Business briefing

The daily business briefing: August 12, 2021

U.S. inflation slows, Rand Paul belatedly discloses wife's COVID-19 drugmaker stock, and more

1

U.S. inflation rises at slower pace

Inflation slowed in July, the Labor Department reported Wednesday, giving economists more confidence that this year's sharp rise is temporary, sparked largely by booming car prices. The consumer price index rose 0.5 percent in July, or 5.4 percent from a year earlier, but core CPI — which strips out volatile food and energy prices — rose just 0.3 percent, below expectations. The Federal Reserve has maintained that the high inflation rate is "largely transitory," but some Fed officials are urging the central bank to announce next month a curtailing of bond buying in the fall. "The July inflation report appears to give a little something to both the hawks and the doves within the Fed," says Jim Baird, chief investment officer for Plante Moran Financial Advisors.

2

Rand Paul belatedly discloses wife's COVID-19 drugmaker stock

Sixteen months past a legal deadline, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Wednesday filed a disclosure with the Senate revealing that on Feb. 26, 2020, his wife, Kelley, purchased stock in Gilead Sciences, a company that produces an antiviral drug used to treat COVID-19. Under the STOCK Act, the disclosure should have been filed within 45 days of the purchase. The Justice Department last year launched investigations into several senators who sold stock shortly before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Paul's spokeswoman said the senator did not attend any confidential briefings about COVID-19, and he just recently found out that while he filled out the proper stock reporting form last year, it was never transmitted. 

3

'Jeopardy!' names Mike Richards and Mayim Bialik permanent hosts

Sony Pictures Television announced Wednesday that long-running game show Jeopardy! will have two permanent hosts to replace the late Alex Trebek. Mike Richards, the show's executive producer, will host the daily syndicated show while actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik will take on the prime-time specials and tournaments, starting with next year's Jeopardy! National College Championship. Richards, 46, and Bialik, 45, were among the 16 guest hosts who participated in what amounted to public tryouts over the past year. "Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined being chosen to step into a role of this magnitude," said Richards.

4

U.S. stock futures creep higher ahead of jobless claims data

U.S. stock futures crept upwards Thursday morning in anticipation of earnings reports from tech companies including Airbnb and DoorDash. "Earnings season is going really well, it validates the recovery scenario," said Luc Filip, head of private banking investments at SYZ Private Banking. Investors were also awaiting fresh data on jobless claims, as well as U.S. producer-price index for July, which were both set to be released at 8:30 a.m. Futures for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both rose less than 0.1 percent before the opening bell. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.2 percent. 

5

Hackers steal $600 million in cryptocurrency from Poly Network

Decentralized finance platform Poly Network said this week it was the victim of the biggest theft in the industry's history after hackers stole around $600 million in cryptocurrency. Poly Network said it has identified the vulnerability that was exploited and urged the "hackers to return the assets," establishing addresses to which they could do so while also urging the blacklisting of assets coming from addresses the attacker used. By noon on Wednesday, the blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis said that about $261 million had been returned, and the attacker reportedly claimed to have targeted the network "for fun" and to "expose the vulnerability." On Thursday, Poly Network said it was working to "fully recover the user assets." 

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