Friday, May 17, 2024

Business Briefs for 12-21-2022

by Associated Press

Storm adds uncertainty to strong holiday travel demand

Concerns about illness or inflation aren’t stopping Americans from hitting the roads and airports this holiday season. But a massive winter storm might. Forecasters are predicting heavy snow, ice and powerful winds between Thursday and Saturday across much of the country. Delta, United and other airlines say they are loosening their change fee policies so travelers can choose new flights and avoid the bad weather. The weather added uncertainty to what’s expected to be a busy travel season. AAA estimates that nearly 113 million people will travel at least 50 miles from home between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2. That’s 4% higher than last year.

Congress moves to ban TikTok from US government devices

WASHINGTON (AP) — TikTok would be banned from most U.S. government devices under a spending bill Congress unveiled early Tuesday. It’s the latest push by American lawmakers against the Chinese-owned social media app. The $1.7 trillion package includes requirements for the Biden administration to prohibit most uses of TikTok or any other app created by its owner, ByteDance Ltd. The requirements would apply to the executive branch and don’t appear to cover Congress, where a handful of lawmakers maintain TikTok accounts. A spokesperson for TikTok calls the ban a “political gesture” that is not needed to protect national security since TikTok is developing security and data privacy plans to secure the platform in the U.S.

Trump tax audits required by IRS were delayed, panel says

WASHINGTON (AP) — A congressional panel says the IRS failed to pursue mandatory audits of Donald Trump on a timely basis during his presidency. The finding raises questions about statements by the former president and leading members of his administration who claimed he could not release his tax filings because of the ongoing reviews. A report released Tuesday by the Democratic majority on the House Ways and Means Committee indicates the Trump administration may have disregarded an IRS requirement dating back to 1977 that mandates audits of a president’s tax filings. There was no suggestion that Trump sought to directly influence the IRS or discourage the agency from reviewing his tax information.

Surging prices imperil Polish govt ahead of vote next year

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Prices are surging in Poland, making it among the European Union nations with the highest inflation rates. The state statistics office registered inflation of 17.5% in November compared with the previous year. It is a painful situation for people in a country like Poland, which has seen dramatic economic transformation but which still has not reached a Western level of wealth. A large majority of Poles say that inflation has harmed their quality of life, making inflation perhaps the greatest challenge to date to the ruling conservative party, which has governed since 2015, as it heads into elections next fall.

Wells Fargo to pay $3.7B over consumer law violations

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumer banking giant Wells Fargo agreed to pay $3.7 billion to settle charges that it harmed consumers by charging illegal fees and interest on auto loans and mortgages, as well as incorrectly applied overdraft fees against savings and checking accounts. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Tuesday ordered Wells to repay $2 billion to consumers and enacted a $1.7 billion penalty against the bank. It’s the largest fine to date against Wells, which has spent years trying to rehabilitate itself after a series of scandals tied to its sales practices. The bank remains under supervision of the Federal Reserve.

Wall Street gains ground, indexes remain mixed for the week

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rose on Wall Street, leaving major indexes mixed for the week as investors continue to worry that a recession is on the way. The S&P 500 index was up 1.1% in morning trading Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.1% with a lot of help from Nike, which soared after reporting results for its latest quarter that trounced analysts’ estimates. The tech-heavy Nasdaq was up 0.4%. Treasury yields were lower. European markets were higher and Asian markets closed mixed overnight. Energy stocks gained ground along with rising oil prices.

Eni, Total announce sizeable new gas discovery off Cyprus

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus’ energy ministry says a consortium made up of energy companies Eni of Italy and France’s Total is expediting plans to develop natural gas deposits following the discovery of a third field containing 2-3 trillion cubic feet of the hydrocarbon inside the same licensed exploration area. The ministry announced the discovery Wednesday at the “Zeus-1” well some 162 kilometers (100 miles) inside Block 6 off Cyprus’ southern coastline. The field is located just 5 kilometers (3 miles) west of the “Cronos-1” well where the consortium announced in August an estimated 2.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Rule delay makes big EV tax credit possible early next year

WASHINGTON (AP) — People who want to buy an electric vehicle could get a bigger-than-expected tax credit come Jan. 1 because of a delay by the Treasury Department in drawing up rules for the tax breaks. The department says it won’t finish the rules that govern where battery minerals and parts have to be sourced until sometime in March. As a result, it appears that buyers of EVs assembled in North America with batteries made in the U.S., Canada or Mexico will be eligible for a full $7,500 tax credit under the Inflation Reduction Act. That law calls for the batteries’ minerals and parts to also come from North America or a country with a U.S. free-trade agreement, but that provision is now on hold.

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