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In September, Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, was elected. Credit… The New York Times’ Stefani Reynolds
Alan Rappeport and Jeanna Smialek
According to a draft of his prepared comments, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell will tell legislators on Tuesday that inflation is expected to linger far into next year and that the new Omicron version of the coronavirus adds to the economic outlook.
Mr. Powell’s comments, which he will make alongside Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen before the Senate Banking Committee, reflect a feeling of trepidation at a time when price hikes are at their quickest rate in three decades.
“It’s difficult to estimate the duration and impact of supply limitations,” Mr. Powell intends to add. “However, it currently looks that forces driving inflation higher will endure well into next year.” “Slack is reducing, and earnings are growing at a quick rate, thanks to the rapid improvement in the labor market.”
Mr. Powell will also speak about the new strain, which scientists and governments are scrambling to analyze and control.
Mr. Powell said, “The recent surge in Covid-19 cases and the introduction of the Omicron variation represent adverse risks to employment and economic activity, as well as greater inflation uncertainty.” “More fear of the virus might diminish people’s desire to work in person, slowing labor market improvement and exacerbating supply-chain problems.”
The latest mutation of the coronavirus is yet unknown, but it poses a concern for Fed officials: the prospect that the epidemic may continue to flare up, shutting down industries, upsetting supply lines, and throwing the economy off balance. If this occurs, as it did with the Delta variety earlier this summer and autumn, high costs may be perpetuated.
Inflation has risen in 2021 as a result of increased consumer demand colliding with a supply shortage. Closures of production lines, port congestion, and component shortages have prevented items from reaching stores and consumers, forcing businesses to raise prices. At the same time, a labor scarcity in several businesses due to viral apprehension and pandemic-related child-care shortages has pushed up costs and prices for various services.
It’s too early to tell whether the new virus strain would exacerbate those tendencies, causing inflation to linger longer than it would otherwise. However, the new mutation comes at a critical time for monetary policy.
Central bankers are decreasing their bond-buying program, which should allow them more leeway to hike interest rates, their more conventional and potent weapon for boosting the economy, if required next year.
Given how high and tenacious inflation has proven to be, some Fed officials have indicated that they may accelerate their so-called bond-buying “taper.” Many analysts believe that authorities will reveal a plan to do so at their December meeting.
However, if the coronavirus strikes the economy again, such a choice — as well as the timing and speed of future rate hikes — may become more difficult.
That’s because, when it comes to setting policy, the Fed must strike a balance between two objectives: inflation control and job creation. A speedier and more complete reduction of government assistance for the economy may reduce price increases by dragging down demand, but it would also likely impede company development and employment.
Mr. Powell plans to say, “We will use our tools both to support the economy and a strong labor market, as well as to prevent higher inflation from becoming entrenched,” after once again acknowledging that “high inflation imposes significant burdens, especially on those less able to meet the higher costs of essentials like food, housing, and transportation.”
Mr. Powell will tell Congress that the Fed is “dedicated to our price-stability mission,” as President Biden intends to re-appoint him for a second term.
Coral Murphy Marcos and Eshe Nelson
On Monday, global markets remained stable, with equities on Wall Street rising and oil prices rising as investors pondered the knowns and unknowns of a new Covid-19 version.
The S&P 500 index gained 1.3 percent, reversing a 2.3 percent dip on Friday. That was its worst day since February, and it occurred after early reports of the new variety, dubbed Omicron, were discovered in southern Africa. It was classified as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization, the organization’s most dangerous category.
As governments imposed restrictions on cross-border mobility, shares of corporations in areas that had been recovering in recent months, such as airlines and other travel companies, took a beating. Concerns about the economic impact of prospective limits drove down oil prices, while government bond rates declined as investors flocked to the relative safety of national debt.
Investors were less focused on possible calamity on Monday, as rapid answers on the danger from Omicron were hard to come by, and some of Friday’s movements were undone. While the new version may be more infectious and resistant to vaccines, it may also be less deadly to those who have been vaccinated or previously infected. Scientists haven’t reached any solid conclusions, and the findings of current vaccination experiments on the new type might take up to two weeks. And stock market losses linked to Covid are becoming milder and shorter.
