The daily business briefing: April 6, 2022
Biden is set to extend student-loan payment pause, Musk joins Twitter's board, and more
Biden to extend pause on student loan payments
President Biden plans to extend a pause on federal student loan payments until Aug. 31, The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing an administration official briefed on the matter. This will be the sixth delay on making people resume payments since the policy was enacted more than two years ago to help people manage the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Without another extension, payments are scheduled to resume in less than a month for tens of millions of borrowers. Seven million people have avoided collection steps, including paycheck garnishments, during the pause. The administration official said the latest delay will be announced this week. Some progressive politicians and activists want the debts canceled altogether.
Twitter adds Elon Musk to its board
Twitter is appointing Tesla CEO Elon Musk to its board, the social media company announced Tuesday. Musk, the world's richest person, has acquired a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter, a regulatory filing revealed Monday. That makes him Twitter's largest individual shareholder. Musk has agreed not to acquire more than 14.9 percent of Twitter shares or attempt a takeover, the Securities and Exchange Commission filing said. Musk said he was excited to work with the board to make "significant improvements" to Twitter. Like Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and CEO Parag Agrawal, he has suggested reshaping social networks by shifting power from companies to users, giving people more control over what they see in their feeds.
Obama returns to White House to push health-care reform
Former President Barack Obama returned to the White House for the first time in five years on Tuesday to join President Biden as he signed an executive order telling federal agencies to find ways to improve Medicare and the Affordable Care Act. Biden also called for lowering the costs of the federal health insurance programs. Biden called the Affordable Care Act, Obama's signature domestic policy achievement, the "most consequential piece of legislation" since the establishment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. The Biden administration announced it would close the "family glitch," which blocks Obamacare premium assistance to people getting health care through a relative's work. Republicans accused Biden of trampling Congress' authority.
JetBlue offers to buy Spirit Airlines in $3.6 billion deal
JetBlue Airways has offered to buy budget carrier Spirit Airlines in an unsolicited $3.6 billion deal, Spirit said Tuesday. JetBlue said merging the two companies would position it "as the most compelling national low-fare challenger to the four large dominant U.S. carriers by accelerating JetBlue's growth," which would encourage Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines to drop fares. JetBlue said the offer, which amounts to a 50 percent premium over Spirit's recent closing price, was "superior" to the ongoing merger effort involving Spirit and low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines. Frontier said JetBlue's offer "would lead to more expensive travel for consumers."
Stock futures fall ahead of Fed minutes
U.S. stock futures fell early Wednesday ahead of the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's most recent policy meeting. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were down by 0.5 percent and 0.7 percent at 7 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were down by 1.1 percent. Investors will be looking to the minutes for fresh details on the Fed's plan to raise interest rates and reduce the central bank's balance sheet to help fight high inflation. The Dow fell 0.8 percent on Tuesday. The S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq plunged by 1.3 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively, after Fed Governor Lael Brainard said the Fed needs to act quickly to bring down inflation.