Bad trip, Fed on inflation

NEW YORK (AP) – Tourism businesses that had just found their niche after nearly two years of devastation from the COVID-19 pandemic are rocked again as countries erect new travel barriers in a bid to contain the omicron variant. Meanwhile, travelers keen on going out have been reverted to the old routine of educating themselves about the new requirements and postponing trips. Despite all the alarm, little is known about omicron, including whether it is more contagious, causes more serious illness, or may escape vaccines. Yet governments that have been slow to respond to the first wave of COVID-19 are eager to avoid the mistakes of the past. All over the world, businesses, from Japanese shopping districts to Alpine ski resorts, are affected.

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Powell: Fed ‘not at all sure’ inflation will subside next year

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Jerome Powell said on Wednesday that the Federal Reserve cannot be sure inflation will subside in the second half of next year, as many economists expect, a further sign of the Fed’s growing concern over price hikes. Powell, in comments to the House Financial Services Committee, said most economists viewed current price spikes, which have lifted inflation to a three-decade high, as largely a response to supply disruptions. and demand caused by the pandemic. As Americans spent more time at home, they increased their spending on furniture, appliances, and laptops. Growing demand for these products, combined with parts shortages, has resulted in grunts in the supply chain and higher prices.

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Markets turn cautious, reversing initial gain to end lower

NEW YORK (AP) – Markets have turned cautious again, erasing and gaining quickly and ending lower as investors try to limit the impact of the new variant of the coronavirus on the economy. The latest roller coaster ride sent the S&P 500 Index up 1.9% in the morning and was down 1.2% at the closing bell. The afternoon reversal is the last dizzying move in recent days as the omicron variant spreads. Wall Street was already down in the afternoon when the White House announced that the first confirmed case with the omicron variant had been found in the United States, in a person recently returned from South Africa.

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Haugen urges lawmakers to avoid deadlock on social media laws

WASHINGTON (AP) – Former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen implored lawmakers to avoid the usual congressional dead ends as they assess proposals to tackle abuse on social media platforms by limiting protections of corporate freedom of expression against legal liability. Nonetheless, Haugen urged caution when making changes to the 1996 law which provides legal protection both for content disseminated by platforms and for companies removing posts they deem offensive. She cited the unintended consequences of a previous congressional review. Lawmakers put forward proposals after Haugen presented a case in October that Facebook’s systems amplify hatred and extremism online and fail to protect young users from harmful content.

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Visa CEO: COVID has caused permanent shift to digital payments

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – The head of Visa says he believes the pandemic has caused a permanent change in the way consumers choose to pay for goods and services, from cash to payments. In an interview with The Associated Press, CEO Al Kelly said the coronavirus outbreak has helped accelerate the tendency for people to use their debit cards for purchases instead of cash. The change is ultimately good for Visa’s bottom line, but at the same time the company faces increased competition in ways it didn’t have before, especially from Silicon Valley.

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Fed survey finds supply chain shortages driving inflation

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve reports that many parts of the country were hit by supply chain disruptions and labor shortages in November. In a survey of economic conditions in the country, the 12 regional Fed banks found that the economy continued to grow at a modest to moderate pace. The outlook for future growth remains positive. But some of the Fed’s business contacts have expressed uncertainty about when problems with supply chain bottlenecks and labor shortages may begin to ease.

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GM Cites Improved Chip Supply In Increased Financial Forecast

DETROIT (AP) – Citing an improvement in the supply of automotive computer chips, General Motors raised its financial forecast on Wednesday and said it expects to return to normal production by the end of next year . CFO Paul Jacobson told investors in a virtual chat with Credit Suisse that the company saw fourth-quarter improvement in costs and sales volume as demand for its vehicles remained strong. Almost all automakers have been affected by a global semiconductor shortage. Jacobson said GM now sees pre-tax profit for this year of about $ 14 billion, up from previous forecast of $ 11.5 billion to $ 13 billion. Net profit for the year is expected to be around $ 10 billion, GM said in a regulatory filing.

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Facebook: fake scientist used to spread anti-American propaganda

Facebook says it has deleted hundreds of fake accounts linked to an effort to spread unfounded claims that the United States was pressuring scientists to blame the coronavirus on China. The platform says the disinformation operation began in July when someone claiming to be a Swiss biologist released the statement, which was quickly reposted by hundreds of accounts later determined to be false. The story circulated widely in Chinese state media before Swiss officials announced they had no record of the scientist who first made the claim. Facebook said it found evidence linking the network to employees of Chinese state-run technology and infrastructure companies.

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Tesla officially moves headquarters from California to Texas

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Tesla has announced that it has officially moved its headquarters from Silicon Valley to a large factory under construction outside of Austin, Texas. The company made the announcement Wednesday in a filing filed with U.S. securities regulators. CEO Elon Musk said at the company’s annual meeting in October that the move was imminent. The record indicates that the move from Palo Alto, Calif., To what Tesla calls a “Gigafactory” on Harold Green Road near Austin was made on Wednesday. Tesla has approximately 71,000 employees worldwide, including approximately 10,000 at the Palo Alto headquarters. It was not clear how many would be moving.

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The S&P 500 lost 53.96 points, or 1.2%, to 4,513.04. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 461.68 points, or 1.3%, to 34,022.04. The Nasdaq lost 283.64 points, or 1.8%, to 15,254.05. The Russell 2000 Small Business Index fell 51.49 points, or 2.3%, to 2,147.42.

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