The S&P 500 plummeted for a month and a half after the virus initially surfaced in early 2020, before rebounding. A return of instances in October 2020 caused a 5.6 percent decline in a few days, but markets recovered within a week. The appearance of the Delta variation in July of this year sparked a one-day drop of 1.6 percent, which was quickly recovered.
“We don’t know how damaging it is to health,” Kit Juckes, a strategist at Société Générale, said in a note to investors, “however early claims suggesting it isn’t extremely toxic, albeit discounted by the cautious specialists, are highly alluring.” “Against that background, some of Friday’s anarchy has been reversed, but only to a degree.”
On Monday, European stocks rallied as well, with the Stoxx Europe 600 index finishing 0.7 percent higher. The FTSE 100 in the United Kingdom increased by 0.9 percent, while market indices in France and Spain also increased.
Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate crude futures both climbed 1% and 2.6 percent, respectively. Energy company shares have risen in tandem with crude oil’s recovery. Enphase Energy increased by 3.8 percent, while Diamondback Energy increased by 2.3 percent.
The rates on government bonds have also risen. The 10-year Treasury note yield increased by 4 basis points, or 0.04 percentage point, to 1.52 percent. The yield fell 16 basis points on Friday, the most in a single day since late March 2020. President Biden stated on Monday that the administration’s strategy to battle Covid in the winter would not require “shutdowns or lockdowns,” but would instead depend on greater testing, vaccines, and boosters, easing concerns about recently enforced travel restrictions.
On Monday, Royal Caribbean Group gained 2.8 percent, while Norwegian Cruise Line gained 0.8 percent. United Airlines’ stock climbed as well. Moderna, a vaccine manufacturer, increased its stock by more than 10%.
However, not every market recovered. Asia’s stocks plummeted as Japan closed its borders only days after reopening them to short-term business visitors and foreign students. The Nikkei 225 index lost 1.6 percent, while Hong Kong equities sank 1%.
Reporting was given by Carlos Tejada and Stephen Gandel.
On Black Friday, the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey, was hopping. Although foot traffic increased from the previous year, it was still lower than Black Friday 2019. Credit… The New York Times’ Karsten Moran
The Black Friday weekend was a triumph for merchants, but it was marred by supply chain issues and the frequency of early bargains in October, which encouraged buyers to stretch their purchasing out.
Shoppers were certainly more at ease in shops this year than they were the year before, although in-store visits were still significantly below pre-pandemic levels. According to statistics from Sensormatic Solutions, foot traffic increased by 48 percent over the previous year, but fell by 28 percent in 2019. According to the company, the busiest hour for in-store shopping was from 1 to 3 p.m. on Friday. After shutting for the day in 2020, several stores stayed closed on Thanksgiving Day, reversing a years-long trend of staying open on the holiday.
According to Adobe Analytics data, which includes more than one trillion visits to U.S. retail sites, customers spent $8.9 billion online on Black Friday, slightly less than in 2020, and $5.1 billion on Thanksgiving, roughly the same as last year. Since it started providing e-commerce statistics in 2012, Adobe has seen a dip on large shopping days for the first time. However, between November 1 and November 28, customers spent much more.
According to Cowen & Co. analysts, hot goods included denim, where loosefitting jeans have propelled sales, going-out attire such as dresses, cosmetics and perfumes, snug sweaters, and comfy athleisure and tailored garments.
Because of supply chain concerns ranging from factory shutdowns to port backlog, which have plagued retailers in recent months and were noted on earnings calls last week by Gap and Nordstrom, Cyber Monday discounts were anticipated to be lower.
Increasing ticket and concession costs, as well as the run-down status of shopping malls, which house many theaters, are among the things driving crowds away. Credit… The New York Times’ Philip Cheung
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Around 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers had stopped purchasing tickets. Some of them, around 8%, are likely to be lost forever. To reclaim the remaining customers, multiplex owners must “urgently” reconsider price and consumer benefits, as well as emphasis on coronavirus safety.
These were some of the findings of a recent research on the condition of the American movie theater industry, which was already struggling before to the pandemic — attendance was decreasing, and streaming services were spreading — and has yet to recover from the coronavirus-forced closures in 2020. Ticket sales in the United States and Canada were at $96 million during the weekend, compared to $181 million in the same time last year.
The Quorum, a film research company led by David Herrin, the former head of research for United Talent Agency, Cultique, a consultancy run by longtime brand strategist Linda Ong, and Fanthropology, a research, strategy, and creative agency, self-commissioned the study, which was published online on Monday. They plan to conduct the poll every three months.
“The evidence definitely reveals that theaters are suffering,” Ms. Ong said, “because the epidemic increased, accelerated, and magnified all of the emerging patterns that were already ongoing.” “That is what a perfect storm is – not that several issues occur at the same time, but that they have a compounding impact on one another.”
What are the emerging trends? Ticket and concession costs are increasing. Reduced “experiential value,” such as the impression that going to the movies has become a chore. The deterioration of shopping malls, which include a large number of theaters. A generational shift toward smartphone-based entertainment like streaming and gaming. “Perhaps you went once in a while before, neglecting the disadvantages,” Mr. Herrin replied. “Throw in some safety worries, and you’ve got yourself a former moviegoer.”
A total of 2,528 persons who attended a movie theater in 2019 were polled by the research firms. (Some people went once a week, while others only went once a month.) Others visited “many” times each year.) About 51% of those polled indicated they had purchased tickets in the last few months, with some being enticed by rewards programs offered by movie theater chains. According to Mr. Herrin, they are mostly white guys between the ages of 25 and 45 who reside in cities. “Once you leave that demographic, you start to lose a lot of people,” he added.
The 49% who said they were no longer purchasing tickets were more inclined to support a vaccination requirement for attendance. Mr. Herrin noted that this group, which was primarily female, was likewise more concerned about pricing and value. Despite this, he said that nearly a third were “optimistic” about returning to cinemas at some time in the future. Lower costs for traditional snacks, newer seats, and monitoring the use of phones during movies are among the measures most likely to entice people back.
Mr. Herrin said, “There must be a feeling of urgency.” “I’m not sure how broad a window there is for exhibition to bring these folks back,” he continued, referring to the multiplex industry in Hollywood lingo.
Lower-income customers are the “likely losers,” as the report finds 8% of respondents who stated they didn’t buy a ticket during the epidemic and don’t see themselves returning. According to the study, the group features a high number of Hispanic, Black, and Asian women.
Clearview For failing to comply with the UK’s data protection regulations, AI was fined. Credit… The New York Times’ Amr Alfiky
Clearview AI, a face recognition business, was fined £17 million, or $22.6 million, by the UK’s independent data privacy watchdog on Monday for failing to comply with the country’s data protection regulations.
Clearview AI was fined by the Information Commissioner’s Office for failing to notify British citizens that it was gathering billions of photographs from sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to develop its face recognition software. The Information Commissioner’s Office (I.C.O.) ordered the corporation to cease processing personal data from persons in the United Kingdom and to erase any existing data.
The I.C.O. said it would make a final judgment on the punishment by mid-2022, and Clearview AI may challenge the fine and data breach claims. Clearview has been utilized by a number of British agencies, according to the I.C.O. BuzzFeed News previously reported on leaked data showing that the face recognition software was used by numerous British government organizations and police departments.
“I have serious concerns that personal data was treated in a manner that no one in the United Kingdom would have anticipated,” Britain’s information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, said in a statement.
Clearview AI spokesperson Lisa Linden said the I.C.O.’s claims were false, and the business was contemplating filing an appeal. Clearview only “provides law enforcement authorities with publicly accessible material from the internet,” she added in a statement.
“By supporting law enforcement in investigating horrible crimes against children, elderly, and other victims of unethical activities, my firm and I have performed in the best interests of the United Kingdom and its people,” Hoan Ton-That, Clearview AI’s chief executive, said in a statement.
The fine was the largest in Clearview AI’s history. A Swedish authority penalized the corporation €250,000 earlier this year for data protection infractions. If the British fine continues unaltered, it will account for approximately 60% of the $38 million in funds collected by Clearview AI from investors. The startup raised $30 million in July.
