The daily business briefing: April 14, 2022
Musk offers to buy Twitter, the CDC extends its transportation mask mandate, and more
Musk offers to buy Twitter
Elon Musk has offered to buy 100 percent of Twitter for $54.20 a share, promising to unlock the social media company's potential with what would be a $43 billion hostile takeover. Musk said in a Wednesday letter to Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor that he bought his 9 percent stake in Twitter because he believed "in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe," but that he now realizes it "will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form." Musk said his offer marks a 54 percent premium over the day before he started investing in the company, and that if Twitter doesn't accept he will "reconsider my position" as the company's largest shareholder.
CDC extends transportation mask mandate
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday announced a two-week extension of the federal rule requiring people to wear masks on planes and trains, some buses, and in airports. The mask mandate had been scheduled to expire in five days. Republican lawmakers and hospitality industry executives have been calling for the Biden administration to scrap the requirement because COVID-19 cases have fallen sharply since the end of the Omicron wave. But the CDC said the spread of the BA.2 Omicron subvariant, which now accounts for 85 percent of new U.S. coronavirus infections, warranted caution. The mandate now is scheduled to expire May 3.
Energy costs drive up producer prices a record 11.2 percent
Wholesale prices jumped by a record 11.2 percent last month from a year earlier as Russia's Ukraine invasion pushed up energy prices, which were up 36.7 percent from March 2021, the Labor Department reported Wednesday. The producer price index — which measures inflation before it gets passed on to consumers — rose 1.4 percent from February. The report came a day after the Labor Department reported that its consumer price index rose 8.5 percent in March, compared to a year earlier. That marked the fastest inflation rate since December 1981. The United Kingdom's Office for National Statistics reported Wednesday that consumer prices in the U.K. jumped 7 percent in March from a year earlier as energy costs soared.
Russian tech workers leave in wake of Ukraine invasion
Tens of thousands of tech workers have left Russia in the wake of the country's invasion of Ukraine and a corresponding crackdown on dissent, The New York Times reported Wednesday. Konstantin Siniushin, a venture capitalist in Riga, Latvia, helped charter two planes that left Russia carrying 300 software developers, entrepreneurs, and other tech specialists, the Times said. The plane traveled to Armenia, but others who have left in the exodus have gone to Georgia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries that let Russians in without visas. A Russian trade group estimated that by March 22, nearly a month after the invasion started, as many as 70,000 tech workers had left Russia, with a similar number poised to follow.
Stock futures muted ahead of bank earnings
U.S. stock futures were little changed early Thursday ahead of earnings reports from several big banks. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.2 percent at 6:30 a.m. ET. Futures for the S&P 500 were flat, while those of the Nasdaq were up by 0.1 percent. The Dow and the S&P 500 gained about 1 percent on Wednesday, snapping a three-day losing streak despite a March consumer price index report showing inflation at the highest level since 1981. The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose by 2 percent. Despite the rally, all three of the main U.S. indexes are down slightly for the week.