Business News Archives for 2023-02

AM Business Notebook

>>Survey: Economists Divided On Where Economy's Heading

(Washington, DC) -- Top economists are divided on where the U.S. economy is heading this year as inflation remains high and job growth stays robust. The latest National Association for Business Economics survey shows a "significant divergence" among respondents on the outlook of the economy. However, a majority of economists surveyed believe there will be a recession this year. Nearly 60-percent of survey panelists said they believe the chance of a recession in the next 12 months is more than 50-percent. Inflation is expected to stay above the Federal Reserve's target rate of two-percent, although economists expect inflation to slow over the course of 2023 and 2024.


>>White House Confident In Legality Of Student Loan Forgiveness Program

(Washington, DC) -- The White House says it's confident in its legal authority to roll out its student loan forgiveness program. The Supreme Court will hear arguments today on President Biden's plan to forgive an estimated 400-billion dollars in student loan debt. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the program will give tens of millions of Americans more breathing room to start a family or buy a home. The program would cancel ten-thousand dollars in debt for those earning less than 125-thousand dollars per year and up to 20-thousand for those who received Pell Grants. Those challenging the plan in court, including several Republican-led states, argue the move is an abuse of executive authority.


>>Tesla, Musk Sued Over Self-Driving Tech

(San Francisco, CA) -- Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk are being sued by shareholders who say they overhyped the effectiveness and safety of the electric automaker's self-driving tech. The proposed class action suit filed in a federal court in San Francisco Monday accuses Tesla of defrauding the shareholders with false and misleading statements about the technology - technology that is potentially linked with several fatal crashes. The plaintiffs say its driven the stock price down, leading to significant losses.


>>Gov. DeSantis Signs Bill Revamping Disney's Self-Governing Board

(Lake Buena Vista, FL) -- A bill shifting control of the board that governs Disney World to the state of Florida is now in effect. Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed off on the measure Monday. The governor is also appointing five members to the board. The action comes after DeSantis and Republicans sparred with Disney last year over a Florida law restricting classroom instruction on gender and sexual orientation in kindergarten through 3rd grade.


>>TD Bank Pays $1.2 Billion To Settle Ponzi Scheme Lawsuit

(Cherry Hill, NJ) -- TD Bank is paying over a billion dollars to settle a lawsuit about its alleged involvement in a Ponzi scheme. The money will pay back victims of disgraced financier Allen Stanford's scheme. He was sentenced more than a decade ago to 110 years in prison for selling fraudulent certificates of deposit. The lawsuit blames TD Bank for collecting those deposits and ignoring the suspicious activity.

AM Business Notebook

>>SCOTUS To Hear Arguments In Biden Loan Forgiveness Program

(Washington, DC) -- The Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday on President Biden's plan to forgive an estimated 400-billion dollars in student loan debt. Biden's plan has been blocked by several legal challenges, stopping the government from canceling debt for the 26 million borrowers who have applied for relief since the program was rolled out in August. The program would cancel 10-thousand dollars in student loan debt for those earning less than 125-thousand dollars per year, and up to 20-thousand for those who received Pell Grants. Those challenging the plan in court, including several Republican-led states, argue the move is an abuse of executive authority.


>>The Week Ahead In Economic Reports

(Undated) -- The week ahead brings a handful of economic reports to keep a close eye on. Pending home sales are due Monday with consumer confidence and the Case-Shiller home price index following the next day. Weekly jobless claims come out Thursday and the government's always closely-watched monthly jobs report will be released Friday.


>>White Paper: Fed May Not Be Able To Avoid Recession

(Chicago, IL) -- The Federal Reserve may not be able to lower inflation without delivering a significant blow to the U.S. economy. That's according to a new research paper by a team of leading economists. The paper looked at previous central bank efforts to create what's called disinflation in the U.S., Germany, Canada and the U.K. They found no instance in which a central bank was successful without causing a recession. This comes as the Fed has imposed a series of interest rate hikes to bring inflation down to two-percent.


>>IRS Extends Filing Deadline In California Disaster Areas

(Sacramento, CA) -- The Internal Revenue Service is extending the 2022 tax filing deadline to October 16th for people in storm-disaster areas of California. The extension applies to people living in counties where a disaster has been declared by FEMA. This includes individual income tax returns, various business returns and the filings of tax-exempt organizations, normally due on May 15th. Among other things, this means that eligible taxpayers will also have until October 16th to make 2022 contributions to their IRAs and health savings accounts.


>>Latest Ant-Man Movie Tops At The Box Office

(Los Angeles, CA) -- A Marvel comic book sequel remains the top movie in the U.S. and Canada. "Ant-Man and the Wasp -- Quantumania" finished in first place at North America's theaters for the second straight week -- earning just over 32-million-dollars. Coming in second is the horror comedy "Cocaine Bear" with 23-million-dollars followed by the faith-based film "Jesus Revolution" with 15-and-a-half-million-dollars. Rounding out the Top Five are "Avatar -- The Way of Water" followed by "Puss in Boots -- The Last Wish."

