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AM Business Notebook

>>White House Confident In Legality Of Debt Forgiveness Plan

(Undated) -- The Biden administration is confident it can legally cancel 400-billion dollars of student loan debt. That's what White House principal deputy press secretary Olivia Dalton told reporters yesterday aboard Air Force One. The administration wants to provide borrowers the relief following the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. She said millions of Americans faced default on their loans due to the national emergency. The Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a pair of cases challenging the plan.


>>Consumer Confidence Declines Again In February

(New York, NY) -- Confidence in the economy is slipping for a second straight month. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index fell to just under 103 in February, which is down three points from January. The survey noted fewer consumers are planning to purchase homes and cars or other big ticket items in the next 12 months despite a slight improvement in inflation expectations.


>>Apartment Rents Falling

(Undated) -- Apartment rents fell in every major metropolitan area in the U.S. over the past six months through January. Rents with new leases in January paid a median rent that was three-point-five percent lower than what they would have paid last August, according to estimates from the listing website Apartment List. However, rents in many cities still remain 25-to-30-percent higher than when the pandemic began.


>>Target CFO: "Organized Retail Crime" Cost $100s Of Millions In Lost Profits

(Minneapolis, MN) -- Target's chief financial officer says organized retail crime cost the retailer "hundreds of millions of dollars" in lost profits last year. CFO Michael Fiddelke said on Tuesday that inventory shrinkage, meaning stolen goods, is fueled in part by organized retail crime. Fiddelke said those losses are likely to challenge Target's bottom line this year. Fourth-quarter results Target reported on Tuesday beat expectations for the first time in a year. The big-box retailer posted earnings of a dollar-89 per share on revenue of 31-point-four billion dollars.


>>Virgin Galactic Completes Spacecraft Updates, Plans Q2 Flights

(Mojave, CA) -- Virgin Galactic has completed a long upgrade period for its tourist aircraft and plans to begin commercial flights in the second quarter of this year. The company founded by billionaire Richard Branson had suspended flights of the spaceplane VSS Unity and its carrier plane in 2021. Virgin Galactic said on Tuesday it plans two or three verification flights before its first commercial mission. The 450-thousand dollar fare will pay for a flight more than 50 miles above the Earth for about ten minutes in microgravity. Virgin Galactic is aiming for monthly flights to accommodate the 800 people who are signed up, and paid up, to fly.

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