Business Highlights: Musk and Twitter, job vacancies

August 30, 2022 GMT

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Musk cites whistleblower as new reason to exit Twitter deal

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Elon Musk and Twitter lobbed salvos at each other in the latest round of legal filings over the billionaire Tesla CEO’s aborted plan to buy the social media platform. Musk filed more paperwork to terminate his agreement to buy Twitter. This time it’s based on information in a whistleblower complaint filed by Twitter’s former head of security. In a separate SEC filing, Twitter responded to what it called Musk’s latest “purported termination.” The company said saying it’s based solely on statements made by a third party that “are riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies and lack important context.”

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Job vacancies rose in July, dashing Fed hopes for cooling

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of open jobs in the United States rose in July after three months of declines, a sign that employers are still urgently seeking workers despite slowing economic growth and high inflation. The increase will be a disappointment for Federal Reserve officials, who are seeking to cool hiring by raising short-term interest rates to try to slow borrowing and spending, which tend to fuel inflation. There were 11.2 million open jobs available on the last day of July — nearly two jobs, on average, for every unemployed person — up from 11 million in June. June’s figure was also revised sharply higher.

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Germany upbeat on energy security; Baltics count on wind

BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Olaf Scholz says Germany is well-prepared to tackle a possible energy shortage due to Russia’s squeeze on European gas supplies. Fears are growing about the rising energy prices that will hit consumers across the continent this winter. Scholz says gas storage facilities are already fuller than they were at this time last year. Germany expected to pass more measures soon to help consumers cope with steeply rising energy prices. Russia’s state-controlled energy giant Gazprom further reduced gas deliveries to the France on Tuesday, raising fears that Moscow might cut off gas completely as political leverage over the war in Ukraine. Baltic Sea nations announced a seven-fold increase in wind power production by 2030.

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Stocks post another loss as markets worry about higher rates

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell again on Wall Street, posting their third loss in a row as traders worry that high interest rates are here to stay for a while. The S&P 500 fell 1.1% Tuesday, bringing its loss in the past three days to 5.1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq also fell. Energy companies fell along with sliding crude oil prices. Technology stocks and industrial companies were also weak. Best Buy was a bright spot, gaining ground after reporting results for its latest quarter that were much better than analysts were expecting. The yield on the 10-year Treasury held steady.

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US consumers more confident in August as gas prices dip

WASHINGTON (AP) — Following three straight monthly declines, U.S. consumer confidence rebounded in August as inflation moderated and gas prices fell. The Conference Board said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index rose in August to 103.2 from 95.3 in July. The business research group’s present situation index — which measures consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions — rose for the first time since March, to 145.4 from 139.7 in July. Analysts surveyed by data provider FactSet had expected consumer confidence to rise slightly as gas prices have fallen in recent weeks.

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US asks farmers: Can you plant 2 crops instead of 1?

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — There is a limited amount of farmland, so when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last spring prompted worries that people would go hungry as wheat remained stuck in blockaded ports, there was little U.S. farmers could do to meet the new demand. But that may be changing. Earlier this summer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture instituted new policies to encourage American farmers to begin growing two crops on one piece of land, one after the other. By changing insurance rules to lessen the risk of growing two crops, the USDA hopes to increase U.S. wheat production. As fall approaches, it’s unclear how many farmers will try the new system, but some who already grow two crops say it’s something farmers should consider.

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Best Buy Q2 results fall amid softening demand for gadgets

NEW YORK (AP) — Best Buy posted declines in fiscal second-quarter profits and sales as the nation’s largest consumer electronics chain struggled with weakening consumer demand for gadgets and high costs that rippled through its supply chain. But the results, announced on Tuesday, were above analysts’ expectations, helping boost the stock. Best Buy reported that net income fell 60% to $306 million, or $1.35 per share, for the three-month period ended July 30. That compares with $734 million, or $2.90 per share, last year. Revenue dropped 13% to $10.33 billion. Analysts were expecting $1.27 per share on sales of $10.27 billion, according to FactSet. Comparable sales dropped 12.1% compared to 19.6% increase in the year-ago period.

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Sri Lanka’s president says IMF talks nearing successful end

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s president says his bankrupt country’s talks with the International Monetary Fund for a rescue package have successfully reached final stages as he presented an amended budget that seeks to tame inflation and hike taxes. President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is also the finance minister, said in a speech in Parliament that his government will soon start negotiating debt restructuring with countries that provide loans to Sri Lanka. Declaring that Sri Lanka is on the correct course in the short term for recovery, Wickremesinghe warned the country must prepare for at least 25 years of a national economic policy, staring with the 2023 budget. An IMF team is visiting Sri Lanka and is expected to end the current round of talks on Wednesday.

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The S&P 500 tumbled 44.45 points, or 1.1%, to 3,986.16. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 308.12 points, or 1%, to 31,790.87. The Nasdaq fell 134.53 points, or 1.1%, to 11,883.14. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies dropped 27.35 points, or 1.5%, to 1,855.59.