Stocks rise despite highest annual inflation since 1982
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are rising on Wall Street as investors appear relieved that the latest government reading on consumer prices contained no surprises, although it did show inflation is at a four-decade high. Technology stocks are leading the way higher. Business software maker Oracle surged 17.6% after reporting strong quarterly results. Microsoft rose 1.4%. The S&P 500 was up 0.5% in early trading. The benchmark index has now recovered most of the losses incurred after the discovery of the omicron (AHM’-ih-krahn) variant of COVID-19 was announced last month. It’s also close to the all-time high set on Nov. 18.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Consumer prices jumped 6.8% in November compared with a year earlier as surging costs for food, energy, housing and other items left Americans enduring their highest annual inflation rate since 1982. The Labor Department also reports that from October to November, prices jumped 0.8%. Inflation has been intensifying pressure on consumers, especially lower-income households and particularly for everyday necessities. It has also negated the higher wages many workers have received, complicated the Federal Reserve’s plans to reduce its aid for the economy and coincided with flagging public support for President Joe Biden.
NEW YORK (AP) – Companies of all sizes are rethinking their plans to send workers back to the office as the new omicron variant adds another layer of uncertainty. Alphabet’s Google and Ford Motor Co. are among those once again delaying their return-to-office plans. Meta, formerly known as Facebook, and ridesharing company Lyft separately are letting workers delay their return when offices fully reopen early next year. Meta still plans to open its headquarters at the end of January but will allow workers to delay their return as late as June. Lyft says it won’t require workers to come back to its offices for all of next year. Other businesses whose employees have already returned are considering adding extra precautions like requiring masks.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – Finland has agreed to buy 64 Lockheed Martin fighter jets to replace its aging fleet of combat planes in a 10 billion-euro deal that represents the Finnish military’s largest ever purchase. Finland picked the American company’s F-35A fighters from five contenders, which also included the Boeing F-18 Super Hornet, the Dassault Rafale from France, Britain’s Eurofighter Typhoon and the Saab Gripen from Sweden. The Finnish air force has a fleet of more than 60 F-18 Hornets that were acquired from McDonnell Douglas in the 1990s. It started looking for a successor in 2014. The Defense Ministry said Friday that the $11.3 billion price tag for the deal with Lockheed Martin includes training and other equipment.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Detectives in Tampa, Florida, are asking Uber to help solve a “grandparent scam” that conned $10,000 from a 75-year-old man who was told his granddaughter needed the money to get out of jail. Uber also is helping the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office find suspects in a long-running con that scammed an 82-year-old woman out of $700,000, nearly her entire life savings. In both cases, people told the elderly victims to withdraw money and then used the ride-sharing service when they picked it up. Detectives want names of Uber account holders and credit card information along with their ride histories. Uber says it’s cooperating.