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STOCK MARKET NEWS: Fed’s inflation gauge, Social Security warning, EV credit changes

The Federal Reserve’s favorite inflation gauge eases, Social Security reserves are dropping faster and Treasury unveils tougher EV tax credit rules. FOX Business is providing real-time updates on the markets, commodities and all the most active stocks on the move.


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Social Security fund seen depleted 2033, year earlier than previous estimate

The U.S. Social Security system's main trust fund's reserves will be depleted in 2033, one year earlier than estimated last year, while Medicare's finances have improved slightly, reports from the programs' trustees showed on Friday.

The Medicare Hospital Trust Fund reserves are now expected to be depleted in 2031 compared to an estimate of 2028 made last year, due in part to new estimates showing higher revenue data.

Both the Social Security and Medicare trustees reports said that the programs' finances are unsustainable in the long term, and Biden administration officials urged Congress to adopt President Joe Biden's proposal to raise Medicare taxes on wealthy Americans.

Although the Social Security Disability Trust Fund is projected to be able to pay full benefits through 2097, the final year in the 75-year projection period, the combined Social Security funds would be only able to pay 80% of scheduled benefits after 2034, according to the trustees report.

Posted by Reuters

Google co-founder Brin, Hyatt's Pritzker, Zuckerman and Ovitz subpoenaed in JPMorgan Epstein case

Four billionaires have been subpoenaed by the U.S Virgin Islands (USVI) in connection with the U.S. territory’s civil lawsuit about JPMorgan Chase’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, The Wall Street Journal reported exclusively.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Hyatt Hotels executive chair Thomas Pritzker, U.S News & World Report owner Mortimer Zuckerman and venture capitalist Michael Ovitz were issued summonses, the report said.

The WSJ was unable to determine the nature of the request.

The USVI sued JPMorgan last year, asserting the bank helped facilitate Epstein's alleged sex trafficking and abuse by helping the late financier send money to his victims while retaining him as a client.

Epstein died in prison in 2019.

Posted by FOX Business

Crypto exchange Bittrex exiting U.S.

Crypto exchange Bittrex will wind down U.S. operations effective April 30.

"As a direct result of continued regulatory uncertainty and a lack of interest from U.S. regulators regarding sensible policies that will foster innovation and enhance the American economy, Bittrex U.S. has made the difficult decision to wind down and will close its U.S. operations, effective April 30, 2023. All customer funds are safe and can be withdrawn until that date."

"“The sad reality is that while policymakers and regulators in jurisdictions around the world work with digital asset exchanges on shaping the future of the global economy, their U.S. counterparts are seemingly committed to extinguishing the industry and sending it overseas," the firm added.

Posted by FOX Business
Breaking News

Stocks rise for week, month and quarter

U.S.  investors wrapped up a volatile month on a high note with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite notching gains for the week, month and quarter despite threats of a banking contagion following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.

Nasdaq Composite Index.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite saw the biggest quarterly gains of 16.8%, while the S&P 500 gained 7% and the Dow a lesser 0.4%.

Stock Averages 1Q

Nasdaq Composite: +16.8%

S&P 500: +7%

Dow Jones Industrial Average: +0.4%

In commodities, oil fell 7% for the month to $79.77 per barrel. 

Posted by FOX Business

WWE's Vince McMahon inks new two-year deal


WWE executive chair Vince McMahon is getting a raise. The revised two-year agreement boosts McMahon’s base pay to $1.5 million from $1.35 million, his target bonus opportunity to 175% from 160%, and his target stock grant to $5.375 million from $3.575 million.

The deal is retroactive to Jan. 10, when McMahon’s daughter Stephanie McMahon stepped down as interim chair and co-CEO.

McMahon’s contract gives him the exclusive right to communicate, convey, commercialize, license, or otherwise exploit his life story in any form or medium.

Posted by FOX Business

Amazon must face California lawsuit claiming its prices are too high, judge says


A judge has rejected Inc's bid to dismiss California's antitrust lawsuit accusing the online retailer of illegally forcing merchants to accept policies that cause consumers to pay artificially high prices.

Judge Ethan Schulman in San Francisco Superior Court said California sufficiently alleged that Amazon's policies "have had the anticompetitive effect of raising prices on competing retail marketplaces as well as on third-party sellers' own websites."

Amazon declined on Friday to comment on the decision, which is dated March 30.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta had sued Seattle-based Amazon last September.

