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Wall Street futures edged lower Wednesday ahead of new employment and wholesale price data with the Federal Reserve gauging its next step in its fight to cool inflation. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrials slipped 0.4% and the S&P 500 fell 0.7% just over an hour before the opening bell. Stronger-than-expected economic data this week has dragged U.S. markets lower on the expectation that the Federal Reserve will be forced to remain aggressive with interest rates during its last policy meeting of 2022. This week, the Dow has fallen 2.4%, the S&P 3.2%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite nearly 4%.

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A former co-owner of a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy at the center of a nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak that resulted in more than 100 patient deaths has been sentenced to a year in prison for conspiring to defraud the federal government. Federal prosecutors said Thursday that 57-year-old Gregory Conigliaro was the New England Compounding Center's point of contact with federal and state regulators, but that he and others evaded regulatory oversight through fraud and misrepresentation. Prosecutors say about 800 patients in 20 states were sickened with fungal meningitis or other infections and about 100 died in 2012 after receiving injections of medical steroids manufactured by the now-closed pharmacy.

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The spectacle of incandescent lava spewing from Hawaii's Mauna Loa has drawn thousands of visitors and is turning into a tourism boon for a Big Island town near the world’s largest volcano. Some hotels in and around Hilo are becoming fully booked in what is normally a slower time of the year for business. Helicopter tours of Mauna Loa, which began erupting Sunday after being quiet for 38 years, are also in high demand by tourists and journalists. Hawaii's travel industry normally falls off this time of year between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

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Even if your credit card already earns solid ongoing rewards, there are several ways to rev up those earnings, especially amid the heavy shopping that tends to happen during the holiday season. First, look for lucrative sign-up bonuses when you open a credit card and meet a spending threshold. Beyond that, other opportunities abound — from online shopping portals you can visit to one-time offers you can add to your card as well as shopping strategies like buying gift cards. And the good news is that these steps don’t require a lot of effort on your part.

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Thrifting is hot, and Goodwill finds are cool again. But while we’re thrilled to find the perfect throwback tee for our own closet, gifting used goods still carries a stigma for some. It shouldn’t. Secondhand gifts are better for your wallet, your community and the environment. Buying a thrifted sweatshirt, jacket or vase keeps it from landing in a heap at the dump. And even with rising prices, buying secondhand is almost always less expensive than buying new. Most vintage shops and thrift stores are small businesses or nonprofit organizations, too, so gifts purchased there contribute to local jobs, businesses and community causes.

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Pandemic rebooking issues drove many air passengers to book directly with airlines instead of third-party travel sites. While ancillary fees have become a major part of airline revenue over the past 15 years, airlines have more recently ramped up efforts to drive revenue from add-on fees. Customers could end up paying more when booking directly with airlines because of the aggressive push toward extra upgrades, combined with seat selection and baggage fees. Online travel agencies such as Expedia and Kayak may help travelers save money because they offer better comparison shopping, which helps travelers choose the lowest overall cost, not just the lowest base cost.

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American consumers and nearly every industry will be affected if freight trains grind to a halt next month. One of the biggest rail unions rejected its deal Monday over concerns about demanding schedules and the lack of paid sick time. The U.S. hasn't seen an extended rail strike in a century. Many businesses only have a few days’ worth of raw materials and space for finished goods. If a strike goes past a few days, makers of food, fuel, cars and chemicals would all feel the squeeze, as would their customers. That’s not to mention the commuters who would be left stranded because many passenger railroads use tracks owned by the freight railroads.

AP
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Investigators say welding work caused a fire that killed 38 people at an industrial wholesaler in central China's Henan province. A district government in the city of Anyang said two other people were injured. More than 200 rescuers and firefighters responded to the fire that took four hours to extinguish Monday evening. The official Xinhua News Agency said sparks from welding ignited cotton fabric in the building but said the investigation was ongoing. China has a history of industrial accidents caused by lax regard to safety measures fueled by rising competition and abetted by corruption among officials. Online listings for the company, Kaixinda, said it wholesaled in a wide range of industrial goods including chemicals.

AP
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Asian stock markets are mixed after Wall Street sank and Chinese anti-virus controls fueled concern about an economic slowdown. Shanghai and Hong Kong declined while Tokyo advanced. Oil prices gained. Wall Street declined for another day after a Federal Reserve official rattled investors last week by saying already-elevated interest rates might have to go higher than expected to stop surging inflation. Traders worry repeated rate hikes by the Fed and other central banks might tip the global economy into recession. In China, expanding restrictions on millions of people in multiple cities to fight virus outbreaks are adding to concern the world’s second-largest economy might weaken.

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Authorities say a 22-year-old gunman opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, killing five people and leaving 25 injured before he was subdued by “heroic” patrons. Mayor John Suthers said Sunday that the attack at Club Q ended when someone grabbed a handgun from the suspect, struck him with it, then held him down until police arrived. The club called it a “hate attack" but investigators were still determining a motive and whether it would be charged as a hate crime. The El Paso County district attorney said charges against suspect Anderson Lee Aldrich will likely include first-degree murder.