Fed questions, wobbly stock market

WASHINGTON (AP) – With soaring inflation, falling unemployment and rising wages, some economists warn the Federal Reserve may have waited too long to reverse its ultra-low rate policies – a delay that could expose the economy to increased risk. On Wednesday, the government is expected to report that consumer prices have jumped 7.1% in the past 12 months, believed to be the biggest such increase in decades. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is sure to be grilled on the issue during a Senate hearing on Tuesday on his nomination for a second term. Inflation has become the most serious threat to the economy, a growing concern for financial markets, and a political problem for the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress.

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Stocks end slightly lower after recovering most of the initial losses

NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks ended slightly lower on Wall Street on Monday after recovering much from an early decline. Tech stocks rebounded after leading the market lower in the morning. The losses of industrial companies and banks were partly offset by the gains of health care companies. The S&P 500 finished lower 0.1%, erasing most of a previous loss of just over 2%. The Nasdaq, heavily weighted by technology companies, closed less than 0.1%. It was down 2.7% earlier. Bond yields have mostly increased as investors anticipate Federal Reserve action to raise interest rates. Energy prices have fallen.

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Fed vice chairman latest civil servant to resign amid trade scandal

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida said he would step down on Friday, the third Fed official to step down amid a trade scandal at the central bank. The announcement follows new revelations regarding Clarida’s trading in an equity fund in February 2020, when the coronavirus threatened to disrupt the global economy and the Fed was discussing extraordinary measures to counter its impact. The New York Times reported last week that Clarida changed her financial information to show that he sold and then repurchased shares of the equity fund within days that month. The buyout came the day before President Jerome Powell said the Fed was ready to support markets and the economy.

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Inflation on the rise, virus on the decline as priorities in the United States: AP-NORC poll

WASHINGTON (AP) – The coronavirus pandemic is starting to become a top priority in the minds of Americans. It is increasingly overshadowed by concerns about the economy and personal finances, especially inflation. This potentially means political problems for Democrats as the midterm elections approach. A poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that only 37% of Americans say COVID-19 is a top priority the government needs to work on in 2022, compared with 53% who said it was at beginning of last year. Instead, 68% of Americans polled named the economy as the government’s top concern, while 14% mentioned inflation – including 18% Republicans and 10% Democrats.

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Hurricane Ida and flooding in Europe made 2021 costly in disasters

BERLIN (AP) – Damage from Hurricane Ida in the US state of Louisiana and flash floods that hit Europe last summer helped make 2021 one of the costliest years in disasters natural. Reinsurance company Munich Re said on Monday that overall economic losses from natural disasters around the world last year reached $ 280 billion. This makes it the fourth costliest year after 2011, when a massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. He said insured losses in 2021 were $ 120 billion, the second highest after 2017, when Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria hit the Americas. The company warned that studies show a link between global warming and natural disasters.

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Grand Theft Auto maker buys FarmVille company for $ 12.7 billion

NEW YORK (AP) – Take-Two Interactive, maker of Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption, buys Zynga, maker of FarmVille and Words With Friends, in a cash and stock deal valued at ‘approximately $ 12.7 billion. The acquisition announced Monday would marry a console games powerhouse, Take-Two, with a mobile game company with an almost cult following. Zynga shareholders will receive $ 3.50 in cash and $ 6.36 in common shares of Take-Two for each outstanding share of Zynga at Closing.

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Tax season starts two weeks earlier due to virus, IRS funding

WASHINGTON (AP) – This year’s tax filing season will begin on January 24, 17 days earlier than last year. The Internal Revenue Service warned on Monday that a resurgence of COVID-19 infections in addition to less funding from Congress than what the Biden administration had requested could make this filing season particularly difficult. IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig urged Americans to file electronically this year to avoid delays and get their refunds through direct deposit.

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US Mint begins shipping quarters in honor of Maya Angelou

WASHINGTON (AP) – The United States Mint has said it has started shipping quarters featuring poet Maya Angelou. These are the first pieces from her American Women Quarters program. Angelou was an American author, poet and civil rights activist who rose to prominence with the publication of “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” in 1969. She was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010 by President Barack Obama and died in 2014 at the age of 86. The neighborhood motif represents Angelou with outstretched arms. Behind her, a bird in flight and a rising sun, images inspired by her poetry.

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Stay at home or work ill? Omicron poses a riddle

NEW YORK (AP) – Millions of workers whose jobs do not include paid sick leave must choose between their health and their paychecks as the omicron variant of COVID-19 rages across the country. While many companies instituted more robust sick leave policies early in the pandemic, some have since been scaled back with the rollout of vaccines, even though the omicron variant has managed to escape injections. Meanwhile, the current labor shortage adds to the pressure of workers to decide whether to report for work due to illness. Low-paid workers are particularly vulnerable. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 33% of workers with wages in the bottom 10% receive paid sick leave, compared to 95% in the top 10%.

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The S&P 500 lost 6.74 points, or 0.1%, to 4,670.29. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 162.79 points, or 0.4%, to 36,068.87. The Nasdaq rose 6.93 points, or less than 0.1%, to 14,942.83. The Russell 2000 Small Business Index fell 8.66 points, or 0.4%, to 2,171.15.

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