Business Highlights: April’s jobs report, stock market skid
US added 428,000 jobs in April despite surging inflation
WASHINGTON (AP) — America’s employers added 428,000 jobs in April, extending a streak of solid hiring that has defied punishing inflation, chronic supply shortages, the Russian war against Ukraine and much higher borrowing costs. Last month’s hiring kept the unemployment rate at 3.6%, just above the lowest level in a half-century. Employers have added at least 400,000 jobs for 12 straight months. Still, the job growth, along with steady wage gains, will help fuel consumer spending and likely keep the Federal Reserve on track to raise borrowing rates sharply to fight inflation. That would lead to increasingly heavy borrowing costs for consumers and businesses. Higher loan rates could also weigh down corporate profits.
Stocks end rocky week with their 5th straight weekly decline
NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market ended an unusually turbulent week with its fifth straight weekly decline. The bumpy and mostly lower ride came as investors worry that the Federal Reserve may not succeed in engineering a smooth cooldown of the economy without letting inflation get out of hand. The S&P 500 ended with a loss of 0.6% Friday, having come back partway from a bigger loss of 1.9%. The Fed is aggressively moving to yank supports for the economy put in place through the pandemic. That has helped send bond yields, which influence mortgage rates, to the highest levels since 2018, and they’re sure to move higher.
With Ukraine’s ports blocked, trains in Europe haul grain
VIENNA (AP) — A train carrying 2,000 metric tons of Ukrainian corn has arrived in Austria. It’s part of European efforts to elude a Russian blockade of Ukraine’s ports that has prevented critical supplies of wheat, corn and other grains from getting to countries in Africa, Middle East and parts of Asia. Austria’s farming minister said Friday that the shipment marked the establishment of a “green corridor” for important cargo shipments between the two countries. The shipment comes amid a wider struggle to cope with disruptions to global food supplies triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with both countries two of the world’s biggest suppliers of wheat, barley and sunflower oil.
Biden plugs manufacturing initiative at Ohio metal company
HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — President Joe Biden is pledging that 3D printing technology will help return factory jobs to the U.S. and reduce inflationary pressures. He went to Hamilton, Ohio, on Friday to highlight commitments by five major U.S. manufacturers to boost their reliance on small and medium American firms for 3D printing. GE Aviation, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Siemens Energy have agreed to take part in the program. Biden is pressing Congress to approve a stalled competition and innovation bill that the Democratic president says is critical to bolstering domestic manufacturing and helping solve a semiconductor shortage.
Britain pushes tough tech rules under new digital watchdog
LONDON (AP) — Big tech companies like Google and Facebook parent Meta would have to comply with tough British rules under a new digital watchdog aimed at giving consumers more choice online. Otherwise, they would face the threat of big fines. The U.K. government on Friday outlined the powers it’s planning for its Digital Markets Unit, a regulator set up last year to take on the dominance of tech giants. It didn’t specify when the rules would take force, saying legislation would come “in due course.” The new watchdog would enforce rules that make it easier for people to switch between iPhones and Android devices or between social media accounts without losing their data and messages.
Tesla covers travel costs for workers seeking abortions
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Tesla is covering travel costs for employees seeking abortions outside their home state. The company said Friday in its 2021 “Impact Report” that it expanded its Safety Net program and health insurance offerings last year to include “travel and lodging support for those who may need to seek health care services that are unavailable in their home state.” The car maker officially moved its corporate headquarters last year from Silicon Valley to Texas, which passed a law banning abortions at roughly six weeks of pregnancy. It joins the ranks of other major companies who’ve introduced a similar policy to benefit workers affected by new abortion restrictions.
SEC: Nvidia failed to disclose crypto as revenue generator
NEW YORK (AP) — Nvidia, a major tech company that has expanded aggressively into gaming, will pay a $5.5 million penalty for failing to disclose that cryptomining was a significant source of revenue growth from the sale of graphics processing units produced and marketed for gaming. Crypto currencies are extremely volatile and the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission said Friday that the company did not disclose the potential risks of such sales to investors. Cryptominers are compensated for verifying crypto transactions. As the crypto craze began to spread in 2017, Nvidia’s graphics processing units that were designed and marketed for gaming were increasingly used to mine cryptocurrency, according to the SEC, something investors should have been told.
U.S. sanctions North Korean cryptocurrency mixing firm
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. has sanctioned North Korean digital currency mixing firm Blender.io, which allegedly uses its service to launder stolen virtual currency and support malicious cyber activities. Mixing services combine various assets, including potentially illegally obtained funds with legitimately obtained funds, and spit them out to a destination address. The purpose for illegal actors is to obscure the origin of the funds. Blender is accused of assisting Lazarus Group, a sanctioned North Korean cyber hacking group, to carry out a $620 million digital currency heist in March. Treasury says Blender helped process over $20.5 million in digital currency.
The S&P 500 dropped 23.53 points, or 0.6%, to 4,123.34. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 98.60 points, or 0.3%, to 32,899.37. The Nasdaq lost 173.03 points, or 1.4%, to 12,144.66. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies tumbled 31.58 points, or 1.7%, to 1,839.56.