AM Business Notebook

>>Q4 GDP Growth Revised Downward

(Washington, DC)  --  The nation's economy didn't grow at the end of last year by as much as previously thought.  That's according to the Commerce Department which puts fourth quarter GDP growth at two-point-seven percent.  It was originally estimated to be two-point-nine percent.  Consumer spending was the main reason for the lower number.


>>Fidelity: 401(k) Savings Tumbled In 2022

(New York, NY)  --  A new report says retirement savers lost about a quarter of their 401(k) savings last year.  Fidelity Investments is the nation's largest provider of 401(k) pension accounts.  A new report from Fidelity says balances at the end of 2022 were down 23 percent from a year earlier.  The average account dropped from 135-thousand-dollars to about 104-thousand.  However, the majority of retirement savers continue to contribute.  The report says the average 401(k) balance rose in the fourth quarter of last year.  


>>JPMorgan Chase CEO Blames Fed For Losing Control Of Inflation

(New York, NY)  --  The CEO of one of America's largest investment banks is blaming the Federal Reserve for not keeping inflation in check.  Speaking to CNBC, JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon said "we lost a little bit of control of inflation."  His remarks were made after the Fed revealed more evidence of declining inflation is needed to confirm it was on a good path.  Despite that, Dimon described the American economy right now as strong.


>>Home Values Fell By Nearly 5% In Second Half Of 2022

(Seattle, WA)  --  The total value of U.S. homes fell by nearly five-percent in the second half of last year.  That's according to the real estate brokerage site RedFin.  It put the final number at 45-point-three trillion dollars.  Home values were sitting at a record high of 47-point-seven trillion in June of last year before the fall.


>>Netflix Cuts Prices In Some Countries To Boost Subscriptions

(Los Gatos, CA)  --  Netflix is cutting subscription prices in some countries in a move to keep subscriptions growing and maintain its lead over other streaming services.  The Wall Street Journal reported the streaming giant announced on Thursday that it's lowering the cost of subscriptions in some countries in Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa.  Netflix operates in more than 190 countries and has been looking to add more subscribers in newer international regions as the U.S. and Canadian markets become saturated.  The Journal reports the price cuts also are a response to strained consumer spending.   

AM Business Notebook

>>Forsage Founders Indicted (Portland, OR) -- Four founders of cryptocurrency platform Forsage have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Portland for allegedly running a global Ponzi and pyramid scheme. Federal prosecutors say the four Russian nationals are accused of raising 340-million dollars from victim-investors. Their scheme allegedly used Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, and Tron blockchains. Analysis of the computer code showed it was consistent with a Ponzi scheme. The U.S. Department of Justice has established a website where victims can identify themselves and obtain more information on their rights as victims.


>>Biden Administration Cuts Some Mortgage Fees In Housing Affordability Crisis

(Washington, DC)  --  The Biden administration is cutting mortgage insurance fees to help more Americans become homeowners.  The change announced Wednesday will save an estimated 850-thousand low and middle income and first-time buyers an average of 800 dollars on home financing costs.  It will lower the annual premium on mortgage insurance premiums for new borrowers who get loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration.  The change takes effect on March 20th.


>>Fed Minutes Indicate Need For Ongoing Rate Hikes

(Washington, DC)  --  Ongoing interest rate hikes will likely be needed to bring down inflation.  That's what Federal Reserve officials indicated at their most recent meeting earlier this month.  Minutes from the meeting show most officials agreed to a quarter-percentage point increase, the smallest hike since March of last year.  Some members wanted a half-point increase.  While there are signs inflation is coming down, officials said their concern over inflation is high as it remains well over the two-percent target.


>>Report: Meta Plans To Cut Thousands Of Jobs

(Menlo Park, CA)  --  Facebook-parent company Meta is planning to cut thousands of jobs despite the CEO predicting no more layoffs.  The Washington Post reports the company is getting set to put some leaders into lower level roles without direct reports.  Other leaders may end up overseeing a higher number of workers as teams grow bigger.  Some inside the company expect employees whose jobs have been converted to eventually quit, which will trim Meta's workforce by default.  The cuts will likely not happen on single day, but will happen across the company over the next few months.


>>New Spotify DJ Tool Uses AI To Spin Personalized Mixes

(Stockholm)  --  Spotify is rolling out a new feature that uses artificial intelligence to mix your music.  The music streaming service's new DJ tool also offers commentary on music and artists.  Spotify announced the beta rollout of DJ on Wednesday and says the feature mixes a selection of songs you might like based on data alongside an AI commentator that sounds like a radio DJ. 


>>SeaWorld San Diego Switches To Alternative Pay Plan

(San Diego, CA)  --  As the old saying goes, don't leave home without it.  Make sure to take your debit or credit card if you're planning a trip to SeaWorld San Diego.  The theme park's no-cash policy went into effect yesterday.  You can also use mobile payments like Apple or Google pay.  SeaWorld is providing kiosks around the park where you can also purchase a pre-paid debit card to buy items like food, clothing or a stuffed Shamu if you like.

