Stocks sway as oil slides to $100 a barrel
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are swaying on Wall Street as waves of market-moving forces crash into each other and keep trading jumbled, from war in Ukraine to an upcoming Federal Reserve meeting on interest rates.
The S&P 500 was down 0.2% after the 10-year Treasury yield touched its highest level since the summer of 2019. Stocks climbed in Europe, while stocks fell sharply in Hong Kong on worries about a nearby COVID-19 outbreak.
Oil prices tumbled to take some pressure off the high inflation sweeping the world, with a barrel of U.S. crude falling toward $100 after touching $130 last week.
Raskin nomination for Fed in peril as Democrat opposes pick
WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, says he opposes the nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin to a key position on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, endangering her prospects of winning Senate confirmation.
Raskin’s nomination has been stuck in the Senate Banking Committee after Republicans last month unanimously refused to vote on it, to prevent her being approved on a party-line vote. Manchin is not a member of the committee. But his opposition means that for her to win the approval, she would need to pick up a Republican vote in the Senate to offset a Manchin no vote.
GERMANY-UKRAINE WAR-GAS PRICES
German finance chief wants measures to curb fuel price hike
BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s finance minister has proposed a “crisis discount” to dampen the impact of recent fuel price hikes due to the war in Ukraine.
German media reported that the fuel subsidy proposed by Finance Minister Christian Lindner could see gas prices cut about 8 U.S. cents a gallon. Lindner says the measure has yet to be agreed upon by the three-party governing coalition, but he hopes the Cabinet could approve it as part of a broader package Wednesday.
Members of the environmentalist Green party have proposed introducing a speed limit on the country’s highways to curb fuel use. Lindner declined to comment on proposals for a speed limit.
Germany to buy US-made F-35s to replace aging bombers
BERLIN (AP) — Germany says that it will replace some of its aging Tornado bomber jets with U.S.-made F-35 Lightning II aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
Germany’s air force commander, Ingo Gerhartz, said the current war in Ukraine made it necessary to choose Lockheed Martin’s F-35s. Previously, the government had considered replacing the Luftwaffe’s Tornados with a mix of different U.S. and European-made aircraft.
The German military does not have nuclear weapons of its own, but as part of the system of nuclear deterrence developed during the Cold War it maintained bombers capable of carrying U.S. atomic bombs, some of which are stationed in Germany.
The opposition Left Party criticized the decision to purchase the F-35 for Germany’s military.
Ford ramping up electric vehicles in Europe
UNDATED (AP) — Ford says it will have three new electric passenger vehicles and four new electric commercial vehicles in Europe by 2024, part of the automaker’s continued push to grow its presence in the EV market.
Ford Motor Co. said today that it plans to sell more than 600,000 electric vehicles in the Europe by 2026 and more than 2 million worldwide in the same time frame. It anticipates producing 1.2 million electric vehicles in Cologne, Germany over six years.
An electric version of the Ford Puma will be made in Romania beginning in 2024.
German airport strike causes flight cancellations, delays
BERLIN (AP) — More than 1,000 security personnel have walked off their jobs at airports across Germany, leading to dozens of flight cancellations and delays.
Security staffers at airports in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Hannover and elsewhere began their one-day strike early today to press for higher wages. German news agency dpa reported that the walkouts are part of a wage dispute between Verdi union and the Federal Association of Aviation Security Companies. Verdi announced it also planned walkouts Tuesday at passenger controls at airports including Frankfurt, Hamburg and Stuttgart.
The union is negotiating with the employers’ association for a new agreement for about 25,000 security staff nationwide. The sides plan further talks this week.
France lifts most restrictions
PARIS (AP) — France is lifting most COVID-19 restrictions. People no longer are required to wear face masks in almost all places and people who are unvaccinated can go back into restaurants, sports arenas and other leisure venues.
The move on Monday was announced earlier this month by the French government based on an assessment of the improving situation in hospitals and following weeks of a steady decline in infections. It comes less than a month before the first round of the presidential election scheduled on April 10.
CALIFORNIA-HEALTH CARE AFFORDABILITY
California aims to limit health care costs with new office
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to create a new state office to keep health care prices in check.
The proposed Office of Health Care Affordability would order hospitals, doctor’s offices and insurers to keep their costs below a certain level. Anyone who breaks the rules could face a hefty fine.
At least four other states have similar offices. But they rarely impose fines, and none would be as comprehensive as California’s office.
The California Hospital Association warns there could be unintended consequences. They also say 45% of hospitals are already operating at a loss.
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