Stocks fall…Shkreli ordered to return $64M
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are lower in afternoon trading on Wall Street, keeping the major indexes on course for their second straight weekly decline. The S&P 500 fell 0.5%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.9% and the Nasdaq fell 0.1%. Banks were the biggest weight on the market. JPMorgan Chase fell after reporting that its profits fell 14% in the latest quarter from a year earlier. Traders were also disappointed to see that retail sales sank 1.9% in December after Americans cut their spending in the face of product shortages, rising prices and the onset of the omicron variant.
NEW YORK (AP) – A federal judge has ordered Martin Shkreli (SHKREL’-ee) to return $64.6 million in profits he and his company reaped from inflating the price of the life-saving drug Daraprim and barred him from participating in the pharmaceutical industry for the rest of his life. The ruling today by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in New York came several weeks after a seven-day bench trial in December. The Federal Trade Commission and seven states brought the case in 2020 against the man dubbed in the media as “Pharma Bro” in 2020.
UNDATED (AP) – Three of the nation’s biggest banks are reporting blowout profits for 2021, helped by the improving economy and consumers and businesses willing to spend and take on loans. But Inflation is clouding the outlook for 2022, based on comments from bank executives to reporters and industry analysts. They foresee higher inflation this year and are faced with higher costs for compensation as the banks compete for talent and employees. Wall Street could hear similar comments in the next few weeks as the rest of Corporate America releases results and shares its outlook for the upcoming year.
NEW YORK (AP) – Americans overlooked shortages, spiking prices and uncertainty over the omicron variant to break spending records during the critical holiday shopping season. The National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group, said that sales surged by a record 14.1% from November and December 2020 to the same months in 2021. Those figures blew away the federation’s own projections for growth of between 8.5% to 10.5%, and more than tripled the average gain over the past five years of 4.4%. But figures released by the Commerce Department Friday show that after spending robustly early in the holiday season, consumers sharply slowed their purchases from November to December as retail sales fell a seasonally adjusted 1.9%.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Biden administration is threatening to recoup COVID-19 relief funds sent to Arizona over state provisions it says discourage families and school districts from following federal guidance recommending face coverings in schools. At issue are two state programs that are meant to help schools and students but that direct funding away from jurisdictions with mask requirements. The Treasury Department warns in a letter today that Arizona has 60 days to remove the anti-masking provisions before the federal government moves to recover the relief money. It also threatens to withhold the next tranche of aid. Arizona has received about half of the $4.2 billion awarded to it under the 2021 coronavirus relief bill.