal.

The New York Times sues OpenAI, Microsoft over the use of its stories to train chatbots

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Times is suing OpenAI and Microsoft, trying to end the practice of using its stories to train chatbots. In the federal suit filed Wednesday in Manhattan federal court, the Times said OpenAI and Microsoft are advancing their technology through the “unlawful use of The Times’s work to create artificial intelligence products that compete with it” and “threatens The Times’s ability to provide that service.” OpenAI and Microsoft did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Was 2023 a tipping point for movies? ‘Barbie’ success and Marvel struggles may signal a shift

NEW YORK (AP) — For the first time in more than two decades, the top three movies at the box office this year didn’t include a sequel or a remake. “Barbie,” “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” and “Oppenheimer” led all movies in ticket sales in 2023, potentially signaling that moviegoers are more interested in something fresh. At the same time, the dominance of the superhero movie is no longer quite so assured. Marvel faltered like never before. DC Studios ended a forgettable year with the flop of “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.” One era may be closing and a new one dawning at the movies.

US online retailer Zulily says it will go into liquidation, surprising customers

SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. ecommerce company Zulily says it is closing down, surprising customers, after efforts to salvage the business failed. The Seattle-based company said in a notice on its website that it had tried to fill all pending orders and expected to manage that within the coming two weeks. Zulily said it was trying to ensure orders that could not be filled were cancelled and refunded. It offered a contact for customers who did not get their orders or refunds. In closing down to maximize payments to its creditors, Zulily said it was seeking an “orderly wind down.”

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.

Stock market today: Wall Street drifts as a strong year for markets winds down

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are drifting on Wall Street as trading remains relatively light ahead of the New Year holiday. The S&P 500 was down 0.1% Wednesday. The Dow rose 0.1% and the Nasdaq was relatively unchanged. Markets are holding on to small gains for the week so far. The S&P 500 is coming off its eighth straight winning week. With just three days left in the year, major indexes are on track to post hefty annual gains. The S&P 500 is up 24% for the year, while the Nasdaq, which is heavily weighted with technology companies, is up 44%.

NBA approves sale of Dallas Mavericks to families that run Las Vegas Sands casino company

DALLAS (AP) — The NBA has approved the sale of controlling interest of the Dallas Mavericks from Mark Cuban to the families that run the Las Vegas Sands casino company. The deal was approved just shy of a month since the families of Dr. Miriam Adelson and Sivan and Patrick Dumont announced their intention to buy the club. The purchase is in the valuation range of $3.5 billion. Patrick Dumont will be Mavericks governor. He is Adelson’s son-in-law and president and chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sands. Adelson is the widow of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. Cuban is expected to maintain control of basketball operations. There’s no indication the club would leave Dallas.