Business Highlights: Inflation seen still high, stocks rally


Crypto meltdown is wake-up call for many, including Congress

NEW YORK (AP) — Meltdowns in the cryptocurrency space are common, but the latest one has served as a vivid reminder that investors, both professionals and rookies, can be rolling the dice when putting money into digital assets. Over a recent two-month period, bitcoin lost nearly half its value and other cryptocurrencies fell even more. What’s more, one area of the cryptocurrency universe that is supposed to be less vulnerable to big swings suffered a spectacular collapse. Some investors took to online forums to share tales of decimated fortunes and even suicidal despair. With more and more investors showing interest in digital assets, Washington has been forced to pay attention. .


Yellen: inflation to ‘remain high;’ hopes it’s ‘coming down’

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has acknowledged that she and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell “could have used a better word” than transitory when describing the expected run of inflation in the U.S. economy. Yellen says she remains hopeful it will decline. But she told the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday that “I do expect inflation to remain high although I very much hope that it will be coming down now.” Yellen added that “bringing inflation down” should be the number one priority. Treasury and the Federal Reserve have been increasingly blamed by legislators and the public for allowing inflation to reach record highs.


World Bank dims outlook for global economy amid Russia war

WASHINGTON (AP) — The World Bank has sharply downgraded its outlook for the global economy, pointing to Russia’s war against Ukraine, the prospect of widespread food shortages and concerns about the potential return of “stagflation” — a toxic mix of high inflation and sluggish growth unseen for more than four decades. The 189-country anti-poverty agency predicts that the world economy will expand 2.9% this year. That would be down from 5.7% global growth in 2021 and the 4.1% it had forecast for 2022 back in January. “For many countries, recession will be hard to avoid,” said David Malpass, the World Bank’s president.


Facing huge inventory, Target cuts vendor orders, prices

NEW YORK (AP) — Target is canceling orders from suppliers, particularly for home goods and clothing, and it’s slashing prices further to clear out amassed inventory ahead of the critical fall and holiday shopping seasons. The actions come after a pronounced spending shift by Americans, from investments in their homes to money spent on experience like travel, and nights out for dinner and other pre-pandemic routines. Shoppers are also focusing more on non-discretionary items like groceries as inflation makes them more selective. That’s a change that arrived much faster than major retailers had anticipated. The speed at which Americans pivoted away from pandemic spending was laid bare in the most recent quarterly financial filings from a number of major retailers.


US solar companies weigh challenge to Biden pause on tariffs

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. solar manufacturers are considering legal challenges after President Joe Biden declared a two-year pause on tariffs for solar imports from Southeast Asia. Biden’s action Monday was intended to jumpstart solar installations that have slowed amid a Commerce Department inquiry into possible trade violations involving Chinese products. But some domestic producers, including a California company that filed a complaint with Commerce about unfair competition from China, said Biden’s actions would help China’s state-subsidized solar companies at the expense of U.S. producers. The White House said Biden’s actions would boost an industry crucial to his climate change-fighting goals while not interfering with the Commerce inquiry.


Mass shootings intensify reform efforts at grassroots level

Gun control and gun violence intervention advocates hope the mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, will convince federal and state governments to take action again. Nonprofits like March for Our Lives plan to mobilize supporters on June 11 to push elected officials to require universal background checks. That’s just one philanthropic effort in a movement that recognizes politicians have not delivered meaningful action on gun control in America. Other nonprofit, community or advocacy organizations have also gained insight into why gun violence occurs and how to reduce it, including interventions don’t rely on getting legislation passed.


One plug and done: EU to require common way to charge phones

LONDON (AP) — European Union officials have agreed on new rules requiring a uniform charging cord for smartphones and other devices. The move would make life easier for consumers fed up with rummaging through a tangle of cables for the right one. EU negotiators said Tuesday that they inked a provisional agreement on a “single charging solution.” It’s part of a wider effort to make products sold in the 27-nation bloc more sustainable and cut down on electronic waste. The new rules will take effect by fall 2024 and mean EU consumers will only need to use a common USB Type-C cable for small and medium-sized rechargeable, portable electronic devices.


Stocks rally as uncertainties keep Wall Street wobbly

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks rallied Tuesday as Treasury yields eased, but Wall Street remains wobbly as investors wait for more clarity on where interest rates, inflation and the economy are heading. The S&P 500 climbed 1% after bouncing back from an early loss of the same size. Technology stocks were some of the biggest forces lifting the market. Stocks of energy producers also rose along with oil prices. That helped overshadow trouble at Target, which warned of lower profit margins as it slashes prices to clear out inventory. J.M. Smucker soared on strong quarterly results.


Environmental groups challenge EU support for gas projects

BRUSSELS (AP) — Environmental groups have started legal action against the European Commission to challenge the inclusion of 30 gas projects in a list of priority operations considered as beneficial to the bloc’s energy market. The campaigners said on Tuesday that the European Commission has given “these climate-destructive projects VIP status, in contradiction of its legal obligations.” The groups’ legal action came as European lawmakers debated Tuesday proposals from the “Fit for 55″ package set up by the Commission to achieve the EU’s climate goals of cutting emissions of the gases that cause global warming by 55% over this decade.


No justice reform in Poland, no money, EU chief vows

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says Poland will get no money from an EU pandemic relief fund until the right-wing government rolls back measures deemed to limit the independence of the judiciary. Poland is line to receive nearly 36 billion euros to help its economy recover. But the EU has frozen its access to the funds amid concern about political control over the judiciary. The commission insists that a disciplinary chamber for Polish judges be abolished, that its rulebook be rewritten and that judges sanctioned by the chamber have their cases reviewed. Von der Leyen told EU lawmakers Tuesday that “no money will be disbursed, until these reforms are undertaken.” Some lawmakers are skeptical.


The S&P 500 rose 39.25 points, or 1%, to 4,160.68. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 264.36 points, or 0.8%, to 33,180.14. The Nasdaq rose 113.86 points, or 0.9%, to 12,175.23. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 29.68 points, or 1.6%, to 1,919.56.


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