Wall Street makes tentative move higher
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks have shaken off some early weakness and turned tentatively higher in morning trading on Wall Street. Store operators and other retailers are leading the gains. That sector has been beaten down in recent days over concerns that soaring inflation was eating into their profits. Some of those concerns dissipated after the high-end department store operator Nordstrom reported higher sales and raised it profit forecast. The S&P 500 rose 0.8%. A modest turn higher in the volatile technology sector helped push the Nasdaq up 1.2%, erasing its loss for the week. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which helps set mortgage rates, held steady at 2.76%.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The head of the Food and Drug Administration is preparing to tell lawmakers about events that led to a months-long gap before inspecting the plant at the center of a nationwide baby formula shortage. FDA Commissioner Robert Califf is scheduled to answer questions today from House lawmakers probing the formula shortage. According to prepared testimony, Califf will tell lawmakers that a COVID-19 outbreak at Abbott’s formula plant led regulators to delay their inspection from late December to January. Califf will also discuss delays in interviewing an Abbott whistleblower who alleged serious violations at the baby formula plant last October.
DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) – Financial officials at the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering in Davos say Russia’s war in Ukraine has been a major setback to the global economic recovery. Gita Gopinath, IMF’s first deputy managing director, said today that “a confluence of shocks” are hitting the world. She says there’s a cost-of-living crisis as prices of fuel, food and other commodities soar. On top of that, central banks are raising interest rates to tackle high inflation, China is seeing a slowdown amid COVID-19 lockdowns and the real estate sector is facing weaknesses. European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde says the war in Ukraine has revealed that the problems are especially acute in Europe.
UNDATED (AP) – Russia says it will pay dollar-denominated foreign debt in rubles, a move that is likely to be seen by foreign investors as a default. The U.S. Treasury Department allowed a license to expire today that permitted Russia to keep paying its debtholders through American banks. The Russian Finance Ministry said it will pay in rubles and offer “the opportunity for subsequent conversion into the original currency.” The ministry didn’t give a timeframe for that to happen. Russia has not defaulted on its international debts since the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, when the Russian Empire collapsed and the
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – Attorneys for the state of West Virginia and two remaining pharmaceutical manufacturers have reached a tentative $161.5 million settlement. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced the development as closing arguments were set to begin in a 7-week trial. The state sued Teva Pharmaceuticals, AbbVie’s Allergan and their family of companies. The judge agreed to put the trial on hold to give the parties the chance to reach a full settlement agreement. West Virginia had reached a $99 million settlement with Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals last month. Before the trial started, the state announced a $26 million settlement with defendant Endo Health Solutions.