He accused the retailer of threatening to cut off merchants or deny them access to its "Buy Box" — where shoppers can click "Add to Cart" or "Buy Now" — if they offered lower prices on rivals such as Costco, eBay, Target and Walmart, and even their own websites.

The lawsuit sought to block Amazon from enforcing policies that bar the sale of goods more cheaply elsewhere, and to pay damages and penalties.

"There is no shortage of evidence showing that the 'everything store' is costing consumers more for just about everything," Bonta said in a statement.

Posted by Reuters

GM plans to phase out Apple CarPlay in EVs, with Google's help


General Motors plans to phase out widely-used Apple CarPlay and Android Auto technologies that allow drivers to bypass a vehicle's infotainment systems, shifting instead to built-in infotainment systems developed with Google for future electric vehicles.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto systems allow users to mirror their smartphone screens in a vehicle's dashboard display.

GM's decision to stop offering those systems in future electric vehicles, starting with the 2024 Chevrolet Blazer, could help the automaker capture more data on how consumers drive and charge EVs.

GM is designing the on-board navigation and infotainment systems for future EVs in partnership with Alphabet Inc's Google.

Posted by Reuters

EPA approves California rules phasing out diesel trucks

The Biden administration cleared the way Friday for California's plan to phase out a wide range of diesel-powered trucks, part of the state's efforts to drastically cut planet-warming emissions and improve air quality in heavy-traffic areas like ports along the coast.

The decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allows California to require truck manufacturers to sell an increasing number of zero-emission trucks over the next couple of decades. The rule applies to a wide range of trucks including box trucks, semitrailers and even large passenger pick-ups.

“We’re leading the charge to get dirty trucks and buses – the most polluting vehicles – off our streets, and other states and countries are lining up to follow our lead,” Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement.

Posted by Associated Press

New CEO of UK's Rolls-Royce brings in new CFO, makes leadership changes

RYCEY $1.81-0.01-0.27

The new boss of Rolls-Royce has sought to make his mark on the British engineering company, hiring Helen McCabe from his alma mater BP BP.L as chief financial officer and announcing two new divisional heads from within the company.

Tufan Erginbilgic, who took the helm of Rolls-Royce in January, has called the company a "burning platform" and launched a transformation program to improve the profitability of the maker of engines for Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 planes.

Shares in Rolls-Royce have surged 60% since the start of the year, lifted by optimism about a recovery in air travel and Erginbilgic's turnaround plans.

The company on Friday named McCabe, a BP executive, as its new chief financial officer, to join later this year. She will replace Panos Kakoullis who has been in the job for less than two years.

Posted by Reuters

Crypto news site with reported ties to Sam Bankman-Fried layoffs off workers, names CEO

Independent news site The Block has reportedly cut a third of its workers, the company confirmed to FOX News.

News site Axios previously reported The Block’s former CEO Michael McCaffrey had funded the company with money from Sam Bankman-Fried’s Alameda Research.

Larry Cermak, the company’s research chief, announced he was taking the CEO role.

In a series of tweets, Cermak said, "As the bull market came, we saw tremendous growth. After Tesla announced their BTC buys, the research business exploded as institutional interest increased exponentially."

"Now that the environment has drastically changed, The Block needs to adjust too. We need to adapt to fluctuations in the market faster and become relentless again. My goal now is to guide us to profitability, which will certainly be a challenge, but one I am confident to tackle," Cermak added.

Posted by FOX Business

US unveils stricter EV tax credit rules to take effect April 18

TM$141.101.48 1.06

The U.S. Treasury Department on Friday unveiled stricter electric vehicle tax rules that will reduce or cut tax credits on some zero-emission models but grant buyers another two weeks before the new requirements take effect.

U.S. officials acknowledge some vehicles will see credits cut or eliminated. Tesla said Wednesday the Model 3 rear-wheel drive credit will be reduced as a result of the guidance. The government will publish by April 18 a revised list of qualifying models and tax credit amounts.

The Inflation Reduction Act requires 50% of the value of battery components to be produced or assembled in North America to qualify for a $3,750 credit and 40% of the value of critical minerals sourced from the United States or a free trade partner also for a $3,750 credit.

Treasury proposes a three-step process for determining the value percentage of critical minerals and a four-step process for determining battery component value.

Posted by Reuters

UK economy avoids recession but businesses still wary

Britain's economy avoided a recession as it grew in the final months of 2022, according to official data which showed a boost to households' finances from state energy bill subsidies but falling investment by businesses.

With the economy still hobbled by high inflation and worries about a weak growth outlook, gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 0.1% between October and December after a preliminary estimate of no growth.

