Business Highlights: Inflation creeps up in April; ‘Crunch’ time in debt ceiling talks


A measure of inflation that is closely tracked by the Federal Reserve increased in April

WASHINGTON (AP) — A key index of U.S. prices ticked higher in April, and consumer spending rebounded, a sign that inflationary pressures in the economy remain high. The index, which the Federal Reserve closely monitors, showed that prices rose 0.4% from March to April. That was much higher than the 0.1% rise the previous month. Measured year over year, prices increased 4.4% in April, up from 4.2% in March. The year-over-year figure is down sharply from a 7% peak last June but remains far above the Fed’s 2% target. The report also showed that despite rising prices, consumers remain buoyant. Their spending jumped 0.8% from March to April, the biggest increase since January.


‘Crunch’ time in debt ceiling talks, as McCarthy and Biden reach for a deal with deadline looming

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and debt ceiling negotiators have hit “crunch” time as they strain to make a deal with the White House to raise the nation’s debt limit, avert default and cut federal spending. McCarthy said Friday there is still more work to do. Negotiators are racing for agreement this weekend. As soon as June 1, Treasury says it could run short of funds. A federal default on the national debt could send the economy into chaos. The budget flow isn’t the only hang-up. One thorny issue is a Republican demand opposed by Democrats for stiffer work requirements on people who receive government aid. Any compromise needs support from both Democrats and Republicans to pass in Congress.


CBS is television’s most popular network for 15th straight year

NEW YORK (AP) — CBS is television’s most popular network for the 15th straight year, even though the bragging rights don’t mean quite what they used to. Its streak began before people knew what streaming or cord-cutting meant, when CBS’ prime-time live audience was roughly double what it is now. The Nielsen company says CBS beat NBC, Fox and ABC in that order, the same standings from a year ago. A typical television season runs from September to May. NBC’s ‘Sunday Night Football’ was the most popular prime-time program. CBS’ ‘NCIS’ was the most-watched drama, while ‘Young Sheldon’ held the honors for comedy.


Elon Musk’s brain implant company Neuralink says it has US approval to begin trials in people

Elon Musk’s brain implant company Neuralink says it’s gotten permission from U.S. regulators to begin testing its device in people. The company made the announcement on Twitter Thursday evening. Officials with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration wouldn’t confirm or deny whether the agency granted the approval, but a press officer acknowledged the announcement. Neuralink is one of many groups working on linking the nervous system to computers. The Neuralink device is about the size of a large coin and is designed to be implanted in the skull. Musk previously said one of the first applications in people would to attempt to restore vision.


OpenAI boss downplays fears ChatGPT maker could leave Europe over AI rules

LONDON (AP) — OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is downplaying worries that the ChatGPT maker could exit the European Union if it can’t comply with the bloc’s strict new artificial intelligence rules. It comes after a top official rebuked him for comments raising such a possiblilty. Altman is traveling through Europe as part of a world tour to promote his AI company and meet with officials. In London this week, he said OpenAI might leave if the EU’s AI rules are too tough. That triggered a pointed reply on social media from Commissioner Thierry Breton accusing the company of blackmail. Altman sought to calm the waters Friday, tweeting that there are “no plans to leave.”


Flight cancellations, strikes raise fears of new summer travel chaos in Europe

LONDON (AP) — British Airways has canceled dozens of flights due to computer problems in a rocky kickoff to Europe’s summer travel season. The plans of thousands of travelers have been disrupted Friday at the start of a busy holiday weekend. Technical glitches and strikes by airport staff across Europe are stirring concerns about a repeat of last summer’s post-pandemic air travel chaos that meant delays, cancellations and mountains of lost luggage. International Air Transport Association says some disruptions are expected but the challenges keeping up with post-pandemic demand have been resolved. It warned about strikes in places like France. Security guards also have walked out at Heathrow, where most of the affected flights are on short-haul routes.


Credit Suisse owes millions to Georgia’s billionaire ex-prime minister, court says

LONDON (AP) — A Singapore court says Credit Suisse owes former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili hundreds of millions of dollars for failing to protect the billionaire’s money in a trust pilfered by a manager. The decision Friday is the latest scandal for the Swiss bank whose yearslong problems forced its takeover by a rival. Ivanishvili sued after an employee managing his trust “misappropriated many millions of dollars” over nine years. Credit Suisse says the decision is wrong and plans to appeal. The judge found that the lender ”is liable to compensate the plaintiffs for their loss.” That’s been calculated at $926 million, minus $79.4 million that the bank agreed to pay last year in a settlement.


Stock market today: Tech leads more gains on Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rose on Wall Street, led by more gains in technology stocks as another chipmaker reported strong demand related to artificial intelligence. The S&P 500 rose 1.3% Friday, and the Nasdaq rose 2.2%. The Dow added 1%. Marvell Technology jumped 33% after saying it expects AI revenue to at least double in fiscal 2024 from the prior year. That follows Thursday’s report from fellow chipmaker Nvidia, which gave a big forecast for upcoming sales related to AI. Investors were encouraged to see a pickup in consumer spending last month. U.S. markets will be closed on Monday for Memorial Day.


Minister: Chevron ‘positive’ about Israeli-Cypriot plans for natural gas pipeline, processing plant

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus’ energy minister says oil and gas company Chevron is “positive” about an Israeli-Cypriot plan for a pipeline that would convey offshore natural gas from both countries to Cyprus where it would be liquefied for export by ship to Europe and elsewhere. The minister said Friday after talks with visiting Chevron Vice President for Exploration and Production Frank Cassulo that the company also wants to hear the views of other energy firms attending a gathering next week where the Cypriot government will formally pitch the plan in order to secure investor backing.

___ The S&P 500 rose 54.17 points, or 1.3%, to 4,205.45. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 328.69 points, or 1%, to 33,093.34. The Nasdaq composite rose 277.59 points, or 2.2% to 12,975.69. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 18.42 points, or 1%, to 1,773.02.

Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Federal News Network Logo

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up