AM Business Notebook

>>Starbucks CEO: Union Efforts Sign Of Bigger Issue

(Seattle, WA)  --  Starbucks' CEO is doubling down on his opposition to workers trying to unionize.  Howard Schultz told CNN union efforts are a sign of "a much bigger problem" for his workers  --  adding the unionization trend shows younger workers are having issues in the labor market.  In an open letter to his employees in November, he said he was "saddened" they feel a need for representatives to seek benefits for them, adding those are things all employees have at Starbucks.  They're asking for set schedules and benefits for part-time workers. 


>>BofA: Meta Verified Subscription Service Could Pull In 12M Subscribers By 2024

(Charlotte, NC)  --  Meta's new Verified subscription service could pull in close to 12-million subscribers this year.  Bank of America research says with the service catered toward influencers and businesses, it could be a good option to help increase engagement and visibility.  The service will start at about 12-dollars per month and could generate one-point-seven billion dollars in revenue in 2024.  It's currently being tested in Australia and New Zealand.


>>Verdict Goes To Plaintiffs

(Houston, TX)  --  ExxonMobil must pay nearly 29-million dollars to the families of five workers who were hurt in an explosion at one of their Texas plants.  The 2019 blast destroyed a tower at the facility in Baytown, east of Houston, making it one of the largest industrial accidents ever seen on the Texas gulf coast.  At trial, it was shown to jurors that there was a build-up of industrial byproduct in one of the pipes, which caused it to rupture


>>Home Depot Implementing Wage Hikes

(Atlanta, GA)  --  Workers at Home Depot are getting a raise.  The company has announced a one-billion-dollar investment in raising wages.  However, the new average wage wasn't revealed.  Hourly workers will see more money this month.

AM Business Notebook

>>Economic Reports Coming Up This Week (Undated) -- Some key economic reports are coming up. Existing home sales for January are due out today, with the minutes of the Federal Reserve's last meeting dropping tomorrow. GDP data and jobless claims will be released Thursday, while the week wraps up Friday with consumer spending, personal income, consumer sentiment and new home sales.


>>NHTSA Asks For Info After Tesla Driver Dies In Crash (Walnut Creek, CA) -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is asking Tesla for information after a driver in one of the company's cars was killed over the weekend. This is now in addition to dozens of special crash investigations NHTSA [[ nits-uh ]] has already opened into Tesla vehicles where Autopilot was suspected of being used. While it hasn't been confirmed yet that the Model S involved in the crash in Walnut Creek, California was using the self-driving feature, that particular vehicle is currently under recall for issues with the system.


>>Swedish Telecom Giant Ericsson To Cut 1,400 Jobs (Stockholm) -- Pink slips are flying at Ericsson. The Swedish telecom giant plans to cut 14-hundred jobs as it looks to cut costs globally. The company cited slowing demand in North America and other markets. Word of the cuts comes after months of negotiations between Ericsson and its employee union in Sweden.


>>WalletHub Ranks Hardest-Working Cities (Miami, FL) -- Wallethub is ranking the hardest-working cities in America. San Francisco, California tops the list, followed by Anchorage, Alaska and Irving, Texas. The personal finance site looked at things like hours in the average work week and employment rate in each city. Virginia Beach, Virginia and Washington, DC round out the top five. Burlington, Vermont ranked dead last.

AM Business Notebook

>>Inflation Increased To Start The Year (Washington, DC) -- Inflation increased to start the year. It was revealed on Tuesday that the consumer price index for January increased by half a percent. That was followed up today by the producer price index which rose by zero-point-seven percent. Both came in hotter than expected. The numbers came two weeks after the Federal Reserve announced interest rates would be going up yet again. The central bank's latest increase was a quarter-percentage point. >>Tesla Recalls Vehicles Over Self-Driving Technology (Austin, TX) -- Tesla is recalling over 360-thousand vehicles over its Full Self-Driving Beta software. The automaker said the program could cause crashes. The recall notice says Tesla will send an over-the-air software update to address the issue.


>>YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki Says She's Stepping Down (San Bruno, CA) -- YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki is stepping down. She said on Thursday she'll continue working with YouTube teams, coaching members, and meeting with creators. She'll also take on an advisory role across Google and Alphabet. The 54-year-old Wojcicki [[ wuh-JISS-kee ]] joined YouTube as CEO in 2014. Chief product officer Neil Mohan, will become senior vice president and the new head of YouTube.


>>Nestle Set To Raise Prices Again (Vevey, Switzerland) -- Get ready to pay more to satisfy your sweet tooth. That's because Nestle is set to raise prices again this year. It didn't meet profit forecasts last year due to ingredients costing more. That's despite Nestle raising prices in 2022 by more than eight-percent.


>>WallStreetBets Founder Sues Reddit (Undated) -- The founder of WallStreetBets is suing Reddit, accusing the company of wrongfully banning him from moderating the community and undermining his trademark rights. Jaime Rogozinski started the subreddit in 2012 but it became famous most recently for igniting the "meme stock" craze, leading to volatile increases in price for stocks like Gamestop and Bed, Bath and Beyond. Rogozinski applied to trademark "WallStreetBets" in March 2020. Reddit says he was banned not long after for trying to enrich himself. He's seeking at least a million dollars in damages.

AM Business Notebook 

>>CPI Rises Slightly In January (Washington, DC) -- Inflation is rising slightly. The consumer price index increased by a half-percent in January, above what economists had predicted. Meantime, the year over year number rose by six-point-four percent. The Labor Department said rising prices for food, gas and shelter were the main drivers as inflation turned higher to start 2023.


>>Musk Says End of '23 Would Be "Good Timing" For New Twitter CEO (Dubai) -- Elon Musk says the end of 2023 would be "good timing" for Twitter to have a new CEO. The Twitter chief spoke virtually today at a World Government Summit in Dubai, and was asked if he found a replacement to run the company and when that person would be hired. Musk said he needs to "stabilize the organization" first and "make sure it's in a financially healthy place." He then added, "towards the end of this year would be good timing to find someone else to run the company."


>>Bankman-Fried VPN Use Causes Bail Restriction (Washington, DC) -- A federal judge is banning usage of virtual private networks by FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried after he used a private connection to watch NFL games, including the Super Bowl. The DOJ noted that while a VPN isn't necessarily harmful, it can be used as a way to block the government from seeing what websites a user visits, or what data is being sent online. They can also be used to access international cryptocurrency exchanges that block U.S. users.


>>Subway Fast Food Brand Up For Sale (Milford, CT) -- Fast food franchise Subway is up for sale. Its shareholders hired JP Morgan to help move the process of the potential sale along. The Wall Street Journal valued the restaurant brand at more than ten-billion-dollars last month. No price has yet been announced yet. However, if the number is accurate, that would be one of the biggest deals in the industry since Dunkin' sold for over eleven-billion in 2020.

AM Business Notebook

>>CPI Rises Slightly In January

(Washington, DC)  --  Inflation is rising slightly.  The consumer price index increased by a half-percent in January, above what economists had predicted.  Meantime, the year over year number rose by six-point-four percent. 


>>Senate Holding Crypto Hearing

(Washington, DC)  --  Lawmakers are set to hold another hearing on the impact of a cryptocurrency market crash.  Today's Senate Banking Committee hearing comes two months after the collapse of crypto exchange FTX.  South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott, ranking member on the committee, has made creating a crypto regulatory framework as one of his top priorities.


>>MA Sen. Markey Wants Crackdown On Airline Fees

(Washington, DC)  --  One Democratic Senator wants federal rules to limit the extra fees charged by some airlines.  Ed Markey of Massachusetts is reintroducing the "Families Fly Together Act." The bill would stop airlines from charging seat selection fees to parents traveling with their children.  The intent is to allow families to be seated together without paying higher prices.


>>Twilio To Layoff 1,500 Tech Employees

(San Francisco, CA)  --  There are more layoffs in the tech industry.  Twilio says it plans to cut about 17 percent of its workforce or roughly 15-hundred jobs.  CEO Jeff Lawson telling employees in an email the cuts "hurt" but were part of a restructuring plan.  The cloud-based communications platform is forming two business units to help trim costs and become more efficient.  Twilio announced the belt-tightening move in a blog on its website. 

AM Business Notebook

>>The Week Ahead In Economic Reports 

(Washington, DC)  --  This week brings a lot for investors to digest.  To kick things off, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is set to release both one and five-year inflation expectations on Monday.  The consumer price index comes out the following day, with analysts predicting the prices of goods and services likely rose last month - a development that would point to Federal Reserve policy makers needing to do more to lower inflation.  Retail sales are due Wednesday, weekly jobless claims on Thursday and the government's index of leading economic indicators on Friday.


>>House Republican Blames Democrats For "Scaring" Seniors

(Washington, DC)  --  One Republican congressman is blaming Democrats for trying to "scare" seniors by suggesting his party will cut funding to Medicare and Social Security.  Appearing on ABC's This Week, Kentucky Representative James Comer doubled down on a promise that those programs were not on the table for the GOP since they are important to everyone.  The rumors surfaced as the two parties face off over the debt limit, which must be raised by June to avoid a government shutdown.  Republicans are insisting on curtailing spending before cutting a deal, while Democrats want the ceiling raised without provisions.  Comer went on to say that his party is in the midst of "robust debate" and will come forward with a plan.  He also called for the shoring up of the program since they are "running out of money."


>>Energy Department Grants $2-Billion EV Battery Materials Loan

(Carson City, NV)  --  A battery recycling company says it will be able to produce enough battery materials for more than a million electric vehicles a year, thanks to a two-billion dollar loan from the Energy Department.  The loan to Redwood Materials was tentatively granted late last week.  The company based in Carson City, Nevada said it plans to ultimately ramp up to producing 100 gigawatt-hours annually of ultra-thin battery-grade materials from new and recycled sources in the U.S. for the first time.


