Business Highlights: Cyber Monday, BlockFi bankruptcy – mySA

NEW YORK (AP) — Days after flocking to stores on Black Friday, consumers are turning online for Cyber Monday to score more discounts on gifts and other items that have ballooned in price because of high inflation. Adobe Analytics, which tracks transactions for top online retailers, forecasts Cyber Monday will remain the year’s biggest online shopping day and rake in up to $11.6 billion in sales. Some analysts expect the amount of items consumers purchase could remain unchanged – or even fall – compared to prior years. And profit margins are expected to be tight for retailers offering deeper discounts to attract budget-conscious consumers and clear out their bloated inventories.

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2 Fed officials favor keeping key rate at peak through 2023

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two Federal Reserve officials said they favor raising the Fed’s key rate to roughly 5% or more and keeping it at its peak through next year — longer than many on Wall Street have expected. John Williams, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said that the central bank has “more work to do” to reduce inflation closer to its 2% target. And James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Fed, suggested that financial markets are underestimating the likelihood the Fed will have to be more aggressive in its fight against the worst inflation bout in four decades.

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Irish watchdog fines Meta 265M euros in latest privacy case

LONDON (AP) — Irish regulators have slapped Facebook parent Meta with a 265 million euro fine in what is the company’s latest punishment for breaching strict European Union data privacy rules. The Data Protection Commission said Meta Platforms infringed sections of the EU rules that cover technical and organizational measures aimed at protecting user data. The watchdog opened an investigation last year into news reports that data on more 533 million users was found dumped online. Meta says the data had been “scraped” from Facebook using tools designed to help people find their friends through phone numbers using search and contact import features. The company said it had “cooperated fully” with the Irish watchdog.

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BlockFi files for bankruptcy, latest crypto company to fail

NEW YORK (AP) — Cryptocurrency lender BlockFi filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday, the latest casualty of the collapse of crypto exchange FTX. New Jersey-based BlockFi had been struggling for much of this year, but was given a lifeline this summer in the form of an FTX line of credit. FTX’s own bankruptcy, however, all but sealed BlockFi’s financial fate. BlockFi suspended withdrawals after FTX’s failure, and it had hired bankruptcy specialists in recent days. BlockFi was one of several crypto currency lenders to pop up in recent years. The company gave loans to customers using their crypto assets as collateral.

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Russian energy giant says no further gas cuts to Moldova

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Russian energy giant Gazprom announced Monday that it will not further reduce natural gas to Moldova as it had threatened to do after claiming that bills went unpaid and that flows crossing through Ukraine were not making it to Moldova. Gazprom tweeted Monday that Moldovagaz has “eliminated the violation of payment” for November supplies and that “funds for the gas deposited on the territory of Ukraine, intended for consumers in Moldova, have been received.” Last week, Moldova and Ukraine hit back at Gazprom’s claim that Russian gas moving through the last pipeline to Western Europe was being stored in Ukraine. They said all supplies Russia sends through the war-torn country get “fully transferred” to Moldova.

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US stock indexes fall as lockdown protests spread in China

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell broadly on Wall Street as protests spread in China calling for President Xi Jinping to step down amid growing anger over severe restrictions imposed as part of his “zero COVID” strategy in the world’s second-largest economy. The S&P 500 fell 1.5% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.4%. The Nasdaq lost 1.6%. Small-company stocks fell even more. Technology companies were the biggest weights on the broader market. Bond yields mostly rose. Markets will get another key piece of data on the economy later this week when the Labor Department issues its monthly jobs report.

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Biden eases Venezuela sanctions as opposition talks resume

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is easing some oil sanctions on Venezuela in an effort to support newly restarted negotiations between the Venezuelan government and its opposition. The Treasury Department is allowing Chevron to resume “limited” energy production in Venezuela after years of sanctions that have dramatically curtailed oil and gas profits that have flowed to President Nicolás Maduro’s government. Earlier this year the Treasury Department again allowed the California-based Chevron and other U.S. companies to perform basic upkeep of wells it operates jointly with state-run oil giant PDVSA. Under the new policy, profits from the sale of energy would be directed to paying down debt owed to Chevron, rather than providing profits to PDVSA.

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Whole Foods decision to pull lobster divides enviros, pols

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Environmental groups are once again at odds with politicians and fishermen in New England in the wake of a decision by high-end retail giant Whole Foods to stop selling Maine lobster. Whole Foods recently said that it will stop selling lobster from the Gulf of Maine at hundreds of its stores around the country. The company cited decisions by a pair of sustainability organizations to take away their endorsements of the U.S. lobster fishing industry. The organizations, Marine Stewardship Council and Seafood Watch, both cited concerns about risks to rare North Atlantic right whales from fishing gear. Entanglement in gear is one of the biggest threats to the whales.

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The S&P 500 shed 62.18 points, or less than 1.5%, to 3,963.94. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 497.57 points, or 1.4%, to 33,849.46. The Nasdaq tumbled 176.86 points, or 1.6%, to 11,049.50. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 38.23 points, or 2%, to 1,830.96.

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