Business Highlights: Eyes on airlines, slump on Wall Street
All eyes on airlines as July Fourth holiday weekend nears
DALLAS (AP) — If you’re flying this holiday weekend, be prepared for crowded airports, full planes, and higher-than-normal chances that your flight will be delayed or even canceled. Airlines have stumbled badly over the last two holiday weekends, and the number of Americans flying over the July Fourth weekend is expected to set records for the pandemic era. Problems have been popping up already, with high numbers of cancellations this week, some of them caused by thunderstorms that snarled air traffic. Tracking service FlightAware says American Airlines canceled 8% of its flights on Tuesday and Wednesday, and United Airlines scrubbed 4% of its schedule on those same days.
Stocks slump, closing out worst quarter since early 2020
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell again on Wall Street Thursday, closing out the worst quarter for the market since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020. The S&P 500 index lost 0.9%. It’s now down 21% since hitting a record high at the beginning of the year, having entered a bear market earlier in June. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.8% and the Nasdaq fell 1.3%. Tech stocks and retailers and other companies that rely directly on consumer spending posted some of the biggest losses, as they have all year. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.01%.
From stocks to crypto, a punishing six months for investors
NEW YORK (AP) — Americans with stock portfolios or retirement investment plans would likely prefer to forget the last six months. The S&P 500, Wall Street’s broad benchmark for many stock funds, closed the first half of 2022 Thursday with a loss of more than 20% after starting the year at an all-time high. It’s the worst start to a year since 1970, when Apple and Microsoft had yet to be founded. Bonds are on pace for one of their worst performances in history, and cryptocurrencies have tumbled after soaring last year. Financial markets have been roiled as the Federal Reserve has hiked interest rates sharply to tame surging inflation.
Supreme Court decision may slow transition to cleaner energy
NEW YORK (AP) — The Supreme Court ruling limiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants could have far-reaching consequences for the energy sector — and make it harder for the Biden administration to meet its goal of having the U.S. power grid run on clean energy by 2035. The nation has been gradually transitioning away from coal to cleaner sources of electricity such as natural gas, solar energy and wind, often because they are less expensive. The ruling could slow the transition to clean energy in the future because it imposes constraints on what the EPA can do without exceeding its legal authority.
Key inflation gauge tracked by the Fed remains a high 6.3%
WASHINGTON (AP) — A measure of inflation that is closely tracked by the Federal Reserve jumped 6.3% in May from a year earlier, unchanged from its level in April. Thursday’s report from the Commerce Department provided the latest evidence that painfully high inflation is pressuring American households and inflicting particular harm on low-income families and people of color. The government’s report also said that consumer spending rose at a sluggish 0.2% rate from April to May. On a month-to-month basis, prices rose 0.6% from April to May, up from the 0.2% increase from March to April.
OPEC+ oil boost likely not much help to high gasoline prices
NEW YORK (AP) — The OPEC oil cartel and allied producing nations have decided to boost production of crude by an amount that will likely do little to relieve high gasoline prices at the pump and energy-fueled inflation plaguing the global economy. The group agreed Thursday to an increase of 648,000 barrels per day in August, which leaves the world thirsty for oil as it rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic. It also runs up against the inability of the 23-member OPEC+ alliance to meet its production quotas. Biden, facing political pressure at home, has been urging oil-producing countries to open the taps and help bring down gasoline prices for American drivers.
Some medical debt is being removed from US credit reports
NEW YORK (AP) — Help is coming for many people struggling with medical debt on credit reports. Starting Friday, the three major U.S. credit reporting companies will stop counting paid medical debt on their reports, which banks and others use to judge creditworthiness. The companies also will start giving patients a year to resolve delinquent medical debt that has been sent to collections before reporting it. That’s up from six months. Next year, the companies also will stop counting unpaid medical debt under $500. Patient advocates cheer these moves, but they want more. They question whether medical debt should remain on credit reports at all.
Spirit’s delay allows airline bidding war time to play out
NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Spirit Airlines are rising after the budget airline postponed a vote on a merger with Frontier for the second time. Spirit announced hours before a shareholder meeting Thursday that the merger vote will be pushed back to July 8. That will give Spirit more time to talk with Frontier and JetBlue Airways, which is also bidding for Spirit. JetBlue’s CEO sees the latest delay as a sign that his airline will eventually win the bidding war.
The S&P 500 fell 33.45 points, or 0.9%, to 3,785.38. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 253.88 points, or 0.8%, to 30,775.43. The Nasdaq fell 149.16 points, or 1.3%, to 11,028.74. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies dipped 11.38 points, or 0.7%, to 1,707.99.