Business

U.S. Awards Chip Supplier $162 Million to Bolster Critical Industries
Business

U.S. Awards Chip Supplier $162 Million to Bolster Critical Industries

The Biden administration on Thursday announced plans to provide $162 million in federal grants to Microchip Technology, an Arizona-based semiconductor company that supplies the automotive, defense and other industries.The agreement is the second award announced under a new program intended to help ensure that American companies that rely on semiconductors have a stable supply. Last month, the Biden administration announced a $35 million grant for BAE Systems, a defense contractor.The investment will enable Microchip to increase its production of semiconductors that are used in cars, airplanes, appliances, medical devices and military products. The administration said it expected the award to create more than 700 jobs in construction and manufacturing.“Today’s announcement with Microchip is...
Xerox to Cut 15% of Its Work Force in the First Quarter of 2024
Business

Xerox to Cut 15% of Its Work Force in the First Quarter of 2024

Xerox said on Wednesday that it was cutting 15 percent of its work force as part of a restructuring, the company’s latest effort to shift focus to its business-services offerings and away from its iconic photocopiers.In a news release, the company said it would reduce its global staff, which included roughly 23,000 employees in 2022, and name a new leadership team. The layoffs are expected to take place in the first quarter of 2024.The company’s shares fell more than 12 percent after the layoff news was announced. Its share price had been steadily rising over the past year, in part because Xerox had saved billions of dollars after starting a cost-cutting program in 2018. It reported a roughly 6 percent drop in revenue in the third quarter of 2023 compared with the previous year.Xerox was f...
Companies Like Afterpay and Affirm May Put Americans At Risk For ‘Phantom Debt’
Business

Companies Like Afterpay and Affirm May Put Americans At Risk For ‘Phantom Debt’

“Buy now, pay later” loans are helping to fuel a record-setting holiday shopping season. Economists worry they could also be masking and exacerbating cracks in Americans’ financial well-being.The loans, which allow consumers to pay for purchases in installments, often interest-free, have soared in popularity because of high prices and interest rates. Retailers have used them to attract customers and to get people to spend more.But such loans may be encouraging younger and lower-income Americans to take on too much debt, according to consumer groups and some lawmakers. And because such loans aren’t routinely reported to credit bureaus or captured in public data, they could also represent a hidden source of risk to the financial system.“The more I dig into it, the more concerned I am,” said ...
From A.I. to inflation, 11 business charts that explain 2023
Business

From A.I. to inflation, 11 business charts that explain 2023

It has been a confusing year for the economy and markets. At the start of 2023, economists largely predicted a global recession, and Wall Street was bearish on stocks, with many analysts expecting the S&P 500 to finish the year just a touch higher than where it started. Fast-forward 12 months: No recession (yet) and the S&P 500 is tantalizingly close to a record high.Here are 11 charts that help explain how we got here.Inflation and its ripple effectsCentral bankers around the world continued an aggressive campaign of interest rate increases in 2023, raising policy rates in an effort to tame the highest inflation in generations.Inflation has cooled considerably in many places, though it remains above the Federal Reserve’s target (around 2 percent), and rate increases have paused. T...
U.S. and Europe Eye Russian Assets to Aid Ukraine as Funding Dries Up
Business

U.S. and Europe Eye Russian Assets to Aid Ukraine as Funding Dries Up

The Biden administration is quietly signaling new support for seizing more than $300 billion in Russian central bank assets stashed in Western nations, and has begun urgent discussions with allies about using the funds to aid Ukraine’s war effort at a moment when financial support is waning, according to senior American and European officials.Until recently, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen had argued that without action by Congress, seizing the funds was “not something that is legally permissible in the United States.” There has also been concern among some top American officials that nations around the world would hesitate to keep their funds at the New York Federal Reserve, or in dollars, if the United States established a precedent for seizing the money.But the administration, in coo...
New York Times Sues OpenAI and Microsoft Over Use of Copyrighted Work
Business

New York Times Sues OpenAI and Microsoft Over Use of Copyrighted Work

The New York Times sued OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement on Wednesday, opening a new front in the increasingly intense legal battle over the unauthorized use of published work to train artificial intelligence technologies.The Times is the first major American media organization to sue the companies, the creators of ChatGPT and other popular A.I. platforms, over copyright issues associated with its written works. The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan, contends that millions of articles published by The Times were used to train automated chatbots that now compete with the news outlet as a source of reliable information.The suit does not include an exact monetary demand. But it says the defendants should be held responsible for “billions of dollars in statut...
Holiday Spending Increased, Defying Fears of a Decline
Business

Holiday Spending Increased, Defying Fears of a Decline

Despite lingering inflation, Americans increased their spending this holiday season, early data shows. That comes as a big relief for retailers that had spent much of the year fearing the economy would soon weaken and consumer spending would fall.Retail sales increased 3.1 percent from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24 compared with the same period a year earlier, according to data Mastercard released on Tuesday. The credit card company’s numbers are not adjusted for inflation.Spending increased across many categories, with restaurants experiencing one of the largest jumps, 7.8 percent. Apparel increased 2.4 percent, and groceries also had gains.The holiday sales figures, driven by a healthy labor market and wage gains, suggests that the economy remains strong. The Federal Reserve’s campaign to rein in hi...
Red Sea Shipping Halt Is Latest Risk to Global Economy
Business

Red Sea Shipping Halt Is Latest Risk to Global Economy

The attacks on crucial shipping traffic in the Red Sea straits by a determined band of militants in Yemen — a spillover from the Israeli-Hamas war in Gaza — is injecting a new dose of instability into a world economy already struggling with mounting geopolitical tensions.The risk of escalating conflict in the Middle East is the latest in a string of unpredictable crises, including the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, that have landed like swipes of a bear claw on the global economy, smacking it off course and leaving scars.As if that weren’t enough, more volatility lies ahead in the form of a wave of national elections whose repercussions could be deep and long. More than two billion people in roughly 50 countries, including India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, the United State...
Price Increases Cooled in November as Inflation Falls Toward Fed Target
Business

Price Increases Cooled in November as Inflation Falls Toward Fed Target

A closely watched measure of inflation cooled notably in November, good news for the Federal Reserve as officials move toward the next phase in their fight against rapid price increases and a positive for the White House as voters see relief from rising costs.The Personal Consumption Expenditures inflation measure, which the Fed cites when it says it aims for 2 percent inflation on average over time, climbed 2.6 percent in the year through November. That was down from 2.9 percent the previous month, and was less than what economists had forecast. Compared with the previous month, prices overall even fell slightly for the first time in years.That decline — a 0.1 percent drop, and the first negative reading since April 2020 — came as gas prices dropped. After volatile food and fuel prices we...
Choice Hotel Franchise Owners Push Back on Merger With Wyndham
Business

Choice Hotel Franchise Owners Push Back on Merger With Wyndham

When Patrick Pacious, the chief executive of a large portfolio of hotel brands, promoted a blockbuster attempt to acquire a competitor in October, he said the proposed merger would lower costs and attract more customers for the families and small businesses that own most of the company’s locations.“Our franchisees instantly grasped the strategic benefit this would bring to their hotels,” Mr. Pacious, who leads Choice Hotels, said on CNBC.As the weeks have passed, however, the reaction has not been positive. Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, the target of the proposed deal, rejected the offer from Choice, which is now pursuing a hostile takeover. And in early December, an association representing the majority of hoteliers who own Choice and Wyndham-branded properties came out strongly against it....