Thursday, April 18, 2024

Business Briefs: OpenAI says Musk agreed the ChatGPT maker should become a for-profit company

by Associated Press

OpenAI has attacked a lawsuit from Elon Musk, saying he supported making the ChatGPT maker a for-profit company. Musk has sued to accuse the artificial intelligence company of betraying its founding goal to benefit humanity as it pursued profits instead. OpenAI’s response late Tuesday escalated the feud between it and the billionaire that bankrolled its creation years ago. Musk’s lawsuit said that when he invested in OpenAI, he secured an agreement that the company would remain a nonprofit developing technology for the public’s benefit. OpenAI said in a blog post that both the startup and Musk recognized the need for the company to become a for-profit entity to gain enough resources to compete.

Fed’s Powell: Rate cuts likely this year, but more evidence is needed that inflation is tamed

WASHINGTON (AP) — Chair Jerome Powell reinforced his belief Wednesday that the Federal Reserve will cut its key interest rate this year but that it first wants to see more evidence that inflation is falling sustainably back to the Fed’s 2% target. Powell noted that inflation is slowing for both goods and services and did not express concern about the government’s latest inflation data, which showed some pickup in price increases in January. Instead, he said that, according to the Fed’s preferred gauge, inflation “has eased notably over the past year” even though it remains above the Fed’s target. The Fed chair’s remarks, in prepared testimony to a House committee, echoed the message he expressed at his most recent news conference on Jan. 31.

SEC takes up narrower climate disclosure rule after heavy pushback from companies, others

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has weakened a proposed climate disclosure rule after strong pushback from companies and others. It will no longer require companies to report some greenhouse gas emissions. Ahead of a planned vote by commissioners Wednesday, the SEC said the final version would not include requirements to report some indirect emissions known as Scope 3. Those don’t come from a company or its operations, but happen along its supply chain — for example, in producing the fabrics to make a retailer’s clothing — or that result when a consumer uses a product, such as gasoline. It’s one of the most anticipated rules in recent years from the nation’s top financial regulator. Companies have complained that quantifying such emissions would be difficult.

Europe’s Digital Markets Act is forcing tech giants to make changes. Here’s what that will look like

LONDON (AP) — Europeans scrolling their phones and computers this week will get new choices for default browsers and search engines, where to download iPhone apps and how their personal online data is used. They’re part of changes required under the Digital Markets Act. It’s a set of European Union regulations that six tech companies classed as “gatekeepers” will have to start following by midnight Wednesday. They are Amazon, Apple, Google parent Alphabet, Meta, Microsoft and TikTok owner ByteDance. Europe has been a global leader in reining in tech giants. The rules are kicking in as a global effort to crack down on the tech industry picks up pace.

US job openings stay steady at nearly 8.9 million in January, a sign labor market remains strong

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. job openings barely changed in January but remained at a high level, suggesting that the American job market remains healthy. The Labor Department reported Wednesday that U.S. employers posted 8.86 million job vacancies in December, down slightly from 8.89 million in January and about in line with economists’ expectations. Layoffs fell modestly, but so did the number of Americans quitting their jobs — a sign of confidence they can find higher pay or better working conditions elsewhere.

Stock market today: Wall Street rises to recover some of the losses from its worst day in weeks

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are steadying and recovering some of their sharp losses from the day before, which was Wall Street’s worst in three weeks. The S&P 500 was 0.4% higher Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 126 points, and the Nasdaq composite was 0.4% higher. Treasury yields were edging lower as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said again that cuts to interest rates may be coming later this year. But Powell also said again that the Fed needs more data showing inflation is cooling before it acts. A report in the morning indicated the U.S. job market is behaving as expected.

China says economy got a strong start in 2024, sets sights on latest technology, upgrading factories

BEIJING (AP) — Top Chinese financial officials have outlined details of the ruling Communist Party’s plans for the year, saying a 5% target for economic growth is within reach after a strong start to the year. China’s exports rose about 10% in the first two months of the year from a year earlier, while medium- and long-term loans from banks jumped more than 30%, said China’s top planning official. The head of China’s central bank said there was room to relax monetary policy to help spur faster growth. The officials spoke on the sidelines of the annual session of China’s ceremonial legislature. They emphasized Beijing’s determination to upgrade its industries and advance technologies in key areas such as clean energy.

British governing party announces tax cuts that it hopes can lift ailing election fortunes

LONDON (AP) — British Treasury chief Jeremy Hunt is seeking to bolster spirits within his Conservative Party with a series of tax cuts that he hopes can turn the political dial ahead of a general election this year. Though the British economy has hit one definition of recession and public finances will remain stretched over coming years, Hunt used his annual budget statement Wednesday to cut taxes. He announced a reduction in national insurance — a tax that 27 million employees pay — by a further 2 percentage points. He also froze taxes on alcohol and gas at the pump and lifted the amount of money individuals can earn before they have to pay back a child benefit they receive from the state.

Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Threads logins restored after widespread outage

A technical issue had caused widespread login issues for more than an hour across Meta’s Facebook, Instagram, Threads and Messenger platforms on Tuesday. Andy Stone, Meta’s head communications, acknowledged the issues on X, formerly known as Twitter, and said the company “resolved the issue as quickly as possible for everyone who was impacted, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”

Biden administration would cap credit card late fees at $8, part of campaign against junk fees

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is highlighting a proposal to cap all credit card late fees. It’s the latest effort in the White House push to end what it has called junk fees and a move that regulators say will save Americans up to $10 billion a year. His administration announced the rule Tuesday. Biden says current late fees are generating five times more money than what it costs credit card companies to collect late payments, adding that “they’re padding their profit margins and charging hardworking Americans more.” The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new regulations would set a ceiling of $8 for most credit card late fees or require banks to show why they should charge more than $8 for such a fee.

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