Business briefing

The daily business briefing: February 17, 2022

Trump posts his 1st message on new social media platform, Fed minutes show leaders considering accelerated interest rate hikes, and more

1

Trump posts 1st message on his new social media platform

Former President Donald Trump has made his first message on his alternative social media platform, TRUTH Social. "Get ready! Your favorite president will see you soon," Trump wrote in a post shared on Twitter by his son Donald Trump Jr. The site closely mirrors Twitter, which permanently suspended Trump's account on its platform after the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack "due to the risk of further incitement of violence." The app, which also looks like Twitter, is still in an invitation-only beta. The full version is set to go live Monday, according to its Apple App Store page, but Trump Media CEO Devin Nunes told Newsmax earlier this month that the app won't launch until the end of March.

2

Fed minutes show talk of faster interest rate hikes to fight inflation

Federal Reserve policymakers at their last meeting discussed accelerating interest rate hikes to fight high inflation, according to minutes of the Jan. 25-26 discussions released Wednesday. The first increase is expected in March. Fed officials hiked rates gradually — never more than once per quarter — the last time they did so, between 2015 and 2018. But the minutes said that if inflation doesn't ease as expected, most of the central bank's leaders believe "a faster pace of increases in the target range for the federal-funds rate than in the post-2015 period would likely be warranted." The Fed might nudge up rates, currently near zero, in March, May, and June, according to The Wall Street Journal.

3

Investors buy record share of homes sold in U.S.

Investors bought a record 18 percent of the homes sold nationwide in the final quarter of 2021, according to real estate company Redfin. Investors, driven by rising rents, snapped up nearly one in seven homes sold in the country's top 40 metropolitan areas over the course of the year. During the final quarter, buyers spent $49.9 billion on 80,293 homes, an average of $433,000 per listing, Redfin's analysis showed. Rents in new leases jumped by 14 percent in December. "The supply shortage is also an advantage for landlords, as many people who can't find a home to buy are forced to rent instead," Redfin economist Sheharyar Bokhari said in a press release.

4

Stock futures struggle as Ukraine, Fed concerns continue 

U.S. stock futures dipped early Thursday in a sign of ongoing concerns about the Ukraine conflict and the Federal Reserve's plan to accelerate interest-rate hikes to fight inflation. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were down by 0.5 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively, at 6:30 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were down 0.7 percent. Several companies reported quarterly earnings after the market closed Wednesday. DoorDash shares jumped by 26 percent overnight after the food delivery service reported a loss but upbeat guidance. Cisco shares gained 3.5 percent after the networking equipment maker reported better-than-expected earnings and raised its guidance. Walmart, Airbus, and Nestle report Thursday. The major averages were mixed Wednesday.

5

Disney to develop residential communities

Walt Disney Co. said Wednesday that it is launching a new business that will develop residential communities that the research-and-development team it calls Imagineers will help design. The first project by the business, which will be called Storyliving by Disney, will be built in California's Rancho Mirage, where Walt Disney once owned a home, in collaboration with Scottsdale, Arizona-based DMB Development. That community will be called Cotino, and it will offer estates, single family homes, and condominiums, Disney said. This is not the first push beyond the film and theme-park businesses that Disney is best known for. The company also has a cruise line, and in the 1990s built a 5,000-acre residential community in Florida called Celebration.

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