Friday, May 24, 2024

AP morning Business Brief Nov. 16

by BIZ Magazine

Rising food costs take a bite out of Thanksgiving dinner

Americans are bracing for a costly Thanksgiving this year, with double-digit percent increases in the price of turkey, potatoes, stuffing, canned pumpkin and other staples. Higher production costs are only part of the reason; disease, rough weather and the war in Ukraine are also contributors. Turkey supplies are at their lowest point since 1986 after a deadly avian flu wiped out flocks, and prices are up about 28%. But experts say there won’t be shortages of whole birds because producers shifted production to meet Thanksgiving demand. Meanwhile, stores like Walmart, Lidl and Aldi are offering deals to lessen the sticker shock.

US stocks slip as Target stumbles, weighs on retailers

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell in morning trading on Wall Street Wednesday as investors reviewed a dismal financial report from Target and a broader update on the retail sector from the government. The S&P 500 fell 0.6% in morning trading on Wednesday. The Nasdaq also fell and the Dow rose slightly. Retailers were a particularly heavy weight on the market. Target cut its forecasts for the holiday season and said its sales slowed sharply in recent weeks. Retail sales rose last month, but it’s unclear how much of that strength is due to increased purchases versus higher prices.

European Central Bank: Recession ‘has become more likely’

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — It’s looking more like a recession is coming in Europe. That’s the takeaway from a financial stability report that the European Central Bank released Wednesday. The monetary authority for the 19 countries that use the euro currency say a downturn later this year and lasting at least six months “has become more likely.” That’s a warning that banks could see more losses from loans that companies can’t repay and that financial markets could see bumpy rides ahead. Underlying the ECB’s caution: The effect of inflation on consumers who have less spending power as Russia’s war in Ukraine sent energy prices soaring.

UK inflation accelerates to 41-year high of 11.1%

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s inflation rate rose to a 41-year high in October, fueling demands for the government to do more to ease the nation’s cost-of-living crisis when it releases new tax and spending plans Thursday. The Office for National Statistics said Wednesday that consumer prices rose 11.1% in the 12 months through October, compared with 10.1% in September. Higher prices for food and energy drove Britain’s inflation rate to the highest since October 1981. It exceeds the record 10.7% inflation seen last month in the 19 European countries using the euro currency and the U.S. rate of 7.7%, which slowed in October.

‘Zombie Debt’: Homeowners face foreclosure on old mortgages

A growing number of homeowners say they are being blindsided by recent foreclosure actions on their homes over second loans that were taken out more than a decade ago. Collectors say the loans were defaulted on years ago and the money is legally owed. Some homeowners believed their second loans were rolled in with their first mortgage payments or forgiven. Now they’re being told the loans weren’t dead after all. Instead, they’re what critics call “zombie debt.” Attorneys for homeowners say the loans are typically owned by purchasers of troubled mortgages and are being pursued now because home values have increased and there’s more equity in them.

Rent stabilization measures win in US midterm election

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Ballot measures to build more affordable housing and protect tenants from soaring rent increases were plentiful and fared well in last week’s midterm elections. The activity reflected growing angst over record high rents exacerbated by inflation and a dearth of homes. Voters in three U.S. cities approved capping rent increases at below inflation with a measure in a fourth city leading in the vote count. Tenant advocates say rent caps are critical to keeping low-income renters out of homelessness. But critics of rent stabilization were dismayed. They said restricting rents will spur disinvestment in rental stock and discourage the construction of affordable housing. But both sides agree that the country must build more affordable housing.

Target’s 3Q profit drops 52% as shoppers force price cuts

NEW YORK (AP) — An unexpected and potentially ominous pullback in customer spending ahead of the holiday shopping season pushed third quarter profits at Target down 52% after it was forced to slash prices for Americans who are feeling the squeeze of inflation. CEO Brian Cornell says sales weakened significantly in the weeks leading up to October 29, the end of the most recent quarter, with more customers refusing to pay full price and waiting for sales. That trend pushed quarterly profit far below the expectations of both Target, and Wall Street. The company’s stock tumbled 14% before the opening bell Wednesday and other big retailers are being dragged down as well.

‘War not an excuse:’ Ukraine rail boss keeps trains running

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Among the bitter lessons that Ukrainians have had to learn in the nearly nine months since Russia invaded is that what’s here today can be destroyed tomorrow and that nothing in war can be taken for granted. Except perhaps the national rail company. It proudly boasts that 85% of trains ran on schedule last month. The network boss said in an interview with The Associated Press that “war is not an excuse.” Night trains that rattle across the country still welcome passengers with hot tea and clean sheets in the sleeping compartments. All this despite thousands of missile, bomb and artillery strikes that have crumpled bridges, blown up tracks and killed or wounded nearly 1,000 rail workers.

G-20 leaders end summit condemning Russia despite divisions

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (AP) — Members of the Group of 20 leading economies have ended their summit in Indonesia with a declaration of firm condemnation of the war in Ukraine and a warning that the conflict is making an already delicate world economy worse. The closing statement was noteworthy because world leaders managed to highlight a denunciation of the war despite the divisions among the group. G-20 includes not only Russia but also countries such as China and India that have significant trade ties with Moscow and have stopped short of outright criticism of the war. China’s support for a public statement critical of Russia surprised some. Indonesian President Joko Widodo said the portion of the declaration dealing with the war was the most contentious part.

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