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Business Highlights: Powell on future hikes, SEC on climate

March 21, 2022 GMT

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Powell says Fed will hike further and faster if necessary

WASHINGTON (AP) — Chair Jerome Powell said the Federal Reserve would raise its benchmark short-term interest rate faster than expected, and high enough to restrain growth and hiring, if it decides this would be necessary to slow rampaging inflation. Powell’s message was more hawkish than his comments were after last week’s Fed meeting, when officials raised their key rate a quarter-point from near zero to a range of 0.25% to 0.5%. His remarks caused a sharp drop in the stock market with its implication that potentially much higher rates could be on the way for mortgages, auto loans, credit cards and other consumer and business borrowing.

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New corporate climate change disclosures proposed by SEC

WASHINGTON (AP) — Companies would be required to disclose the greenhouse gas emissions they produce and how climate risk affects their business, under new rules proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The proposed rules are part of a drive across the government to address climate change. Under the proposals, public companies would have to report on their climate risks, including the costs of moving away from fossil fuels. They would be required to lay out their transition plans for managing climate risk, how they intend to meet climate goals and progress made, and the impact of severe weather events on their finances.

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Russia court bans Facebook, Instagram on ‘extremism’ charges

MOSCOW (AP) — A Moscow court has banned Facebook and Instagram for what it deemed extremist activity in a case their parent company, Meta. The court on Monday fulfilled a request from prosecutors to outlaw Meta Platforms Inc. and ban Facebook and Instagram for what they called “extremist activities.” Prosecutors have accused the social media platforms of ignoring government requests to remove what they described as fake news about the military action in Ukraine. Meta declined to comment. Prosecutors haven’t requested to ban the Meta-owned messaging services WhatsApp. Instagram and Facebook were already blocked in Russia after authorities said they were being used to call for violence against Russian soldiers.

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Russian bond trading resumes for 1st time since Ukraine war

Russia’s central bank cautiously reopened bond trading on the Moscow exchange for the first time since the country invaded Ukraine. The price of Russia’s ruble-denominated government debt fell Monday, sending borrowing costs higher. Stock trading has remained closed, with no word on when it might reopen. The central bank bought bonds to support prices. The bank has imposed wide-ranging restrictions on financial transactions to try to stabilize markets and combat the severe fallout from Western sanctions that have sent the ruble sharply lower against the U.S. dollar and the euro.

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Lawsuit says Google discriminates against Black workers

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) — A former Google employee sued the tech giant saying it engages in a “pattern and practice” of racial discrimination against its Black workers, steering them into lower-level and lower-paid jobs and subjecting them to a hostile work environment if they speak out. April Curley was hired in 2014 to recruit Black candidates for the company. Her lawsuit, filed on Friday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose, claims she was unlawfully fired in 2020 after she began speaking out and “called for reform of the barriers and double standards Google imposed on Black employees and applicants,” according to the lawsuit.

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UN chief: Don’t let Russia crisis fuel climate destruction

BERLIN (AP) — The head of the United Nations says countries scrambling to replace Russian oil, gas and coal supplies with any available alternative may fuel the world’s “mutually assured destruction” through climate change. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the ‘all-of-the-above’ strategy pursued by major economies to end fossil fuel imports from Russia could kill hopes of keeping global warming below dangerous levels. Speaking by video he said that “instead of hitting the brakes on the decarbonization of the global economy, now is the time to put the pedal to the metal towards a renewable energy future.” His comments came as scientists began a two-week meeting to finalize their latest report on greenhouse gas emissions.

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Workers go on strike at California refinery owned by Chevron

RICHMOND, Calif. (AP) — More than 500 workers at a Chevron Corp. refinery in the San Francisco Bay Area are on strike over safety concerns and to demand a salary increase to keep up with inflation and the area’s high cost of living. The United Steelworkers union says the strike affecting the refinery in the city of Richmond began at 12:01 a.m. Monday. It came after union workers voted down Chevron’s most recent contract offer. Chevron says in a statement that it negotiated with the union for months and believes its contract offer was fair. The company says refinery operations will continue despite the strike.

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Stocks turn lower on Wall Street after best week since 2020

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks ended modestly lower on Wall Street Monday after giving up an early gain and bouncing around for much of the day. The indecisive trading came after the market posted its best week since November 2020 and as the chair of the Federal Reserve said the central bank was prepared to move more aggressively if need be to contain inflation. The S&P 500 slipped less than 0.1%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.6% and the Nasdaq fell 0.4%. Bond yields rose significantly. Crude oil prices rose just over 7%. Media ratings agency Nielsen sank 6.9% after rejecting an acquisition offer.

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The S&P 500 lost 1.94 points, less than 0.1%, to 4,461.18. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 201.94 points, 0.6%, to 34,552.99 The Nasdaq slipped 55.38 points, or 0.4%, to 13,838.46. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies dropped 20.21 points, or 1%, to 2,065.94.