>>"Magic Mike" Movie Making Magic At Box Office

(Los Angeles, CA)  --  The third in a series of films starring Channing Tatum as a male stripper is this week's top movie in North America.  "Magic Mike's Last Dance" earned just over eight-million-dollars in its debut weekend at theaters across the U.S. and Canada.  A pair of James Cameron blockbusters finished second and third this week.  "Avatar -- The Way of Water" took in nearly seven-million-dollars domestically while the silver anniversary re-release of "Titanic" made six-million-dollars.  Rounding out this week's Top Five are "80 for Brady" followed by the psychological horror film "Knock at the Cabin."      

AM Business Notebook

>>Southwest Airlines: We Messed Up

(Washington, DC)  --  Southwest Airlines is telling Congress "we messed up" when it came to its holiday flight nightmare.  Speaking in a Senate hearing Thursday, Southwest Airlines' COO told lawmakers "in hindsight, we did not have enough winter operational resilience."  The airline canceled thousands of flights in December.  That left many passengers scrambling during the hectic holiday travel season.


>>Bob Iger Speaks After Announcing Disney Restructuring

(Burbank, CA)  --  Disney's CEO says streaming is "the future."  Bob Iger [[ eye-guhr ]] made that remark to CNBC yesterday, one day after announcing a company restructuring plan that will result in seven-thousand jobs being cut.  When it comes to streaming being "the future," Iger pointed to the major goal of making it profitable.  As for his own future, Iger said he wants to stay in his position for two years.  He explained that's how long his contract is and that's how long he wants to stick around.  He returned to his old job late last year.


>>Florida House Votes For State To Take Disney District

(Tallahassee, FL)  --  The Florida House of Representatives has voted to let the state to take control of the Walt Disney Company's Reedy Creek Improvement District.  For more than a half-century, the district has been run by board members chosen by Disney.  The board handles local governance responsibilities such as issuing bonds, debt, taxation, fire team response, water treatment and sewage, along with other municipal duties for the area around the Walt Disney World theme park.  Governor Ron DeSantis directed lawmakers to take up the issue after the entertainment giant criticized a bill to restrict certain classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity.


>>Yahoo To Cut Workforce By 20% By Year's End

(Sunnyvale, CA)  --  Yahoo is the latest company to announce mass layoffs.  The tech giant is going to cut its workforce by 20-percent by the time this year is over.  That effort begins this week as one-thousand positions will be axed.  The moves come more than a year after a private equity firm bought 90-percent of Yahoo from Verizon.


>>Feds Probe Musk's Neuralink Over Hazardous Pathogens

(Fremont, CA)  --  Federal investigators are looking into Elon Musk's brain implant company Neuralink over the potentially illegal movement of hazardous pathogens.  The Department of Transportation began the investigation Thursday after the animal rights group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine contacted Transportation Pete Buttigieg [[ BOOT-edge-edge ]].  The group told Buttigieg it has obtained emails and other documents that suggest unsafe packaging and movement of implants taken from the brains of monkeys.  The group said those implants might carry infectious diseases in violation of federal law.


>>Cause Of Massive Keystone Pipeline Oil Leak Found

(Washington County, KS)  --  The operator of the Keystone Pipeline has determined the cause of a half-million gallon crude oil leak last December.  More than 500-thousand gallons of crude ran down a hill and into a creek in a rural area of northeast Kansas.  Pipeline operator TC Energy announced on Thursday that a faulty weld and "bending stress fatigue" on the pipe caused the leak.  The pipeline pumps more than 26-million gallons of oil per day from Alberta, Canada to refineries in Texas, Illinois, and Oklahoma.  

AM Business Notebook

>>Fed Governor Warns Of Higher Interest Rates For Longer

(Jonesboro, AR)  --  It looks like it will cost more for Americans to buy a home, a car, and most credit card balances will increase.  This after a top Federal Reserve official warned of higher interest rates for a longer period of time.  The central bank has been continuously raising interest rates to fight soaring inflation and the official said "it might be a long fight." It's believed raising rates is necessary to coll of our over-heated economy, which many believe is leading to inflation.


>>Big Oil Sees Record Profits In 2022

(Washington, DC)  --  The largest oil companies in the world are reporting record profits.  The five oil giants in the West raked in combined profits of nearly 200-billion dollars in 2022 as fossil fuel prices spiked following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.  ExxonMobil reported the most robust profit, coming in at 55-billion, followed by Shell at 40-billion.  The influx of cash has prompted calls for higher taxes.  President Biden in his State of the Union address Tuesday said oil companies are investing too little to ramp up domestic production and proposed quadrupling the tax on corporate stock buybacks.


