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Business Highlights: Gains on Wall Street, Russia sanctions

May 23, 2022 GMT

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Wall Street ends higher following 7 straight weeks of losses

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks closed higher on Wall Street Monday following seven weeks of declines that nearly ended the bull market that began in March 2020. The S&P 500 rose 1.9%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2% and the Nasdaq rose 1.6%. Banks and technology stocks made some of the strongest gains. Concerns about inflation have been weighing on the market and have kept major indexes in a slump recently. The S&P 500 is coming off its longest weekly losing streak since the dot-com bubble was deflating in 2001. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which helps set mortgage rates, rose to 2.86%.

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Zelenskyy urges ‘maximum’ sanctions on Russia in Davos talk

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is calling for “maximum” sanctions against Russia during a virtual speech at the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland. He said Monday that sanctions need to go further to stop Russia’s aggression, including an oil embargo, blocking all of its banks and cutting off trade with Russia completely. Zelenskyy also says Ukraine needs at least $5 billion per month. He says the country has “more than half a trillion of dollars in losses.” He added that tens of thousands of lives could have been saved if Ukraine had “received 100% of our needs at once, back in February” in terms of weapons, funding, political support and sanctions against Russia.

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For Americans, 2021 delivered healthiest finances in 8 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans’ financial health reached its highest level in nearly a decade last year, the Federal Reserve said Monday, spurred by a strong job market and government support payments. Almost eight in 10 adults said last fall that they were either “doing okay or living comfortably” when it came to their finances in 2021, according to an annual Fed survey, the highest proportion to say so since the survey began in 2013.

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Contractor quitting puts Shell in spotlight over climate

BERLIN (AP) — A longtime contractor for Shell has accusing the oil and gas company of “double talk” by saying it wants to cut greenhouse gas emissions while working on tapping new sources of fossil fuel. Safety consultant Caroline Dennett said Monday that she was ending her links with the company and urged others in the fossil fuel industry to do likewise. She claimed in a public post on LinkedIn that Shell wasn’t winding down on fossil fuels. Shell insisted it was committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The company is due to hold its annual general meeting for shareholders Tuesday. It said it has set targets for the short, medium and long term and is already investing billions of dollars in low-carbon energy.

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Video game workers create first union at big U.S. game maker

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Video game workers at a division of game publisher Activision Blizzard have voted to unionize, creating the first labor union at a large U.S. video game company. A count of ballots on Monday revealed the results of the election affecting a small group of Wisconsin-based quality assurance testers at Activision Blizzard’s Raven Software, which develops the popular Call of Duty game franchise. The tally was 19-3. The unionization campaign by employees at Raven’s office in Middleton, Wisconsin, has been part of a broader internal shakeup at Activision Blizzard, a Santa Monica, California-based gaming giant with roughly 10,000 employees worldwide.

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DC sues Zuckerberg over Cambridge Analytica privacy breach

WASHINGTON (AP) — The District of Columbia has sued Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg. It’s seeking to hold him personally liable for the Cambridge Analytica scandal, privacy breach of millions of Facebook users’ personal data that became a major corporate and political scandal. D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine filed the civil lawsuit against Zuckerberg in D.C. Superior Court. The lawsuit maintains that Zuckerberg directly participated in important company decisions and was aware of the potential dangers of sharing users’ data, such as occurred in the case involving data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica. That firm gathered details on as many as 87 million Facebook users without their permission. Meta Platform spokesman Andy Stone declined to comment.

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Starbucks leaving Russian market, shutting 130 stores

Starbucks is pulling out of the Russian market. In a memo to employees Monday, the Seattle coffee giant said it decided to close its 130 stores and no longer have a brand presence in Russia. Starbucks said it will continue to pay its nearly 2,000 Russian employees for six months and help them transition to new jobs. Starbucks’ Russian stores are owned and operated by Alshaya Group, a Kuwait-based franchise operator. Starbucks had suspended all business activity in Russia on March 8 due to the war in Ukraine.

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Boards for Meta, Twitter face backlash from NY pension fund

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A major New York pension fund that has invested in both Facebook’s corporate parent and Twitter believes it’s time to shake up the companies’ boards of directors because of their inability to keep violent content off their influential social media services. The New York State Common Retirement Fund outlined its grievances with Facebook owner Meta Platforms and Twitter in separate May 19 letters that were filed Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The letter outlined the fund’s plans to vote against the Meta and Twitter directors seeking re-election at the companies’ respective annual shareholder meetings on Wednesday.

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The S&P 500 gained 72.39 points, or 1.9%, to 3,973.75. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 618.34 points, or 2%, to 31,880.24. The Nasdaq advanced 180.66 points, or 1.6%, to 11,535.27. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies tacked on 19.50 points, or 1.1%, to 1,792.76.