Monday, July 15, 2024

Morning business headlines: Dec. 29, 2023

by BIZ Magazine

Stock market today: Stocks drift on the final trading day of a surprisingly good year on Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are drifting on the final trading day of a year of surprisingly robust gains for Wall Street. The benchmark S&P 500 index is sitting just below the all-time high Friday and is up 24.6% for the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit another record Thursday and is up more than 13% in 2023. The Nasdaq is up 44% for the year, driven by gains in big technology companies, including Nvidia, Amazon and Microsoft. Treasury yields edged higher and crude oil prices rose.

Maui’s economy needs tourists. Can they visit without compounding wildfire trauma?

LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — Hawaii’s governor and mayor are welcoming tourists back to the west side of Maui months after August wildfires killed at least 100 people and destroyed more than 2,000 buildings. They want the economic boost tourists will bring, particularly heading into the year-end holidays. But some residents are struggling with the return of an industry requiring workers to be attentive and hospitable even though they are trying to care for themselves after losing their loved ones, friends, homes and community. One server at a Lahaina restaurant was so worn out by customer questions about the fire she quit five weeks after going back to work.

Stock market today: U.S. futures are little changed as Wall Street wraps up surprisingly good year

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock futures are little changed Friday as the market puts the wraps on a year of surprisingly robust gains. The benchmark S&P 500 index is just 0.3% from an all-time high after a gain of 24.6% for the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit another record Thursday. The Nasdaq shows a year-to-date gain of 44.2%, driven by gains in big technology companies. The so-called Magnificent 7 companies _ Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon, Nvidia, Meta Platforms and Tesla _ accounted for about two-thirds of the gains in the S&P 500 this year, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. Nvidia leads the group after its shares have more than tripled.

New weight loss drugs are out of reach for millions of older Americans because Medicare won’t pay

WASHINGTON (AP) — Obesity drugs like Wegovy and Zepbound are capturing the attention of celebrities and showing promising results in helping people shed pounds. But those drugs remain out of reach for millions of older Americans. A decades-old law bans Medicare from paying for weight loss drugs. Now, drugmakers and a wide-ranging bipartisan coalition of lawmakers are gearing up to push for that to change next year. Obesity rates are rising among older adults, and some lawmakers say the United States can’t afford to keep the law on the books. But research shows the initial price tag of covering those drugs is so steep it could drain Medicare’s already shaky bank account.

A tax increase, LGBTQ+ youth protections and more sick leave highlight California’s new laws in 2024

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A new year brings new laws in California. Most of the new laws Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed in 2023 take effect on Jan. 1, 2024. But some don’t because lawmakers delayed their effective dates for various reasons. That’s why fast food workers won’t see a minimum wage increase until April and health care workers won’t see an increase until June. Laws taking effect Jan. 1 include protections for workers who smoke marijuana at home and doctors who mail abortion pills to patients in states where the procedure is banned. The laws also include harsher penalties for fentanyl dealers.

Deutsche Bank pledges nearly $5 million to help combat human trafficking in New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Deutsche Bank has pledged nearly $5 million in funding to help combat human trafficking in New Mexico. The bank made the announcement Thursday in a joint statement with state Attorney General Raúl Torrez. The announcement comes seven months after Deutsche Bank settled a lawsuit that claimed the German lender should have seen evidence that the late Jeffrey Epstein, who was a client, engaged in sex trafficking. Torrez’s office is investigating several financial service companies and their role in what he says is a failure to identify sexual abuse and trafficking of underage girls at Epstein’s ranch in Santa Fe County.

Amazon Prime ads on movies and TV shows will begin in late January

If you are an Amazon Prime Video user, get ready to see ads on movies and TV shows starting next month. The company said in an email to U.S. members this week that Prime will include ads for subscribers beginning on Jan. 29. Prime members who want to keep their movies and TV shows ad-free will have to pay an additional $2.99 per month. The tech giant follows other major streamers –- such as Netflix and Disney –- who have embraced a dual model that allows them to earn revenue from ads and also offer subscribers the option to opt out with a higher fee.

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