Business briefing

The daily business briefing: June 7, 2022

Gas prices approach $5 a gallon, Amazon shares rise on stock split, and more

1

U.S. average gas price approaches $5 per gallon

The American Automobile Association reported Tuesday that the national average gas price has reached $4.92 per gallon, an increase of 30 cents in the past week and 62 cents in the past month. A gallon of regular gas costs $5 or more in 13 states plus the District of Columbia. In California, which has the nation's highest gas prices at $6.37 per gallon, pain at the pump has put Orange County districts that swung Democratic during the Trump years back in play for Republicans, The New York Times reports. A year ago, the national average gas price was $3.05 per gallon. On Tuesday, Georgia had the cheapest gas in the country, averaging $4.33 per gallon.

2

Amazon shares rise after 20-for-1 stock split

Amazon's 20-for-1 stock split, announced in March, took effect Monday, giving shareholders who owned stock as of May 27 an additional 19 shares for every share they owned while keeping the total value of their holdings the same. Share prices responded positively, rising 2 percent to $124.79. "Stock splits are certainly associated with successful stocks," said Steve Sosnick, chief strategist at Interactive Brokers, while Peng Cheng of JPMorgan said the split could drive more investors to buy stock in the e-commerce giant. "Psychologically, it doesn't feel good to spend $1,000 and own a third of a share," he said, referring Amazon's pre-split share price of $2,447.

3

Apple adds edit, undo send, and mark unread features to iMessage

Apple will add three new, widely requested functions to its popular messaging app, the tech giant announced Monday at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Software engineering Senior Vice President Craig Federighi told the streaming audience that iMessage users will soon be able to unsend messages, edit messages after they've been sent, and mark text threads as unread. Apple's Mail app is also getting new features, including the ability to unsend emails within 10 seconds of pressing send and a "remind me" option that allows users to "select a date and time to be reminded" about a particular email.

4

Biden moves to shore up U.S. solar projects, boost domestic production

President Biden on Monday issued a series of executive orders to ensure that large-scale solar energy projects have enough foreign-made panels and cells to continue while simultaneously boosting domestic production so Asian imports are less necessary. Biden's actions come as a Commerce Department investigation on possible Chinese solar panel dumping and other trade violations threw the U.S. solar energy into turmoil, putting projects on hold amid fears of retroactive tariffs. Biden's most significant executive action on Monday was declaring a two-year tariff exemption on solar panels from Southeast Asia. The White House said the tariff holiday would not interfere with the Commerce Department's investigation.

5

Elon Musk threatens to drop Twitter deal, citing concerns about bots

In a letter sent Monday to Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's top lawyer, Elon Musk threatened to pull out of purchasing the company, claiming Twitter has failed to address his concerns about the number of bots on the platform. "Twitter has, in fact, refused to provide the information that Mr. Musk has repeatedly requested since May 9, 2022, to facilitate his evaluation of spam and fake accounts on the company's platform," the letter from Musk's lawyer argues. "Twitter's latest offer to simply provide additional details regarding the company's own testing methodologies, whether through written materials or verbal explanations, is tantamount to refusing Mr. Musk's data requests." In April, Musk agreed to buy Twitter for $44 billion.

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