An Australian regulator found the business had also broken local privacy regulations earlier this month. Clearview AI was ordered by the Australian Office Commissioner to cease collecting data on its inhabitants and to remove any data it had already obtained in the nation. In February, Clearview AI was deemed banned in Canada.
Clearview AI just received a top rating in a government face recognition software test.
Despite the fact that we don’t know much about the Omicron variety, business executives are asking themselves the same concerns they did during earlier coronavirus outbreaks, according to the DealBook newsletter.
Will there be further lockdowns or vaccination requirements? Some others saw the Omicron variation as a chance to push airlines to compel customers to provide confirmation of immunization and testing. The version might also put pressure on employers that are hesitant to require staff to get vaccines. In terms of government actions, Dr. Anthony Fauci told ABC News that it was “too early to tell” if further lockdowns or regulations were necessary.
What does this imply for in-person meetings and conferences? This winter, there’s a full calendar of activities, with organizers expecting to get back on track following cancellations and postponements in the past. CES will return to Las Vegas in person in early January, and the World Economic Forum in Davos will be held in person later that month. Spectators will be allowed to watch the Beijing Winter Olympics in February, but only from mainland China. South by Southwest is poised to return in person in March in Austin, Texas. New rules in the United Kingdom take effect on Tuesday, requiring all travelers to isolate upon arrival until they receive a negative test result; similar policies elsewhere would make attending conferences and other gatherings more difficult, posing a potential setback for airlines that were just beginning to recover.
Is it possible for employees to return to work? Aside from the immediate issue of company Christmas parties, there’s also the larger issue of what will happen to offices next year and beyond. Many businesses have already planned and rescheduled their return dates. Several companies, including Wells Fargo, Google, and Facebook parent Meta, have said that their employees will return to work in January. Will they reschedule the employees’ return or just order them back? Is the threat of a long-term epidemic enough to encourage some businesses to make the leap to permanent flexibility, or will they continue to muddle through with shoddy hybrid arrangements?
After one incidence of the novel coronavirus variety was verified in Israel on Sunday, the government closed its borders to all foreigners for 14 days. Credit… Reuters/Amir Cohen
Airlines have been progressively increasing their capacity for months, and Sunday was the biggest travel day at U.S. airports since February 2020. The discovery of the Omicron coronavirus variety, like the Delta variant last summer, threatens to undermine the industry’s comeback.
Visitors from South Africa and a few nearby countries have been restricted by some countries, including the United States. All inbound foreign tourists have been restricted in Japan, Morocco, and Israel, while travelers from southern Africa and numerous European nations have been forbidden in the Philippines.
The travel industry has criticized the tightening of regulations. Willie Walsh, the chairman of the International Air Transport Association, a worldwide trade group, issued a statement last week calling for “safe alternatives to border closures and quarantine.” The US Travel Association encouraged the Biden administration to reconsider the prohibition over the weekend.
In a statement, Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president for public affairs and policy, stated, “Covid variants are of concern, but closed borders have not stopped their appearance in the United States, and immunizations have proved remarkably durable.” “We continue to feel that analyzing an individual’s risk and health condition is the best approach to welcome eligible worldwide visitors into the United States, even with a vaccination and testing requirement in place.”
The recovery in foreign travel for US airlines has been slower than the recovery in domestic travel. However, President Biden’s move earlier this month to loosen long-standing restrictions on foreign passengers seemed to be a catalyst for that comeback. It’s unclear if or how the Omicron version will effect travel demand, but if travel prohibitions continue to expand and fears about the variant grow, expectations for a faster international recovery might be disappointed once again.
Southern Africa is served by just two US airlines: Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. Both have said that they have no plans to change their itineraries as a result of the administration’s ban, which went into effect on Monday and does not affect US citizens or legal permanent residents. Between Atlanta and Johannesburg, Delta offers three weekly flights. United runs five flights per week between Newark and Johannesburg, and its intentions to resume service between Newark and Cape Town on Wednesday have not altered.
Because of the variance, no major American airline has disclosed any significant adjustments to processes. Furthermore, all travelers travelling into the United States must provide documentation of a negative coronavirus test, with non-citizens obliged to be completely vaccinated.
