Business Highlights: Business travelers, drifting stocks

September 6, 2022 GMT

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Airlines count on business travelers to keep recovery going

DALLAS (AP) — The summer vacation season is winding down, and for airlines that means the return of business travelers is very important. Leisure travel in the United States is roughly back to pre-pandemic levels, but airlines say business is still about 25% below 2019 levels. Business travelers generally pay higher fares, so the absence of so many of them has an outsized impact on airline revenue and profit. The Global Business Travel Association predicts that corporate travel won’t fully return until mid-2026. Experts say business travel is lagging behind because many white-collar workers still have not returned to their offices, and some trips are being replaced by video meetings.

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Stocks drift lower, extending losses into 4th straight week

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks drifted lower on Wall Street, extending the market’s losses into a 4th straight week. The S&P 500 fell 0.4% Tuesday. Technology companies posted some of the biggest losses, pulling the Nasdaq composite down even more. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also fell. Markets are coming off of a three-week losing streak as investors worry about inflation and the Federal Reserve’s determination to fight it with high interest rates. Bed Bath & Beyond fell following the death of its chief financial officer. ADT jumped after State Farm said it was taking a stake in the home security company.

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EU blocks merger of US firms in cancer screening sector

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Commission is is blocking the buyout of cancer-screening company GRAIL by biotech giant Illumina. It’s a rare move by European antitrust regulators against two U.S. companies. Illumina is a major supplier of next-generation sequencing systems for genetic and genomic analysis. GRAIL is a health company developing blood tests to try to catch cancer early. Illumina announced an $8 billion buyout of GRAIL in 2020. But the commission says the buyout would have allowed “Illumina to foreclose GRAIL’s rivals, who are dependent on Illumina’s technology, from access to an essential input they need to develop and market their own tests.” Illumina says it will appeal Tuesday’s decision. The merger was approved in the U.S. last week.

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Bed Bath & Beyond names Laura Crossen as interim CFO

NEW YORK (AP) — Bed Bath & Beyond has named its Chief Accounting Officer, Laura Crossen, as interim chief financial officer following the death of Gustavo Arnal. The home goods retailer said in a regulatory filing that Crossen will continue as its principal accounting officer while serving in the interim role. Arnal died on Friday, just days after Bed Bath & Beyond said that it would close stores and lay off workers in a bid to turn around its beleaguered business. Arnal was facing a lawsuit accusing him of taking part in a scheme to inflate the company’s stock price to sell shares for a huge profit.

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CVS Health moves closer to home care with $8B Signify deal

NEW YORK (AP) — CVS Health will pay about $8 billion to expand into home care, a practice that could cut costs and keep patients happy, provided they get the help they need. The health care giant is buying Signify Health, a technology company that sends doctors or other care providers to patient homes to assess how they are doing and what help they might need. CVS Health CEO Karen Lynch told analysts Tuesday that the deal — announced late Monday — is a way for her company to provide more help to patients where and when they want it.

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Russia sends more energy to Asia as Europe cuts back

BERLIN (AP) — A new report says Russia sent significantly more oil and coal to India and China over the summer compared with the start of the year, while European countries that long relied on Russian energy have cut back sharply in response to the war in Ukraine. The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air said Tuesday that Russia received about 158 billion euros in revenue for the sale of oil, natural gas and coal from February to August. More than half of those exports — some 85 billion euros worth — went to the European Union. The report found that the single biggest importer worldwide was China, which bought 35 billion euros worth of Russian energy.

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Rents are starting to come down, but the trend may not hold

NEW YORK (AP) — Rents are starting to come down after spiking to record levels this past summer, but experts are uncertain if the slowdown will continue. Christopher Mayer is a professor of real estate at Columbia Business School. He says people looking for an apartment now might have a better experience than they did in May or June. The national median asking rent was up 14% in July over July the previous year. That’s the smallest annual increase since November 2021. Experts say the market could slow further toward the end of the year, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty.

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Australia central bank lifts cash rate to 2.35% in 5th hike

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s central bank has boosted its benchmark interest rate for a fifth consecutive month to a seven-year high of 2.35%.The Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision on Tuesday was the cash rate’s fourth consecutive hike of half a percentage point. When the bank lifted the rate by a quarter percentage point at its monthly board meeting in May, it was the first rate hike in more than 11 years. It’s now at its highest point since Feb. 2015. Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe says there are more rate hikes ahead a monthly board meetings as directors attempt to reduce inflation to a target band of 2% to 3%. Australian inflation is running at 6.1%.

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The S&P 500 fell 16.07 points, or 0.4%, to 3,908.19. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 173.14 points, or 0.6%, to 31,145.30. The Nasdaq lost 85.96 points, or 0.7%, to 11,544.91. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gave back 17.42 points, or 1%, to 1,792.32.