Wall Street’s drop, natural gas prices

0
104

___

S&P 500 fell 4.8% in September, worst month since March 2020

Stocks ended September with their worst monthly loss since the pandemic began. The S&P 500 ended the month down 4.8%, its first monthly decline since January and the strongest since March 2020. After rising steadily for much of the year, the stock market has been spreading over the past few weeks the more contagious Delta variant of unsettled COVID-19, a sudden surge in long-term bond yields, and news that the Federal Reserve may begin to undo its support for the economy. The S&P 500 fell 1.2% on Thursday. It’s still up 14.7% for the year.

___

Union jobs? Ford’s plan for new EV factories raises questions

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) – Ford’s blockbuster announcement this week to build four huge new factories in Kentucky and Tennessee by 2025 and hire nearly 11,000 workers raised one big unanswered question: How good will these jobs be? Nobody – not Ford, not the United Auto Workers union, not the future jobholders themselves – knows how much the workers will be paid or whether they will vote for union membership. The new factories, which are slated to be built by 2025, will jointly build batteries for electric vehicles and assemble many such vehicles.

___

Rising natural gas prices: threat to consumers in winter?

NEW YORK (AP) – Prepare for a nasty surprise on your winter heating bills. After years of unusually low levels, the price of natural gas in the US has more than doubled since then last year. In Europe and Asia, wholesale prices are more than five times higher than a year ago. Rising costs coincided with a robust recovery from the pandemic recession, with more households and businesses burning all kinds of fuels. This increased demand will contribute to higher heating bills in many parts of the world.

___

Congress passes bill to prevent partial government shutdown

WASHINGTON (AP) – In just hours, Congress passed law that would avoid a partial federal shutdown and fund the government through December 3. The bill now goes to President Joe Biden for it to go into effect. Votes will help avert one crisis, but efforts to avert a second crisis appear to continue for the next few weeks as Democrats and Republicans join a fight over raising the government’s credit limit. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says failing to raise the debt ceiling will lead to a financial crisis and economic recession.

___

Powell sees inflation cooling and avoids “difficult situation”

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Thursday that the current high inflation rates are likely to ease over the next year and will not prevent the Fed from achieving its goal of full employment. In comments to the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee, Powell said he believes inflation will come down without the Fed having to hike rates, which could potentially slow down hiring.

___

Senators Urge Facebook Managers On Instagram Guidelines For Teens

WASHINGTON (AP) – Senators have harshly criticized a Facebook executive for the social networking giant’s handling of internal research into how its Instagram photo-sharing platform can harm teenagers. Legislators accused Facebook of hiding the negative findings about Instagram and called for the company to make changes. During testimony before a Senate trade subcommittee, Facebook’s global security director Antigone Davis defended Instagram’s efforts to protect young people who use its platform. The panel examines how Facebook is using information from its own researchers that may indicate potential harm to some of its young users, especially girls, while it has publicly downplayed the negative effects.

___

Senate confirms Biden’s election to head the consumer protection agency

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate narrowly approved President Joe Biden’s election to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and given the office a director who is likely to assume an aggressive “watchdog” role. Rohit Chopra’s nomination was approved 50-48, with Vice President Kamala Harris previously tied to end the debate. Republicans were united in opposition to Chopra. Prior to his admission, he was a Democrat on the Federal Trade Commission. He often used his position to publicly advocate higher penalties and the enforcement of companies found to be wrong.

___

USA revise GDP estimate for Q2 slightly to 6.7%

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. economy expanded at an annual rate of 6.7% from April to June, the Department of Commerce said Thursday, increasing its estimate of last quarter’s growth amid a resurgence of COVID-19 in the shape of the delta easy variant. The government’s growth estimate for the second quarter – the last of three – was above its previous estimate of 6.6% a year, which is likely to mark a high point for the economy to expand this year as the virus slows some state activity Fulfillment support programs and supply chain problems in manufacturing persist. The government’s report on Thursday showed that the country’s gross domestic product – the total production of goods and services – accelerated 6.3% annually in the first three months of the year.

___

The S&P 500 fell 51.92 points, or 1.2%, to 4,307.54. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 546.80 points, or 1.6%, to 33,843.92 points. The Nasdaq lost 63.86 points, or 0.4%, to 14,448.58 points. The Russell 2000 Smaller Business Index lost 20.94 points, or 0.9%, to 2,204.37 points.