Business Highlights: Inflation creeps up in April; Crunch time in debt ceiling negotiations


A measure of inflation closely tracked by the Federal Reserve rose in April

WASHINGTON (AP) – A major U.S. price index rose in April and consumer spending rallied, a sign that inflationary pressures remain high in the economy. The index, which the Federal Reserve closely monitors, showed prices rose 0.4% from March to April. That was a lot more than the previous month’s 0.1% gain. Year-on-year, prices rose 4.4% in April versus 4.2% in March. The year-over-year figure is down significantly from the 7% peak seen in June last year, but is still well above the Fed’s 2% target. The report also showed that consumers remain buoyant despite rising prices. Their spending rose 0.8% from March to April, the sharpest increase since January.


‘Crunch’ time in debt ceiling negotiations as McCarthy and Biden reach agreement amid looming deadline

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and debt-ceiling negotiators are in crisis as they try to reach a deal with the White House to raise the country’s debt ceiling, avert a default and bolster federal spending to shorten. McCarthy said Friday there was still work to be done. This weekend, the negotiators are in a race to reach an agreement. According to the Ministry of Finance, bottlenecks in funds could occur as early as June 1st. A federal default on paying the national debt could throw the economy into chaos. Budget flow is not the only problem. A thorny issue is the Republican call, rejected by Democrats, for stricter work requirements for people receiving state benefits. Any compromise needs the support of both Democrats and Republicans to be passed in Congress.


CBS is the most popular television network for the 15th year in a row

NEW YORK (AP) — CBS is the most popular television station for the 15th straight year, even if the boast doesn’t quite mean what it used to. Its triumph began before people knew what stream-or-takedown meant, when CBS’s live prime-time viewership was roughly double what it is today. The Nielsen company says CBS beat NBC, Fox and ABC, in that order, the same ranking as a year ago. A typical television season runs from September to May. NBC’s Sunday Night Football was the most popular prime-time show. CBS’s “NCIS” was the most-watched drama, while “Young Sheldon” took the honors for comedy.


Elon Musk’s brain implant company, Neuralink, says it has US approval for human trials

Elon Musk’s brain implant company Neuralink says it has received clearance from US regulators to begin testing its device on humans. The company announced this on Twitter on Thursday evening. Officials with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would not confirm or deny whether the agency granted the approval, but a press secretary took note of the announcement. Neuralink is one of many groups working on connecting the nervous system to computers. The Neuralink device is about the size of a large coin and is designed to be implanted in the skull. Musk previously said that one of the first uses in humans would try to restore vision.


OpenAI chief downplays fears ChatGPT maker could leave Europe over AI rules

LONDON (AP) – Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, is downplaying concerns that the ChatGPT maker could leave the European Union if it fails to comply with the EU’s tough new artificial intelligence rules. This comes after a senior official rebuked him for his comments raising such a possibility. Altman travels through Europe as part of a world tour to promote his AI company and meet with officials. He said in London this week that OpenAI may be eliminated if the EU’s AI rules are too strict. This prompted a harsh response from Commissioner Thierry Breton on social media, accusing the company of extortion. Altman tried to calm things down on Friday by tweeting that there were “no plans to leave.”


Flight cancellations and strikes are fueling fears of a new summer travel chaos in Europe

LONDON (AP) – British Airways has canceled dozens of flights due to computer problems, making the start of the European summer travel season difficult. Thousands of travelers had their plans scrambled on Friday at the start of a busy bank holiday weekend. Technical breakdowns and strikes by airport staff across Europe are raising concerns that the air travel chaos that followed last summer’s pandemic, which led to delays, cancellations and mountains of lost luggage, could be repeated. Some disruption is to be expected, according to the International Air Transport Association, but challenges to keeping up with demand from the pandemic have been resolved. It warned of strikes in countries like France. Security forces have also been sidelined at Heathrow, where most of the affected flights take place on short-haul routes.


According to the court, Credit Suisse owes the billionaire ex-Prime Minister of Georgia millions

LONDON (AP) – A court in Singapore says Credit Suisse owes hundreds of millions of dollars to former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili for failing to protect the billionaire’s money in a trust stolen by a manager. Friday’s decision is the latest scandal for the Swiss bank, whose years of troubles forced its takeover by a competitor. Ivanishvili sued after an employee who administered his trust “misappropriated many millions of dollars” over nine years. Credit Suisse describes the decision as wrong and intends to appeal. The judge found that the lender “has an obligation to compensate the plaintiffs for their loss.” The amount was estimated at $926 million, minus $79.4 million the bank agreed to pay in a settlement last year.


Stock market today: Tech leads further gains on Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks on Wall Street rose, led by further gains in technology stocks, as another chipmaker reported strong artificial intelligence-related demand. The S&P 500 was up 1.3% on Friday and the Nasdaq was up 2.2%. The Dow gained 1%. Marvell Technology surged 33% after it said it expects AI revenue to at least double in fiscal 2024 from a year earlier. This follows Thursday’s report from fellow chipmaker Nvidia, which gave a big forecast for upcoming AI-related sales. Investors were encouraged to see a pick-up in consumer spending over the past month. US markets will remain closed on Monday for Memorial Day.


Minister: Chevron ‘positive’ on Israeli-Cypriot plans for natural gas pipeline and processing plant

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) – Cyprus’ energy minister says oil and gas group Chevron is “positive” to an Israeli-Cypriot plan for a pipeline that would transport offshore natural gas from both countries to Cyprus, where it would be shipped by ship to be liquefied to Europe and elsewhere. The minister said on Friday, after meetings with Chevron’s vice president of exploration and production, Frank Cassulo, that the company would also like to hear the views of other energy companies attending a meeting next week where the Cyprus government will formally unveil the plan, to secure investor support.

___ The S&P 500 rose 54.17 points, or 1.3%, to 4,205.45. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 328.69 points, or 1%, to 33,093.34. The Nasdaq Composite rose 277.59 points, or 2.2%, to 12,975.69. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 18.42 points, or 1%, to 1,773.02.


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *