Business News Archives for 2023-04

AM Business Notebook 

>>Biden Refusing To Negotiate Over Debt Ceiling Extension 

(Washington, DC)  --  President Biden isn't giving in to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's demand for negotiations to raise the debt limit.  White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters yesterday that Biden is happy to meet with McCarthy on the budget, but the question over whether the debt ceiling is increased is not negotiable.  She said it's Congress' obligation to do so to avoid a default on the federal government's debt in the coming months.  House Republicans passed a bill this week pairing a package of spending cuts with a one-point-five-trillion increase of the nation's borrowing limit.  The bill is dead on arrival in the Senate. 


>>Amazon Shares Slip After Warning About Cloud Customers

(Seattle, WA)  --  Amazon shares slipped Thursday evening after surging earlier on first quarter earnings that beat expectations.   Amazon CFO Brian Orlavsky's comments on the company's earnings call appeared to have spooked investors.  Orlavsky said Amazon Web Services, or AWS, customers are spending less in response to what he called "tough economic conditions in the first quarter."  AWS unit revenue grew 16-percent during the first quarter, down sharply from a 37-percent annual growth rate in the first quarter of last year.


>>Pending Home Sales Drop In March

(Chicago, IL)  --  Pending home sales are down.  The National Association of Realtors reported Thursday that its Pending Home Sales Index dropped to its lowest level since December last month.  It was the first decline since November.  Contract signings month over month rose in the South, but dropped in three other regions.  NAR's chief economist said limited housing supply isn't meeting demand and added that nearly 30-percent of all home sales are above list price.  The NAR predicts home prices will level and mortgage rates will get better as the year progresses.


>>Dropbox To Layoff 500 Workers

(San Francisco, CA)  --  More layoffs are underway in the tech industry.  File storage company Dropbox announced it plans to cut 500 jobs after slower than expected growth.  The CEO says the San Francisco-based company needs to focus more on artificial intelligence-powered products, and doing so will require hiring workers with different skill sets.  Meta, Google and Twitter also announced layoffs this year.

AM Business Notebook

>>Fewer Unemployment Claims Than Forecast

(Washington, DC)  --  About 230-thousand people filed first-time jobless claims last week, fewer than analysts predicted.  Figures out today from the Labor Department show that's a decrease of 16-thousand claims from the week before and below a forecast 249-thousand.  


>>House Approves GOP Debt Limit Bill

(Washington, DC)  --  The House is approving Speaker McCarthy's bill to raise the nation's debt ceiling.   The bill includes pairing a package of spending cuts with a one-point-five-trillion dollar increase.  It also limits growth of federal spending to one-percent annually and claws back billions of dollars of unspent COVID relief funds.  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says the bill, however, will be dead on arrival in the Senate and President Biden has threatened to veto the bill.  Democrats are calling on Republicans to raise the debt ceiling without conditions to avoid default and have separate budget negotiations.  Congress needs to raise the limit in the coming months.


>>Disney Sues Florida Governor Ron DeSantis 

(Orlando, FL) -- Walt Disney World is suing Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.  The news came shortly after the newly-appointed governing board for Disney's district voted to void a set of last-minute agreements the company made earlier this year.  Disney filed the lawsuit Wednesday calling the board's decision anti-business and unconstitutional.  The company went on to say that the governor has used "a relentless campaign to weaponize government power" to go after its operation.  The ongoing feud between the state of Florida and Disney started last year after Disney spoke out against a law limiting discussions of sexual orientation in public schools. 


>>Meta Platform Shares Soar After Earnings Crush Expectations

(Menlo Park, CA)  --  Stock in Meta Platforms shot up after Facebook and Instagram's parent company reported first-quarter earnings that crushed expectations Wednesday.  Meta shares were up as much as eleven-percent in after-hours trading, to their highest level since January of last year.  The social media giant reported first-quarter revenue of 28-point-65 billion dollars, beating analysts' estimate of 27-point-67 billion.  Earnings came in at two dollars and 20 cents a share, versus Wall Street estimates of two-01.  


>>Norfolk Southern Spending At Least $387M After Derailment

(East Palestine, OH)  --  Norfolk Southern Railway says it's spending an initial 387-million-dollars related to the February chemical train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.  The costs, reported Wednesday, include environmental cleanup, anticipated legal fees and money to reimburse the government for EPA oversight.  The derailment led to an evacuation and a dangerous chemical leak.  


>>Boeing Reports First-Quarter Losses 

(Everett, WA)  --  Boeing's losses continue to mount.  In its first quarter earnings report, the company on Wednesday reported a loss of a dollar-27 per share.  However, Boeing says it still expects to deliver roughly 400 airplanes in 2023, with plans to boost production over three dozen 737 Max jets a month later this year.  

AM Business Notebook

>>Gas Prices

Oregon gas prices continue to rise, but the peak may be in sight. The statewide average rose four cents this week to 4.09 … Bend’s local average also rose four cents to 4.09 … While the national average fell two cents to 3.66. Triple-A Oregon says lower crude oil prices and a drop in gasoline demand is pushing prices down across the country. The national average has ticked down each day since reaching its seasonal high last Thursday. 


>> Local March Jobless

Unemployment in all three Central Oregon counties declined in March. Deschutes County added 290 jobs, and the jobless rate fell from 4.7-percent in February… to 4.4-percent last month. The biggest gains were in the Accommodation and Food Services sector. Crook County gained 200 jobs, and its unemployment rate fell to 5.9-percent. And in Jefferson County, the rate dropped to 5.5-percent, with the county adding 110 jobs.


>>White House To GOP: Take Threat Of Default Off The Table

(Washington, DC) -- The White House says House Speaker McCarthy's bill to raise the debt ceiling would "cut the economy off at the knees." Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre cited an analysis by Moody's Analytics estimating McCarthy's proposal would slow economic growth and increase unemployment. The Speaker's plan includes pairing a package of spending cuts with a one-year debt limit increase. Jean-Pierre urged House Republicans to take the threat of default off the table and have separate talks on the budget and spending with the President and Congressional leaders. Congress needs to pass legislation to raise the debt ceiling in the coming months to prevent a default.


>>Consumer Confidence Slips In April

(New York, NY) -- Fewer Americans are feeling confident about the economy. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index fell nearly three points in April to a nine-month low. The survey noted worries about jobs and a possible recession following recent bank failures in the U.S. Consumers also cut back on plans to buy homes, autos and other big ticket items like vacations amid inflation concerns.


>>GM To End Production Of Chevrolet Bolt

(Detroit, MI) -- Production of the electric Chevrolet Bolt and Bolt EV will end this year. General Motors says the company will transform the Orion Assembly plant to build the all-electric Chevrolet Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV next year. CEO Mary Barra says this will give GM the ability to build 600-thousand electric trucks annually. The company is investing over four-billion dollars in the plant and should begin producing pickups in the first part of next year. The Bolt came on the market in 2016 but GM had to recall every model built in 2021 due to the risk of a battery fire.


>>3M Announces Six-Thousand More Layoffs

(Undated) -- More layoffs are coming to 3M. The Minnesota-based global innovation company says it's laying off six-thousand workers worldwide. The move is expected to save the company up to 900-million dollars.


>>Report: 50-Percent Of New Yorkers Cant Afford Basic Needs

(New York, NY) -- A new report shows 50-percent of New Yorkers can't afford basic needs. A report from the Fund for the City of New York says that half of the city's working-age residents don't have enough money to comfortably pay for an apartment, food and basic health care. It added that this is the highest number of households in the report's 20-year-history. The report also said that a family needs to bring in 100-thousand-dollars a year to afford basic needs.

AM Business Notebook

>>Home Prices Rise Slightly In February

(Washington, DC) -- Home prices are rising slightly for the first time in eight months. The latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20 city price Index rose a tenth of a percent in February compared to the previous month. Year-over-year prices increased four-tenths of a percent, but the rate slowed from prior months. A combination of low inventory and high demand pushed home prices up overall nationwide. Sunbelt cities like Miami, Tampa and Atlanta led the list of places posting biggest price gains.


>>PacifiCorp Trial Underway Over Beachie Creek Fire Damage

(Portland, OR) -- A trial against PacifiCorp is underway over damage from the 2020 Beachie Creek Fire. The blazed burned 200-thousand acres over Labor Day weekend in 2020. Five people were killed and hundreds of homes were destroyed. The National Weather Service forecast strong winds through the Willamette National Forest. The lawsuit contends PacifiCorp should have cut power to the Santiam Canyon. PacifiCorp filed motions to have the lawsuit dismissed, but they were denied by the court.


>>MA Lawmakers Reintroduce Free Transit Bill

(Boston, MA) -- Democratic Senator Ed Markey and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts are reintroducing a bill that seeks to increase free transit services across the country. The bill would form a 25-billion-dollar competitive grant program over five years to allow transit districts to offer free trips. Transit agencies would be able to apply for funds that would allow the elimination of fares.


>>SpaceX Rocket Damages Launchpad Site

(Brownsville, TX) -- Elon Musk is confirming that the launchpad at his private spaceflight complex in South Texas was heavily damaged by last week's Starship liftoff. A cloud of silt and sand was blown miles away from Boca Chica Beach. Musk said on Twitter that they have been building a steel plate that will go under the rocket, but it was not ready in time. He's vowing to launch again in one-to-two months


>>GM Recalls 40,000 Chevy Trucks For Break-Pressure Sensor Issue

(Detroit, MI) -- General Motors is recalling more than 40-thousand Chevrolet medium-duty trucks due to a problem with the break-pressure sensor that raises the risk of fire. Federal regulators say a faulty assembly could leak brake fluid and cause an electrical short circuit. The recall covers Chevrolet 4500HD, 5500HD and 6500 model trucks from 2019 to 2023. GM is advising owners to park their trucks outside until dealers have the parts to fix them free of charge. GM said it's not aware of any accidents or injuries related to the issue.


>>Judge Tells Plaintiffs They Must Pay Rivian Legal Fees

(Morgan County, GA) -- Covering legal costs is going to cost a pretty penny for those challenging the development of an electric vehicle plant in Georgia. A judge told plaintiffs last week that it would cost over 365-thousand-dollars to fight a case in court that addresses zoning for the Rivian project in two counties. The order could still be challenged in the state Supreme Court or Court of Appeals. Around 75-hundred jobs are expected to be added at the Rivian site.

AM Business Notebook

>>GM Recalls 40,000 Chevy Trucks For Break-Pressure Sensor Issue

(Detroit, MI) -- General Motors is recalling more than 40-thousand Chevrolet medium-duty trucks due to a problem with the break-pressure sensor that raises the risk of fire. Federal regulators say a faulty assembly could leak brake fluid and cause an electrical short circuit. The recall covers Chevrolet 4500HD, 5500HD and 6500 model trucks from 2019 to 2023. GM is advising owners to park their trucks outside until dealers have the parts to fix them free of charge. GM said it's not aware of any accidents or injuries related to the issue.


>>Bed Bath And Beyond Files For Bankruptcy

(Union, NJ) -- Big box chain Bed Bath and Beyond filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy Sunday. The New Jersey-based company released a statement Sunday afternoon, saying they have begun the process of winding down operations across their remaining 537 stores in the U.S after struggling for years, and the most recent failure to pay off 300-million dollars worth of stock. Credited with the idea of a superstore, the company was founded in 1971 in Springfield, New Jersey before expanding to a peak of over 15-hundred locations in 2017.


>>Sen. Amy Klobuchar: "Negotiate On Budget"

(Minneapolis, MN) -- Senator Amy Klobuchar is urging President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to negotiate on the budget. Speaking on CNN's State of the Union, the Minnesota Democrat said the two leaders should not be "using the American hostage." While Klobuchar said the U.S. cannot default on its debts, she also made it clear she was against McCarthy's plan. Klobuchar also said McCarthy's plan would make mortgage and loan interest rates go up and the stock market plummet.


>>Rep. Dingell Doesn't Believe McCarthy Has The Budget Votes

(Detroit, MI) -- Representative Debbie Dingell says House Speaker Kevin McCarthy might be jumping the gun in saying he has the votes to get his budget approval passed. Speaking on Fox News Sunday, the Michigan Democrat said she believes there are Republicans who are reluctant to cut spending for education, law enforcement and veterans. McCarthy's budget proposal returns federal spending to 2022 levels, while raising the debt ceiling to one-trillion-dollars. Dingell says she isn't opposed to negotiating spending cuts, but also doesn't want to put Americans at risk.


>>Bed Bath & Beyond Files For Bankruptcy Protection

(Union, NJ) -- Bed Bath & Beyond is filing for bankruptcy protection as it tries to stay afloat. The home goods retailer filed for Chapter Eleven protection Sunday in District of New Jersey court. The company listed its estimated assets and liabilities in the range of one-billion and ten-billion dollars. The company said its 360 Bed Bath & Beyond and 120 buybuy BABY stores and websites will stay open to serve customers while it begins the process of closings its retail locations.


>>NBCUniversal CEO Admits Inappropriate Relationship, Steps Down

(Los Angeles, CA) -- The CEO of NBC-Universal is out after admitting to an "inappropriate relationship" with a female employee. Parent company Comcast announced on Sunday that Jeff Shell stepped down, effective immediately. Shell said in a statement he deeply regrets his actions and is "truly sorry" he let his colleagues down. He was named CEO on January 1st, 2020.


>>SAG-AFTRA Votes To Support WGA

(Los Angeles, CA) -- Hollywood's biggest talent union is supporting the Writers Guild of America in its contract negotiations with studios and streamers. SAG-AFTRA voted unanimously Saturday on a resolution expressing solidarity with the WGA -- which represents over eleven-thousand writers of film, TV and streaming media. Over the past month -- the guild has been in talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers over compensation increases amid the streaming era. Producers are fearful of a strike after 98-percent of WGA members voted to authorize a work stoppage if a new deal isn't reached by the contract expiration date, which is May first. A SAG-AFTRA statement reads, "It is long past time for the studios, streamers and other employers in the entertainment industry to remove roadblocks to fair and equitable wages and working conditions."


>>"Super Mario" Super-Duper At The Box Office

(Los Angeles, CA) -- "The Super Mario Brothers Movie" remains the top movie at North America's box offices. The Universal film based on the Nintendo video game earned another 58-million-dollars in its third week of release in theaters across the U.S. and Canada. The movie has so far grossed over 434-million-dollars domestically and 871-million worldwide. In second place is the horror film "Evil Dead Rise" with 23-and-a-half-million-dollars followed by "Guy Ritchie's The Covenant" with just over six-million-bucks. Rounding out the top five are "John Wick -- Chapter 4" and the Ben Affleck-directed movie "Air."

AM Business Notebook

>>White House Rejects McCarthy Debt Limit Plan

(Washington, DC)  --  The White House is rejecting House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's plan to raise the debt limit.  The Republican leader rolled out a bill to lift the debt ceiling by one-point-five-trillion dollars that contains a number of spending cuts.  White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the legislation would "take a hatchet to programs Americans rely on every day to make ends meet."  She argued the bill would cut funding for education, veterans medical care, food programs and law enforcement.  Democrats and Republicans need to come together to pass legislation to raise the borrowing limit in the coming months to avoid defaulting on the nation's debt.  


>>Mortgage Rate See First Increase In Over A Month

(McLean, VA)  --  Mortgage rates are rising for the first time in over a month.  According to new data released by Freddie Mac on Thursday, a 30-year fixed mortgage rate went up to six-point-39-percent this week.  That's up from six-point-27-percent last week.  Freddie Mac's chief economist said the rising mortgage rates were due to shifting market expectations.


>>Stephen King, LeBron James Get Free Twitter Checkmarks

(San Francisco, CA)  --  Some celebrities are getting Twitter blue checkmarks even though they didn't pay for it.  The social media company on Thursday started removing the checkmarks from "legacy" accounts that didn't pay the monthly eight-dollar fee.  Celebrities like Jimmy Kimmel, Oprah Winfrey and Justine Bieber all lost their checkmarks.  Some celebrities like Stephen King and LeBron James, however, still have their checkmarks even though they swear they didn't pay for it.  On Thursday afternoon, Twitter CEO Elon Musk finally admitted that he gave them free checkmarks, and tweeted, "You're welcome."


>>Anheuser-Busch Receives Threats After Bud Light Backlash Against Transgender Spokesperson

(St. Louis, MO)  --  Beer giant Anheuser-Busch is getting threats following backlash over a Bud Light partnership with transgender social media star Dylan Mulvaney. The company told CNN that it worked with local law enforcement to keep its facilities secure. The Los Angeles police department also said it responded to a bomb threat at an Anheuser-Busch brewery in the area last week.  The company has been hit with major backlash over the campaign with Mulvaney including from celebrities like Kid Rock and Travis Tritt.

AM Business Report

>>Jobless Claims Are Up

(Washington, DC)  --  The line at the unemployment office is getting longer.   Jobless claims in the U.S. are jumping up five-thousand from the previous week.  The U.S. Labor Department says initial unemployment insurance claims for the week ending April 15th is 245-thousand, which is up from 240-thousand in the previous week.  The rise was bigger than expected.  Experts say the rise in jobless claims indicates the strong labor market is starting to cool off.


>>Amazon Ranked Best Place To Work

(Undated)  --  Amazon is the best place to work, according to an annual list out this week from LinkedIn.  The list looked at a number of factors like layoffs, advancement opportunity and company culture.  The next three on the list are financial institutions, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America.  Google parent Alphabet, which was number two last year, fell to the fifth spot.


>>Apple Unveils New High-Yield Savings Account For Card Holders

(Cupertino, CA)  --  If you have an Apple Card, you can now open a savings account with a four-point-one-five-percent interest rate. The tech giant is partnering with Goldman Sachs for the new feature, with accounts technically managed by the investment banking company, which means accounts are covered by the FDIC. Data from Bankrate puts Apple's interest rate at a competitive level for high-yield savings account. Originally, cash back earned from using Apple's credit card went to users' Apple Cash feature in their wallet, functioning like a checking account. Now, that cash back can go directly into savings. 


>>Foreclosure Rates Growing

(Los Angeles, CA)  --  Foreclosure rates are increasing across the country. According to real estate data analytics firm ATTOM, U.S. homeowners filed 22-percent more foreclosures this quarter, compared to the same time last year. ATTOM CEO Rob Barber says foreclosures due to the pandemic and unemployment rates are some of the reasons we're seeing more filings. The pandemic alone caused around two-million homeowners to fall behind on their mortgages. New York, Chicago and Los Angeles were the leaders in foreclosures for large cities. 


>>Musk Says Tesla To Launch Full Self-Driving Technology This Year

(Fremont, CA)  --  Elon Musk says Tesla will likely launch full self-driving technology this year.  The CEO made the prediction on a conference call Wednesday, and said the test version of Tesla's Full Self-Driving software will be "two steps forward, one step back between releases," but that "the trend is very clearly towards full self-driving."  The electric vehicle company currently sells self-driving software as an option.  

AM Business Notebook

>>Fox News, Dominion Settle Defamation Lawsuit

(Wilmington, DE) -- There will be no trial in Dominion Voting System's defamation lawsuit against Fox News. Dominion sued Fox News for one-point-six-billion dollars for allegedly spreading misinformation about their voting machines after the 2020 election. The two sides on Tuesday reached a settlement of 787-million dollars.


>>Fox News Still Faces $2.7B Defamation Suit

(New York, NY) -- After settling a defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems for more than three-quarters of a billion dollars, Fox News still faces a two-point-seven-billion-dollar lawsuit from another company. Smartmatic, which is another voting technology company, says Fox News spread lies that decimated its business. Its suit was filed back in February of 2021, alleging that Fox shared false info from former President Trump and his supporters that the company played a role in his 2020 election loss. >>BoA CEO Brian Moynihan Expects Mild Recession (New York, NY) -- The head of one of the nation's largest banks expects to see only a slight recession in the U.S. Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said all indicators point to a "relatively mild recession." He made the comment during the bank's quarterly earnings call. Moynihan noted the Bank of America's research team is calling for a mild downturn given the Federal Reserve's aggressive rate hikes.


>>More Layoffs On Wall Street

(New York, NY) -- There are more layoffs set to hit Wall Street. Accounting giant Ernst & Young plans to cut about three-thousand jobs in the U.S. The move comes after the company stopped efforts to split its auditing and consulting businesses. The job cuts represent about five-percent of its U.S. workforce.


>>Netflix To Stop Sending DVDs This Year

(Los Gatos, CA) -- Netflix is ending its DVD-by-mail service. On Tuesday the company announced customers will no longer be able to receive DVD rentals after September 29th, 2023. Netflix has mailed out over five-billion DVDs since the programs inception in 1998. However revenue from DVD rentals has steadily declined over the years as the company pushed members toward its streaming service, and only represented half a percent of Netflix's total revenue in 2022. Co-CEO Ted Sarandos thanked everyone who ever used the service and said it's been "an incredible 25 year run."


>>Amazon Prime Video Debuts "Dialogue Boost" Feature

(Seattle, WA) -- Amazon is hoping to make it easier to understand the dialogue heard in its movies and shows. A new feature called Dialogue Boost is now available on select Amazon Prime Video original movies and series. It allows viewers to increase the volume of what's being said in relation to background music and effects. At launch, Dialogue Boost can be used on series like "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and "Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan" along with films such as "The Big Sick" and "Being the Ricardos." Amazon said the feature will be available on more titles throughout the year.

AM Business Notebook

>>Housing Starts Fall In March

(Washington, DC) -- Construction of new homes fell slightly nationwide in March. Government figures show an eight-tenths of a percent drop due to the slowing construction of apartment buildings. The decline was larger than industry experts had expected. Meantime, housing starts were revised downward for February to a rate of one-point-four-three million units.


>>Tax Day

(Undated) -- Today your taxes are due, but if you haven't even started or aren't done, there's still hope. If you're in a crunch, you need to file for an extension. The key thing to keep in mind is to file your extension today. Those who have not submitted forms can request that extension, delaying the deadline for paperwork until October 16th. The extension does not apply to payments owed. Those must be postmarked by today to avoid any penalties or interest.


>>Schumer Hits McCarthy Over Debt Ceiling

(Washington, DC) -- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling on the House Speaker to release his plan to raise the debt ceiling. While speaking to reporters, the New York Democrat accused Speaker McCarthy of pushing the U.S. toward a "catastrophic default." His comments come hours after McCarthy made clear Republicans will not raise the nation's borrowing limit without spending cuts. Schumer said cuts should not be a pre-condition for avoiding default. Democrats have pushed for a clean bill to raise the limit, insisting negotiations over government spending should occur separately from debt ceiling talks. The U.S. could default on its debt as early as summer or by early fall if Congress fails to pass a limit increase.


>>New York Ranked As Priciest City In U.S.

(New York, NY) -- New York is the priciest city in the U.S. That's according to a 2023 study by Smart Asset, an investment adviser company. Findings show that people earning 100-thousand dollars in the Big Apple amounts to less than 36-thousand dollars when you consider taxes and cost of living. Honolulu, Hawaii is second on the list. San Francisco is third, one of five California cities to crack the top ten.


>>Homebuilder Sentiment Rises Again In April

(Washington, DC) -- Homebuilder sentiment is on the rise for the fourth straight month. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index ticked up a point to 45 in April. Anything below 50 is considered to be negative. The reading is the highest since September as the supply of existing homes remains low.


>>Cash App Founder Bob Lee To Be Buried In St. Louis

(San Francisco, CA) -- Cash App founder Bob Lee, who was stabbed to death in San Francisco, will be buried in St. Louis. The Missouri native had lived in San Francisco for roughly two decades before relocating to Miami, but returned to the Bay Area often. Lee was fatally stabbed earlier this month, allegedly by tech consultant Nima Momeni, who was arrested last week. Court documents show the two men got into an argument over Momeni's sister. Lee had been working as the chief product officer of cryptocurrency start-up MobileCoin. He was the former chief technology officer of Square and helped launch Cash App.

AM Business Notebook

>>Suspect Arrested In Murder Of Cash App Founder Bob Lee

(San Francisco, CA)  --  A suspect is under arrest for the murder of Cash App founder Bob Lee.  San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott announced on Thursday that tech entrepreneur Nima Momeni had been booked on one charge of murder.  He's being held without bail and is expected to be arraigned later on today. 


>>Rutgers Faculty Enters Fifth Day Of Strike

(New Brunswick, NJ)  --  As the strike by Rutgers University faculty and staff enters its fifth day, Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway says both sides are making progress.  Holloway says a marathon negotiating session continues in the Statehouse in Trenton, with help from Governor Phil Murphy's office and two state-appointed mediators.  With under two weeks of classes remaining, the 67-thousand students on the university's campuses are waiting to see how the strike will play out.  Holloway says he has agreed to Governor Murphy's request to avoid going to court to stop the strike while progress is being made.  


>>French Rioters Storm Louis Vuitton Company

(Paris)  --  French workers rioting for pension reforms are sending a message to the world's richest man.  On Thursday, over a hundred rioting protesters stormed the Paris headquarters of the LVMH fashion company, which is run by Bernard Arnault, who's worth over 200-billion dollars.  Arnault's company owns Louis Vuitton, Dior and Tiffany, and has profited from a demand for luxury goods following the pandemic.  Footage of the protest shows French union workers forcing their way into the building with flags and flares.  A union representative claimed the protest was "symbolic and peaceful." 


>>Apple Nixes iPhone 15 Button Upgrade

(Cupertino, CA)  --  Apple has reportedly decided not to upgrade the haptic touch features of its iPhone 15.  This is according to Apple Analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo who previously said the tech giant would add touch buttons to replace physical volume keys on the iPhone 15 Pro.  The report sent shares of Austin, Texas-based technology partner Cirrus Logic sharply lower. 


>>VA Work Officially Starts On LEGO Manufacturing Facility

(Chesterfield County, VA)  --  Virginia is making history with LEGO Group's first manufacturing facility in the nation.  The toy company broke ground in Chesterfield County yesterday.  The factory will be carbon-neutral, with a solar park to power operations.  A massive model of it can be seen at the welcome center, which is housed inside a giant yellow LEGO block.  The factory is expected to bring in more than 17-hundred jobs and open in 2025.

AM Business Notebook

>>U.S. Jobless Claims Are Up

(Washington, DC) -- Weekly U.S. jobless claims are up. The Department of Labor says the number of Americans filing unemployment insurance claims for the week ending April 8th was up eleven-thousand from the previous week to 239-thousand. The increase was bigger than expected, and is the highest level for initial claims since January 15th.


>>Elon Musk: Twitter Is "Roughly Breaking Even"

(San Francisco, CA) -- Elon Musk says Twitter is "roughly breaking even" since he acquired it in October. In an interview with the BBC, the CEO said he sometimes sleeps in the office and that the workload and stress levels have been high. He called it "quite a roller coaster." Lawmakers and regulators have pushed back against various decisions from Musk, including his changing the social media platform's rules to curb misinformation spread. Most recently, his plan to change Twitter's verification process has faced criticism. The blue check used to mean the account was proven to be a public figure's official social media, but now anyone who purchases a subscription to Twitter Blue will have the symbol.


>>Pandemic Related Tax Breaks May Not Apply this year.

(New York, NY) -- Many tax credits and deductions related to the pandemic will not be available this year and there are some changes related to the Standard deduction. CPA John Lieberman says the standard deduction has increased, but the tax rates stay the same which means more of your money is taxed at a lower rate than last year. The child tax credit is also going back to pre-pandemic levels to a max of two-thousand-dollars per child under age 17 for 20-22. That's down from 36-hundred for children under age six and three- thousand-dollars for kids under age 18. The biggest news this year is you don't have file your taxes until April 18th, because the 15th is a Saturday and the 17th is a holiday.


>>Anheuser-Busch Loses Five Billion In Anger Over Transgender Spokesperson

(St. Louis, MO) -- Beer giant Anheuser-Busch is down an estimated five billion dollars in value after announcing a partnership with transgender social media star Dylan Mulvaney. Shares fell four percent since March 31st after conservatives criticized Mulvaney, who has more than ten million followers. Mulvaney has said on Rosie O'Donnell's podcast that she thinks she's so vulnerable to attacks from anti-trans voices because she's so new to the community.


>>Rutgers Faculty Enters Fourth Day Of Strike

(New Brunswick, NJ) -- Rutgers University faculty and staff enter the fourth day of their strike over better pay and job security today. Crowds gathered on all three campuses yesterday for eight hours of picketing. Meanwhile, negotiators for both sides say talks will probably take a long time. Negotiations have already lasted nearly a year. Some classes are still taking place while others are being cancelled for the 67-thousand impacted students across three campuses in the final weeks of the semester.


>>Apple Opening First Stores In India

(Delhi) -- Apple is opening its first brick-and-mortar stores in India next week as the tech giant is optimistic about the economic potential. The first store opens April 18th in Mumbai followed by one in Delhi two days later. iPhone shipments to India grew by 16 percent year over year in 2022.

AM Business Notebook 

>>CPI Report Shows Inflation Is Slowing Down

(Washington, DC) -- Inflation in the U.S. is slowing down. The latest Consumer Price Index report from the Labor Department shows inflation slowed to five percent in March, amid drops in both gasoline and grocery prices. That's down from six-percent the previous month. Consumer prices, meanwhile, increased five percent from a year ago. That's the smallest annual gain since May of 2021. On a monthly basis, those prices edged up just zero-point-one percent last month versus the zero-point-two percent predicted.


