Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Business Highlights: EV roadblock, ransom recovery

by Associated Press

Automakers face a threat to EV sales: Slow charging times

DETROIT (AP) — If the auto industry is to succeed in its bet that electric vehicles will soon dominate the roads, it will need to overcome a big reason why many people are still avoiding them: Fear of running out of juice between Point A and Point B. Automakers have sought to quell those concerns by developing EVs that go farther per charge and fill up faster. Problem is, most public charging stations now fill cars much too slowly, requiring hours — not minutes — to provide enough electricity for an extended trip. Concerned that such prolonged waits could turn away potential EV buyers and keep them stuck on gas-burning vehicles, automakers are trying to cut charging times.

US has recovered ransom payment made after pipeline hack

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department has recovered the majority of a multimillion-dollar ransom payment to hackers after a cyberattack that caused the operator of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline to halt its operations last month. The operation to recover the cryptocurrency from the Russia-based hacker group is the first undertaken by a specialized ransomware task force created by the Biden administration Justice Department. Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline, which supplies roughly half the fuel consumed on the East Coast, temporarily shut down its operations on May 7 after a gang of criminal hackers known as DarkSide broke into its computer system.

France fines Google for abusing ‘dominant’ ads position

PARIS (AP) — France’s competition watchdog said Monday it is fining Google 220 million euros ($268 million) for abusing its ‘dominant position’ in the online advertising business. The nation’s Competition Authority says practices used by the search engine giant to sell ads penalize Google’s competitors” as well as publishers of mobile sites and applications. Google France’s legal director said in a blog post Monday that Google has been collaborating for the past two years with the French watchdog on issues related to ad technology, notably the platform known as Google Ad Manager. She wrote that commitments made during negotiations would “make it easier for publishers to make use of data and use our tools with other ad technologies.”

Jeff Bezos will blast into space on rocket’s 1st crew flight

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Jeff Bezos will blast into space next month on Blue Origin’s first flight with a crew, becoming the first person in the world to ride his own rocket. The Amazon founder announced his intentions Monday and also invited his younger brother along. Bezos says sharing the adventure with his brother, a firefighter who’s his best friend, will make it even more “meaningful.” Blue Origin has successfully completed 15 test flights of its reusable New Shepard rockets from Texas. On July 20, the Bezos brothers will launch alongside the winner of an online charity auction. There’s no word yet on who else might fill the six-person capsule.

US stocks claw back much of an early loss and finish mixed

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks clawed back much of their early losses and ended mixed on Wall Street Monday. The S&P 500 slipped less than 0.1% and the Nasdaq rose 0.5%. The subdued opening to the week follows several choppy weeks as investors continue to gauge the economy’s recovery and the risks of rising inflation. On Thursday investors will get more information on how much consumer prices rose last month. Technology stocks, banks and industrial companies pulled the broader market lower. Health care companies made solid gains, as did cruise line operators. The yield on the 10-year Treasury edged up to 1.57%.

Auto, student loans fuel April rise in US consumer borrowing

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer borrowing rose by $18.6 billion in April, fueled by a big rise in auto and student loans that offset a drop in credit card use. The April gain reported Monday by the Federal Reserve was the third straight month of strong increases in consumer borrowing. It followed a similar $18.6 billion increase in March. The latest increase reflected a $20.6 billion increase in the category that covers auto and student loans, the biggest advance in these loans since a $22.7 billion rise in June 2020. The category that covers credit cards saw a decline of $2 billion, the first setback in credit card use since a sharp drop of $13.5 billion in January.

Apple previews new software for iPhone, other gadgets

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple kicked off its second annual all-virtual developer conference with a keynote that outlined new updates to its software for iPhones and other devices. The presentation highlighted features such as more privacy options for paid iCloud accounts and a “Find My” service that helps find errant AirPods, but included no major product announcements. The latest renovations in Apple’s $2 trillion empire come at a pivotal time for the Cupertino, California, company. Apple is facing legal and regulatory threats to its control over its App Store, a so-called “walled garden” that produces substantial profits for the company.

Chinese exports jump, gap with US grows as tensions persist

BANGKOK (AP) — China has reported its exports and imports surged in May and its politically sensitive surplus with the U.S. grew as the pandemic was waning in important markets in the West. Three years into a tariff war with Washington, tensions over the trade gap persist even as business recovers after last year’s shocks as vaccinations rates rise. Customs data released Monday showed China’s exports rose 28% from a year earlier and imports soared 51%, but growth was leveling off after the country’s stunning recovery from last year’s slump. The trade surplus with the United States rose 14% to $31.8 billion, while China’s trade surplus with the European Union was $12.7 billion.

The S&P 500 fell 3.37 points, or 0.1%, to 4,226.52. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 126.15 points, or 0.4%, to 34,630.24. The Nasdaq rose 67.23 points, or 0.5%, to 13,881.72. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies added 32.76 points, or 1.4%, to 2,319.18.

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