>>United Airlines Uses Denver As Backdrop For Super Bowl Ad

(Denver, CO)  --  United Airlines is using Denver as a backdrop for a Super Bowl ad tweaking one of its competitors.  The ad shows video of a Denver family along with text saying that United got more families in and out of Denver during the holidays than any other airline.  The ad appears to be a subtle criticism of Southwest Airlines, which had major issues with canceled and delayed flights last Christmas.  The ad will run once in the Denver and Colorado Springs television markets during the big game this Sunday.


>>Jeffrey Epstein's Banks Move To Dismiss Victim Lawsuits 

(New York, NY)  --  Jeffrey Epstein's banks are trying to dismiss his victims' lawsuits against them.  Some victims are accusing JPMorgan Chase and Deutsche Bank of enabling the late financier's sexual abuse.  The banks claim they didn't know about any allegations and didn't actively further Epstein's sex trafficking.  They also note they don't have any legal obligation to protect the women from Epstein.

AM Business Notebook

>>Biden Calls For Higher Tax On Corporate Stock Buybacks

(Washington, DC)  --  The President says the current tax system is "simply unfair."  During his State of the Union address, Biden proposed Congress quadruple the tax on corporate stock buybacks, saying corporations would still make considerable profit  He also called for the closure of loopholes that allow the very wealthy to avoid paying their taxes.  The President said under his plan, no one earning less than 400-thousand dollars a year would pay more in taxes. 


>>IRS Proposes New Reporting Program For Workers Who Earn Tips

(Washington, DC)  --  The IRS is proposing a new program for employers whose workers earn tips.  The tax agency opened a 60-day public comment period this week on what would be a voluntary program.  Participating employers would have to submit an annual report to improve what the IRS calls tip reporting compliance.  This would reduce the need for compliance reviews by the IRS.  The public comment period ends May 7th.


>>Judge Rejects Bail Proposal For FTX Founder

(New York, NY)  --  A federal judge is rejecting a proposal to modify the bail conditions for Sam Bankman-Fried [[ freed ]].  U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan didn't provide a reason for the denial and said a hearing remains scheduled for the disgraced crypto king on February 9th.  The 30-year-old has been out on a quarter-billion-dollar bond since pleading not guilty to looting billions from the now-bankrupt FTX.  The denial comes despite an agreement between Bankman-Fried and prosecutors to address potential witness tampering concerns. 


>>Delta Workers To Get 5% Raises

(Atlanta, GA)  --  Many employees at Delta Air Lines are getting another raise.  This time, it's worth five-percent.  A previous four-percent pay hike was implemented last May.  CEO Ed Bastian said "this is truly a remarkable achievement" given how much money the airline lost during the pandemic, especially early on.  Ground workers and flight attendants will start to be paid more on April 1st.


>>NJ Governor Signs Temp Workers' Bill of Rights 

(Trenton, NJ)  --  New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is signing into law what's been called the temporary workers' bill of rights -- said to be the strongest of its kind in the nation.  Passage of the bill caps a years-long effort that faced opposition from business groups and also some legislative hurdles.  The bill gives temporary workers a variety of protections, including a guaranteed minimum wage.  The law also gives temp workers the right to basic information in English and their native language about the type of work they're performing, their pay rate and how much sick time they receive.  


AM Business Notebook

>>Biden To Tout Economic Achievements During SOTU (Washington, DC) -- President Biden plans to highlight his economic successes when he delivers his State of the Union address . White House economic adviser Brian Deese said Biden will make a clear contrast between his approach and what's called trickle down economics. Deese added the President will emphasize inflation has dropped for six months in a row, but more progress needs to be made. He said Americans are just beginning to see the positive impacts of Biden's policies. This comes as a new poll shows most Americans don't believe Biden has accomplished much since taking office. The Washington Post-ABC News poll found 62-percent of Americans believe Biden has accomplished "not very much" or "little or nothing" during his first two years as President.


>>Winning Powerball Ticket Sold In Washington State (Undated) -- A winning ticket for Monday night's massive Powerball drawing has been sold in Washington state. The drawing ended up being worth more than 750-million dollars. The win resets the jackpot to 20-million bucks.


>>Boeing To Cut 2,000 White-Collar Jobs (Arlington, VA) -- Aviation giant Boeing plans to cut about two-thousand white-collar jobs this year. On Monday, the company confirmed a Seattle Times reports that it expects those reductions to be primarily in finance and HR through a combination of attrition and layoffs. Last month, Boeing announced it would hire ten-thousand workers this year. The company then said then that it would cut some support positions.


>>Report: FTX Probe Expanding (New York, NY) -- A new report says the probe into collapsed cryptocurrency firm FTX is expanding. The New York Times says prosecutors have spoken with lawyers for former executives and employees. They've also spoken to those involved with Alameda Research. That's the hedge fund Sam Bankman-Fried [[ freed ]] created. A special task force has also been formed to look into the collapse of the crypto firm. Bankman-Fried is accused of stealing billions from customers since 2019. He entered a not guilty plea in New York federal court last month.


