Business

Under Argentina’s New President, Fuel Is Up 60%, and Diaper Prices Have Doubled
Business

Under Argentina’s New President, Fuel Is Up 60%, and Diaper Prices Have Doubled

Over the past two weeks, the owner of a hip wine bar in Buenos Aires saw the price of beef soar 73 percent, while the zucchini he puts in salads rose 140 percent. An Uber driver paid 60 percent more to fill her tank. And a father said he spent twice as much on diapers for his toddler than he did last month.In Argentina, a country synonymous with galloping inflation, people are used to paying more for just about everything. But under the country’s new president, life is quickly becoming even more painful.When Javier Milei was elected president on Nov. 19, the country was already suffering under the world’s third-highest rate of inflation, with prices up 160 percent from a year before.But since Mr. Milei took office on Dec. 10 and quickly devalued the Argentine currency, prices have soared a...
How Tracking and Technology in Cars Is Being Weaponized by Abusive Partners
Business

How Tracking and Technology in Cars Is Being Weaponized by Abusive Partners

After almost 10 years of marriage, Christine Dowdall wanted out. Her husband was no longer the charming man she had fallen in love with. He had become narcissistic, abusive and unfaithful, she said. After one of their fights turned violent in September 2022, Ms. Dowdall, a real estate agent, fled their home in Covington, La., driving her Mercedes-Benz C300 sedan to her daughter’s house near Shreveport, five hours away. She filed a domestic abuse report with the police two days later.Her husband, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent, didn’t want to let her go. He called her repeatedly, she said, first pleading with her to return, and then threatening her. She stopped responding to him, she said, even though he texted and called her hundreds of times.Ms. Dowdall, 59, started occasionally ...
Red Sea Shipping Halt Is Latest Risk to Global Economy
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Red Sea Shipping Halt Is Latest Risk to Global Economy

The attacks on crucial shipping traffic in the Red Sea straits by a determined band of militants in Yemen — a spillover from the Israeli-Hamas war in Gaza — are injecting a new dose of instability into a world economy already struggling with mounting geopolitical tensions.The risk of escalating conflict in the Middle East is the latest in a string of unpredictable crises, including the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, that have landed like swipes of a bear claw on the global economy, smacking it off course and leaving scars.As if that weren’t enough, more volatility lies ahead in the form of a wave of national elections whose repercussions could be deep and long. More than two billion people in roughly 50 countries, including India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, the United Stat...
Tencent and Netease Rally on Signs China May Ease Gaming Proposal
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Tencent and Netease Rally on Signs China May Ease Gaming Proposal

The stock prices of Chinese video game companies rebounded Wednesday after investors seized on signals that the government was having second thoughts about proposed regulations on gaming.Since the weekend, regulators have tried to calm the market after shares of the two largest video game companies, Tencent and Netease, plunged on Friday.When trading resumed after the four-day holiday weekend in Hong Kong, Tencent rose about 4 percent and Netease jumped 12 percent, recovering some of their losses. The companies’ shares rose again on Thursday, although more modestly.The events of the past several days underline the push-and-pull forces in Chinese policymaking. The country’s top leaders have acknowledged that they need to stabilize the economy, which has been slow to recover from being virtu...
Holiday Spending Increased, Defying Fears of a Decline
Business

Holiday Spending Increased, Defying Fears of a Decline

Despite lingering inflation, Americans increased their spending this holiday season, early data shows. That comes as a big relief for retailers that had spent much of the year fearing the economy would soon weaken and consumer spending would fall.Retail sales increased 3.1 percent from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24 compared with the same period a year earlier, according to data from Mastercard SpendingPulse, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment. The numbers, released Tuesday, are not adjusted for inflation.Spending increased across many categories, with restaurants experiencing one of the largest jumps, 7.8 percent. Apparel increased 2.4 percent, and groceries also had gains.The holiday sales figures, driven by a healthy labor market and wage gains, suggests that...
What to Read and Listen to During Your Holiday Break
Business

