Business briefing

The daily business briefing: February 16, 2022

Producer prices make biggest monthly jump since May 2021, Remington agrees to $73 million Sandy Hook settlement, and more

1

Producer prices rose 1 percent in January

The Labor Department reported Tuesday that producer prices rose by a seasonally adjusted 1 percent in January, up from a 0.4 percent increase in December. The increase, the biggest jump since May 2021, came as a coronavirus surge driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant extended supply-chain disruptions as consumer demand remained strong, according to economists. Producer prices increased by 9.7 percent over the preceding year, about the same increase as the government reported the previous month. "Overall, producer prices remain elevated and close to historic highs," said Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics. The new data added support for the Federal Reserve to roll back its efforts to boost the recovery to keep the economy from overheating.

2

Remington agrees to $73 million settlement with Sandy Hook families

Remington Arms has agreed to pay families of five adults and four children killed in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School $73 million to settle their liability claims, according to a Tuesday court filing. Remington made the semiautomatic Bushmaster XM15-E25 rifle that Adam Lanza, 20, used to kill 20 first-graders and six staff members at the Newtown, Connecticut, school. The settlement marked the first time a gun maker has been held liable for a U.S. mass shooting. "Marketing weapons of war directly to young people known to have a strong fascination with firearms is reckless and, as too many families know, deadly conduct," Nicole Hockley, whose son, Dylan, was killed in the shooting, said in a statement.

3

Tyson, Disney join companies easing mask requirements

Tyson Foods and Walt Disney World and Disneyland on Tuesday eased their mask requirements, becoming the latest major companies to roll back restrictions designed to curb coronavirus infections as new U.S. cases decline. On the same day, outdoor music festivals Coachella and Stagecoach announced that they would not require audience members to wear masks, or show proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 tests. The news followed decisions in the last week by California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Oregon to loosen indoor mask requirements. Average daily new cases for the last seven days fell to 140,204 on Tuesday, below the peak level of last summer's Delta-variant wave.

4

Stock futures edge lower after Tuesday's big gains

U.S. stock futures fell slightly early Wednesday after surging on Tuesday as fears of an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine eased. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were down by 0.2 percent at 6:30 a.m. ET. Futures for the Nasdaq were down 0.1 percent. All three of the main U.S. averages jumped on Tuesday after Russia said it was pulling back some of its estimated 150,000 troops massed near the Ukraine border. The Dow and the S&P 500 closed up by 1.2 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, snapping a three-day losing streak. The tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 2.5 percent.

5

NOAA: Sea level rise to make infrastructure-damaging floods 10 times more common

Sea levels along the U.S. shoreline will rise by 10 to 12 inches on average by 2050 due to climate change, regardless of the impact of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) projected in a report on Tuesday. The rise will equal sea level changes seen over the last century, and make coastal floods that have damaged infrastructure more than 10 times as frequent over the next three decades, Nicole LeBoeuf, director of NOAA's National Ocean Service, said in a summary of the report. "I can tell you with complete confidence that these are not the kind of changes that we grew up with," said LeBoeuf, a native of the Texas Gulf Coast.

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