Business Highlights: China lockdowns; Consumer confidence

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AP interview: IMF chief urges China to end massive lockdown

BERLIN (AP) – The head of the International Monetary Fund says the time has come for China to move away from mass lockdowns as part of its “zero-Covid” approach. Kristalina Georgieva said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday that a “recalibration” of the tough approach could move to more targeted sanctions. It will be easier for the Chinese people and reduce the impact on the global economy. He also said that the time has not yet come for the US Federal Reserve to reduce its rapid interest rate hikes. High inflation numbers in the US and Europe mean “too early to retreat.” She said the Fed “has no choice but to stay the course” until there is a credible decline in inflation.

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US consumer confidence fell for a second month in November

US consumer confidence fell for a second month in a row in November amid high inflation, rising interest rates and layoff announcements by several big tech companies. The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its consumer confidence index fell to 100.2 this month, down from 102.2 in October.

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China ready for ‘closer partnership’ with Russia in energy sector

BEIJING (AP) – President Xi Jinping says China is ready to “build a closer partnership” with Russia in energy. A state news agency says Xi made the remarks in a letter to the China-Russia Business Forum. It could expand ties that vex Washington by helping the Kremlin resist sanctions over its war on Ukraine. The announcement did not provide any details. China’s energy-hungry economy is one of the biggest customers of Russian oil and gas. October purchases more than doubled from a year earlier to $10.2 billion as Chinese importers took advantage of exemptions offered by Moscow. Washington, Europe and Japan cut Russian energy purchases and expelled the country from the global banking system in retaliation for President Vladimir Putin’s February 24 attack on Ukraine.

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At Michigan chip plant, Biden says unions ‘built the middle class’

BAY CITY, Michigan (AP) – President Joe Biden is telling Americans he is a “pro-union” president, just a day after he asked Congress to pass legislation to stop a crippling railroad strike. He toured a technology plant in Michigan on Tuesday to highlight a $300 million expansion. South Korean company SK Siltron is expected to quadruple its production at the plant in the coming years. Biden said, as he often does, that he has been pro-union throughout his career. He said he talked to plant owners about how American workers are “the best workers in the world, you are the most qualified workers in the world.”

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Competitors chip away at Tesla’s US electric vehicle share

DETROIT (AP) — New electric vehicle models from multiple automakers are starting to chip away at Tesla’s dominance of the U.S. EV market, according to national vehicle registration data. But numbers collected by S&P Global Mobility show that Tesla still controlled about 65% of the growing electric vehicle market through the first nine months of this year. And competitors make gains in the below $50,000 sticker price range, where Tesla barely competes. S&P said EVs gained 2.4 percentage points in the US market this year, accounting for 5.2% of all light vehicle registrations. Of the 525,000 electric vehicles registered during the first nine months of the year, about 340,000 were Teslas.

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Gas driller pleads no contest for polluting city water

Montrose, Pa. (AP) – Pennsylvania’s most active gas driller has pleaded no contest to criminal environmental charges in a landmark pollution case. Houston-based Coterra Energy Inc. filed its plea in Susquehanna County Court on Tuesday. Residents in the small hamlet of Dimmock nearby in northeastern Pennsylvania said Cotera Energy ruined their aquifer and failed to fix it. This led to one of the most prominent cases of pollution from the US drilling and fracking boom. Kotera agreed in a plea agreement to pay $16.29 million to connect residents’ homes to a clean source of water and pay their water bills for the next 75 years.

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Twitter ends enforcement of COVID misinformation policy

Twitter is no longer enforcing its policy against misinformation about COVID-19. The change was announced in an online update to Twitter’s rules and came after the platform was bought by Elon Musk, who has in the past spread misleading COVID claims on Twitter himself. The platform implemented its COVID misinformation policy in early 2020 and has since suspended more than 11,000 accounts and removed nearly 100,000 for content it deemed potentially harmful. Some users celebrated the change Tuesday, while public health experts warned it could discourage vaccination and other efforts to combat the still-spreading virus.

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Former mayor elected at age 23, loses appeal in corruption case

BOSTON (AP) – A federal appeals court has upheld the extortion and fraud conviction of a once-iconic young Massachusetts mayor who was found guilty of siphoning hundreds of thousands of dollars from marijuana businesses. In a ruling published Monday, the First US Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a series of challenges to the 2021 trial of former Fall River Mayor Jaceel Correa, concluding that the 30-year-old was “tried fairly by an impartial jury.” Tried and convicted legally.” Correa’s lawyers declined to comment Tuesday. In his appeal, he accused prosecutors of conducting an “unfair smear campaign in the courtroom” and called the evidence against his client “remarkably shallow”.

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The S&P 500 closed down 6.31 points, or 0.2%, at 3,957.63. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 3.07 points, or less than 0.1%, to 33,852.53. The Nasdaq closed down 65.72 points, or 0.6%, at 10,983.78. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 5.59 points, or 0.3%, to 1,836.55.

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