Dow Today – Business Highlights: Facebook’s new name, tax plan
In the middle of a crisis, Facebook Inc. renames itself Meta
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his company is rebranding itself as Meta, an effort to encompass its virtual-reality vision for the future. Experts point out that it also appears to be an attempt to change the subject from the Facebook Papers, a document trove that has revealed how Facebook ignored or downplayed internal warnings of the negative and often harmful consequences its algorithms wreaked across the world. Zuckerberg insists that the metaverse — what you might think of as the internet rendered in three dimensions — represents the next technological horizon for humanity, and thinks a billion people could be connected to it within a decade.
‘Stupid’ and ‘insane’: Some billionaires vent over tax plan
Elon Musk isn’t happy. With a personal fortune that is flirting with $300 billion, the Tesla CEO — the richest person on earth — has been lashing out at a Democratic proposal to tax the assets of billionaires like him. The idea behind the Democratic plan is to use revenue from a billionaires tax to help pay for a domestic policy package being negotiated in Congress that would, among other things, combat climate change, and expand health care programs. Musk, who recently blew past Amazon founder Jeff Bezos as the world No. 1 in personal wealth, would be liable for perhaps a $50 billion tax hit under the proposal.
Amazon reports sales and profit shortfall in 3Q
NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is forecasting revenue growth for the holiday quarter that is below analysts’ expectations, the latest evidence that the pandemic-induced online splurging is easing. The disappointing forecast, announced Thursday, comes as the Seattle-based online behemoth posted profits and revenue for the third quarter that also fell short of Wall Street estimates. Amazon also said it expects to incur several billions of dollars in extra costs in labor and other expenses as it deals with supply chain snarls and labor shortages.
Broad gains for stocks push S&P 500, Nasdaq to record highs
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks closed broadly higher on Wall Street Thursday, marking more record highs for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also rose but landed just shy of the record high it set on Tuesday. Small-company stocks rose more than the rest of the market, a sign that investors are feeling more optimistic about the economy. Ford jumped 8.7% after reporting earnings that easily beat analysts’ forecasts and raising its outlook for the year. Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar rose 4.1% after turning in strong results. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.57%.
Apple’s strong quarter suffers $6B blow from supply shortage
SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Apple’s iPhone sales soared yet again in the past quarter, but didn’t grow as rapidly as analysts anticipated because of supply shortages that have made it more difficult to meet the demand for a wide range of products. Until recently, the shortages that affected everything from automobiles to video game consoles haven’t been a major problem for Apple. Although the company’s quarterly results released Thursday served as evidence of its products’ continuing success, they also showed Apple isn’t immune to the supply headaches. While Apple’s earnings matched analysts estimates, its revenue fell below projections. Apple CEO Tim Cook said supply shortages lowered sales by $6 billion.
US economy slowed to a 2% rate last quarter in face of COVID
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hampered by COVID-19 cases and supply shortages, the U.S. economy slowed sharply to a 2% annual growth rate in the July-September period, the weakest quarterly expansion since the recovery from the pandemic recession began last year. The government estimate fell below expectations and would have been even weaker if not for a sharp increase in restocking by businesses, which added whatever supplies they could obtain. By contrast, consumer spending, which fuels about 70% of overall economic activity, slowed last quarter. Economists remain hopeful for a bounce-back in the current October-December period, with confirmed COVID cases declining, vaccination rates rising and more Americans venturing out to spend money.
Oil giants deny spreading disinformation on climate change
WASHINGTON (AP) — Top executives of ExxonMobil and other oil giants have denied spreading disinformation about climate change while sparring with congressional Democrats over allegations that the industry concealed evidence about the dangers of global warming. Exxon CEO Darren Woods said his company acknowledges the risks of climate change and that its statements on it have been fact-based and consistent with mainstream climate science. Democrats say the oil industry spreads doubt and misinformation about the harm its products cause. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the House Oversight Committee chairwoman, said after the hearing she will issue subpoenas to the oil companies seeking more documents.
Starbucks posts record quarterly sales thanks to US business
SEATTLE (AP) — Strong U.S. sales helped make up for weakness in other markets in Starbucks’ fiscal fourth quarter. The Seattle coffee giant said its North American same-store sales — or sales at locations open at least a year — jumped 22% in the July-September period. But same-store sales in China fell 7% as coronavirus cases once again disrupted store traffic. Starbucks said its revenue rose 31% to $8.1 billion for the quarter, an all-time high. But that was short of Wall Street’s forecast. The company said its net income more than quadrupled to $1.76 billion.
US jobless claims drop to pandemic low of 281,000
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell to a pandemic low last week, another sign that the job market and economy continue to recover from last year’s coronavirus recession. Jobless claims dropped by 10,000 to 281,000, lowest since mid-March 2020, the Labor Department said Thursday. Since topping 900,000 in early January, weekly applications have steadily dropped, moving ever closer to pre-pandemic levels just above 200,000. In all, 2.2 million people were collecting unemployment checks the week of Oct. 16, down from 7.7 million a year earlier.
The S&P 500 rose 44.74 points, or 1%, to 4,596.42. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 239.79 points, or 0.7%, to 35,730.48. The Nasdaq rose 212.28 points, 1.4%, to 15,448.12. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 45.49 points, or 2%, to 2,297.98.