Sunday, July 21, 2024

Morning business headlines – Oct. 3, 2023

by BIZ Magazine

Jury selection to begin in trial of fallen cryptocurrency mogul Sam Bankman-Fried

NEW YORK (AP) — Sam Bankman-Fried once promoted his FTX digital coin exchange as a safe way for regular people to get into cryptocurrency. Now he faces the start of a criminal trial over allegations that he cheated thousands of customers. Jury selection begins Tuesday in a case in which the 31-year-old crypto mogul faces the possibility of a long prison term if convicted. Prosecutors say he cheated thousands of people who deposited cryptocurrency on the FTX exchange by illegally diverting massive sums of their money for his personal use, including making risky trades at his cryptocurrency hedge fund. Bankman-Fried has acknowledged making mistakes while running FTX, but has insisted he had no criminal intent.

Facebook and Instagram users in Europe could get ad-free subscription option, WSJ reports

LONDON (AP) — Meta plans to give Facebook and Instagram users in Europe the option of paying for ad-free versions of the social media platforms as a way to comply with the continent’s strict data privacy rules. That’s according to the Wall Street Journal. It reported Tuesday that the company wants to charge users about $10.50 a month to use Instagram or Facebook without ads on desktop browsers. Prices for mobile would be higher, at roughly 13 euros a month. Meta reportedly is hoping to roll out paid subscriptions in the coming months as a way to comply with European Union data privacy rules that threaten its lucrative business model of showing users personalized ads.

Biden says that all 10 drugs targeted for the first Medicare price negotiations will participate

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has announced that the manufacturers of all of the first 10 prescription drugs selected for Medicare’s first price negotiations have agreed to participate. Tuesday’s announcement clears the way for talks that could lower their costs in coming years and give Biden a potential political win heading into next year’s election. The White House says 9 million seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries paid more than $3.4 billion on these 10 drugs alone last year. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced in August the first 10 drugs selected for the negotiation process and said manufacturers had until Monday to agree to participate and submit manufacturer-specific data.

Fed’s Powell gets an earful about inflation and interest rates from small businesses

YORK, Pa. (AP) — Federal Reserve officials typically gather many of their insights and observations about the economy from some of the top Ph.D. economists in Washington. On a visit Monday to York, Pennsylvania, Chair Jerome Powell got an earful from a group with a different perspective: Small-business people who are grappling personally with inflation, high interest rates, labor shortages and other challenges of the post-pandemic economy. Powell traveled to York to learn about the efforts of the long-time manufacturing hub to diversify its economy. The businesspeople they spoke with were generally optimistic but expressed a range of concerns: They are still having trouble finding all the workers they need. Higher interest rates have discouraged some of them from expanding.

A deal to expedite grain exports has been reached between Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Officials say Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania have agreed on a plan they hope will help expedite Ukrainian grain exports. Needy countries beyond Europe will potentially benefit from speedier procedures. The Ukrainian farm ministry said Tuesday that the deal means that grain inspections would shift from the Ukraine-Poland border to a Lithuanian port on the Baltic Sea. The move seeks to facilitate the transit of Ukrainian exports through Polish territory. The grain can be exported by sea around the world from the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda. The stated goal is to hasten Ukrainian grain exports. But the agreement may also help defuse tensions over grain prices between Kyiv and Warsaw.

Trump seethes through the start of trial in New York lawsuit accusing him of lying about his wealth

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump has spent a day in court for the sometimes testy start of a trial in a fraud lawsuit that could cost him control of Trump Tower and other prized properties. Outside court Monday, he called it a “disgraceful trial.” Democratic New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit accuses the Republican ex-president and his company of deceiving banks, insurers and others by habitually lying about his wealth in financial statements. The judge already has ruled Trump committed fraud in his business dealings. If the ruling is upheld on appeal, it could force Trump to give up several New York properties. Trump left for the day sounding buoyed, after the judge suggested testimony about Trump’s 2011 financial statement was beyond the legal time limit.

The UAE holds a major oil and gas conference just ahead of hosting UN climate talks in Dubai

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Emirati president-designate of the upcoming United Nations COP28 climate talks has called on oil and gas companies to be “central to the solution” to fighting climate change as the industry boosts its production to enjoy rising energy prices. His remarks on Monday came at a marquee oil industry event highlighting the state oil company he oversees — either feeding the concerns of those already critical of his appointment while also drawing applause from the same energy firms he wants to court at the upcoming COP28 talks starting in November.

Tesla 3Q sales rise 27% but fall short of expectations due softening demand and factory downtime

Tesla’s summertime deliveries of electric vehicles surged 27% from last year but still fell below analyst projections as Elon Musk’s car company navigated through softening customer demand as well as factory upgrades. The Austin, Texas, automaker sold 435,059 vehicles during the July-to-September period, up from 343,830 at the same time last year. Analysts had predicted Tesla would sell about 461,000 vehicles during the latest quarter, according to FactSet Research. As usual, Tesla’s sales consisted primarily of its Model 3 and Model Y vehicles, which have been made even more attractive by rounds of price cutting that have eaten into the company’s profit margins. The third-quarter sales also marked a step back from Tesla’s 466,140 vehicle deliveries during the April-to-June period.

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