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BIZ. Daily Briefs


Tesla CEO Elon Musk offers to buy Twitter for $43 billion

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is offering to buy Twitter. He says the social media platform he has criticized for not living up to free speech principles needs to be transformed as a private company. Musk is currently Twitter’s biggest shareholder. The company says in a regulatory filing that he has proposed buying the remaining shares of Twitter that he doesn’t already own at $54.20 per share. It’s an offer worth more than $43 billion. Twitter said it has received Musk’s offer and will evaluate it to decide whether it is in the best interests of shareholders to accept or continue to operate as a publicly traded company.

European Central Bank gives no clear date for rate hikes

The head of the European Central Bank says the bank would raise interest rates “some time after” ending its pandemic stimulus efforts later this year. The bank faces growing pressure to follow the United States, United Kingdom and other countries in taking a harder line to combat soaring consumer prices. But it’s not so simple in Europe. High inflation is largely imported through higher oil prices, which doesn’t generally respond to central bank moves. A slowing economic recovery is another argument for not raising rates yet. Bank President Christine Lagarde said Thursday that “we are sticking to our sequence,” with the bank having indicated any rate increase could come only after pandemic stimulus ends.

IMF chief: Ukraine war and inflation threaten global economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the International Monetary Fund warned that Russia’s war against Ukraine was weakening the economic prospects for most of the world’s countries and called high inflation “a clear and present danger’’ to the global economy. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said the consequences of Russia’s invasion was contributing to economic downgrades for 143 countries, although most of them will continue to grow. The war has disrupted global trade in energy and grain and is threatening to cause food shortages in Africa and Middle East. Georgieva made her comments in remarks prepared for a speech on the eve of next week’s spring meetings of the IMF and the World Bank in Washington.


Retail sales rise 0.5% in March amid soaring inflation

NEW YORK (AP) — Retail sales rose modestly in March, but higher prices for food, gasoline and other basics took a big share of consumers’ wallets. Retail sales increased 0.5% after registering a revised 0.8% jump from January to February. Spending has been fueled by wage gains, solid hiring and more money in banking accounts. January’s increase of 4.9% was the biggest jump in spending since March 2021, when American households received a final federal stimulus check of $1,400. Excluding an 8.9% increase at gas stations, overall retail sales were actually down 0.3% last month, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

Stocks mixed at open as investors eye Musk, Twitter drama

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are mixed at the open on Wall Street Thursday as investors again turn their attention to the drama surrounding Elon Musk and Twitter. Musk offered to buy the social media company for $54.20 a share, two weeks after revealing he’d accumulated a 9% stake. Twitter rose 2.2% to $46.87 in early trading. The S&P 500 rose less than 0.1% while the Nasdaq fell 0.4%. The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.5% in March, boosted by higher prices for gasoline, as consumers continue to spend despite high inflation. The price of oil fell more than 1%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.74% from 2.72%.

Big bank profits decline as deal-making, mortgages slow

NEW YORK (AP) — Four big banks reported noticeable declines in their first quarter profits on Thursday, as the volatile markets and war in Ukraine caused dealmaking to dry up and a slowdown in the housing market caused the mortgage market to slow. The results from Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo were similar to the results out of JPMorgan Chase, which on Wednesday reported a double-digit decline in profits for similar reasons. At Goldman Sachs, profits fell 43% to $3.63 billion. Citigroup posted a 47% decline in profits to $4.00 billion, Wells Fargo’s profits fell 21% and Morgan Stanley’s earnings fell 11%.

US jobless claims rise but remain near a half-century low

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking unemployment benefits ticked up last week but remained at a historically low level, reflecting a robust U.S. labor market with near record-high job openings and few layoffs. Jobless claims rose by 18,000 to 185,000, the Labor Department said, after nearly touching the lowest level since 1968 in the previous week. The four-week average of claims, which levels out week-to-week ups and downs, edged up from 170,000 to 172,000. Two years after the coronavirus pandemic sent the economy into a brief but devastating recession, American workers are enjoying extraordinary job security. Weekly applications for unemployment aid, a proxy for layoffs, have remained consistently below their pre-pandemic level of 225,000.

Homebuyers stymied by fewer homes, high prices, rising rates

LOS ANGELES (AP) — America’s housing market has grown increasingly frenzied, and prices are out of reach for many buyers, especially first-timers. This spring, traditionally the busiest season for home sales, is more likely to deliver frustration and disappointment for aspiring homebuyers than it is homeownership. The number of homes for sale nationally remains near record lows, fueling fierce competition among buyers vying for fewer homes. From Los Angeles to Raleigh, North Carolina, it’s typical for homes to sell within days of hitting the market. Bidding wars are common, often driving the sales price well above what the owner was asking. Rising mortgage rates further complicate the homebuying equation this year.

Producer prices surge 11.2% in March on higher energy costs

WASHINGTON (AP) — The surging cost of energy pushed wholesale prices up a record 11.2% last month from a year earlier — another sign that inflationary pressure is widespread in the U.S. economy. The Labor Department said Wednesday that its producer price index — which measures inflation before it reaches consumers — climbed at the fastest year-over-year pace in records going back to 2010 and rose 1.4% from February. Energy prices, which soared after Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, were up 36.7% from March 2021.

JPMorgan profits drop 42%, bank writes down Russian assets

NEW YORK (AP) — JPMorgan Chase said its first quarter profits dropped by 42% from last year, partly because the bank had to write down nearly $1.5 billion in assets due to higher inflation and Russia’s war in Ukraine. The nation’s largest bank by assets said it earned a profit of $8.3 billion, or $2.63 per share, down from a profit of $14.3 billion, or $4.50 a share, in the same period a year earlier. Wall Street analysts were looking for earning of $2.72 a share. CEO Jamie Dimon warned of challenges ahead because of high inflation, supply chain issues and the war in Ukraine.

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