GDP in the third quarter was also revised to show a 0.1% contraction, a smaller fall than initially thought, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Friday.

Two consecutive quarters of contraction would have represented a recession.

“As growth goes it’s pretty feeble but remember this was the moment the UK had been expected to enter a recession, so the fact GDP figures have been revised upwards is something to celebrate,” said Danni Hewson, AJ Bell head of financial analysis.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Posted by FOX Business

Global dealmaking sinks to lowest level in over a decade

Global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity shrank to its lowest level in more than a decade in the first quarter of 2023, as rising interest rates, high inflation and fears of a recession soured the appetite of companies for dealmaking.

M&A volumes during the first quarter slumped 48% to $575.1 billion as of March 30, compared to $1.1 trillion during the same period last year, according to data from Dealogic.

A banking crisis that started in the United States this month with Silicon Valley Bank and spread to Europe with the Swiss government-orchestrated sale of Credit Suisse Group AG to UBS Group AG roiled markets and stopped many deals in their tracks, investment bankers and lawyers said.

M&A volumes dropped 44% to $282.7 billion in the U.S. and 70% to $81.87 billion in Europe. Deal volumes in Asia Pacific fell 29% to $176.1 billion.

Posted by Reuters

Trump-linked stocks gain on attracting retail traders' attention


Shares of companies tied to former U.S. President Donald Trump gained in premarket trading on Friday, drawing interest from retail investors after the ex-president was indicted in a historic first.

Trump, the frontrunner to be Republican nominee in 2024, was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury after an investigation into hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 campaign.

"It might seem counter intuitive ... but Donald Trump's indictment might actually make him more electable with a certain portion of U.S. voters," Danni Hewson, analyst at AJ Bell, said. "If more people are talking about Trump, more will gravitate to his social media platform and there's likely to be a lot more cash swelling the coffers of his campaign budget."

Trump-linked stocks include Digital World Acquisition Corp, the blank-check company looking to take Trump's social media venture Truth Social public and software developer Phunware Inc, which was hired by Trump's 2020 presidential re-election campaign to build a phone app.

Shares of video-sharing platform Rumble Inc, popular with conservatives, gained after posting a near seven-fold jump in quarterly revenue.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Posted by FOX Business

Boeing will increase 737 MAX production rates 'very soon'

BA $

Boeing Co will increase 737 MAX production rates above the current rate of 31 jets per month "very soon," the head of its commercial airplanes business said on Thursday.

The company is also making progress with the new 737 MAX 7 model and is in the process of completing final submissions for Federal Aviation Administration certification, Stan Deal told reporters.

"We've got a handful — less than a handful — left to go to the FAA," he said. "We're working a few issues around those submittals. I want them to be perfect, I want the FAA to feel comfortable, and then give them the time to go review."

Posted by Reuters

Netflix restructures film group as it scales back movie output: report


Netflix Inc is restructuring its film group, resulting in some layoffs and the departure of two of its most experienced executives, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.

As part of the restructuring, Netflix will combine its small and mid-sized picture productions units, cut a few jobs, scale back its output to ensure high quality titles and centralize decision-making, the report, which cited the company, said.

Netflix, which won four Academy Awards for its "All Quiet on the Western Front", did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The world's dominant streaming service has been trying to focus on revenue growth, including planning a crackdown on password sharing as it lost subscribers in the first half of the year amid intense competition by rivals like Paramount+ and Disney+.

Posted by Reuters

Virgin Orbit to lay off about 85% of staff


Rocket maker Virgin Orbit Holdings on Thursday said it was laying off about 85% of staff, or approximately 675 employees.

Richard Branson's company is making the move to reduce expenses in light of the Company's inability to secure meaningful funding.

The company expects incur aggregate charges of approximately $15 million for the workforce reduction, which is expected to be completed by April 3.

The company also sold $10.9 million of convertible notes to Virgin Investments Limited.

Posted by FOX Business

Nikola announces $100M stock offering and investor deal


Electric truck maker Nikola has launched a $100 million public offering  of common stock, with an additional $15 million set aside for underwriters.

Concurrently with the public offering, Nikola has entered into a forward stock purchase agreement with an investor, whereby the investor has agreed to purchase up to $100 million of shares of common stock at the public offering price.

The public offering is not conditioned on the closing of the concurrent registered direct offering, and the closing of the concurrent registered direct offering is not conditioned on the closing of the public offering.

The company currently plans to use the net proceeds from the public offering and the concurrent registered direct offering for working capital and other general corporate purposes.

Posted by FOX Business

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