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AP Business Brief at 1:19 AM EST

 

The US economy is likely to have slowed down but still showed solid growth in the fourth quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) — The US economy likely came out of 2022 with momentum, posting decent growth in the face of painful inflation, high interest rates and growing concerns that a recession could hit in a few months. Economists have calculated that gross domestic product—the broadest measure of economic output—grew 2.3% a year from October to December. The Commerce Department will release its first of three estimates of fourth-quarter GDP growth on Thursday. Despite a likely second straight quarter of growth, the economy is expected to slow and then slide into recession sometime in the coming months as ever higher interest rates fueled by the Federal Reserve take their toll.

Boeing to appear in court over crash of two Max planes

FORT WORTH, TX (AP) — Boeing officials and relatives of some of the passengers killed in the two Boeing 737 Max crashes will meet face-to-face in a Texas courtroom Thursday, where the aerospace giant will face criminal charges. which, in his opinion, he decided two years ago. The family members were never consulted before Boeing made a deal with the US Department of Justice to avoid prosecution for fraud. Up to a dozen or so people from several countries are expected to testify about how they have been affected by the loss of loved ones. A lawyer representing the families hopes the testimony will convince the Justice Department to drop the settlement.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, says it will restore former President Donald Trump’s personal account in the coming weeks, ending a two-year suspension imposed following the January 6 uprising. The company said in a blog post on Wednesday that it is adding “new guardrails” to ensure there are no “recidivists” breaking its rules. Trump was removed from office on January 7, the day after the bloody 2021 uprising. Other social networks have kicked him off their platforms as well, although he was recently reinstated on Twitter after Elon Musk took over the company. Responding to the news, Trump criticized Facebook’s initial decision to suspend his account and praised Truth Social, the site he created after being banned from Twitter.

Tesla invests $3.6 billion to expand Nevada truck plant

SPARKS, Nevada (AP) — Tesla says it intends to invest $3.6 billion to expand manufacturing capacity in Nevada and is confident that rising software-related profits will maintain margins higher than any other automaker. The company confirmed its plans to produce high volume semi-trailers and produce enough batteries for 2 million light duty vehicles per year in Nevada. The Austin, Texas-based electric vehicle and solar panel maker posted record fourth-quarter net profit last year on Wednesday. Nevada State Expansion Helps Tesla Plan to Build 50,000 Trucks in North America in 2024 The White House said the expansion is evidence of an ongoing manufacturing boom since President Biden took office.

Asian stocks diverged on hopes of avoiding a recession

BEIJING (AP) – Asian stock markets are mixed as Western economies hope to avoid a recession despite higher interest rates to curb inflation. Hong Kong and Seoul have advanced. Tokyo refused. Oil prices were mixed. Markets in China, India and Australia were closed for the holidays. Wall Street ended with little change after rebounding from an early-day decline. Investors are optimistic that the economies of the United States and Europe can avoid recession, despite warnings from the Federal Reserve and other central bankers that rate hikes to slow economic growth and inflation will persist for a long period. Investors fear that corporate profits will shrink due to the slowing economy, higher interest rates and still high inflation.

Tesla Says Its Q4 Profit Up 59%, Strong Demand Expected

DETROIT (AP) — Tesla reported a record fourth-quarter net income last year, and the company forecasts additional software-related earnings will keep its margin higher than any other automaker. Austin, Texas, an electric vehicle and solar panel maker, said it earned $3.69 billion, or an adjusted $1.19 per share, from October to December. This beat estimates of $1.13 per share, which were cut by analysts. The company’s profit is 59% higher than in the same period a year ago. Revenue for the quarter was $24.32 billion, down from the $24.67 billion expected by analysts.

BBC film about Indian Prime Minister Modi and 2002 riots angered government

NEW DELHI (AP) — Days after India banned a BBC documentary that explored Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s role during the 2002 anti-Muslim riots, authorities are scrambling to stop the program from being shown in colleges and universities and ​restrict the display of her videos on social networks. Critics denounced these actions as an attack on press freedom. The two-part documentary “India: The Modi Question” focuses on the bloody riots in western Gujarat when Modi was the state’s chief minister. Modi denied accusations that he allowed the unrest under his supervision, and the Supreme Court said it found no evidence to prosecute him. India called the documentary “propaganda”.

Elon Musk’s tweet style draws attention to Tesla trial

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s impulsive and sometimes inflammatory use of Twitter has taken center stage in a lawsuit over whether he misled investors with his 2018 tweets indicating he raised funding to to take the electric car maker private, a proposal that was quickly sorted out. Attention to Musk’s tweeting habits came to attention a day after the 51-year-old billionaire ended three days of defiant testimony in which he told a nine-member jury why he thought he might have carried out a potential Tesla buyout, about which he tweeted in 2018. Musk posted the tweets that got him in trouble weeks after investors urged him to stay away from Twitter.

End of AmazonSmile is alarming, say nonprofits that have won

Since 2013, more than 1 million charities have received donations from AmazonSmile, which sent a small portion of a customer’s Amazon purchase to a non-profit organization of their choice. Amazon announced last week that the program will end on February 20th. Nonprofits are now looking at ways to replace this funding, and some of Amazon’s competitors, including Walmart and Target, have community donation programs that are somewhat similar to AmazonSmile. Patrick Malone, a spokesperson for Amazon, said the company’s decision to end the program is a strategic shift to support initiatives that work on a larger scale, such as its $2 billion contribution to affordable housing.

Goldman Sachs signals partial withdrawal from consumer banking

NEW YORK (AP) — Goldman Sachs has been trying to expand its business beyond the corporations and the wealthy for eight years. But in recent months, the storied investment bank has signaled a partial abandonment of those efforts, scrapping plans to open a checking account widely available to the public and mothballing its personal lending business. The bank said last week that it had accumulated $3 billion in losses since 2020 on its consumer banking franchise, mostly money set aside to cover potential credit losses in its Marcus personal loan business. The retreat comes as Goldman attempts to refocus on its roots: advising corporations on transactions, investing and trading, and serving the wealthy. .

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