Financial News

James Haggy Brooks, Jr. better known as J.H.
August 16, 2022
AP-NC Newswatch
August 17, 2022
Financial News

US retail sales were flat in July as inflation takes a toll

WASHINGTON (AP) — The pace of sales at U.S. retailers was unchanged last month as persistently high inflation and rising interest rates forced many households to spend more cautiously. Retail purchases were flat in July after having risen 0.8% in June, the Commerce Department reported. America’s consumers, whose spending accounts for nearly 70% of economic activity, have remained mostly resilient even with inflation near a four-decade high, economic uncertainties rising and mortgage and other borrowing rates surging. Still, their overall spending has weakened, and it has shifted increasingly toward necessities like groceries and away from discretionary items like home goods, casual clothes and electronics.

 

U.S. midterms bring few changes from social media companies

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Social media companies are sharing their plans for safeguarding the U.S. midterm elections, although they have offered scant details. Tech platforms like Facebook and Twitter are generally staying the course they were on in the 2020 voting season — which was marred by conspiracies and culminated in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Meta Platforms Inc., which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, said its approach to this election cycle is “largely consistent with the policies and safeguards” it had in place in 2020. TikTok announced an election center that will help people find voting locations and candidate information.

 

UK inflation reaches 10.1% on soaring food, energy costs

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s inflation rate has risen to a new 40-year high of 10.1% in July as climbing food prices tightened a cost-of-living squeeze fueled by soaring energy prices. The Office for National Statistics said Wednesday that the double-digit surge in consumer prices over a year earlier marked a jump from 9.4% in June. It says the increase is largely due to rising prices for food and staples, including toilet paper and toothbrushes. Most economists believe worse is to come. The Bank of England says soaring natural gas prices are likely to drive inflation to 13.3% in October and push Britain into a recession that’s expected to last through 2023.

 

Wall Street points lower with more retail data on the way

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street is pointing toward declines before the markets open after Target reported a huge decline in profits on the same day that the U.S. will post retail sales data for July. Futures for the S&P 500 fell 0.8% and futures for the Dow slipped 0.6%. Target slid almost 3% in Wednesday premarket trading after the retailers reported that its profit plunged nearly 90% in the second quarter as it was forced to slash prices to clear unwanted inventories. The U.S. government releases its July retail sales report this morning, with economists expecting modest 0.2% growth from June.

 

Musk tweet joking about buying Manchester United causes stir

LONDON (AP) — Elon Musk has caused a stir by tweeting that he was buying the English soccer team Manchester United. But several hours later on Wednesday, he said it was a joke. It comes as the billionaire Tesla CEO faces a legal battle in the U.S. after backing out of a deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion. With his billions and seemingly unlimited potential to buy the best soccer players in the world, Musk would have been a welcome prospect for many Man United fans who want to see the club back at the top of the game. Many fans oppose the current owners.

 

Which EVs qualify for new US tax credit? Websites offer help

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government is moving forward with its plan to award new tax credits to electric vehicle purchasers. It’s part of the rollout of a huge new climate, tax and healthcare law. Several new websites launched Tuesday to help people identify which vehicles qualify for the credits. Based on data submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at least 31 new 2022 and 2023 models qualify for the tax credit. For starters, they must be made in North America to be eligible. President Joe Biden signed Democrats’ landmark climate change and health care bill into law on Tuesday afternoon. It includes a tax credit of up to $7,500 that could be used to defray the cost of purchasing an electric vehicle.

 

Target takes a hit after heavy discounts to clear inventory

NEW YORK (AP) — Target has reported solid sales for the fiscal second quarter but its profits plunged nearly 90% because it slashed prices to clear unwanted inventories of clothing, home goods and other discretionary items. The weaker-than-expected profit came two months after Target warned it was canceling orders from suppliers and aggressively discounting due to a pronounced spending shift by Americans that left the Minneapolis retailer with bloated inventory. Retailers were blindsided by consumers’ lightening-speed switch from pandemic spending on things like TVs and appliances, in favor of dinners out or travel. Inflation has only intensified that shift.

 

Crimea ‘sabotage’ highlights Russia’s woes in Ukraine war

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Fires are burning and ammunition is still exploding at a depot in Crimea. That comes a day after the latest suspected Ukrainian attack on a military site in the Russia-annexed peninsula. The attacks have highlighted the challenges facing Moscow. Russia seized the peninsula in 2014. It was once a secure base that Moscow’s forces have used to launch attacks — and it was a staging ground for the start of the Feb. 24 invasion. But in recent days, explosions have destroyed several Russian planes at an air base in Crimea, and munitions blew up Tuesday. The spate of attacks represented the latest setback for Moscow.

 

Little talk of rainforest protection in the Brazilian Amazon

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Like other Brazilians, residents of the Amazon will elect governors and lawmakers in general elections in October. But as the campaign takes the streets, current record-breaking deforestation rates and other environmental problems gather scant attention from candidates and voters. Instead, many candidates vie for who has bolder promises to relax legal restrictions on gold mining, expand deforestation for agribusiness and open highways. The few who run on an environmental platform struggle to be competitive and face public hostility.

 

Ukrainians flee grim life in Russian-occupied Kherson

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Residents who have fled the Russian-occupied city of Kherson say conditions in the Black Sea port just north of the Crimean Peninsula have become increasingly grim. The southern city was the first to fall to Russia’s invasion. But Kherson remains at the heart of the conflict and Ukraine’s efforts to save its vital access to the sea. Residents describe a heavy-handed effort by Moscow to establish permanent control in the city and region by pressuring residents to take Russian citizenship, effectively banning use of the Ukrainian currency and installing pro-Kremlin authorities. Locals who have been waiting for a Ukrainian counteroffensive have decided to flee the city. But that option is increasingly getting more difficult and expensive.