Stocks move lower…Delta earns $1.1 billion…Consumer prices up .2%
NEW YORK (AP) – U.S. stocks fell in early trading as investors digested the first significant round of fourth-quarter corporate earnings reports. Major banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, reported surprisingly good earnings, though Wells Fargo disappointed investors. The financial sector held up better than most in the early going. Nearly every other sector fell as a cautious mood replaced the previous day’s record-setting rally driven by optimism on improving trade relations between the U.S. and China. Technology stocks led the decline and health care companies were among the biggest losers. Delta climbed on surprisingly good earnings and lifted its rivals.
UNDATED (AP) – Delta Air Lines says it earned $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter by operating more flights and filling a higher percentage of seats. That’s an 8% increase from Delta’s profit in the same quarter a year earlier. Lower fuel prices helped Delta save more than $300 million, and unlike key rivals, Delta didn’t get caught up in the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max – it doesn’t own any of the planes. The financial results beat Wall Street expectations. Airlines are enjoying a long boom period as travel outpaces many other sectors of the economy.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Rising energy costs drove U.S. consumer prices higher in December, and American workers’ earnings couldn’t keep up. The Labor Department said Tuesday that its consumer price index rose 0.2% last month, lifted by a 2.8% increase in gasoline prices.
BRUSSELS (AP) – The European Union plans to dedicate a quarter of its budget to tackling climate change. It has also set up a scheme to shift $1.1 trillion in investment towards making the economy more environmentally friendly over the next 10 years. The plan, which was unveiled Tuesday, will be funded by the EU budget and the private sector. It aims to deliver on European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen’s Green Deal to make the bloc the world’s first carbon-neutral continent by 2050. The plan will include a mechanism to help regions most affected by the transition to cleaner industries.
NEW YORK (AP) – BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, will make climate change central to its investment decisions. Founder and CEO Laurence Fink, who oversees the management of about $7 trillion in funds, said in his influential annual letter to CEOs Tuesday that he believes we are “on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance” because of a warming planet. He said climate change has become the top issue raised by clients. Fink said global warming will affect everything from municipal bonds to long-term mortgages for homes. BlackRock is taking immediate action, exiting investments in coal used to generate power and strengthening the firm’s commitment to sustainability.