Justice Dept. sues Google over digital advertising dominance
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department and eight states have filed an antitrust suit against Google. The suit seeks to shatter Google's alleged monopoly on the entire ecosystem of online advertising as a hurtful burden to advertisers, consumers and even the U.S. government. The government alleges that Google’s plan to assert dominance has been to “neutralize or eliminate” rivals through acquisitions and to force advertisers to use its products by making it difficult to use competitors’ products. Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., says the suit “doubles down on a flawed argument that would slow innovation, raise advertising fees, and make it harder for thousands of small businesses and publishers to grow.”
Federal Reserve and the markets in standoff on rate hikes
WASHINGTON (AP) — Sooner or later, either Wall Street or the Federal Reserve has to blink. Nearly a year into the Fed’s drive to quash inflation by hiking interest rates at a blistering pace, investors still don’t seem to fully believe what the Fed warns is coming next: Higher rates through the end of the year, which could sharply raise unemployment and slow growth. Wall Street has a more sanguine view: Investors are betting that the Fed will stop hiking rates soon, pause for a bit and then start cutting rates toward the end of the year to combat what many on Wall Street expect will be a mild recession.
Elon Musk defiantly defends himself in Tesla tweet trial
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Elon Musk has concluded his testimony in a federal trial over a class-action lawsuit that alleges he misled Tesla shareholders with a tweet about an aborted buyout. The billionaire insisted Tuesday in a San Francisco courtroom that he could have pulled the deal off if had he wanted. It’s unlikely Musk will be summoned back to the witness stand during a trial expected to be turned over to a jury in early February. The trial hinges on whether a pair of tweets by Musk in 2018 damaged Tesla shareholders during a period leading up to his admission that the buyout he had envisioned wasn’t going to happen.
Senators grill Ticketmaster after Taylor Swift fiasco
Senators grilled Ticketmaster Tuesday about its spectacular breakdown last year during a sale of Taylor Swift concert tickets. Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee debated possible action, including making tickets non-transferable to cut down on scalping and requiring more transparency in ticket fees. Some suggested it may also be necessary to split Ticketmaster and concert promoter Live Nation, which merged in 2010. Ticketmaster is the world’s largest ticket seller, processing 500 million tickets each year. In mid-November, Ticketmaster’s site crashed during a presale event for Swift’s upcoming stadium tour. The Justice Department has also opened an investigation into the breakdown.
Microsoft, amid layoffs, says quarterly profit declined 12%
REDMOND, Wash. (AP) — Microsoft has reported a 12% drop in profit for the October-December quarter, reflecting the economic uncertainty it says led to its decision to cut 10,000 workers. The company reported quarterly profit of $16.43 billion, or $2.20 per share. Excluding one-time items, the company based in Redmond, Washington, said it earned $2.32 a share, which topped Wall Street expectation for adjusted earnings of $2.29 a share. Microsoft last week blamed macroeconomic conditions and changing customer priorities for its decision to cut nearly 5% of its global workforce. It’s one of a number of tech companies, including Google, Amazon, Salesforce and Facebook parent Meta, to announce mass layoffs.
Soaring egg prices prompt demands for price-gouging probe
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — With egg prices more than doubling in the past year, calls are coming for an investigation into possible price gouging. That's even though millions of chickens have been slaughtered to limit the spread of bird flu and farmers have been dealing with the soaring cost of feed, fuel and labor. U.S. Sen. Jack Reed sent a letter Tuesday asking for the Federal Trade Commission to investigate. The farmer-led advocacy group Farm Action made a similar request last week. But industry trade groups say prices are largely set by commodity markets and experts say the real culprit is the combination of bird flu, inflation and continued strong demand for eggs.
Crypto firms acted like banks, then collapsed like dominoes
NEW YORK (AP) — Over the past few years, a number of companies have attempted to act as the cryptocurrency equivalent of a bank, promising lucrative returns to customers who deposited their bitcoin or other digital assets. In a span of less than 12 months, nearly all of the biggest of those companies have failed spectacularly. Last week, Genesis filed Chapter 11, joining Voyager Digital, Celsius and BlockFi in the list of companies that have either filed for bankruptcy protection or gone out of business. They failed because of a lack of safeguards and a rapid drop in crypto prices. Customers wonder if they'll recover any of their deposits.
Asia shares trading mixed, China markets closed for holidays
TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares are trading mixed after Wall Street indexes finished little changed, as investors awaited earnings results from major global companies. Shares rose in Tokyo and Seoul, but fell in Sydney. Markets were closed in Hong Kong and Shanghai for Lunar New Year holidays. Australia reported higher than expected inflation figures, setting off expectations for another interest rate hike. Stocks ended mixed on Wall Street after drifting between gains and losses. Trading has been volatile as investors try to get a better sense of how inflation is affecting the economy, the potential for a recession and whether the Federal Reserve can ease up on its aggressive interest rate increases.
Treasury takes another 'extraordinary' step on debt limit
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says in a letter to congressional leaders that she's suspending the reinvestment of some federal bonds in a government workers’ savings plan. That would be an additional “extraordinary” measure to buy time for President Joe Biden and Congress to raise the nation's debt limit. The government bumped up against its legal borrowing capacity last Thursday. This has prompted Treasury to already take accounting steps regarding federal employees’ retirement and health care plans that will enable the government to stay open until roughly June. Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy have sharp differences over how to raise the debt ceiling, setting off the risk of a default.
Biden meets with Democratic leaders as debt showdown looms
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has hosted the Democratic congressional leaders at the White House. The Tuesday afternoon meeting came as Democrats are staring down a debt ceiling crisis and running up against a new House Republican majority eager for confrontation. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats are united in working to raise the debt ceiling, fending off Republican demands for spending cuts. Senate Republicans are happy to leave negotiations to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The White House has not yet invited McCarthy for a meeting. McCarthy called Biden's approach “disappointing.”