>>Dell To Cut 6,600 Jobs As Computer Demand Drops (Round Rock, TX) -- Dell plans to cut more than 66-hundred jobs as the demand for personal computers drops. According to Bloomberg, the cuts amount to about five-percent of the company's global workforce. Dell's co-Chief Operations Officer Jeffrey Clarke cited a continued decline in market conditions. In a memo to employees, Clarke said the company's previous belt-tightening measures weren't enough.


>>Consumers Sue, Hope To Block Kroger's From Buying Albertsons (San Diego, CA) -- A new lawsuit aims to stop Kroger's from buying Albertsons for $25-Billion dollars. A lawsuit filed in California on behalf of 25 consumers in states Texas and Florida say the merger "will increase prices for groceries, decrease quality of food, and close stores." Kroger is the biggest grocer in the U.S. by revenue, and Albertsons is the second-largest supermarket chain. The companies say the deal will create a "more efficient distribution chain" and they're working with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on a regulatory review.


>>SpaceX Has Successful Launch (Cape Canaveral, FL) -- After a series of delays, SpaceX is celebrating another successful launch. A Falcon 9 rocket blasted off last night from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The rocket was carrying satellites for a Spanish communications company. The launch was set for Sunday, but it was pushed back due to weather and then finally got off the ground after a three-hour delay. Source Staff/acc

AM Business Notebook

>>Former Trump Econ Advisor Optimistic About Early 2023 (Washington, DC) -- Former Trump economic advisor Gary Cohn says he doesn't expect a recession in the first half of 2023. Appearing on CBS' Face the Nation, the current IBM vice chairman said that the U.S. is in "pretty good shape" and there's evidence that record-high inflation is starting to ease. He pointed to the addition of over 500-thousand jobs in January, as well as the lowest unemployment rate the country has seen since 1969 at three-point-four-percent.


>>Jury Finds Elon Musk Didn't Defraud Investors (Sacramento, CA) -- Elon Musk is being found not liable for costing investors millions when he made claims about privatizing his electric vehicles. Musk previously issued a series of tweets telling people he'd "secured" funding to turn Tesla into a privately traded company. Three weeks later, Musk scrapped the proposal, but fluctuating share prices during the ordeal cost investors millions, if not billions, of dollars. On Friday, a California jury ruled Musk was not liable for investors losing money.


>>Massachusetts Governor Opposed To Legalizing Teacher Strikes (Boston, MA) -- Governor Maura Healey says she would not support allowing teachers to strike in Massachusetts. The state is one of more than 35 that have banned teacher strikes in public schools. The Democratic governor says everything possible should be done to support educators, but strikes are a strain on children, families and the teachers. She says teachers and school staff deserve to be properly compensated, but children need to be in the classroom.


>>Powerball Jackpot Tonight $747M (Undated) -- At least 747-million dollars will be up for grabs tonight. That's the current estimated jackpot in the Powerball lottery game. No one has won the game's top prize since back in November. The estimated jackpot is the 9th largest for a lottery game in U.S. history.


>>Illinois Ranked Leader In Midwest Workforce Development (Springfield, IL) -- Illinois is being praised as the number one leader for workforce development in the Midwest region for 2022. That ranking was announced by Site Selection magazine, which recognizes states that performed well in a set of measures that gauge workforce-related aspects of states' overall employment climate.

AM Business Notebook

>>January Jobs Report Blows Past Expectations

(Washington, DC)  --  January's jobs report is blowing past expectations.  There were 517-thousand jobs created last month.  Economists were looking for 187-thousand positions to be added.  The unemployment rate was three-point-four percent.  Federal officials said leisure and hospitality helped lead the way in January.  Professional and business services along with healthcare also saw gains. 


>>McCarthy Rejects Clean Debt Ceiling Increase

(Washington, DC)  --  House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is rejecting Democrats' push for a clean debt ceiling increase.  While speaking to reporters, the California Republican said he won't pass an increase without spending reform.  He plans to meet with President Biden again to find ways to make spending cuts.  The two met for the first time one-on-one at the White House on Wednesday.  Biden has called on Congress to increase the limit without conditions, warning of a potential default.


>>Oil Giant Shell Posts Record $39.9-Billion Profit

(London)  --  Oil giant Shell Thursday posted its highest-ever annual profit, just under 40-billion dollars for 2022.  That's more than double the company's 2021 full-year profit of less than 19-point-three billion.  Shell reported adjusted earnings of nine-point-eight billion dollars for the fourth quarter of 2022. >>Beyonce Adds Additional Concerts, Senate Committee Warns Ticketmaster

(Washington, DC)  --  Ticketmaster is being warned by one U.S. Senate committee ahead of tickets for Beyonce's upcoming tour going on sale.  In a tweet Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee simply said, "We're watching, Ticketmaster."  The Senate held a hearing on the ticketing industry last month following Ticketmaster's botched on sale for Taylor Swift's tour.  Beyonce has already added seven additional dates to her Renaissance World Tour due to overwhelming demand.  Ticketmaster said the number of Verified Fan registrations for the first wave of cities going on sale -- which includes Los Angles, New York City, Las Vegas and others -- already exceeds the number of seats available by 800-percent.


