Stocks fall…Consumer prices drop with cheaper gas…GM raises forecast
NEW YORK (AP) – Stock indexes are lower in early trading on Wall Street, as falling oil prices drag down energy companies. Banks and technology companies are also down. Activision Blizzard plunged 12 percent, the most in the S&P 500 index, after announcing that its eight-year partnership with game developer Bungie was ending. Yesterday the stock market shook off a rocky start and managed to end higher, stretching its winning streak into five days, the longest run since September.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Consumer prices slipped 0.1 percent last month, pulled down by sharply lower gas prices and cheaper air fares, used cars, and mobile phone plans. The Labor Department says the consumer price index rose just 1.9 percent in December from a year earlier. Excluding the volatile energy and food categories, core prices rose 0.2 percent for the third month in a row.
DETROIT (AP) – General Motors has strengthened its pretax profit estimate for 2018 and predicted even stronger performance for 2019 in a presentation to investors today. The company predicts 2018 pretax profits will be higher than the $5.80 to $6.20 range it forecast in the third quarter. For 2019, it expects that to increase to $6.50 to $7. CEO Mary Barra also says the company doesn’t foresee any further job cuts through 2020. Last year GM announced plans to close five North American factories and lay off 14,000 salaried and blue-collar workers.
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump says changes are coming in the way that the U.S. handles temporary H1-B visas, which allow American companies to bring high-tech and other skilled workers into the U.S. from abroad. Trump tweeted today that those who hold the temporary H1-B visas can “rest assured” because changes are coming that will bring “both simplicity and certainty to your stay, including a potential path to citizenship.” Trump says the U.S. wants to encourage highly skilled people to pursue careers in the U.S.
DETROIT (AP) – Nutrition labels are coming to the beer aisle. Starting next month, packages of Bud Light will have prominent labels showing the beer’s ingredients, calories and the amount of fat, carbohydrates and protein in a serving. The labels aren’t legally required, but major beer makers have agreed to disclose ingredients and nutrition facts on their products by 2020. Many brands already put nutrition information on bottles or packages in small type, without listing ingredients. Bud Light is going with a big, black-and-white label like the ones required by the government on packaged foods.