Even while many firms are still hesitant to send personnel on business trips, air travel in the United States has virtually returned. According to the Transportation Security Administration, the number of passengers inspected at airport security checkpoints was only down 12% from the same week last year.
The industry managed the surge in passengers well throughout the holiday week, avoiding the days-long problems seen by several airlines in previous months. According to FlightAware, an aviation data source, there were less than 600 cancellations in the seven days ending Sunday, accounting for less than 0.5 percent of all planned domestic flights.
Drivers at a truck stop in Maliszew, Poland, claimed they were uninterested in accepting Britain’s offer of temporary visas to alleviate a visa backlog. Credit… The New York Times’ Anna Liminowicz
The United Kingdom’s Department for Transport started recruiting truck drivers abroad in October, hoping to reduce lengthy queues at petrol stations, bare shelves at grocery shops, and a Christmas without mince pies.
Official data have not been revealed, however Oliver Dowden, a Conservative Party co-chairman, indicated on a radio interview in mid-October that a “quite small” number of applications had been received, with little over 20 being granted.
The visa offer has therefore become an informal test of the attractiveness of post-Brexit, late-pandemic Britain, rather than a source of immediate assistance, according to David Segal of The New York Times.
Some drivers who have worked in the United Kingdom claim that the nation has gotten more xenophobic following Brexit in January 2020. The United Kingdom Independence Party, led by Nigel Farage, lobbied for a legislation that would guarantee “British employment for British workers” as part of the campaign to exit the European Union. He predicted a “Romanian crime wave” in 2013.
The British government predicts that 100,000 extra drivers are required. This begs the issue of why just 5,000 temporary visas have been made available by the Department of Transportation. Opposition MPs in Parliament argue that the low statistic demonstrates the Conservative government’s hesitation. READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE
A mine in the Congo’s Kolwezi district. More than two-thirds of the world’s cobalt, a vital component in electric cars, is produced in the nation.
Cobalt, a metal rich in the Democratic Republic of Congo but uncommon elsewhere, is used in solar panels and electric vehicle batteries. Although the US has long acknowledged the Central African country’s strategic significance, successive administrations have done little to sustain relations, prompting China to step in.
“Race to the Future,” a New York Times investigation, looks at the worldwide need for basic resources as the renewable energy revolution takes pace. Countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, which produces two-thirds of the world’s cobalt, are filling the void left by Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich countries. The scramble to acquire resources might have far-reaching consequences for the common objective of environmental protection.
The investigation may be found here:
Global Rivalries: In Congo, a power battle has erupted between China and the United States for cobalt, which is used in electric automobiles.
How the United States Fell Behind China: The United States failed to protect decades of investments in Congo, effectively handing over resources to China.
The New York Times despatched correspondents across three continents to cover the conflict. The following are some of the conclusions of their examination.
Hunter Biden’s Business Ties: A business co-founded by the president’s son assisted the selling of a Congolese cobalt mine to a Chinese entity. Here are the specifics of the agreement.
The Production of Electric Car Batteries: It all begins with valuable minerals and metals like cobalt.
Jack Dorsey, who co-founded the social media platform Twitter in 2006, will stand down as its CEO. Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s chief technical officer, will succeed the social media pioneer, whose name has become associated with the firm. Mr. Dorsey, who is also the CEO of the payments startup Square, was dismissed from Twitter’s top post in 2008, but returned in 2015. On Monday, Twitter’s stock soared. READ ON FOR MORE
A look at the labor market: The Labor Department will issue its November employment report on Friday. After months of poor employment numbers, the economy gained more than 500,000 jobs in October, according to the most recent data. Despite this, there were 4.2 million fewer Americans working in October than there were before the pandemic lockdowns.
Theranos trial: Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the blood-testing startup Theranos, will continue to testify as she fights fraud accusations. She presented herself as someone whose best intentions were misconstrued over three days of testimony last week.
On Black Friday, Americans returned to in-person shopping with vigor, as did Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday. However, as Wirecutter points out, many shopping offers will be available today, Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday is for people who like to spend their money on charity causes.
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The “why is the u.s. stock market down today” is a question that many people are asking themselves. The U.S. stock market has been on a rollercoaster for the past few weeks, and there are no signs of stopping anytime soon.
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