Monday, July 22, 2024

Morning business headlines: Nov. 8, 2023

by BIZ Magazine

International Monetary Fund warns Europe against prematurely declaring victory over inflation

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The International Monetary Fund says the European Central Bank and other policymakers across Europe need to keep interest rates at current elevated levels until they’re sure inflation is under control despite sluggish growth. The Washington-based IMF says cost of underestimating inflation’s persistence could be painfully high and result in another painful round of rate hikes that could rob the economy of a large chunk of growth. The IMF said in its twice-yearly regional economic outlook for Europe that the European Central Bank and the other central banks that aren’t part of the 20-country eurozone are reaching the peak of their interest rate cycles. Inflation in the eurozone peaked at 10.6% in October 2022 and has steadily fallen to 2.9% in October.

Stock market today: Wall Street drifts in early trading

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are still stuck on pause as Wall Street continues to recalibrate following its sharp recent swings. The S&P 500 was up 0.2% early Wednesday and on track for a third straight day of quiet trading. The Dow edged up 38 points, and the Nasdaq composite was up 0.1%. Rivian Automotive jumped 6.2% after the electric vehicle company raised its forecast for how many vehicles it will produce this year. The 10-year Treasury yield held relatively steady at 4.56%. The price of U.S. crude oil is back to where it was in July, and it slipped another 1% in early trading.

To help 2024 voters, Meta says it will begin labeling political ads that use AI-generated imagery

WASHINGTON (AP) — The owner of Facebook and Instagram says it’ll put labels on political ads created using artificial intelligence. The new policy announced Wednesday by Meta goes into effect Jan. 1 and will apply worldwide. The California-based company’s policy is intended to help voters know when they see a political ad that contains altered images, video or audio. New AI programs have made it easier than ever to generate lifelike voices and images that in the wrong hands could mislead voters. Social media platforms have been criticized for not doing more to address these risks. Meta’s announcement comes on the day lawmakers in Washington hold a hearing on deepfake images.

Putin calls for closer Russia-China cooperation on military satellites and prospective weapons

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has told a senior Chinese military official that Moscow and Beijing should expand their cooperation on military satellites and other prospective defense technologies. It was a statement that signaled increasingly close defense links between the allies. Putin spoke in televised remarks at the start of his meeting Wednesday with China’s second-ranking military official. Putin emphasized the importance of developing closer military links. He noted that cooperation in high-tech spheres now takes priority. Beijing declared last year that it had a “no-limits” friendship with Russia. China has denounced Western sanctions against Moscow and accused NATO and Washington of provoking Russia’s military action in Ukraine.

Treasury’s Yellen calls Republican effort to cut IRS funding for Israel ‘damaging and irresponsible’

WASHINGTON (AP) — The IRS commissioner says for the agency to keep building on its customer service and enforcement priorities it needs a reliable funding stream. IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel said Tuesday at an event with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen the debate over IRS funding comes down to a fundamental choice. Werfel says the choice is between an IRS that’s ill-equipped to assess and collect what’s owed by the wealthiest taxpayers and one that’s ready to assess and collect despite efforts to shield their income. Yellen calls Republicans’ proposed IRS funding cuts “damaging.” House Republicans say the IRS cuts would save taxpayer money. Tuesday’s event at IRS headquarters was to commemorate customer service improvements to the agency.

General Motors’ autonomous vehicle unit recalls cars for software update after dragging a pedestrian

DETROIT (AP) — GM’s Cruise autonomous vehicle unit is recalling all 950 of its cars to update its software after one dragged a pedestrian to the side of a San Francisco street last month. The company says in documents posted by U.S. safety regulators Wednesday that with the updated software, Cruise vehicles will remain stationary in similar cases. The Oct. 2 crash prompted Cruise to suspend driverless operations nationwide after California regulators found its cars were a safety hazard. The California Department of Motor Vehicles revoked the license for Cruise, which was transporting passengers without human drivers throughout San Francisco. In the crash, a human driven vehicle hit a pedestrian, pushing them in front of a Cruise autonomous vehicle.

Las Vegas hotel workers union reaches tentative deal with Caesars, but threat of strike still looms

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Culinary Workers Union in Las Vegas has reached a tentative deal with casino giant Caesars Entertainment that could help avert a sweeping strike. The 5-year deal announced early Wednesday by the union marks a major breakthrough after several months of unsuccessful negotiations. It comes just days before tens of thousands of hospitality workers could walk off the job and onto picket lines. Deals haven’t been reached with MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts. The tentative agreement with Caesars could provide the momentum needed for the union to win new contracts for all 35,000 of its members. They have been working under expired contracts at properties owned or operated by the casino companies.

There’s too much guesswork in renting an Airbnb. The short-term rental giant is trying to fix that

Airbnb says the biggest reason it loses some bookings to hotels is that people never know exactly what their Airbnb rental will look like until they check in. So the company is trying to change that, by creating a new category of listings with very high ratings from guests. Airbnb said Wednesday it will roll out this and other changes this week. CEO Brian Chesky says there will be 2 million “Guest Favorites” out of Airbnb’s 7 million listings. He expects that Guest Favorites will charge more but they will be more predictable, like a hotel room.

How Joan Kroc’s surprise $1.8 billion gift to the Salvation Army transformed 26 communities

First-class recreation centers in low-income neighborhoods — dozens of them, scattered around the nation. That was the vision of Joan Kroc, billionaire philanthropist and heiress to the McDonald’s fortune of her husband, Ray. When she died in 2003, Joan Kroc stunned the Salvation Army when she left what amounted to $1.8 billion with instructions to carry out her wish for the centers. And today, 20 years later, 26 grand, state-of-the-art Kroc centers have opened in places as varied as Ashland, Ohio; Guayama, Puerto Rico; and Quincy, Illinois. Salvation Army officials say 1.2 million people belong to Kroc fitness centers, and over 3 million people annually are served through a wide variety of other programs, including job training, theatrical performances, and afterschool care.

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