Business briefing

The daily business briefing: May 9, 2022

G-7 nations commit to phasing out Russian oil, Doctor Strange has 2nd biggest opening of the pandemic, and more

1

G-7 commits to slashing Russian oil, gas imports

The Group of Seven nations on Sunday agreed to ban or phase out Russian oil and gas imports in response to Moscow's Ukraine invasion. "This will hit hard at the main artery of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's economy and deny him the revenue he needs to fund his war," the G-7 said in a statement. The G-7 includes the United States, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, and Britain, the seven largest "advanced" economies. The U.S. has already banned importing Russian oil, gas, and coal, but European nations that rely more heavily on Russian energy are moving more slowly. The White House also announced broader sanctions against Russian industries crucial to Russia's military.

2

'Doctor Strange' has 2nd biggest pandemic-era opening 

Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness dominated the weekend box office, bringing in an estimated $185 million in ticket sales in its debut in the United States and Canada, the Walt Disney Co. said Sunday. It was the biggest opening of 2022 and the second-biggest opening of the pandemic, after Spider-Man: No Way Home's $260.1 million. The first Doctor Strange made $85 million in its 2016 debut. The new movie, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a powerful sorcerer, has made an estimated $265 million internationally since its Wednesday opening. It got a boost from the title character's appearance in Spider-Man: No Way Home, which opened in December and is now the third-highest grossing movie ever.

3

Stock futures drop after losing week

U.S. stock futures fell sharply early Monday, signaling more rough trading after a volatile week. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were down 1.6 percent and 2 percent at 6:45 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were down 2.4 percent. Last week, stocks took wild swings after the Federal Reserve announced it was raising interest rates a half-percent to fight high inflation, but Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank wasn't considering a larger rate hike. The Nasdaq ended the week down 1.5 percent. The Dow and the S&P 500 lost 0.2 percent. It was the Dow's sixth consecutive losing week, and the fifth straight for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.

4

Gas prices rise closer to record level set in March

The average U.S. price of a gallon of regular gasoline rose by 15 cents to $4.38 over the last two weeks, industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey said Sunday. The highest average price was $5.85 per gallon in the San Francisco Bay area. Tulsa, Oklahoma, posted the lowest average, $3.80 per gallon. Diesel prices jumped 43 cents in the last two weeks, reaching $5.58 per gallon. The national record average price for regular-grade gas reached $4.43 per gallon on March 11. The Biden administration has blamed the increase on the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which accounts for 8 percent of U.S. oil imports.

5

Providers to help offer low-income households high-speed internet

AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and 17 other carriers committed to helping offer low-cost, high-speed internet to millions of households under the bipartisan infrastructure law. President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are expected to unveil the effort on Monday with telecom executives, lawmakers, and others. A current $30-a-month subsidy is available to help low-income households get internet access. The Affordable Connectivity Program will offer plans with speeds of at least 100 Megabits per second for no more than $30. "High-speed internet service is no longer a luxury — it's a necessity," the White House said. "But too many families go without high-speed internet because of the cost or have to cut back on other essentials to make their monthly internet service payments."

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