Business Highlights: Tumbling US stocks, inflation crunch

June 9, 2022 GMT

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Stocks tumble as rate pressures grow, inflation report looms

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks on Wall Street tumbled Thursday following the latest reminder that central banks now care more about fighting inflation than propping up markets. The S&P 500 dropped 2.4%, putting it on track for its ninth losing week in the last 10. The losses for markets began across the Atlantic after the European Central Bank said it would raise interest rates next month for the first time in more than a decade. Wall Street’s losses accelerated late in the day, as investors got their final opportunities to make trades before a highly anticipated report on U.S. inflation due Friday morning.

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Biden’s inflation crunch: Too much shopping — even at beach

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. (AP) — President Joe Biden could have looked out the window of his limousine on his drive last weekend to his beach home and seen firsthand why he’s struggled to contain inflation. Lining Delaware’s Coastal Highway as it leads into Rehoboth Beach are miles of strip malls, outlet stores, restaurants, hotels and gas stations. The advertised price of gasoline was approaching $5 a gallon. Vacationgoers had packed into the parking lots of pubs and taquerias. No one’s happy inflation is close to a 40-year high, but it’ll be hard to bring down prices so long as people keep eagerly spending. Biden needs consumers to pull back just enough so inflation eases, but not so much the economy risks plunging into a recession.

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Gas prices close in on $5 a gallon in US, hit record in UK

DALLAS (AP) — Gasoline is closing in on $5 a gallon nationwide for the first time ever. That’s according to AAA. The auto club said the national average for a gallon of regular hit $4.97 on Thursday. High gas prices are another drain on the wallets of consumers who are paying more for many other essentials too. Gas prices are up a quarter in just the last week and up $1.90 from where they were a year ago. Pump prices have been rising steadily for months, as global oil prices rise and demand for gas increases. Prices range from an average $6.40 a gallon in California to $4.41 in Georgia.

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Facebook fails again to detect hate speech in ads

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook has failed another test of its ability to detect blatant, violent hate speech in advertisements submitted to the platform by the nonprofit group Global Witness. The group created ads with dehumanizing hate speech calling for the murder of people belong to each one of Ethiopia’s three main ethnic groups — the Amhara, the Oromo and the Tigrayans. Facebook’s systems didn’t catch the ads, just as they didn’t when Global Witness did a similar test with hate speech in Myanmar. Worse, Facebook failed a second test after the group informed it of their findings.

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Teslas with Autopilot a step closer to recall after wrecks

DETROIT (AP) — Teslas with partially automated driving systems are a step closer to being recalled after the U.S. elevated its investigation into a series of collisions with emergency vehicles or trucks with warning signs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says Thursday that it’s upgrading the probe to an engineering analysis, another sign of increased scrutiny of the electric vehicle maker and automated systems that perform at least some driving tasks. An engineering analysis is the final stage of an investigation, and in most cases NHTSA decides within a year if there should be a recall or the probe should be closed. The agency cites reports of 16 crashes into emergency vehicles or vehicles with warning signs, causing 15 injuries and one death.

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Europe’s central bank to hike rates in July, 1st in 11 years

AMSTERDAM (AP) — The European Central Bank will raise interest rates next month for the first time in 11 years, followed by another hike in September. The bank made the surprise announcement Thursday, saying inflation had become a “major challenge” and that those forces had “broadened and intensified.” The ECB is catching up with other central banks worldwide in pivoting from supporting the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic to squelching inflation. It also will end its economic stimulus program next month. The move underlines concerns about record levels of inflation in the 19 countries that use the euro.

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FTC Chair Khan plans key work on kids’ data privacy online

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the Federal Trade Commission says the agency is pushing a robust agenda of actions and policies to help safeguard children’s privacy online. The ongoing work will include toughened enforcement of a long-standing law governing kids’ online privacy and eyeing the algorithms used by social media platforms targeting young people. Lina Khan has led the consumer-protection agency for a year. She calls the issue of children’s privacy enormously important and says the FTC is working to protect children from data abuses. Around the country, parents’ concerns have deepened over the impact of social media on kids.

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Fire at LNG terminal in Texas jolts residents, fuel markets

NEW YORK (AP) — An explosion at a liquefied natural gas terminal in Texas has left nearby residents rattled. And it’s taking a substantial amount of the fuel off the market at a time when global demand is soaring. Freeport LNG will be offline for at least three weeks following a fire in its export facility. Few details were released about what happened. The company said no one was injured, and the cause is under investigation. The reduction comes at a time when global demand for LNG is high because many nations are trying to wean themselves off Russian gas.

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The S&P 500 tumbled 97.95 points, or 2.4%, to 4,017.82. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 638.11 points, or 1.9%, to 32,272.79. The Nasdaq lost 332.05 points, or 2.7%, to 11,754.23. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 40.15 points, or 2.1%, to 1,850.86.