Southwest Airlines schedule returns to relative normalcy
Southwest Airlines is returning to a relatively normal flight schedule as the focus shifts to making things right with what could be well more than a million passengers who missed family connections or flights home during the holidays, and many of whom are still missing luggage. The Dallas carrier, which had canceled thousands of flights every day this week after a winter storm last weekend, reported less than 40 cancellations early Friday. While that was still more than United, American and Delta combined, it is a step back from one of the most chaotic weeks in aviation history for a single airline. Federal regulators have vowed a rigorous review of what happened at Southwest.
Atlantic City betting it can put COVID behind it in 2023
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Atlantic City’s casinos are betting they can finally put the COVID pandemic behind them in 2023. Some casino executives are optimistic about the new year, while others note that economic challenges are likely to remain in the New Jersey resort town. Issues that could be decided in 2023 include whether to ban smoking in the casinos, and what to do with the former Bader Field airport property. Casinos plan to pump millions into new hotel rooms, restaurants and entertainment projects, and a $100 million water park is due to open in May.
Mortgage rates’ rise has led to wide gap with US bond yields
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Economists are baffled by a wider-than-usual divergence between long-term mortgage rates and the yield on the benchmark U.S. government bond that is driving a sharp rise in borrowing costs and helping to torpedo the U.S. housing market this year. This spread has historically averaged around 170 basis points a month, but between March and October it averaged about 240 basis points, according to Federal Reserve data. In October, the spread widened to 292 points, the biggest monthly gap since August 1986.
Stocks falling at open as S&P ends worst year since 2008
BEIJING (AP) — Stocks are headed lower at the open on Wall Street Friday, leaving the S&P 500 on track to end 2022 with its worst loss since the financial crisis 14 years ago. The Nasdaq and Dow Jones Industrial Average are also on course to end the year with losses. Tesla shares continued to rebound from steep losses earlier in the week. and Southwest Airlines stabilized as its operations returned to relative normalcy following massive cancellations over the holiday period. The S&P 500 is down 0.7%. U.S. Treasury yields are higher.
Brazil’s Lula picks Amazon defender for environment minister
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil´s President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announced Thursday that Amazon activist Marina Silva will be the country´s next minister of environment. The announcement signals the new administration will prioritize cracking down on illegal deforestation in the forest even if it means running afoul of powerful agribusiness interests. It’s the reaapointment of a woman who carried Brazil’s most effective strategy for reducing deforestation. It’s also a reunion of two old colleagues who first worked together two decades ago during Lula’s first presidency. The main challenge remains the same: Stop rampant deforestation in the world´s largest rainforest. Lula has promised to end all deforestation by 2030. In Silva, he’ll have a strong partner for trying to do so.
Applications for US unemployment aid rose slightly last week
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking unemployment benefits rose modestly last week, the latest sign that the labor market remains strong despite the Federal Reserve’s efforts to cool the economy and hiring. Applications for unemployment aid for the week ending Dec. 24 climbed 9,000 to 225,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Unemployment benefit applications are a proxy for layoffs, and are being closely monitored by economists as the Fed has rapidly raised interest rates in an effort to cool job growth and inflation. Should the Fed’s rate hikes cause a recession, as many economists fear, a jump in layoffs and unemployment claims would be an early sign.
EXPLAINER: 2023 tax credits for EVs will boost their appeal
WASHINGTON (AP) — Starting Jan. 1, many Americans will qualify for a tax credit of up to $7,500 for buying an electric vehicle. The credit is part of changes enacted in the Inflation Reduction Act and is designed to spur EV sales and reduce greenhouse emissions. But a complex web of requirements is casting doubt on whether anyone will be able to receive the full $7,500 credit. For at least the first two months of 2023, though, a delay in the Treasury Department’s rules for the new credits will likely make the full credit temporarily available to consumers who meet income and price limits. People who buy a used EV can get a smaller tax credit.
Rocky ride: Tesla stock on pace for worst year ever
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Owning Tesla stock this year has been anything but a smooth ride for investors. Shares in the electric vehicle maker are down nearly 70% since the start of the year, on pace to finish in the bottom five biggest decliners among S&P 500 stocks. By comparison, the benchmark index is down about 20%. While Tesla has continued to grow its profits, signs of softening demand and heightened competition have investors increasingly worried. Meanwhile, CEO Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter has stoked concerns on Wall Street that the social media company is taking too much of the billionaire’s attention, and possibly offending loyal Tesla customers.
Iraq prime minister orders crackdown on trademark violations
BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s prime minister has ordered a crackdown on local businesses operating under the names of international brands without legal permission. That’s according to a statement from the premier’s office on Wednesday. The Associated Press reported last week that Iraq has become a major center of trademark violations and piracy. In one prominent example, a chain of fake Starbucks has been operating under the international coffee company’s logo in Baghdad. Starbucks filed a lawsuit in an attempt to shut down the trademark violation, but the case was halted after the owner allegedly threatened lawyers hired by the coffee house.