Thursday, May 23, 2024

Business Highlights

by Associated Press

Wildfires during pandemic intensify economic pain in West

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The fires consuming the forests of California and Oregon and darkening the skies over San Francisco and Portland are also damaging a regional economy already singed by the coronavirus outbreak. Wildfires are destroying property, running up huge losses for property insurers and putting a strain on economic activity along the West Coast that could linger for a year or more. The credit rating agency A.M. Best estimates that insured losses from the blazes in California could top the unprecedented $13 billion recorded in 2017 when the state was hit by three of the five costliest fires in U.S. history.

Daimler AG to pay $1.5B to settle emissions cheating probes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Automakers Daimler AG and subsidiary Mercedes-Benz USA have agreed to pay $1.5 billion to the U.S. government and California state regulators to resolve emissions cheating allegations. Officials say Daimler violated environmental laws by using so-called “defeat device software” to circumvent emissions testing and sold about 250,000 cars and vans in the U.S. with diesel engines that didn’t comply with state and federal laws. The settlement, which includes civil penalties, will also require Daimler to fix the vehicles.

UK’s Johnson defends planned law, says EU ‘unreasonable’

LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister Boris Johnson says his plan to unilaterally rewrite Britain’s divorce deal with the European Union is a necessary insurance policy against the bloc’s unreasonable behavior. But his former attorney general joined a growing number of once-loyal lawmakers condemning the contentious move. Johnson said a planned law designed to override portions of the Brexit withdrawal agreement was needed because the EU might “go to extreme and unreasonable lengths” in its treatment of former member Britain. EU leaders are outraged at the prime minister’s proposal, which the British government accepts would breach an international treaty.

US halts imports from China’s Uighur region for forced labor

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. has blocked imports from four companies and a manufacturing facility in northwestern China suspected of using forced labor from people detained as part of a sweeping crackdown on ethnic minorities in the region. Companies that ship clothing and other cotton goods, computer parts and hair products from the Xinjiang region were named in the order issued by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

OPEC cuts oil demand forecasts, BP sees ‘peak oil’ in 2020s

LONDON (AP) — OPEC says that developing countries’ difficulty in containing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic will help keep a lid on global oil demand, particularly in India. On Monday it said it had cut its estimates for world demand by 400,000 barrels a day for both this year and next. Besides the trouble in developing countries, OPEC said it expects a slow pick-up in energy demand for transportation in rich countries. Meanwhile, oil company BP says it expects demand for oil to peak in the early 2020s.

Nvidia to buy UK’s Arm, sparking fears of chip dominance

LONDON (AP) — U.S. graphics chip maker Nvidia plans to buy U.K.-based Arm Holdings in a deal worth up to $40 billion. The move would create a global powerhouse in the semiconductor industry. Nvidia and Arm’s parent company, Japanese technology giant SoftBank, announced the deal on Sunday. Nvidia is best known for its graphics processing chips. Arm’s chip designs power the vast majority of the world’s smartphones and the company is renowned as an innovator in technology for connected devices, known as the “Internet of Things.” Arm centers its business on designing chips and licensing the intellectual property, especially in mobile computing, rather than chip manufacturing.

Wall Street posts solid gains after surge in corporate deals

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street ended solidly higher Monday following a burst of big corporate deals. The S&P 500 rose 1.3%, erasing much of its loss from last week. Technology companies led the gains once again. Nvidia jumped after announcing plans to buy fellow chipmaker Arm Holdings, and Oracle climbed after the business software maker beat out Microsoft to become the tech partner of TikTok, the popular video-sharing app based in China. Immunomedics nearly doubled after the cancer drug specialist agreed to be acquired by Gilead Sciences. European markets were mixed and Asian markets closed broadly higher. Treasury yields held steady.

The S&P 500 gained 42.57 points, or 1.3%, to 3,383.54. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 327.69 points, or 1.2%, to 27,993.33. The Nasdaq picked up 203.11 points, or 1.9%, to 11,056.65. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 39.70 points, or 2.7%, to 1,536.97.

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