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AP
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World shares are mostly higher while U.S. futures fell ahead of the July 4 holiday in the U.S. Benchmarks rose in London, Paris, Frankfurt and Tokyo but fell in Hong Kong and Seoul. Oil prices fell back after surging on Friday. U.S. stocks shook off a morning slump Friday and ended higher, but still ended in the red for the week. It was the fourth losing week in the last five for Wall Street as investors fretted over high inflation and the possibility that higher interest rates could bring on a recession. The S&P 500 rose 1.1%.

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U.S. officials are testing a new wildfire retardant after two decades of buying millions of gallons annually from one supplier, but watchdogs say the expensive strategy is overly fixated on aerial attacks at the expense of hiring more fire-line digging ground crews. The Forest Service says tests started last summer are continuing this summer with a magnesium-chloride-based retardant from Fortress. Fortress contends its retardants are effective and better for the environment than products offered by Perimeter Solutions. That company says its ammonium-phosphate-based retardants are superior. The Forest Service used more than 50 million gallons of retardant for the first time in 2020 as increasingly destructive wildfires plague the West.

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President Joe Biden’s hope for saving the Earth from the devastating effects of climate change may not be dead. But it's not far from it. A Supreme Court ruling Thursday limits the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate climate pollution by power plants and suggests the court is poised to block Biden’s other efforts to limit the fumes emitted by oil, gas and coal. It’s a blow to Biden’s commitment to slash emissions in the few years scientists say remain to stave off deadlier levels of global warming. It's a sign to Democrats of the dwindling chances left for Biden to reverse the legacy of President Donald Trump, who mocked the science of climate change.

AP
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Asian benchmarks are mostly lower, echoing a decline on Wall Street, after a quarterly report by Japan’s central bank rekindled worries about the world’s third largest economy. Recent data suggest global growth is slowing as countries grapple with renewed waves of coronavirus outbreaks, soaring prices and the war in Ukraine. In the Bank of Japan “tankan” survey, the headline index for large manufacturers was 9, down from 14 the previous quarter, the second straight quarter of declines. However, a survey by a Chinese business magazine, Caixin, showed China’s factory activity expanded in June at its strongest rate in 13 months as the country eased pandemic restrictions, allowing manufacturing and other business activity to resume.

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Americans with stock portfolios or retirement investment plans would likely prefer to forget the last six months. The S&P 500, Wall Street’s broad benchmark for many stock funds, closed the first half of 2022 Thursday with a loss of more than 20% after starting the year at an all-time high. It’s the worst start to a year since 1970, when Apple and Microsoft had yet to be founded. Bonds are on pace for one of their worst performances in history, and cryptocurrencies have tumbled after soaring last year. Financial markets have been roiled as the Federal Reserve has hiked interest rates sharply to tame surging inflation.

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If you're flying this holiday weekend, be prepared for crowded airports, full planes, and higher-than-normal chances that your flight will be delayed or even canceled. Airlines have stumbled badly over the last two holiday weekends, and the number of Americans flying over the July Fourth weekend is expected to set records for the pandemic era. Problems have been popping up already, with high numbers of cancellations this week, some of them caused by thunderstorms that snarled air traffic. Tracking service FlightAware says American Airlines canceled 8% of its flights on Tuesday and Wednesday, and United Airlines scrubbed 4% of its schedule on those same days.

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Oil prices are high, and drivers are paying more at the pump. But the OPEC oil cartel and allied producing nations may not be much help at their meeting Thursday. The OPEC+ alliance, which includes Russia, is having trouble meeting its production quotas. So even an expected increase of 648,000 barrels per day for August may not do much to bring down prices as demand for fuel rebounds strongly from the pandemic. Experts also say countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that can increase production have little incentive to do so. Plus, some oil from major producer Russia has been lost to the market as traders shun it over the war in Ukraine.

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FILE - The logo of the Organization of the Petroleoum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is seen outside of OPEC's headquarters in Vienna, Austria, Thursday, March 3, 2022. Oil prices are high, and drivers are paying more at the pump. But the OPEC oil cartel and allied producing nations may not be much help at their meeting Thursday, June 30. The OPEC+ alliance, which includes Russia. is having trouble meeting its announced production quotas. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner, file)

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President Joe Biden’s point man for global energy problems knows, he says, that transitioning away from the climate-wrecking pollution of fossil fuels is the only way to go. As a U.S. energy adviser, Amos Hochstein advocates urgently for renewable energy, for energy-smart thermostats and heat pumps. But when it comes to tackling the pressing energy challenges presented by Russia’s war on Ukraine, Hochstein also can sound like nothing as much as the West’s oilfield roustabout. Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike are welcoming his efforts to move Europe to non-Russian supplies of natural gas. But some climate advocates worry the Biden administration is overemphasizing new natural gas infrastructure, locking in more climate damage for years to come.

AP
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Asian stock markets are mixed after the U.S. economy contracted and China reported stronger factory activity. Shanghai and Hong Kong gained, while Tokyo and Seoul declined. Oil prices advanced. Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index edged 0.1% lower after data showed the U.S. economy shrank in the first quarter amid high inflation and weakening consumer confidence. Investors are uneasy about signs the biggest global economy might be in a recession due to interest rate hikes imposed to cool surging inflation. The global economy has been roiled by anti-virus measures in China that shut down Shanghai and other industrial centers and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which pushed up prices of oil, wheat and other commodities.