Business briefing

The daily business briefing: March 11, 2022

Oil prices jump and stocks struggle after Russia-Ukraine talks fail, inflation surged again in February, and more

1

Oil prices rise, stocks struggle after Russia-Ukraine talks fail

Oil prices surged again and U.S. stock futures struggled to rebound as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continued to fuel market volatility. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up by 0.3 percent at 6:30 a.m. ET. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were up by 0.4 percent. But Wall Street was headed for another losing week. The Dow fell by 0.3 percent on Thursday, while the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped by 0.4 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively, after high-level talks between Russia and Ukraine failed to yield progress toward a cease-fire. Oil futures rebounded early Friday after pulling back from recent surges, remaining near their highest level in years.

2

Inflation surged again in February

U.S. consumer prices surged in February to an annual rate of 7.9 percent, the biggest such increase in 40 years, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Inflation was already high when Russia's war against Ukraine caused the cost of crude oil and other commodities to soar, driving U.S. gas prices to record highs and hurting consumers even more. The monthly increase in the consumer price index reached 0.8 percent last month, up from 0.6 percent in January. With annual inflation now nearly four times the Federal Reserve's target rate of 2 percent, the U.S. central bank is expected to start raising its target interest rates next Wednesday at the close of its two-day March meeting. Economists expect the Fed to raise rates seven times this year.

3

Twitter removes false tweets by Russian U.K. embassy 

Twitter on Thursday removed two tweets by Russia's embassy in the United Kingdom due to "the denial of violent events" during Russia's continuing invasion of Ukraine. One of the tweets said a photo of casualties in the bombing of a maternity hospital in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol was staged, and that a pregnant woman shown in the image was actually a Ukrainian "beauty blogger." Ukrainian officials said a child and two adults were killed in the hospital bombing, and 17 others were wounded. Twitter told CNBC that it "took enforcement action" against the posts because "they were in violation of the Twitter Rules, specifically our Hateful Conduct and Abusive Behavior policies related to the denial of violent events."

4

Goldman Sachs becomes 1st major Wall Street bank to exit Russia

Goldman Sachs is shutting down its operations in Russia due to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, the company announced Thursday. Many large companies, including Starbucks and Coca-Cola, have suspended their operations in Russia, but Goldman Sachs is the first big Wall Street bank to pull out. "Goldman Sachs is winding down its business in Russia in compliance with regulatory and licensing requirements," a company spokesperson told NPR in a statement. "We are focused on supporting our clients across the globe in managing or closing out pre-existing obligations in the market and ensuring the wellbeing of our people." Goldman has an estimated $940 million in exposure in Russia, including $650 million in credit, CNBC reported, citing Bank of America analysts.

5

Opioid victims confront Sacklers in court

Opioid crisis victims and relatives on Thursday got their first chance to tell members of the Sackler family, owners of OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma, how the addictive opioid painkiller killed their loved ones. "You murdered my daughter and destroyed my family," said Donna Mazurek, whose daughter, Paige, was prescribed OxyContin after a root canal, got addicted, started using heroin, and overdosed at age 22. Dr. Kimberly Blake, whose son Sean died of an opioid overdose, said that two years ago she was "hospitalized with depression because I couldn't face another Mother's Day without him." David Sackler, Richard Sackler, and Theresa Sackler listened through the two-hour hearing by the judge overseeing Purdue Pharma's bankruptcy but didn't respond to the testimony.

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