Saturday, April 20, 2024

AP morning business news summary – July 6, 2023

by BIZ Magazine

Meta takes aim at Twitter with the launch of rival app Threads

Meta has unveiled an app called Threads to rival Twitter. It’s targeting users looking for an alternative to the social media platform owned — and frequently changed — by Elon Musk. Threads is billed as a text-based version of Meta’s photo-sharing app Instagram. It went live Wednesday in Apple and Google Android app stores in more than 100 countries. CEO Mark Zuckerberg says 10 million people had signed up in the first seven hours. It suggests Meta has been gearing up to directly challenge the platform after Musk’s tumultuous ownership has resulted in a series of unpopular changes that have turned off users and advertisers. But Threads has raised data privacy concerns and won’t launch in the European Union.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen visits China as part of efforts to soothe strained relations

BEIJING (AP) — Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen plans to tell Chinese officials Washington wants healthy economic competition but will defend U.S. trade curbs imposed on security grounds. She also will express concerns about Beijing’s export controls on metals used in semiconductors and solar panels. That is according to a senior Treasury official who briefed reporters after Yellen arrived in Beijing as part of efforts to revive strained relations. Treasury officials said earlier she wouldn’t meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Yellen has warned against economic decoupling, or disconnecting U.S. and Chinese industries and markets. Businesspeople say that might harm innovation and growth as both governments tighten controls on trade in technology and strategically important goods.

Stock market today: Wall Street drops after hot jobs data raises threat of high rates

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are falling after reports suggested the U.S. job market remains much more resilient than expected. The S&P 500 was 1% lower early Thursday. The Dow was down 354 points, or 1%, and the Nasdaq was 1.1% lower. While a sturdy labor market keeps the economy out of a long-expected recession, it could also push the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates higher for longer in its campaign to defeat high inflation. That in turn could mean more pressure down the line on the economy and financial markets. Treasury yields jumped, and the two-year yield is near its highest level since March.

No more free coffee on your birthday? Companies rein in customer rewards programs — here’s why

WASHINGTON (AP) — Reward programs, including birthday freebies and discounts, have long been a way for brands to build loyalty and incentivize spending. But now some companies are becoming a bit more stingy, and customers are taking notice. Last fall, for example, many balked at Dunkin’s decision to stop offering a free drink on their birthday and instead give them triple loyalty points on their purchase. Some experts say the cost of maintaining loyalty programs, as well as recent impacts of inflation and changes in consumer behavior since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, are among the reasons why companies may be pulling back. Meanwhile, some chains have argued that rewards adjustments reflect customer behavior.

Shell CEO calls it ‘irresponsible’ to cut oil production now

LONDON (AP) — The head of global energy giant Shell says it would be “irresponsible” to cut oil and gas production at a time when the world economy is still dependent on fossil fuels. In an interview with the BBC released Thursday, Shell CEO also refused to rule out moving the company’s headquarters and stock market listing from Britain to the United States. His comments conflict with the recommendations of climate scientists and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who has called on the fossil fuel industry to “drive, not obstruct” the transition to renewable energy. Burning fossil fuels is the biggest source of the carbon emissions blamed for global warming.

Federal Reserve minutes: Some officials wanted to raise interest rates last month

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some Federal Reserve officials pushed to raise the Fed’s key interest rate by one-quarter of a percentage point at their meeting last month to intensify their fight against high inflation, though the central bank ultimately decided to forgo a rate hike. In a sign of growing division among the policymakers, some officials favored a quarter-point increase or said they “could have supported such a proposal,” according to the minutes of the June 13-14 meeting. In the end, the 11 voting members of the Fed’s interest-rate setting committee agreed unanimously to skip a hike after 10 straight increases. But they signaled that they might raise rates twice more this year, beginning as soon as this month.

2 New Jersey firefighters died battling a blaze deep in a ship carrying 5,000 cars

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey fire chief says two firefighters were killed battling a blaze that broke out inside a cargo ship docked at Newark’s port. Fire Chief Rufus Jackson says responding firefighters found five to seven vehicles ablaze inside the ship Wednesday night. Jackson says they tried to put it out but were pushed back by the intense heat. The Newark Fire Department got support from other companies across New Jersey and New York. They were able to recover the two firefighters bodies. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka says the ship was carrying 5,000 cars.

JetBlue is dumping its partnership with American Airlines to salvage its purchase of Spirit

JetBlue is picking Spirt Airlines over American. JetBlue said Wednesday that it won’t appeal a judge’s ruling against its partnership with American Airlines, effectively dropping the deal. JetBlue hopes that will convince the federal government to let it buy Spirit Airlines. A federal judge decided in May that the JetBlue-American deal, called the Northeast Alliance, violates antitrust law.

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