Stocks turn mixed on Wall Street after best week since 2020
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks shifted between small gains and losses in afternoon trading on Wall Street as major indexes come off their best week since November 2020. The S&P 500 rose 0.1%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.5% and the Nasdaq fell 0.1%. Bond yields rose significantly. Energy prices jumped and lifted oil companies, while communications stocks fell. Alleghany, a reinsurance company, soared 25% after agreeing to be bought by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Boeing fell 3.8% after one of its planes crashed in China with 132 people on board, and media ratings agency Nielsen sank 8% after rejecting an acquisition offer.
Powell says Fed will hike further and faster if necessary
WASHINGTON (AP) — Chair Jerome Powell says the Federal Reserve would raise its benchmark short-term interest rate faster than expected, and high enough to restrain growth and hiring, if it decides that this would be necessary to slow rampaging inflation. At their meeting last week, Fed officials raised their key rate from near zero to a range of 0.25% to 0.5% and forecast that they would carry out six more quarter-point hikes this year. Powell said Monday that if necessary, the Fed would be open to raising rates by a more aggressive half-point at multiple meetings and to push rates into “restrictive” territory that would limit growth.
New rules for companies on climate risks proposed by SEC
WASHINGTON (AP) — Companies would be required to disclose the greenhouse gas emissions they produce and how climate risk affects their business, under new rules proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission as part of a drive across the government to address climate change. Under the proposals, public companies would have to report on their climate risks, including the costs of moving away from fossil fuels. They would be required to lay out their transition plans for managing climate risk, how they intend to meet climate goals and progress made, and the impact of severe weather events on their finances.
Workers go on strike at California refinery owned by Chevron
RICHMOND, California (AP) — More than 500 workers at a Chevron Corp. refinery in the San Francisco Bay area are on strike because of a contract dispute. The United Steelworkers union says the strike affecting the refinery in the city of Richmond began at 12:01 a.m. on Monday. It came after union workers voted down Chevron’s most recent contract offer. Chevron says in a statement that it negotiated with the union for months and believes its contract offer was fair. If the strike shuts down the refinery, it could crimp gas supplies in the state with the highest prices in the U.S. The company says refinery operations will continue despite the strike.
Saudi Arabia says it’s not responsible for high oil prices
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia says it “won’t bear any responsibility for any shortage in oil supplies to global markets” after attacks by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels have affected the kingdom’s production. The statement on Monday was carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. It quoted the Foreign Ministry as saying that “the international community must assume its responsibility to maintain energy supplies” in order to “stand against the Houthis.” Yemen’s rebels on Sunday launched a series of attacks targeting the kingdom’s oil and natural gas production. Benchmark Brent crude oil stood at over $112 a barrel in trading Monday.
EU slams ‘war crimes’ in Ukraine but new sanctions unlikely
BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union countries are accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine. But the 27-nation bloc appears unlikely to impose new sanctions on Moscow despite a clamor across Europe for those responsible to be held to account. Civilian deaths are mounting notably in the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock lamented Russia’s attacks on civilian infrastructure, including hospitals and theaters. She said the “courts will have to decide but for me these are clearly war crimes.” Her remarks Monday came as EU foreign ministers gathered in Brussels to discuss the war and its fallout. The EU has rallied quickly to impose heavy sanctions. But some are balking at hitting Russia’s energy sector.
Russian bond trading resumes for 1st time since Ukraine war
UNDATED (AP) — Russia’s central bank cautiously reopened bond trading on the Moscow exchange for the first time since the country invaded Ukraine. The price of Russia’s ruble-denominated government debt fell Monday, sending borrowing costs higher. Stock trading has remained closed, with no word on when it might reopen. The central bank bought bonds to support prices. The bank has imposed wide-ranging restrictions on financial transactions to try to stabilize markets and combat the severe fallout from Western sanctions that have sent the ruble sharply lower against the U.S. dollar and the euro.
Russia court bans Facebook, Instagram on ‘extremism’ charges
UNDATED (AP) — A Moscow court banned Facebook and Instagram on Monday for what it deemed extremist activity in a case against their parent company, Meta. The Tverskoy District Court fulfilled a request from prosecutors to outlaw Meta Platforms Inc. and banned Facebook and Instagram for what they called “extremist activities.” The prosecutors have accused the social media platforms of ignoring government requests to remove what they described as fake news about the Russian military action in Ukraine and calls for protests in Russia. The court’s ruling bans Meta from opening offices and doing business in Russia. Meta declined to comment when contacted by the AP. Prosecutors haven’t requested to ban the Meta-owned messaging service WhatsApp, which is widely popular in Russia.
‘Kill more’: Facebook fails to detect hate against Rohingya
UNDATED (AP) — A new report has found that Facebook failed to detect blatant hate speech and calls to violence against Myanmar’s Rohingya (ROH’-hihn-jah) Muslim minority in advertisements submitted to run on its platform. The report shared exclusively with The Associated Press showed the rights group Global Witness submitted eight paid ads for approval to Facebook, each including different versions of hate speech against Rohingya. All eight ads were approved by Facebook to be published. The ads were not published, but the results confirmed that despite its promises to do better, Facebook is not effectively preventing hate speech on its platforms. Experts say such ads continued to appear even though they played a role in acts of genocide against the Rohingya.
SUPREME COURT-LGBT JOB DISPUTE
High court rejects case of Christian group, bisexual lawyer
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says it won’t review the case of a Seattle-based Christian organization that was sued after declining to hire a bisexual lawyer who applied for a job. A lower court let the case go forward, and the high court said Monday it wouldn’t intervene. Two justices, Justice Samuel Alito and Justice Clarence Thomas, agreed with the decision not to hear the case at this stage but said that “the day may soon come” when the court needs to confront the issue the case presents. The case the high court declined to hear involves Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission.
Berkshire’s $11.6B Alleghany deal expands insurance business
UNDATED (AP) — Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is buying the insurance company Alleghany in a deal valued at approximately $11.6 billion. The acquisition will expand Berkshire’s already considerable insurance holdings including brands like Geico auto insurance. Berkshire says it will pay $848.02 in cash for each outstanding share of Alleghany, based in New York City. It will operate as an independent subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway after the deal closes. It has 25 days to actively solicit and consider alternative acquisition proposals under a “go-shop” provision. Alleghany’s core businesses are in property and casualty reinsurance and insurance.
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