Dow drops 1,000 points as markets extend new year slide
NEW YORK (AP) – The Dow Jones Industrial Average has dropped more than 1,000 points as financial markets buckled in anticipation of inflation-fighting measures from the Federal Reserve and fretted over the possibility of conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Stocks extended their three-week decline on Wall Street and put the benchmark S&P 500 on track to close in what the market considers a correction – a drop of 10% or more from its most recent high. Stocks have fallen sharply so far this year as the market readies for the Fed to raise interest rates to try to tame inflation, which is at its highest level in nearly four decades.
Fed to signal rate hike as it launches risky inflation fight
WASHINGTON (AP) – With inflation punishing consumers and threatening the economy, the Federal Reserve will likely signal its intent this week to begin raising interest rates in March for the first time in three years. The Fed’s challenges will get only harder from there. Among Fed officials, there is broad support for a rate increase – one that would come much sooner than the officials had expected just a few months ago. But after that, their policymaking will become more complicated and could sow internal divisions, especially as a number of new officials join the Fed. How many times, for example, should the Fed raise rates this year?
DC, 3 states sue Google saying it invades users’ privacy
WASHINGTON (AP) – The District of Columbia and three states are suing Google. They allege the internet search giant deceives consumers and invades their privacy by making it nearly impossible for them to stop their location from being tracked. In the lawsuit filed in a Washington court, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine says Google has “systematically” deceived consumers about how their locations are tracked and used. He also claims Google has misled users of its services into believing they can control the information the company collects about them. According to Racine’s office, the attorneys general of Texas, Indiana and Washington state are filing similar lawsuits in their state courts.
Kohl’s confirms approach about potential acquisition
NEW YORK (AP) – Kohl’s is confirming that it has been approached about a possible sale of the department store chain, sending shares up more than 30% in early trading. The company said that it would not comment further, but its confirmation today follows media reports that the private equity firm Sycamore Partners had approached Kohl’s about a potential deal. Days earlier, a group backed by activist hedge fund Starboard Value LP reportedly bid $64 per share or about $9 billion. Kohl’s Corp., based in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, said its board is reviewing the offers.
Shareholder wants Peloton to consider selling the company
UNDATED (AP) – Activist investor Blackwells Capital is asking Peloton to remove CEO John Foley and consider selling the company. In a letter to the board of Peloton Interactive Inc., Blackwells Chief Investment Officer Jason Aintabi said that Foley “must be held accountable for his repeated failures to effectively lead Peloton.” The letter claims Foley’s mistakes included vacillating on pricing strategy and demonstrating a repeated inability to forecast consumer demand. It comes just a few days after a media report said the exercise and treadmill company was temporarily halting production of its connected fitness products amid waning consumer demand.
Lee Enterprises asks investors to help fight off hedge fund
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Newspaper publisher Lee Enterprises is asking its shareholders to help it fight off a hostile takeover offer from “vulture hedge fund” Alden Global Capital. The publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Buffalo News and dozens of other newspapers, including nearly every daily newspaper in Nebraska, sent a letter to shareholders Monday asking them to support its board nominees in the dispute with Alden. Lee, which is based in Davenport, Iowa, already rejected Alden’s $24 per share offer because it said the $141 million bid grossly undervalues Lee, but the two sides are locked in a court battle over whether Alden will be able to nominate its own directors.
CBS retools streaming service to better resemble TV network
NEW YORK (AP) – CBS News says it is retooling its streaming service to better incorporate programs and personalities from the television network. The service debuts a new evening newscast today, along with a series of prime-time programs that make use of work done on “60 Minutes,” “CBS Sunday Morning” and other shows. Anchor Norah O’Donnell is starting an interview program, and the “CBS Reports” banner is returning for a new documentary series. The changes auger a busy year of building for news-based streaming products, including the imminent launch of CNN+. CBS leaders say they want to better integrate their television, digital and local news products.
Palin COVID-19 tests delay libel trial against NY Times
NEW YORK (AP) – A judge has delayed trial for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s defamation claims against The New York Time after she tested positive for the coronavirus three times. The positive tests were described to the judge by one of Palin’s attorneys. Palin says the Times damaged her reputation with an opinion piece that falsely asserted her political rhetoric helped incite the 2011 shooting of then-Arizona U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords. The newspaper conceded the wording of the editorial was flawed, but not in an intentional or reckless way.
In global 5G race, European Union is told to step up pace
BRUSSELS (AP) – A European Union watchdog has warned that the EU faces much bigger economic and security threats unless member countries step up cooperation. The European Court of Auditors has a two-pronged clarion call. It said Monday that Europe is falling behind North America and Asia in the rollout of 5G networks and the EU needs to beef up its strategy to counter accompanying national-security risks. The world is rushing to install 5G infrastructure as a result of its higher data capacity and transmission speeds that promise to transform everything from car driving and livestock farming to sports broadcasting and goods manufacturing.
UNION VOTE-WEST VIRGINIA
Biscuit World union effort rooted in West Virginia history
ELKVIEW, W.Va. (AP) – Workers at a franchise of Tudor’s Biscuit World are hoping they will soon be members of West Virginia’s first unionized fast-food restaurant. The union drive has been led by employees in a state that has a storied history of labor activism. Prep Cook Cynthia Nicholson’s late husband belonged to unions as a miner and pipefitter. She says like coal miners who fought for safer working conditions 100 years ago, workers today are pushing for unions because of safety concerns. She said modern workers’ concerns center around being on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The unionization effort echoes a larger national movement of organizing among retail and food service workers.