Stocks waver…Retail sales up modestly…Musk wants Twitter
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are wavering in morning trading on Wall Street as investors review the latest economic data and corporate earnings amid lingering concerns about inflation and rising interest rates. The S&P 500 fell 0.5%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3%, and the Nasdaq fell 1%. Investors again turned their attention to the drama surrounding Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk and Twitter. Musk offered to buy the social media company for $54.20 a share, two weeks after revealing he’d accumulated a 9% stake. The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.5% in March, as consumers continue to spend despite high inflation.
NEW YORK (AP) – Retail sales rose modestly in March as higher prices for food, gasoline and other basics dampened consumer spending. The Commerce Department reports that retail sales increased 0.5% after registering a revised O.8% jump from January to February. Excluding an 8.9% increase from surging oil prices, overall retail sales were down 0.3% last month. Spending had been fueled by wage gains, solid hiring and more money in banking accounts. Business at general merchandise stores were up 5.4%, while clothing stores sales rose 2.6%. Online sales were down 6.4%.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The number of people seeking unemployment benefits ticked up last week but remained at a historically low level, reflecting a robust U.S. labor market with near record-high job openings and few layoffs. The Labor Department says jobless claims rose by 18,000 to 185,000 after nearly touching the lowest level since 1968 in the previous week. The four-week average of claims, which levels out week-to-week ups and downs, edged up from 170,000 to 172,000. Two years after the coronavirus pandemic sent the economy into a brief but devastating recession, American workers are enjoying extraordinary job security. Weekly applications for unemployment aid, a proxy for layoffs, have remained consistently below their pre-pandemic level of 225,000.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The head of the International Monetary Fund is warning that Russia’s war against Ukraine is weakening the economic prospects for most of the world’s countries and calls high inflation “a clear and present danger” to the global economy. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva says the consequences of Russia’s invasion are contributing to economic downgrades for 143 countries. The war has disrupted global trade in energy and grain and is threatening to cause food shortages in Africa and Middle East. Georgieva made her comments in remarks prepared for a speech ahead of next week’s spring meetings of the IMF and the World Bank in Washington.
UNDATED (AP) – Tesla CEO Elon Musk is offering to buy Twitter. He says the social media platform he has criticized for not living up to free speech principles needs to be transformed as a private company. Musk is currently Twitter’s biggest shareholder. The company says in a regulatory filing that he has proposed buying the remaining shares of Twitter that he doesn’t already own at $54.20 per share. It’s an offer worth more than $43 billion. Twitter said it has received Musk’s offer and will evaluate it to decide whether it is in the best interests of shareholders to accept or continue to operate as a publicly traded company.