>>IMF Predicts Weakest Global Growth Since 1990 

(Washington, DC)  --  The International Monetary Fund is out with its weakest global growth forecast since 1990.  The Washington, DC-based institution expects world economic growth to be around three percent five years from now.  The fund called the outlook "uncertain" given high inflation, Russia's invasion of Ukraine and thee years of COVID among other factors.


>>Six In 10 Americans Live Paycheck-To-Paycheck

(Washington, DC)  --  Close to six in 10 Americans say they live paycheck-to-paycheck. A CNBC-Momentive survey found that 58 percent of U.S. adults live this way, and 70 percent said they're stressed about their personal finances. About the same portion, six-in-10 respondents across all income brackets said inflation is a key reason for their financial woes. Over 40 percent mentioned "economy-wide instability" and 35 percent said their lack of savings and rising interest rates were to blame. 


>>USPS Wants To Raise Price Of First-Class Mail Stamps

(Washington DC)  --  The U.S. Postal Service wants to raise the price of stamps to offset inflation.  The USPS recently announced its seeking approval to bump up the price of first-class mail stamps by three cents, to 66-cents.  This comes after they increased the price from 60-cents in January.  


>>Elon Musk Tweets Deadline For Twitter Legacy Checkmarks 4-20

(San Francisco, CA)  --  Elon Musk says the deadline before Twitter gets rid of legacy blue checkmarks will be April 20th, or 4-20. The Twitter head changed the social media platform's verification system so anyone who pays for a Twitter Blue subscription can be verified. Musk, who is infamous for posting juvenile memes, has made 4-20 jokes in the past. It's unclear whether this is another one of his jokes about the unofficial day to smoke marijuana or whether April 20th will be the actual cutoff date. The multi billionaire CEO also temporarily swapped the Twitter logo with the "doge" Shiba Inu icon from the Dogecoin cryptocurrency and the meme that became popular in 2013.


>>Tupperware May Go Out Of Business 

(Orlando, FL)  --  Famous food storage company Tupperware says it's struggling and has hired advisers to help turn things around.  The company announced last week it's experiencing financial problems, and there is substantial doubt about its ability to continue. Earl Tupper started the company in 1946 in Massachusetts, and five years later, he moved it to Kissimmee.  Over the years Tupperware's colorful plastic food containers could be found in kitchens around the country.  The company, though, says net sales were down almost 20 percent last year.


>>Mega Millions Jackpot Soars To $476 Million After Tuesday Night Drawing 

(Undated) --  The Mega Millions jackpot continues to grow after Tuesday night's drawing failed to produce a grand prize winner.  That puts 476-million dollars on the line when numbers are drawn the next time on Friday.  The cash option on that works out to 256-million dollars.

AM Business Notebook

>>Yellen: Global Economy In Better Place Than Many Predicted

(Washington, DC) -- Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says the global economy is in a better place than many predicted despite Russia's ongoing war against Ukraine. While speaking from Washington, D.C., Yellen said energy and food prices have stabilized and supply chain pressures are easing. She reiterated that the banking system remains sound and she doesn't anticipate a downturn in the U.S. economy. Her comments come after the federal government took emergency actions to mitigate the failure of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.


>>NY Fed Survey Shows Jump In Inflation Expectations

(New York, NY) -- Consumers expect to see a jump in inflation in the coming months. A new survey by the New York Federal Reserve shows consumers expect prices to rise another half-percent in the year ahead. It marks the first time the short-term outlook increased since October. It also equates to an annual inflation rate of four-point-seven percent which is well above the Fed's two percent target.


>>Federal Judge Issues Order To Consolidate Lawsuits Against Norfolk Southern

(East Palestine, OH) -- A federal judge is ordering that the more than 30 lawsuits filed against Norfolk Southern following February's train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio be consolidated. The order appoints four attorneys as co-lead counsel in the cases, some of which represented individuals in several state and federal cases of corporate misconduct including the B-P oil spill and the Merrimack Valley gas explosions in 2018. The attorneys say the court's ruling means "that every person and business that has been impacted by this disaster will be protected by this litigation." The consolidated legal action will work to hold Norfolk Southern accountable for both the train derailment and the hazardous chemicals that were dumped in the area.


>>Fourth NJ State University Union May Be Considering Strike Action

(New Brunswick, NJ) -- On the heels of strikes by three of Rutgers University's labor unions, a fourth union is considering following in their steps. A strike is already underway at the three main campuses of Rutgers University. About ten-thousand of the university's faculty members walked off the job yesterday in New Brunswick, Newark and Camden after labor talks broke down over better pay, benefits and job security. It's the first strike in the school's history. Now, the new union that represents about 25-hundred workers in the university's facilities, residential life and dining services is considering a strike pledge -- the first step before a strike vote.


>>Judge Rules University Of Michigan Graduate Student Strike Can Continue

(Ann Arbor, MI) -- The University of Michigan's Graduate Employees' Organization strike can continue. A judge has denied a request from the university to end the strike and says the damage from graduate employees missing work has not reached levels needed for court involvement. The strike has been going for nearly two weeks.

AM Business Notebook

>>Monthly Jobs Report Shows Employment Up By 236K

(Washington, DC) -- The monthly jobs report shows the U.S. economy added 236-thousand jobs in March. That brings the unemployement rate down to three-point-five percent, below analyst expectations of three-point-six percent. The Labor Department report says employment continued to trend upward in hospitality, government, professional and business services.


>>California Cancels Salmon Seasons Over Depleted Stocks

(San Francisco, CA) -- California's salmon stocks are so depleted that fisheries managers are canceling this year's season and next year's. On Thursday, the Pacific Fishery Management Council, the semi-federal body that oversees West Coast fisheries, recommended shutting down the state's salmon season until the spring of 2024. Fewer than 168-thousand adult fall Chinook salmon are expected to return this year to the Sacramento River. That's the fewest in 15 years. In the northern end of the state, just over 103-thousand salmon are expected to return to the Klamath River, the second-lowest forecast in more than 25 years.


