Business briefing

The daily business briefing: November 1, 2022

The Dow has its best month since 1976, BP profits surge as calls for windfall taxes rise, and more

1

The Dow posts its best month since 1976

U.S. stocks closed down Monday as investors digested this quarter's mixed earnings reports and braced for the Federal Reserve's next interest rate hike, but the major indexes ended October in positive territory and the Dow Jones Industrial Average locked in its best month since 1976. The Dow rose 14 percent in October, while the S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 8 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively. The Fed is expected to raise its benchmark short-term interest rate another 0.75 percentage points at the end of a two-day policy meeting on Wednesday. Stock futures rose early Tuesday, with the Dow and the S&P 500 up 0.7 percent and 1 percent, respectively, at 6:30 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were up 1.2 percent.

2

BP profits surge amid calls for more oil windfall taxes 

BP reported Tuesday that its profit more than doubled to $8.2 billion in the third quarter, up from $3.3 billion in the same period a year ago. The U.K.-based energy giant said it would use some of the extra money to buy back $2.5 billion worth of shares, extending its 2022 buybacks to $8.5 billion. The company also said it would pay $800 million this year in the windfall tax Britain's new prime minister, Rishi Sunak, introduced when he was finance minister. The profit surge amid high energy prices has prompted calls for higher taxes on big oil profits in Britain and the United States. President Biden on Monday threatened new taxes if energy companies don't lower prices and stop "profiteering" as Russia's Ukraine invasion upsets energy markets.

3

Trump Organization tax fraud trial gets underway

Manhattan prosecutors and lawyers for former President Donald Trump's family business made their opening statements Monday in the company's New York City tax fraud trial. Prosecutors told jurors that two parts of the Trump Organization — the Trump Corporation and Trump Payroll Corp. — schemed for 15 years to help top executives evade taxes by giving them valuable off-the-books perks as compensation. The Trump real estate business' longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, has pleaded guilty. Prosecutors say he got $1.76 million in perks that included rent on a Manhattan apartment, leased Mercedes-Benz vehicles, and private school tuition for his grandchildren. Trump, who faces no charges in the case, has called it a "continuation of the witch hunt" that began when he announced his presidential candidacy.

4

Twitter ousts board, makes Musk sole director

Twitter has removed the nine members of its board and made its new owner, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, its sole director, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing a securities filing. The move was part of Musk's plan before he closed his $44 billion takeover of the social media company last Thursday, according to the filing. Musk last week fired Twitter's top executives and tweeted, "the bird is freed." He has said he plans to loosen restrictions on hate speech and misinformation, and make Twitter into a haven of "free speech." Musk's inner circle worked over the weekend on plans to lay off about 25 percent of the social media company's workforce, The Washington Post reported.

5

Delta pilots vote overwhelmingly to authorize possible strike

Delta Air Lines pilots voted overwhelmingly on Monday to authorize a strike if the Air Line Pilots Association can't reach a deal on a new contract before a looming deadline. The union said most of its members participated in the vote, and 99 percent backed calling a strike if necessary. "Today, Delta's nearly 15,000 pilots sent a clear message to management that we are willing to go the distance to secure a contract that reflects the value we bring to Delta Air Lines as frontline leaders and long-term stakeholders," said Capt. Jason Ambrosi, the union's chair. Federal law requires a 30-day cooling off period before a strike or lockout after a government board declares that negotiations have reached an impasse.

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