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Business Highlights: Inflation questions, short sellers

November 11, 2021 GMT

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EXPLAINER: Why US inflation is so high, and when it may ease

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation is starting to look like that unexpected — and unwanted — houseguest who just won’t leave. For months, many economists had sounded a reassuring message that a spike in consumer prices, something that had been missing in action in the U.S. for a generation, wouldn’t stay long. It would prove “transitory,” in the soothing words of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and White House officials, as the economy shifted from virus-related chaos to something closer to normalcy. Yet as any American who has bought a carton of milk, a gallon of gas or a used car could tell you, inflation has settled in.

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Saudi Arabia denies playing climate saboteur at Glasgow

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s energy minister is rejecting complaints that the oil kingdom is working behind the scenes to undermine global climate talks. Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman al Saud on Wednesday told reporters that such claims were a “false allegation and a cheat and a lie.” As the world’s biggest oil producer, Saudi Arabia long has been accused of trying to slow down and weaken the deals that come out of U.N. climate talks. At current talks in Glasgow, Scotland, Saudi Arabia proposed cutting off negotiations at 6 every night. Negotiators and observers accuse the kingdom of more complex efforts behind closed doors to play factions against one another in the talks.

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Disappearing shorts: As stocks soar, skeptics surrender

NEW YORK (AP) — The skeptics of Wall Street have gone missing. As the stock market surges to record after record, activity has dwindled to a nearly two-decade low for the traders known as short sellers, who make their money betting stocks will fall. That will sadden nearly no one. Critics from Capitol Hill to Main Street often paint short sellers as merchants of pain who only hurt the market. But experts and remaining short sellers say they provide an important service suited for this moment: offering a counterweight against stock prices that may be rising too high, too fast.

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UN chief says global warming goal on ‘life support’

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 F) is “on life support” in the final days of the U.N.’s climate talks in Glasgow. In an exclusive interview on Thursday with The Associated Press, Guterres said the talks have not met any of the U.N.’s three goals. He added that “until the last moment, hope should be maintained.” Guterres says the ongoing negotiations need to accomplish more than securing a weak deal that participating nations agree to support. “The worst thing would be to reach an agreement at all costs by a minimum common denominator that would not respond to the huge challenges,” he said.

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Stocks eke out small gains, still headed for weekly loss

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks managed to close mostly higher on Wall Street Thursday, but the S&P 500 is still on track for its first weekly loss in six weeks. The benchmark index eked out a gain of under 0.1%, while gains in technology companies helped push the Nasdaq up 0.5%. The mixed showing came a day after a surge in inflation tripped up major indexes. Disney sank 7.1% in heavy trading after reporting a slowdown in subscriber gains at its streaming channel. Beyond Meat dropped 13.3% after reporting a much wider loss than analysts were expecting. Bond trading was closed for Veterans Day.

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Kellogg’s files lawsuit against its striking cereal workers

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Kellogg Co. has filed a lawsuit against its local union in Omaha. It’s complaining that striking workers are blocking entrances to its cereal plant and intimidating replacement workers who are entering the plant. The company based in Battle Creek, Michigan, asked a judge to order the Omaha chapter of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union to stop interfering with its business while workers picket outside the plant. The workers in Omaha and at Kellogg’s three other U.S. cereal plants in Battle Creek; Lancaster, Pennsylvania and Memphis, Tennessee, have been on strike since Oct. 5. Two days of contract talks earlier this month failed to produce an agreement.

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Study: US shoppers outspend Chinese to restore luxury market

MILAN (AP) — A new study shows that the personal luxury market of high-end accessories, leather goods and apparel has snapped back to pre-pandemic levels. The Bain consultancy says U.S. shoppers have powered that recovery, outspending those in China in pursuit of the latest fashion trends. Global consumer spending on personal luxury goods, including the latest sneaker trend or design collaboration, is forecast to spike by 29% this year to 283 billion euros. That’s a return to 2019 levels and a turnaround from the gloom of the 2020 pandemic lockdowns that shuttered stores and halted international travel. The recovery is expected to be supported by a strong holiday shopping season.

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Chinese shoppers spend $139 billion during Singles’ Day fest

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese shoppers spent $139.1 billion during this year’s annual Singles’ Day shopping extravaganza, breaking last year’s record even though consumer spending slowed amid economic uncertainty during the coronavirus pandemic. Experts say that the world’s largest online shopping festival has taken on a more muted tone this year with less marketing hype on the back off a regulatory crackdown on the technology industry. This year, e-commerce platforms reduced marketing hype in line with the Chinese government’s push for less extravagance. Shoppers say deep discounts during Singles’ Day are a thing of the past.

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The S&P 500 rose 2.56 points, less than 0.1%, to 4,649.27. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 158.71 points, or 0.4%, to 35,921.23. The Nasdaq gained 81.58 points, 0.5%, to 15,704.28. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies added 19.56 points, or 0.8%, to 2,409.14.