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Business Highlights: Musk’s Twitter ideal, Fed confirmation

April 26, 2022 GMT

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Will Musk’s hands-off ideal for Twitter have broad appeal?

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Coming up with $44 billion to buy Twitter was the easy part for Elon Musk. Next comes the real challenge for the world’s richest person: fulfilling his promise to make Twitter “better than ever” as a lightly regulated haven for free speech. Many of Musk’s proposed changes reflect his own experience as a high-profile and outspoken Twitter user with more than 85 million followers and a swarm of pesky impersonator accounts. But a key question is how the changes he is prioritizing will be received by the more than 200 million other users who aren’t getting banned or flooded with spam.

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Brainard wins Senate confirmation to be Fed’s vice chair

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate confirmed the nomination of Lael Brainard to a four-year term as vice chair of the Federal Reserve, elevating her to the Fed’s No. 2 post in the midst of the central bank’s toughest fight against inflation in four decades. Her confirmation came in a 52-43 vote in the Senate. President Joe Biden had nominated Brainard in November. Brainard, 60, has been a member of the Fed’s Board of Governors since 2014, and her rise to a leading policymaking role follows an extensive career as an economic official during previous Democratic administrations.

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Tech stocks slump again; Nasdaq has worst loss since 2020

NEW YORK (AP) — More sharp declines in Big Tech stocks sent the Nasdaq composite down 4% Tuesday, the worst drop for the tech-heavy index since September 2020. The Nasdaq is now down 20% so far this year as investors shun the ultra-pricey tech sector, which had made gangbuster gains for much of the pandemic. With interest rates set to rise as the Federal Reserve steps up its inflation fight, traders are less and less willing to endure the lofty prices they had been paying for Microsoft, Facebook’s parent company and other tech giants. The S&P 500 fell 2.8% and the Dow Jones industrials lost 2.4%.

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Housing shortage, soaring rents squeeze US college students

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — College students squeezed by a massive housing shortage and rising rents are living in motels, commuting long distances or sleeping in their cars. Officials at some schools said the pandemic muddied projections for on-campus housing last fall. But the lack of affordable housing has been a longstanding problem at other colleges, including many in California. UC Berkeley is fighting homeowners who oppose the university’s plans for more housing. The University of Tennessee announced a new housing lottery for the fall in order to accommodate a larger freshman class. Apartment List says rents in Knoxville have gone up 36% since March 2020.

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Russia’s war heats up cooking oil prices in global squeeze

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ISTANBUL (AP) — Cooking oil prices have been rising worldwide since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and Russia’s war in Ukraine has sent those costs spiraling. It’s the latest fallout to the global food supply from the war, with Ukraine and Russia the world’s top exporters of sunflower oil. And it’s another rising cost pinching households and businesses as inflation soars. People in some countries are facing limits on how much vegetable oil they can buy at supermarkets and costs that show no sign of slowing. Restaurants and other businesses that rely on cooking oil are being forced to make the difficult choice to raise prices for customers or absorb the cost themselves.

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US consumers still confident in April, but slightly less so

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence dampened slightly in April but remains high even as inflation concerns continue to cloud their optimism about the rest of the year. The Conference Board, a business research group, said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index — which takes into account consumers’ assessment of current conditions and their outlook for the future — edged down to 107.3 in April from 107.6 in March. The expectations index, based on consumers’ six-month outlook for income, business and labor market conditions, ticked up to 77.2 in April from 76.7 in March. It remains a weak spot in the survey.

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Google parent suffers 1Q growth slowdown, profit decline

SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Google’s corporate parent has posted its slowest quarterly revenue growth since 2020, the latest sign that the huge gains enjoyed by technology companies during the pandemic are fading into the rear-view mirror. For most companies, the numbers announced Tuesday would be a cause for celebration. But tech companies are sized up differently, with investors typically measuring them by how much growth they deliver each quarter compared to the previous year. And Google’s parent, Alphabet, reported its revenue during the January-March period rose 23% from last year, its weakest since 2020, while profit dropped 8%. Alphabet’s already slumping stock shed another 4%.

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GM’s $2.94B 1Q profit tops Street views, but revenue misses

LOS ANGELES (AP) — General Motors’ net income declined in the first quarter, as the automaker sold fewer cars and trucks worldwide, though higher prices helped boost revenue, especially in North America. The Detroit company’s adjusted earnings topped Wall Street estimates, though its revenue fell short of analysts’ forecasts. GM reported net income of $2.94 billion, or $1.35 per share, versus a profit of $3.02 billion, or $2.03 per share, in the same quarter last year. Revenue jumped nearly 11% to $35.98 billion, below the $36.89 billion analysts projected.

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Delta to begin paying flight attendants during boarding

Delta Air Lines will start paying flight attendants during the time that passengers are boarding. That’s a first for a major U.S. airline. Flight attendants in the U.S. generally don’t begin getting paid by the hour until the doors close after boarding. Delta said Tuesday that the change will take effect in June, and it comes on top of pay raises for flight attendants. The pay increase comes as Delta faces another attempt by unions to organize its non-union flight attendants. Delta said the new boarding pay would be on top of 4% raises that it granted to flight attendants last month.

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The S&P 500 tumbled 120.92 points, or 2.8%, to 4,175.20. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 809.28 points, or 2.4%, to 33,240.18. The Nasdaq lost 514.11 points, or 4%, to 12,490.74. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 63.73 points, or 3.3%, to 1,890.47.