Tuesday, May 21, 2024

AP morning business news summary – June 13, 2023

by BIZ Magazine

Stock market today: Wall Street rises as inflation keeps cooling

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are climbing after a cooler reading on inflation bolstered Wall Street’s expectations for the Federal Reserve to hold off on raising interest rates again this week. The S&P 500 was 0.4% higher in Tuesday morning trading, pushing further into heights it hasn’t touched since April 2022. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 147 points, while the Nasdaq composite rose 0.4%. Stocks have been on a roll amid hopes the economy can avoid a severe recession and inflation will ease. Oracle was one of the strongest forces pushing up the S&P 500 after it reported stronger profit than expected.

Cases of check fraud escalate dramatically, with Americans warned not to mail checks if possible

NEW YORK (AP) — Check fraud is back in a big way, fueled by a rise in organized crime that is forcing small businesses and individuals to take additional safety measures or to avoid sending checks through the mail altogether. Banks reported roughly 680,000 reports of check fraud to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, also known as FinCEN, last year. That’s up from 350,000 reports in 2021. Officials are warning Americans to avoid mailing checks if possible, or at least to use a secure mail drop such as inside the post office.

The Great Grift: How billions in COVID-19 relief aid was stolen or wasted

WASHINGTON (AP) — An Associated Press analysis found that fraudsters potentially stole more than $280 billion in COVID-19 relief funding; another $123 billion was wasted or misspent. Combined, the loss represents 10% of the $4.2 trillion the U.S. government has disbursed in COVID relief aid. Fraudsters used Social Security numbers of dead people to get unemployment checks. Cheaters collected benefits in multiple states. And federal loan applicants weren’t cross-checked against a Treasury Department database that would have raised red flags about sketchy borrowers. All of it led to the greatest grift in U.S. history.

The Great Grift: 5 things to know about how COVID-19 relief aid was stolen or wasted

WASHINGTON (AP) — Over the last three years, thieves have plundered billions of dollars in federal COVID-19 relief aid intended to combat the worst pandemic in a century and to stabilize an economy in free fall. An Associated Press analysis finds fraudsters potentially stole more than $280 billion in coronavirus relief funding and another $123 billion was wasted or misspent. President Donald Trump approved emergency aid measures totaling $3.2 trillion. President Joe Biden’s 2021 American Rescue Plan authorized the spending of another $1.9 trillion. On Capitol Hill, lawmakers are engaged in fierce debate over the success of the relief spending and who’s to blame for the theft.

Jeffrey Epstein victims settle sex trafficking lawsuit against JPMorgan for $290 million

JPMorgan Chase announced a tentative settlement with the sex victims of financier Jeffrey Epstein, the bank said Monday, which had accused the bank of being the financial conduit that Epstein used to pay off his victims for several years. According to the lawsuits, JPMorgan provided Epstein loans and regularly allowed him to withdraw large sums of cash from 1998 through August 2013 even though it knew about his sex trafficking practices. The bank said in a statement it now regretted any interaction the bank had with Epstein over the several years that he was a JPMorgan client. The settlement must still be approved by the judge in the case.

Apollo Theater CEO Jonelle Procope to leave the historic landmark on safe financial ground

NEW YORK (AP) — Jonelle Procope’s 20-year tenure as president and CEO of The Apollo Theater evolved into an era of prosperity and expansion, markedly different from the tumultuous, cash-strapped decades that preceded it. Sure, the early years were a struggle, as the hub of the Harlem neighborhood dealt with financial difficulties and a shifting business model. However, when Procope steps down at the end of June, she will leave her successor Michelle Ebanks with nearly $80 million raised to complete a renovation and expansion of the historic theater by 2025. On Monday night, Procope will be honored, alongside hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs and basketball superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, at The Apollo’s Spring Benefit for her service.

UK wages rise sharply in April, set to bolster expectations of another rate hike next week

LONDON (AP) — Official figures show that wages in the U.K. spiked sharply in April, a development that is set to cement expectations that the Bank of England will raise interest rates once again next week. The Office for National Statistics found Tuesday that people’s regular pay packets, which exclude bonuses, were up 7.2% in the three months to April from the same period the year before. That’s up from the equivalent 6.6% year-on-year increase recorded for January and is largely due to a near-10% increase in the minimum wage at the start of April. Though wages are still lagging the headline rate of inflation, the increase is likely to feature heavily in next week’s deliberations among rate-setters at the Bank of England.

COVID-19 inquiry in UK asks whether ‘terrible consequences’ could have been avoided or reduced

LONDON (AP) — A mammoth three-year public inquiry into Britain’s handling of COVID-19 has opened. It is investigating whether suffering and death could have been reduced with better planning. Lawyer Hugo Keith, who is counsel to the inquiry, says the coronavirus pandemic brought “death and illness on an unprecedented scale” in modern Britain. COVID-19 has been recorded as a cause of death for 226,977 people in the U.K., he says – “the key issue is whether that impact was inevitable.” A group of people who lost relatives to COVID-19 held pictures of their loved one outside the inquiry venue as hearings opened Tuesday. The inquiry is due to last until 2026.

Creative ice cream flavors could make this a sweet, savory, scoop-worthy summer

Who’s up for some ice cream that tastes like ranch dressing? Maybe a creamy scoop of Everything Bagel? Like any culinary domain, the world of ice cream keeps evolving. Food editors say recent years have seen an explosion of new flavor combos, unexpected ingredients and new presentations from ice cream makers big and small. On the flavor front, there are floral ingredients like rose, orange blossom, lavender and jasmine, and herbal notes like saffron and tarragon. There are also blends of sweet and savory. Salt & Straw in Oregon has a five-course Thanksgiving lineup featuring ice creams flavored like turkey bacon and jammy cranberry sauce. The world of non-dairy ice cream has also been getting lots of creative attention.

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