Business Highlights: Wall Street dive, worker shortage
Stocks slump 3% as worries grow over higher interest rates
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks closed sharply lower on Wall Street as worries grow in markets that the higher interest rates the Federal Reserve is using in its fight against inflation will derail the economy. The S&P 500 pulled back 3.6%, erasing a rally from a day earlier and marking its biggest loss in almost two years. The Dow fell 1,063 points, or 3.1%. Tech stocks fell the most, pulling the Nasdaq down 5%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.04%. Rising yields are sure to put upward pressure on mortgage rates, which are already at their highest level since 2009.
Major companies stay mum on thorny abortion issue - for now
NEW YORK (AP) — A leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion that would abolish a nationwide right to abortion has thrust major companies into what’s arguably the most divisive issue in American politics. But while some are signaling support for abortion rights, many want to stay out of it — at least for now. Some experts believe companies are holding off weighing in because they want to wait to see the court’s final ruling. But forming a corporate response on the thorny issue of abortion could prove to be challenging, especially in light of the reprisal that Disney faced in Florida and political pressure in states like Texas.
Rising interest rates in US will hinder foreign economies
WASHINGTON (AP) — When the Federal Reserve raises interest rates — as it did Wednesday — the impact doesn’t stop with U.S. homebuyers paying more for mortgages or Main Street business owners facing costlier bank loans. The fallout can roll beyond America’s borders, hitting shopkeepers in Sri Lanka, farmers in Mozambique and others in poorer countries around the world. The managing director of the International Monetary Fund was worried enough last month to warn the Fed and other rate-hiking central banks to stay “mindful of the spillover risks to vulnerable emerging and developing economies.”
Small businesses still struggle to find enough workers
NEW YORK (AP) — Some small businesses are still struggling to hire qualified workers, even as the broader picture in the U.S. job market looks much brighter. Hiring and retaining employees remains the top challenge for small businesses, according to a survey by Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Voices. Ninety percent of businesses that are hiring are finding it difficult to recruit qualified candidates for open positions. Smaller businesses say they’re having trouble getting candidates to even apply for openings, particularly in the hard-hit leisure and hospitality industry. Owners are taking on more work themselves and improvising other ways to get by.
Europeans weigh costs of cutting Russian energy over Ukraine
MILAN (AP) — Rising energy prices in Europe are testing the resolve of those caught between a dependence on cheap Russian energy and their revulsion at Moscow’s war in Ukraine. Governments are trying to replace Russian energy, mindful their regular payments are funding the invasion. The economic blow is falling increasingly on consumers and businesses. In the low-income neighborhoods of Milan, people seek help from the church in paying utility bills. A pipe-fitter who installs boilers in Hungary sees his profession directly affected by the war. A German glassmaker worries what the cutoff of Russian natural gas will mean for her company. A Bulgarian construction worker fears the blowback of more sanctions on once-close Moscow.
OPEC+ opens oil taps gradually as Russian war roils markets
LONDON (AP) — OPEC and allied oil-producing countries are gradually increasing the amount of crude they send to the world. That decision Thursday comes even as Europe’s proposed phaseout of Russian oil threatens to yank millions of barrels off a global market already thirsty for crude. The cautious approach from the OPEC+ alliance — which includes non-member Russia — will exacerbate a global energy crunch. Prices are expected to rise further for oil and the gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel made from it. OPEC+ has stuck with its road map to gradually open the oil taps, agreeing to add 432,000 barrels per day in June.
Boeing will move its headquarters to DC area from Chicago
CHICAGO (AP) — Boeing says it plans to move its corporate headquarters from Chicago to the Washington, D.C., area. The company made it official on Thursday. Boeing is a major defense contractor, so the move would put its executives close to customers in the Pentagon. It would also put them near the Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates Boeing’s business of building passenger airplanes. Boeing’s roots are in the Seattle area, and it has assembly plants in Washington state and South Carolina. The company moved its headquarters to Chicago in 2001 after an unusually public search that also considered Dallas and Denver.
US mortgage rates rise; 30-year at 5.27%, highest since 2009
WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates resumed their ascent this week, as the key 30-year loan reached its highest point since 2009. The increases came in the week preceding the widely anticipated action by the Federal Reserve, announced Wednesday, to intensify its fight against the worst inflation in 40 years by raising its benchmark interest rate by a half-percentage point and signaling further large rate hikes to come. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reports that the 30-year rate rose to 5.27% from 5.1% last week. The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages jumped to 4.52% from 4.4% last week.
The S&P 500 shed 153.30 points, or 3.6%, to 4,146.87. The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 1,063.09 points, or 3.1%, to 32,997.97. The Nasdaq lost 647.16 points, or 5%, to 12,317.69. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 78.77 points, or 4%, to 1,871.15.