What to Read and Listen to During Your Holiday Break

Whether your holiday season comes with flight delays, a long road trip or a rare day with space on your calendar, it’s likely you’re about to have some free time.If you’d like to use it to get a little smarter about deals and the economy — and perhaps even enjoy yourself in the process — you’re in luck: Here are our favorite books and podcasts from this year (plus one game) that will help you do just that.An investigative reporter unpacks the crypto industry“Number Go Up: Inside Crypto’s Wild Rise and Staggering Fall” by Zeke FauxCryptocurrency has its detractors, including the JPMorgan Chase chief executive, Jamie Dimon, who told a congressional hearing this month that the government should ban digital assets. But few crypto critics have been as committed to trying to understand the techn...
Price Increases Cooled in November as Inflation Falls Toward Fed Target
Business

Price Increases Cooled in November as Inflation Falls Toward Fed Target

A closely watched measure of inflation cooled notably in November, good news for the Federal Reserve as officials move toward the next phase in their fight against rapid price increases and a positive for the White House as voters see relief from rising costs.The Personal Consumption Expenditures inflation measure, which the Fed cites when it says it aims for 2 percent inflation on average over time, climbed 2.6 percent in the year through November. That was down from 2.9 percent the previous month, and was less than what economists had forecast. Compared with the previous month, prices overall even fell slightly for the first time in years.That decline — a 0.1 percent drop, and the first negative reading since April 2020 — came as gas prices dropped. After volatile food and fuel prices we...
Choice Hotel Franchise Owners Push Back on Merger With Wyndham
Business

Choice Hotel Franchise Owners Push Back on Merger With Wyndham

When Patrick Pacious, the chief executive of a large portfolio of hotel brands, promoted a blockbuster attempt to acquire a competitor in October, he said the proposed merger would lower costs and attract more customers for the families and small businesses that own most of the company’s locations.“Our franchisees instantly grasped the strategic benefit this would bring to their hotels,” Mr. Pacious, who leads Choice Hotels, said on CNBC.As the weeks have passed, however, the reaction has not been positive. Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, the target of the proposed deal, rejected the offer from Choice, which is now pursuing a hostile takeover. And in early December, an association representing the majority of hoteliers who own Choice and Wyndham-branded properties came out strongly against it....
It Took 10 Years to Grow This Christmas Tree. The Price? $105
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It Took 10 Years to Grow This Christmas Tree. The Price? $105

Every day since the trees were planted has been a roll of the dice.Unlike commodities like corn and soybeans, which Mr. Wyckoff grows on another 90 acres he owns, there is no good way to insure Christmas trees against the harm caused by extreme weather, or the effects of an overseas war or a pandemic that freezes supply chains, he added.“Farmers are the biggest gamblers there are,” Mr. Wyckoff, 57, said. His family has been growing Christmas trees in Belvidere, N.J., about a 90-minute drive from Midtown Manhattan, since his grandfather started the business in the 1950s.Christmas trees grow slowly, about 12 to 14 inches a year, and can take 10 years to go from seed to harvest. Most trees he plants are 3 to 5 years old by the time he buys them from nurseries.To keep up with costs, Mr. Wyckof...
Gene-Sequencing Company Illumina to Sell Cancer Test Developer
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Gene-Sequencing Company Illumina to Sell Cancer Test Developer

Illumina, the leading producer of gene-sequencing machines, announced Sunday that it would sell Grail, a cancer test developer that it purchased for $7.1 billion in 2021.The move came two days after Illumina lost its case in a federal appeals court, which largely upheld a Federal Trade Commission ruling that Illumina should unwind its deal with Grail on antitrust grounds.The case was seen by antitrust experts as a test of regulators’ efforts to stop big companies from buying fledgling innovators.The deal had also faced a roadblock in Europe. In September 2022, the European Union said it would block the acquisition. Illumina, based in San Diego, previously stated publicly that if it was unsuccessful with appeals in either jurisdiction, it would divest the start-up.“We are committed to an ex...