>>Stocks Close Higher

(New York, NY) -- Wall Street closed Thursday with stocks slightly higher. This comes after weekly jobless claims came in higher than expected. It's also with other signals that job growth is slowing in the U.S. At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained two points to 33-485. The S&P 500 rose by 14 points to 41-05. The Nasdaq gained 91 points to 12-087.


>>U.S. Stock Market Closed For Good Friday

(New York, NY) -- The U.S. stock market will be closed Friday in observance of Good Friday, but most other financial institutions, including banks, will be open. The U.S. bond market will open as usual at 8 a.m. Eastern Time, but will close at noon. Since the stock market will be closed it won't react immediately to the March jobs report, which will be released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Economists, on average, expect to see the economy adding 240-thousand nonfarm jobs last month.


>>IRS: No Reason For Average Taxpayer To Worry About Audits

(Washington, DC) -- The new IRS commissioner says there's no reason for the average taxpayer to worry about an increase in audits. Danny Werfel unveiled the agency's plan to use 80-billion-dollars in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act over the next decade. The Democrats' legislation aims to support the IRS with stricter rules on tax fraud as well as boosting good service to taxpayers. He said the agency is taking a new wave of audits "off the table" for those who get W-2s, social security payments, or have a small business.


>>IRS To Hire Nearly 30,000 New Staff Over Next 2 Years

(Washington, DC) -- The Internal Revenue Service is hiring a lot more help. The IRS said on Thursday it will add up to nearly 30-thousand new staffers and put new technology to work over the next two years. The additions are part of an 80-billion dollar investment plan to improve tax enforcement and customer service. More than eight-thousand of those new hires will be enforcement staff. The tax agency will continue beefing up customer service after adding five-thousand new taxpayer services staff to answer phones, reopen taxpayer assistance centers, and process tax returns.


>>Disney Names First Brand Chief To Focus On Core Properties

(Burbank, CA) -- The Walt Disney Company is moving to refocus its image. On Thursday, the entertainment giant named its first-ever chief brand officer. He is Disney veteran Asad Ayaz, who will be charged with creating a singular vision of the company for marketing campaigns. Ayaz's appointment reflects CEO Bob Iger's aim to reorganize Disney's structure to put content production, streaming, and marketing in the hands of creators. Iger has said he plans on cutting back Disney's general entertainment content while keeping a focus on streaming.


>>Report: Tesla Employees Share Videos Recorded By Customer Vehicles (Fremont, CA) -- A new report claims Tesla employees have been sharing private videos recorded by their customers' vehicles. The Tesla website says the cameras built into its electric vehicles are "designed from the ground up to protect your privacy," but a report from "Reuters" claims that between 2019 and 2022, groups of Tesla employees shared videos and images picked up by their customer's cars. The footage reportedly showed customers doing intimate things and the customers' children. One video appeared to show a car from a James Bond movie that was purchased by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, which would be in his garage.


>>Honda Recalls Older CR-Vs Sold In Northern States

(Tokyo) -- Honda is recalling over 560-thousand older-model crossover SUVs sold in cold-weather states. The Japanese carmaker says an accumulation of road salt can cause part of the vehicles' suspension to corrode and possibly detach, which could lead to a crash. Honda says the recalled vehicles are model-year 2007-to-2011 CR-Vs sold in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest states. Owner notification letters will be mailed next month. Staff/mwl Copyright © 2023 TTWN Media Networks Inc.

AM Business Notebook

>>Weekly Jobless Claims Are Down

(Washington, DC)  --  Jobless claims are down.  The Department of Labor says it received 228-thousand first-time unemployment insurance claims for the week ending April 1st.  That's down about 18-thousand from the previous week.  Analysts say the decrease in jobless claims points to a continuously tight labor market in the U.S.

>>Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey React To Bob Lee Stabbing

(San Francisco, CA)  --  Tech moguls are reacting to the sudden death of Cash App founder Bob Lee.  The 43-year-old creator of the mobile payment app was found stabbed to death near downtown San Francisco early Tuesday morning.  Twitter CEO Elon Musk called the attack "horrific," and former Twitter chief Jack Dorsey, who now owns Cash App, called it "heartbreaking."  Lee's father, Rick Lee, wrote a tribute to his son on social media, and said "Bob would give you the shirt off his back" and "would never look down on anyone."  No arrests have been announced in connection with his death. 


>>Fed Interest Rate Hike Will Hit Black Workers Hardest

(Washington, DC)  --  The effects of the Federal Reserve continuing to raise interest rates will likely hit Black employees hardest. A Pew Research Center report shows that Black and Hispanic Americans feel effects of unemployment rates most when the economy takes a downturn. A senior researcher at Pew told CNN that jobless rates for those groups often increase more than their White counterparts during recessions.


>>Bed, Bath and Beyond Unveils 120-Million-Dollar Lifeline

(New York, NY)  --  Bed, Bath and Beyond is announcing a 120-million-dollar lifeline to stock its bare shelves. The chain hasn't had the funds to stock shelves as it works to avoid bankruptcy. Its CEO said in a statement in January that while Bed, Bath and Beyond worked quickly to try to attract shoppers back with new merchandising and marketing strategies, lack of inventory is why it failed to achieve its goals. ReStore Capital is putting up that money to increase stock at Bed, Bath and Beyond as well as buybuy BABY.


>>FedEx Announces Consolidate 

(Memphis, TN)  --  FedEx is consolidating.  The Memphis-based company says the Express, Ground, Services and other companies will operate under Federal Express Corporation.  The shipping giant says the plan, which is expected to increase efficiency, will be implemented in phases and be complete by June 2024.


