Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Business Briefs for 12-22-2022

by Associated Press

FTX founder Bankman-Fried to make 1st US court appearance

NEW YORK (AP) — The cryptocurrency entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried is expected to make his initial U.S. court appearance Thursday on charges that he swindled investors and looted customer deposits on his FTX trading platform. Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas last week and was flown to New York late Wednesday after deciding not to challenge his extradition. While he was in the air, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan announced that two of Bankman-Fried’s closest business associates had also been charged and had secretly pleaded guilty. Bankman-Fried said in a series of interviews before his arrest that he never intended to defraud anyone.

IRS mandatory presidential audit policy goes under spotlight

WASHINGTON (AP) — An IRS policy governing the audits of tax returns filed by U.S. presidents is under new scrutiny. A report published by a House committee finds that the agency failed to perform the mandatory inspection of Donald Trump’s returns as president until Congress pressed for information about the process. The report says the process dating to 1977 was “dormant, at best” during the early years of the Trump administration. Democrats are pushing legislation that would codify the IRS policy into law with more stringent requirements. The White House says President Joe Biden was audited for the 2020 and 2021 tax years. And a spokesperson for former President Barack Obama says Obama was audited in each of his eight years in office

US economy grew 3.2% in Q3, an upgrade from earlier estimate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Shrugging off rampant inflation and rising interest rates, the U.S. economy grew at an unexpectedly strong 3.2% annual pace from July through September, the government reported Thursday in a healthy upgrade from its earlier estimate of third-quarter growth. The rise in gross domestic product — the economy’s output in goods and services — marked a return to growth after consecutive drops in the January-March and April-June periods. Driving the third-quarter growth were strong exports and healthy consumer spending.

Applications for jobless claims up slightly last week

WASHINGTON (AP) — Slightly more Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week as the labor market continues to show strength even as the Federal Reserve has tried for nearly a year to slow the economy by raising its main lending rate. The Labor Department reported Thursday that applications for jobless claims for the week ending Dec. 17 inched up by 2,000 to 216,000 from the previous week’s 214,000. Jobless claims are generally viewed as a representation of layoffs. The four-week moving average of claims, which smooths out some of the week-to-week swings, fell by 6,250 to 221,750.

Holiday procrastinators are back in force. Blame inflation.

NEW YORK (AP) — Inflation is driving many consumers to put off their holiday shopping until the last minute. For the first two years of the pandemic, many were buying earlier in the season, afraid of not getting what they wanted because of shortages of products or delays in deliveries. They also had more money to spend thanks to government stimulus checks and child care credits. But this year, higher prices on everything are squeezing shoppers’ budgets and pushing them to postpone their buying. A quirk in the calendar is also encouraging procrastination. With Christmas falling on Sunday, consumers have all week to shop.

US stocks slip over worries about higher interest rates

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street is falling, giving back its gains from the last two days, after better-than-expected data on the economy fueled worries about higher interest rates. The S&P 500 lost 1.8% early Thursday and the Nasdaq composite gave back 2.6%. The Dow Jones Industrials lost 1.3%. Micron Technology fell following a weak financial forecast as chip demand falls. Used car seller CarMax sank after reporting results for its latest quarter that came in far below what analysts were expecting. The government raised its estimate for U.S. economic growth in the third quarter to a surprisingly strong 3.2%.

Tesla offers rare year-end discounts on 2 top-selling models

DETROIT (AP) — Tesla is offering rare discounts through year’s end on its two top-selling models, an indication that demand is slowing for its electric vehicles. The Austin, Texas, company started offering a $3,750 incentive on its Model 3 sedan and Model Y SUV on its website earlier this month. But on Wednesday it doubled the discount to $7,500 for those who take delivery between now and Dec. 31. The move comes ahead of a new federal tax credit of up to $7,500 that’s scheduled to take effect Jan. 1. Until the new year, Teslas weren’t eligible for a previous federal tax credit program because the company had reached a limit of 200,000 vehicles sold.

Japan adopts plan to maximize nuclear energy, in major shift

TOKYO (AP) — Japan has adopted a plan to extend the lifespan of nuclear reactors, replace the old and even build new ones. That’s a major shift in a country scarred by the Fukushima disaster that once planned to phase out atomic power. In the face of global fuel shortages, rising prices and pressure to reduce carbon emissions, Japan’s leaders have begun to turn back toward nuclear energy. But Thursday’s announcement was their clearest commitment yet after keeping mum on delicate topics like the possibility of building new reactors. Under the new policy, Japan will maximize the use of existing reactors by restarting as many of them as possible and prolonging the operating life of aging ones beyond a 60-year limit. The government also pledged to develop next-generation reactors.

UK economy shrank more than thought in third quarter

LONDON (AP) — The U.K. economy contracted by more than earlier estimates between July and September, according to revised figures from the Office for National Statistics. Gross domestic product fell by a revised 0.3% in the third quarter of 2022 against the estimated 0.2% decline, while growth figures for the first half of 2022 were also revised down. The ONS additionally reported that GDP is now estimated to be 0.8% below pre-pandemic levels, revised down from the previous estimate of 0.4% below. The figures paint a grim picture, with the U.K. forecast to fall into recession in the final quarter of 2022 and households already feeling the impact of soaring inflation.

Senate reaches deal on $1.7T package, pushing toward passage

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate appears back on track to pass a $1.7 trillion bill to finance federal agencies through September. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Thursday that the Senate would consider some 15 amendments before voting on final passage of the package. Most of the amendments will be subject to a 60-vote threshold to pass, generally dooming them to failure in the evenly divided 100-member Senate. An agreement from both sides on which amendments would be voted on was needed to lock in an expedited vote on final passage and get the measure approved before a government shutdown would begin at midnight Friday.

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