Monday, April 22, 2024

Morning business headlines: Dec. 1, 2023

by BIZ Magazine

Stock market today: Wall Street drifts lower following its best month in more than a year

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are opening slightly lower on Wall Street as the market comes off its best month in more than a year. The S&P 500 was off 0.2% in the early going Friday. If the losses hold, the benchmark index could break a four-week winning streak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was little changed and the Nasdaq composite was down 0.5%. In company news, Ulta Beauty soared 10% after reporting better-than-expected results for its latest quarter and raising its forecast. Treasury yields held steady and crude oil prices were flat. European markets were slightly higher and Asian markets closed mostly lower.

Some OPEC+ members will cut the oil that they send to the world to try to boost prices

LONDON (AP) — The OPEC oil cartel and allied producers have made another big swipe at propping up lagging crude prices. The OPEC+ oil ministers came out of an online meeting Thursday with more than 2 million barrels per day in voluntary cuts through the first three months of next year. They also declared that Brazil will join the bloc in January, bringing one of the world’s fastest-growing oil producers into an alliance that is trying to rein in global supply. Sweeping cutbacks from OPEC+ and individual member countries since October 2022 haven’t made lasting changes to oil prices because of concerns about oversupply in a weakening global economy. That’s a good thing for U.S. drivers who have been getting cheaper gas.

Thousands of fake Facebook accounts shut down by Meta were primed to polarize voters ahead of 2024

WASHINGTON (AP) — Meta says it has found and disabled thousands of fake Facebook accounts linked to China that were used to spread politically partisan content in the United States before next year’s election. The accounts disclosed Thursday were designed to look as though they were run by everyday Americans. The network reposted content from the right and the left in an apparent effort to inflame political tensions. Meta’s executives said Thursday they’re guarding against similar efforts to interfere with elections next year in the U.S. and elsewhere. Critics say Meta hasn’t done enough to address its role in spreading misinformation and hate speech. California-based Meta hasn’t publicly linked the network to China’s government.

Congressmen ask DOJ to investigate water utility hack, warning it could happen anywhere

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Three members of Congress are asking the U.S. Justice Department to investigate how hackers breached a water utility system near Pittsburgh. The attack prompted the nation’s top cyberdefense agency to warn other water and sewage-treatment utilities they may be vulnerable. In a letter released Thursday, the Pennsylvania lawmakers say Americans must know their drinking water and other basic infrastructure is safe. The Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, was the system targeted. An electronic calling card left by the hackers suggests they picked their target because it uses components made by an Israeli company.

Vacuum tycoon Dyson loses a libel case against a UK newspaper for a column on his support of Brexit

LONDON (AP) — Billionaire vacuum cleaner tycoon James Dyson has lost a libel lawsuit against the Daily Mirror. Dyson claimed his reputation was damaged by a column that suggested he was a hypocrite who “screwed” Britain by moving his company’s headquarters to Singapore after supporting the campaign in favor of the U.K.’s breakup with the European Union. A High Court judge in London on Friday rejected Dyson’s claims that the article was a “vicious and vitriolic” personal attack that hurt his reputation and harmed his philanthropic work encouraging young people to become engineers. A judge found the article was opinion. Mirror Group Newspapers welcomed the ruling.

Tesla delivers about a dozen stainless steel Cybertruck pickups as it tries to fix production woes

DETROIT (AP) — With manufacturing kinks still to be worked out, Tesla has delivered the first dozen or so of its futuristic Cybertruck pickups to customers. The deliveries Thursday came two years behind the original schedule amid uncertainty over when large-scale production will begin. CEO Elon Musk showed off the angular trucks with an event at the company’s factory outside of Austin, Texas, that was broadcast on X, formerly Twitter. The ceremony started with Musk driving the truck on a stage and hopping into the bed to say it’s the most unique vehicle on the road. He said the truck has 17 inches of ground clearance to drive off the road, and it can go from zero to 60 mph in 2.6 seconds.

Haslam family denies allegation from Warren Buffett’s company that it bribed truck stop chain execs

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — An attorney for the billionaire Haslam family has called the bribery allegations from Warren Buffett’s company a “wild invention.” But a judge didn’t decide immediately whether those allegations will be resolved at a January trial that will help determine the multibillion-dollar price Berkshire Hathaway might have to pay the Haslams for the rest of the Pilot truck stop chain. The Haslams and Buffett’s company are accusing each other of manipulating Pilot’s earnings this year to affect the price Berkshire would have to pay for the Haslams’ remaining 20% stake in the company if the family decides to sell.

An appeals court reinstates gag order that barred Trump from maligning court staff in NY fraud trial

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York appeals court has reinstated a gag order that barred Donald Trump from commenting about court personnel after he disparaged a law clerk in his New York civil fraud trial. The trial judge, Arthur Engoron, imposed the gag order Oct. 3 after Trump posted a derogatory comment about the judge’s law clerk to social media. The post included a baseless allegation about the clerk’s personal life. It came the second day of the trial in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit. It alleges Trump exaggerated his wealth on financial statements used to secure loans and make deals. The Republican former president denies any wrongdoing.

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