>>Lamborghini Rolls Out Electric, V12 Hybrid

(Italy)  --  Lamborghini is rolling out an electric V12 hybrid.  The "Revuelto" -- meaning "mixed up" in Spanish --  refers to the combination of the combustion engine mixed with power of an electric battery.  The plug-in hybrid is a first for the company, and while the battery-only range is just six miles, the automaker plans to roll out fully electric vehicles by the end of the decade.  The Revuelto can blast up to 60 miles per hour in two-point-five seconds and reach a top speed of 219 miles per hour.  The car ships out later this year with a price tag of just over 542-thousand dollars. 

AM Business Notebook

>>Private Sector Adds 145K Jobs In March

(Undated)  --  Private sector employment went up by 145-thousand jobs in March, which is below the 200-thousand analysts were expecting.  Today's numbers from the ADP National Employment Report are a sign the economy is slowing, as employers pull back on hiring.  Annual pay was up six-point-nine percent year-over-year.

>>Elon Musk Drops To No. 2 On Forbes World's Richest List

(New York, NY)  --  The new Forbes list of the world's richest people puts Elon Musk at number two this year.  The annual ranking came out Tuesday and showed over 26-hundred billionaires in the world, with the richest one being French fashion mogul Bernard Arnault of Louis Vuitton fame.  Arnault is worth 211-billion dollars.  Former world's richest Elon Musk has dropped to second place this year with a fortune worth 180-billion dollars.  Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is third with 114-billion.  Rounding out the top five are Oracle chairman Larry Ellison with 107-billion dollars, and investing guru Warren Buffett with 106-billion.


>>Tech Start-Up CEO Charged With Fraud

(Washington, DC)  --  A tech start-up CEO who was once named one of Forbes' "30 Under 30" is being charged with fraud.  The Department of Justice says Charlie Javice was arrested Tuesday for allegedly lying to JP Morgan Chase about how many customers her company had.  Her company, called Frank, claimed it would simplify the student loan application process.  Javice is accused of embellishing how many customers were using the service so she could sell the company for 175-million dollars.  She's being charged with several counts of fraud, and is facing up to 30 years in prison for each count.  Javice denies the allegations.


>>Apple Cutting Jobs In Some Corporate Retail Teams

(Cupertino, CA)  --   Apple is handing out pink slips to some of its employees.  The tech giant is eliminating roles within its corporate retail teams.  The groups are responsible for the construction and maintenance of Apple retail stores and other facilities around the world.  It's currently not clear how many workers will be affected, but Bloomberg reports the number is "likely very small."  The company says the cuts are a way to improve operations rather than a cost cutting measure. 


>>Job Openings Drop Below 10 Million In February

(Washington, DC)  --  The number of job openings fell below ten-million in February  --  the first time in nearly two years.  The Labor Department says there were nine-point-nine million available positions for the month.  Economists say it's a sign the Federal Reserve's campaign to raise rates and slow the labor market to curb inflation is having an effect.  The reading reflects a drop of 632-thousand from January's downwardly revised figure.  


>>Virgin Orbit Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

(Long Beach, CA)  --  Virgin Orbit is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  The California-based satellite company founded by Richard Branson filed for bankruptcy protection after failing to secure a funding lifeline.  Virgin Orbit is looking for a buyer just days after laying off nearly all of its workers.  The company had a market value of about 65 million dollars as of close of business Monday.  


>>Volkswagen Recalls SUVs Over Front Passenger Seat Glitch

(Herndon, VA)  --  Volkswagen is recalling more than 143-thousand Atlas SUVs over a airbag-related issue. According to the automaker, the wiring in some of the vehicles' front passenger detection system could be faulty, causing in the airbag not deploying in a crash. The recall affects the 2018 through 2021 Atlas and 2020 Atlas Cross Sport vehicles. Volkswagen warned owners not to allow anyone in the front passenger seat until a free repair is done.

AM Business Notebook

>>Oil Prices Surge As OPEC Slashes Output

(New York, NY) -- The price of oil is surging today. The spike comes after OPEC's surprise announcement it will slash production by a million barrels per day. Saudi Arabia said the voluntary cut will start in May with the goal of stabilizing the oil market. Analysts warn the move could push oil prices back up toward the 100-dollar per barrel mark again.

>>White House "Disappointed" In OPEC Production Cuts Decision

(Washington, DC) -- President Biden is disappointed in what he's calling a "shortsighted decision" by OPEC oil-producing countries. Saudi Arabia and Russia are among a number of countries that announced on Sunday voluntary oil production cutbacks from May until the end of the year. The Saudi energy ministry is calling the cutbacks a "precautionary measure" to keep the oil market stable. Saudi Arabia and Russia intend to cut production by 500-thousand barrels per day. In a White House statement, Biden criticized cutting oil-producion quotas "while the global economy is dealing with the continued negative impact of Putin's invasion of Ukraine."


>> Poll: Americans Pessimistic About Economy

(Washington, DC) -- Most Americans are apparently pessimistic about the economy. A recent Gallup poll showed 83-percent surveyed view current economic conditions in the U.S. as "poor" or "only fair." Only 16-percent responded that they view conditions as "good" or "excellent." Almost three in four Americans think those conditions are getting worse. The poll also found that citizens continue to see inflation as their number one concern.


>>The Week Ahead In Economic Reports

(Undated) -- There are a slew of economic reports on the calendar in the coming week. Things get going today with data on construction spending. Job openings and factory orders are due Tuesday. The ADP employment report comes out the next day, followed by weekly jobless claims Thursday morning. The government's monthly jobs report will be released Friday along with February's consumer credit report.


>>"Dungeons and Dragons" Flick This Week's Top Pic

(Los Angeles, CA) -- An adventure movie based on a role-playing game is the top film in North America. "Dungeons and Dragons -- Honor Among Thieves" earned 38-and-a-half-million-dollars in its first weekend in theaters across the U.S. and Canada. Coming in second is last week's top-earning film "John Wick -- Chapter 4" with just over 28-million-bucks. Rounding out the Top Five are "Scream 6," "His Only Son" and "Creed 3." "Shazam -- Fury of the Gods" came in sixth place with nearly five-million-dollars.


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