Monday, May 27, 2024

Business Highlights: $15 wage, tech giants’ profits

by Associated Press

$15 wage becoming a norm as employers struggle to fill jobs

WASHINGTON (AP) — The signs and banners are dotted along suburban commercial strips and hanging in shop windows and restaurants, evidence of a new desperation among America’s service-industry employers: “Now Hiring, $15 an hour.” It is hardly the official federal minimum wage — at $7.25, that level hasn’t been raised since 2009 — but for many lower-skilled workers, $15 an hour has increasingly become a reality. Businesses, particularly in the restaurant, retail and travel industries, have been offering up a $15 wage to try to fill enough jobs to meet surging demand from consumers who are increasingly traveling, shopping, attending entertainment events and eating out.

Tech profits soared as the COVID-19 pandemic began to fade

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Three tech companies that have amassed unparalleled influence while reshaping the way we live released strong earnings results in a flurry Tuesday. Although Apple, Microsoft and Google owner Alphabet Inc. make their money in different ways, the results for the April-June period served as another reminder of the clout they wield and why government regulators are growing increasingly concerned about whether they have become too powerful. The massive profits pouring into each company also illustrated why they have a combined market value of $6.4 trillion — more than double their collective value when the COVID-19 pandemic started 16 months ago.

Robinhood IPO asks customers to play big role as investors

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Robinhood is disrupting another stock market norm — and taking a big risk — by giving ordinary investors access to a huge slice of its initial public offering. The popular online brokerage is taking the unusual step of allowing users to buy up to a third of its IPO shares before they begin trading on the Nasdaq Thursday under the ticker symbol “HOOD.” But expanding early access to an IPO beyond Wall Street insiders isn’t without risk. The move could backfire if many individual investors, often referred to as retail traders, are tempted to flip their shares immediately for a quick profit, rather than hold them.

EXCLUSIVE: Biden mileage rule to exceed Obama climate goal

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a major step against climate change, President Joe Biden is proposing a return to aggressive Obama-era vehicle mileage standards over five years. He’s then aiming for even tougher anti-pollution rules after that to forcefully reduce greenhouse gas emissions and nudge 40% of U.S. drivers into electric vehicles by decade’s end. That’s according to proposed rules from the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation that are expected to be released as early as next week. Industry and government officials who have been briefed on the plan tell The Associated Press the requirements would start for model year 2023.

IMF forecasts 6% global growth this year as economies reopen

WASHINGTON (AP) — The International Monetary Fund is sharply upgrading its economic outlook this year for the world’s wealthy countries, especially the United States, as COVID-19 vaccinations help sustain solid rebounds from the pandemic recession. But the 190-country lending agency has downgraded its forecast for poorer countries, most of which are struggling to vaccinate. Overall, the IMF said Tuesday that it expects the global economy to expand 6% this year — a dramatic bounce-back from the world’s 3.2% economic contraction in the pandemic year of 2020. The IMF’s forecast, unchanged from its previous estimate in April, would mark the fastest calendar-year global growth in records dating to 1980.

Consumer confidence up slightly in July

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence was relatively unchanged from June to July, but remains at its highest level since February 2020, just before the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its consumer confidence index inched up in July to 129.1, up from last month’s reading of 128.9. It’s the sixth straight month that the measurement has risen. Consumers’ appraisal of current business conditions ticked up slightly to 160.3 from 159.6 in June. Consumers’ short term expectations came in at 108.4, down from 108.5 last month. Economists watch consumer confidence because consumer spending accounts for 70% of economic activity.

Starbucks hits sales record as customers return to stores

SEATTLE (AP) — Starbucks saw record sales in its fiscal third quarter as the impact of the pandemic receded and customers flocked to its stores. The Seattle-based coffee giant said its revenue soared 78% to $7.5 billion in the April-June period, an all-time high. That beat Wall Street’s forecast. Starbucks said its global same-store sales _ or sales at locations open at least a year _ jumped 73% from the same period last year. Starbucks felt the brunt of the pandemic in the April-June period last year, when many stores were closed and same-store sales tumbled 40%.

UPS earns $2.7 billion but volume dips as stores reopen

ATLANTA (AP) — UPS had another strong quarter with shipments to homes continuing at a blistering pace, though revenue at home was a little weaker than some had expected. Its stock fell in afternoon trading Tuesday. Domestic revenue still grew 10.2% to $14.40 billion in the second quarter, with per-piece revenue rising 13.4%. However, Wall Street had projected domestic revenue of $14.76 billion. Revenue from international operations spiked 30% to $4.82 billion, which was better than the $4.57 billion analysts had expected. For the three months ended June 30, UPS earned $2.68 billion, or $3.05 per share. Stripping out one-time costs, earnings were $3.06 per share, easily beating the $2.75 that Wall Street was looking for.

The S&P 500 fell 20.84 points, or 0.5%, to 4,401.46. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 85.79 points, or 0.2%, to 35,058.52. The Nasdaq shed 180.14 points, or 1.2%, to 14,660.58. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gave back 25.09 points, or 1.1%, to 2,191.83.

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