Stocks fall broadly
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks have been broadly lower in afternoon trading and bond yields continued rising as investors anticipate moves by the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates.
The S&P 500 fell 1.6%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.4% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 2.1%. Technology stocks led the slide.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.79%. Utilities and other sectors considered less risky held up better than most of the market.
Grand Theft Auto maker buys FarmVille company in $12.7B deal
UNDATED (AP) — Take-Two Interactive, maker of Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption, is buying Zynga, maker of FarmVille and Words With Friends, in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $12.7 billion.
The acquisition would wed a powerhouse in console gaming, Take-Two, with a mobile gaming company with an almost cult-like following.
Zynga shareholders will receive $3.50 in cash and $6.36 in shares of Take-Two common stock for each share of Zynga outstanding stock at closing.
Airbus says deliveries of new airline jets are nosing higher
UNDATED (AP) — Airbus says aircraft deliveries are rising slightly and airlines are ordering more planes, showing that they are confident in the long-term outlook for air travel. For now, the pandemic is still hurting international air travel.
Airbus, which is based in France, says it delivered 611 passenger jets in 2021, an 8% increase over 2020 deliveries. More than three-quarters of those planes were so-called narrow-body or single-aisle planes that are mostly used for short and medium-length flights.
There were far fewer deliveries of wide-body, two-aisle planes that are more commonly used for international flights — long-haul international travel remains depressed.
MEDICARE PREMIUMS-ALZHEIMER’S DRUG
Medicare told to reassess premium hike for Alzheimer’s drug
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. health secretary Xavier Becerra is ordering Medicare to reassess a big premium increase facing millions of enrollees this year. The increase was largely attributed to a pricey new Alzheimer’s drug with questionable benefits.
Becerra’s directive comes days after drugmaker Biogen slashed the price of its $56,000-a-year medication, Aduhelm, to $28,200 a year — a cut of about half. Becerra says that prompted his directive to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Becerra says in a statement: “With the 50% price drop of Aduhelm on Jan. 1, there is a compelling basis … to reexamine the previous recommendation.”
Tax season begins two weeks early due to virus, IRS funding
WASHINGTON (AP) — This year’s tax filing season will begin on Jan. 24, 17 days earlier than last year. The Internal Revenue Service is warning that a resurgence of COVID-19 infections on top of less funding from Congress than the Biden administration had requested could make this filing season particularly challenging.
IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig urged Americans to file electronically this year to avoid delays, and to get their refunds by direct deposit.
Italy targets unvaccinated with new restrictions
ROME (AP) — Italy is targeting the unvaccinated with a host of new coronavirus restrictions As of today, proof of vaccination or a recent infection is required to access public transport, coffee shops, hotels, gyms and other everyday activities.
The new “super” health pass requirement, which eliminates the ability to access services with just a negative test. It comes as most Italians return to work and school after the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. It also comes as COVID-19 infections continue to soar past 100,000 per day in Italy.
The government has responded to the omicron-fueled wave of infections by encouraging vaccine holdouts to get the jabs, or be increasingly shut out of recreational and even essential activities, such as taking public transit to work.
NATURAL DISASTERS-ECONOMIC LOSSES
Hurricane Ida, Europe floods made 2021 costly for disasters
BERLIN (AP) — Damage wrought by Hurricane Ida in the U.S. state of Louisiana and the flash floods that hit Europe last summer have helped make 2021 one of the most expensive years for natural disasters.
Reinsurance company Munich Re says overall economic losses from natural disasters worldwide last year reached $280 billion. That makes it the fourth-costliest year after 2011, when a massive earthquake and tsunami struck Japan.
It said insured losses in 2021 amounted to $120 billion, the second-highest after 2017, when hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria hit the Americas.
The company warned that studies showed a link between global warming and natural disasters.
UK developers told they must foot bill for unsafe cladding
LONDON (AP) — The British government says property developers must bear the cost of removing dangerous cladding that has left scores of apartment buildings at risk of fire, and thousands of residents facing steep bills to make their homes safe.
The risk posed by some kinds of aluminum composite cladding was exposed when a fire engulfed London high-rise Grenfell Tower in June 2017 and killed 72 people. Safety regulations now require cladding similar to Grenfell’s to be removed. But the work hasn’t been carried out on some buildings because of wrangling over who should pay.
Housing and Communities Secretary Michael Gove says developers must come up with a plan to pay the estimated $5.4 billion cost or face legal action.
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