Business briefing

The daily business briefing: January 27, 2022

Fed leaders signal an interest rate hike in March, Spotify removes Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan objections, and more

1

Fed officials signal rate hike in March

The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that with inflation high and the job market strengthening it will "soon" be appropriate to start raising interest rates, which the central bank has kept near zero to boost the recovery during the coronavirus pandemic. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said Fed leaders were keeping rates unchanged for now, but inclined to "raise the federal funds rate at the March meeting," assuming current trends continue. "The economy no longer needs sustained high levels" of monetary policy support, he said. The Fed also is tapering the bond purchases it has used to further support the recovery, on track to end the program in March. The suggestion that the Fed could aggressively increase borrowing costs dragged down stocks.

2

Spotify removes Neil Young's music after singer's Joe Rogan objections

Spotify on Wednesday removed Neil Young's music from its streaming service after he posted a letter on his website saying he would not allow his catalog on the same platform as podcast host Joe Rogan's "fake information" about coronavirus vaccines. "They can have Rogan or Young. Not both," Young said in the letter to his manager and record label. He said people spreading bogus information about vaccines could be killing people who believe it. Rogan, who hosts one of the most popular podcasts on Spotify, has faced frequent criticism for his statements on the pandemic, including that healthy young people shouldn't get vaccinated. "We regret Neil's decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon," a Spotify spokesperson told The Washington Post.

3

Tesla beats expectations but said supply-chain problems persist 

Tesla on Wednesday reported fourth-quarter results that beat analysts' expectations, but its shares struggled in extended trading after the electric-car maker said supply-chain problems could continue through 2022. The stock fell by as much as 5 percent before climbing back into positive territory. Tesla reported quarterly earnings of $2.52 per share, beating expectations of $2.36 per share among analysts surveyed by Refinitiv. Revenue came in at $17.72 billion, compared to expectations of $16.57 billion. Overall revenue was up by 65 percent compared to the same period a year earlier. Energy generation and storage revenue was down by 8 percent, but automotive revenue reached $15.97 billion, up 71 percent.

4

Boeing reports 3rd straight annual loss

Boeing on Wednesday reported its third straight annual loss, and said 787 Dreamliner jet production problems and delivery delays would cost it another $4.5 billion. Factory defects and regulatory issues have slowed Dreamliner deliveries for more than a year. Boeing said it lost $4.3 billion in 2021, including 4.16 billion in the last quarter of the year. Boeing's troubles came as airlines struggle to recover from damage caused by travel restrictions and other problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Boeing CEO David Calhoun said 2021 was a "rebuilding year for us." The aircraft maker said it expects to resolve the problems this year, and increase deliveries of 737 MAX and Dreamliner jets. Boeing shares rose 2 percent overnight.

5

Stock futures mixed after Fed remarks

Stock futures rose slightly early Thursday following the Federal Reserve's statement indicating a likely interest rate hike in March. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down by 0.1 percent at 6:45 a.m. ET, after climbing back from a sharp decline. Futures for the S&P 500 stayed flat, while those of the Nasdaq were up by 0.1 percent. The Fed's statement at the end of its two-day meeting was expected, but Chair Jerome Powell rattled markets when he said that the central bank had "quite a bit of room" to raise rates to fight high inflation before negatively affecting employment. Stocks struggled and the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield rose above 1.8 percent after Powell's remark, as traders priced in five quarter-percentage-point interest-rate hikes this year.

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