>>Ticket Prices Surge As LeBron Nears Record

(Los Angeles, CA)  --  Basketball fans who want to see LeBron James make NBA history are going to have to pay up big time.  James is just 63 points away from breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time scoring record.  Prices for tickets for the Los Angeles Lakers' games against Oklahoma City on February 7th and Milwaukee on February 9th are surging.  Just to get into the building for the game against the Thunder will set fans back at least 350 dollars, while the Bucks game's get-in price is about 550 bucks.  For those who want to be courtside to potentially witness history those tickets are being listed for up to 100-thousand dollars each.

AM Business Notebook

>>Biden Admin Takes Aim At Junk Fees

(Washington, DC)  --  The Biden administration is cracking down on junk fees.  In a meeting with his Competition Council, Biden announced a proposed rule that would slash excessive credit card late fees.  The President said the rule is estimated to cut typical late fees from an average of about 30-dollars to eight-dollars, saving Americans as much as nine-billion a year.  He also called on Congress to pass the Junk Fee Protection Act which would slash hidden fees across the travel, entertainment, utility and hospitality industries.


>>Report: Hackers Stole As Much As $3.8 Billion In Crypto Last Year

(New York, NY)  --  Hackers stole nearly four-billion dollars worth of cryptocurrency last year.  That's according to the New York-based company Chainalysis which put the number at as much as three-point-eight-billion.  It says October was a particularly brutal month.  That's when about 776-million bucks was stolen by hackers in nearly three dozen attacks.


>>McDonald's Against Minimum Wage Hike

(Sacramento, CA)  --  McDonald's CEO says it may be impossible to operate in California after passage of fast food worker protections. The FAST bill, or Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recover Act, passed in late 2022 and could force fast-food restaurants to pay employees up to twenty-two-dollars an hour. Industry leaders like McDonald's U.S. President Joe Erlinger say that would make it "all but impossible to run small business restaurants." He added that paying fast-food workers that wage could raise the cost of eating at McDonald's by as much as 20-percent. The bill has been blocked until a referendum vote which is scheduled for November. 


>>SBF's Bail Tightened After Texting Potential Witnesses

(New York, NY)  --  Sam Bankman-Fried appears to be talking himself into a potential hole.  A federal judge has amped up the FTX founder's bail conditions after seeing a text message he sent to another top executive.  The judge said it threatened "inappropriate contact with prospective witnesses."  Bankman-Fried is now barred from contacting any current or former FTX employees without attorneys.


>>Pinterest Announces 150 Layoffs

(San Francisco, CA)  --  Pinterest is cutting its workforce to reduce costs, informing about 150 employees on Wednesday that they'll be losing their jobs.  Pinterest said it will support those workers with separation packages, benefits, and other services.  The job cuts amount to less than five-percent of the San Francisco-based company's workforce.

AM Business Notebook

>>Fed Expected To Slow Rate Hike To Quarter-Point

(Washington, DC)  --  The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates by a quarter-percent today.  That would be the smallest increase since the central bank started jacking up interest rates last March in its campaign to fight inflation.  The Fed will release its latest rate decision at 2 pm Eastern Time and Chairman Jerome Powell will brief the media at 2:30.


>>More Americans Living Paycheck To Paycheck

(San Francisco, CA)  --  More Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.  A recent report from LendingClub showed 64-percent of Americans lived that way as of December.  That's up from 61-percent a year earlier.  It also revealed over half of those who make six-figures also said their finances are stretched thin.  LendingClub's financial health officer told CNBC the record numbers for paycheck to paycheck living are due to the effects of inflation.

>>GM Paying Record $12,750 Profit Sharing Checks


(Detroit, MI)  --  General Motors says hourly workers will receive record profit-sharing checks of up to nearly 13-grand.  Before this check, the highest payout came in 2016 at 12-thousand-dollars per employee.  GM pays employees one-thousand-dollars for every one-billion-dollars in North American pre-tax-profits.  The checks will go out February 24th.


>>Survey: 79% Of Millennials, Gen Zers Get Financial Advice From Social Media

(New York, NY)  --  The vast majority of millennials and Gen Zers get financial advice from social media.  That's according to a new survey by Forbes Advisor.  Nearly 80-percent of respondents said they've gotten advice about finances on social media before.  Almost 70-percent said they see financial advice on social media once a week.  Millennials tend to get financial information on Reddit while Gen Z favors YouTube.


>>ExxonMobil Posts Record High 2022 Profits

(Irving, TX)  --  ExxonMobil is posting a 56-billion-dollar profit for 2022.  That's setting not only a company record, but a historic high for the western oil industry.  The company said it brought in close to 13-billion in profits just in the fourth quarter.  The oil giant's Chief Financial Officer said "a combination of strong markets, strong throughput, strong production, and really good cost control" led to the increase in earnings.



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