Fall in home sales, Russian coffee

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The housing market’s decline after its high-flying days earlier this year is deepening, with July home sales falling for the sixth consecutive month. Significantly higher mortgage rates, runaway inflation and prices that remain near historic highs are making homes less affordable. The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that sales fell 20.2% from July last year, hitting the slowest pace since May 2020, near the start of the pandemic. But the downturn has started to tip the home-buying equation ever so slightly in favor of home hunters who can afford to stay in the market and away from sellers.

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Fewer Americans claim unemployment benefits last week

WASHINGTON (AP) — Slightly fewer Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week as the labor market continued to be the strongest segment of the U.S. economy. Unemployment assistance claims for the week ending August 13 fell by 2,000 to 250,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Last week’s number, which raised some eyebrows, was revised down by 10,000. The four-week average of claims, which evens out some of the week-over-week volatility, fell by 2,750 to 246,750. Unemployment claims typically reflect layoffs and are often seen as an early indicator of where the labor market is headed.

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Disqualified for disability, railway workers fight back

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Union Pacific has already lost three lawsuits for firing employees with health issues over safety concerns, and the prospect of hundreds more lawsuits looms on the railroad. The lawsuits were originally intended to be part of a class action before a federal appeals court ruled that the cases should be pursued individually. The first lawsuits have now been decided with verdicts of over $1 million in all three cases, but more than 200 other discrimination complaints are still pending with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. and risk turning into lawsuits. Union Pacific has vigorously defended its policy in court, and the railroad says it is designed to protect its workers and the public from the risk of significant injury.

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Cafe Stars, anyone? Opening of the successor to Starbucks in Russia

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian fans of Starbucks coffeehouses have a chance to see if a local successor can measure up. After the American company left Russia following the Russian military operation in Ukraine, the entrepreneurs who bought the assets are opening stores in the former Starbucks premises this week. They have the almost identical Stars Coffee name and a logo that is almost indistinguishable from that of its predecessor. The company is following the strategy of reviving closed McDonald’s outlets under a new name but with basically the same menu. Russian entrepreneurs saw opportunities in suddenly vacant stores after Western companies left the country.

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Unions push airlines to promise they’ll avoid share buybacks

DALLAS (AP) — Unions are pushing U.S. airlines not to buy back their own stock. Unions want airlines to spend money instead to hire more workers and fix problems that are causing widespread flight delays and cancellations. Unions said Thursday that the four largest U.S. airlines spent more than $39 billion on share buybacks from 2014 to 2019 rather than making investments to help employees and passengers. American, United and Southwest say they have no plans to repurchase shares when the buyback ban ends Sept. 30.

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Kohl cuts 2022 outlook, ending mixed week for retailers

NEW YORK (AP) — Kohl’s cut its sales and profit expectations for the year as the department store chain ramped up discounts to get rid of unwanted merchandise. Looking ahead, Kohl’s said it is reducing merchandise orders for the critical holiday period. Thursday’s announcement sent shares of Wisconsin-based Kohl’s down nearly 8% and capped a mixed week for retailers. Kohl’s disappointing forecast is the latest indication that shoppers are cutting back on purchases of clothing and other discretionary items in the face of high inflation. They are also changing spending priorities as they emerge from the pandemic.

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Stocks end higher on Wall Street after more choppy trading

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks ended slightly higher on Wall Street after another choppy day of trading. The S&P 500 rose 0.2% on Thursday, barely back into the green for the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished a little higher. The Nasdaq also rose as technology companies gained ground. Cisco Systems rose after posting stronger-than-expected quarterly results. Energy companies also climbed as crude oil prices rose. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2.87%. The US government said slightly fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week as the job market remained strong.

Starbucks must reinstate fired workers, federal judge says

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A federal judge is ordering Starbucks to reinstate seven employees in Memphis, Tennessee, who were fired earlier this year after leading an effort to unionize their store. In a ruling on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Sheryl Lipman agreed with the National Labor Relations Board, which had asked the court to intervene in May. Lipman’s decision requires Starbucks to offer employee reinstatement within five days. The case has been among the most closely watched in the organizing effort at Starbucks. More than 220 US Starbucks stores, including the Memphis store, have voted to unionize. Starbucks opposes the unionization effort.

Unlikely Beneficiary of Climate Bill: US Oil and Gas Industry

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Renewable energy incentives in the climate bill signed by President Joe Biden are expected to significantly reduce overall U.S. emissions. But some analysts say the legislation will also boost oil and gas companies, offsetting at least some of the emissions reductions. Legislation mandates multiple sales of oil and gas leases. It also locks in renewables and fossil fuels for 10 years. So if the Biden administration wants solar and wind, it must first offer new oil and gas leases. Economists predict the measure could lead to increased global warming of carbon dioxide from oil and gas produced in the United States by 2030, even if more of that fuel is exported.

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The S&P 500 gained 9.70 points, or 0.2%, to 4,283.74. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 18.72 points, or 0.1%, to 33,999.04. The Nasdaq added 27.22 points, or 0.2%, to 12,965.34. The Russell 2000 Small Business Index finished up 13.41 points, or 0.7%, at 2,000.73.

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