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Business Highlights: Russian oil imports banned, stocks down

March 8, 2022 GMT

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US strikes harder at Putin, banning all Russian oil imports

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has announced that the U.S. will ban all Russian oil imports, toughening the toll on Russia’s economy in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine. But he also acknowledged it will bring costs to Americans, particularly at the gas pump. The action on Tuesday follows pleas by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to U.S. and Western officials to cut off the imports. Biden declared in remarks at the White House that “We will not be part of subsidizing Putin’s war.”

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EXPLAINER: What does a US ban on Russian oil accomplish?

NEW YORK (AP) — With Russia intensifying its war on Ukraine, killing civilians and triggering a mass refugee crisis, President Joe Biden announced a U.S. ban on imported Russian oil. A full embargo would be most effective if it included European allies, which are also desperate to stop the violence in Ukraine and the danger Moscow poses to the continent. Yet it’s far from clear that all of Europe would take part in an embargo. Any curbs on Russian oil exports could send already skyrocketing oil and gasoline prices ever higher and further squeeze consumers, businesses, financial markets and the global economy.

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Q&A: Forecasters say gasoline prices likely to remain high

DALLAS (AP) — Gasoline prices are setting a new record, and they’re likely to go higher in the coming weeks. The national average topped $4.17 a gallon on Tuesday, according to auto club AAA. Californians already pay over $5 on average, and residents in a few other states could soon join them. Why is this happening? Prices at the pump have been rising for more than a year, as energy demand outstripped supply. But analysts say most of the run-up in the last week or so can be blamed on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Oil markets anticipated the kind of ban on Russian oil that President Joe Biden announced Tuesday.

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McDonald’s to temporarily close 850 stores in Russia

DETROIT (AP) — McDonald’s said Tuesday it is temporarily closing all of its 850 restaurants in Russia in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. The burger giant said it will continue paying its 62,000 employees in Russia. But in an open letter to employees, McDonald’s President and CEO Chris Kempczinski said closing those stores is the right thing to do because McDonald’s can’t ignore the “needless human suffering in Ukraine.” McDonald’s owns 84% of its Russian restaurants. In a recent financial filing, the company said Russia and Ukraine contributed 9% of the company’s revenue last year.

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Shell says it will stop buying Russian oil, natural gas

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LONDON (AP) — Shell says it will stop buying Russian oil as international companies come under increasing to sever ties with the country after its invasion of Ukraine. The move Tuesday came hours before the U.S. and British governments banned Russian oil imports. The turmoil has rattled global markets, sending oil prices surging to a 14-year high overnight. Shell says it will immediately stop buying Russian oil on the spot market, which is used for one-time deals involving rapid deliveries, and it would not renew longer-term contracts. The company intends to totally withdraw from the Russian market for oil, oil products, natural gas and liquefied natural gas in a “phased manner.”

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Apple’s new budget iPhone will be faster and more expensive

SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Apple on Tuesday unveiled a new version of its budget-priced iPhone that’s capable of connecting to ultrafast 5G wireless networks, an upgrade that has been available on the company’s upscale models for more than a year. The latest iPhone SE marks the first upgrade to the bare-bones version of Apple’s most popular product in nearly two years. In the latest sign of the inflationary pressures that have been roiling the economy, the new iPhone SE will sell for $429. That’s an 8% increase from $399 price tag for the last version that came out nearly two years ago.

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Stocks wobble lower, crude climbs after US bans Russian oil

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks ended lower following another day of yo-yoing between gains and losses after crude oil prices rose anew as the U.S. banned imports from Russia. The price of nickel surged so much that trading for the metal was shut on Tuesday as the economic fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to rock markets. The S&P 500 fell 0.7% after careening between a loss of 1% and a gain of 1.8%. Wide swings have become common as investors struggle to guess how high oil prices will go, and how much they’ll weigh on the economy and further stoke inflation. Crude prices rose more than 3%.

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Beefing up its cybersecurity, Google buys Mandiant for $5.4B

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — Google is fortifying its cloud services with a $5.4 billion acquisition of cybersecurity firm Mandiant, the companies announced Tuesday. Google, a subsidiary of Mountain View, California-based Alphabet Inc., will pay $23 per Mandiant share in all-cash deal expected to close later this year. The price represents a 57% premium on Mandiant’s share price in early February, when speculation about a deal first surfaced. The acquisition is the first of many that analysts foresee in the cybersecurity sector following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Many expect a wave of online security threats by Russia and others as geopolitical tensions rise.

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Echoing Churchill, Zelenskyy vows Ukraine will fight to end

LONDON (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has evoked wartime British leader Winston Churchill in a speech to Britain’s Parliament. He told U.K. lawmakers by video link on Tuesday that Ukrainians would fight Russian invaders to the end in the country’s forests, fields and streets. He said “we will not give up and we will not lose.” It evoked the “never surrender” speech delivered by Churchill in 1940 during the darkest days of World War II. The Ukrainian leader urged the U.K. to increase sanctions on Russia, to recognize Russia as a “terrorist country” and to keep Ukraine’s skies safe. He was given a standing ovation by members from all parties in the House of Commons.

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EU commits to phasing out dependency on Russian fossil fuels

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is seeking to fully phase out its dependency on Russian energy “well before 2030” to ensure the 27-nation bloc no longer faces difficult decisions about hurting their own economies in geopolitical crises like the invasion of Ukraine. The EU leaders meet in Versailles outside Paris for a two-day summit starting Thursday and will be working on ways to reduce their reliance on Moscow for fossil fuels. The European Commission unveiled proposals Tuesday to make it happen. The EU’s executive arm said its measures “can reduce EU demand for Russian gas by two-thirds before the end of the year” as a first step.

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The S&P 500 fell 30.39 points, or 0.7%, to 4,170.70. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 184.74 points, or 0.6%, to 32,632.64. The Nasdaq fell 35.41 points, or 0.3%, to 12,795.55. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 11.68 points, or 0.6%, to 1,963.01.

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