Business briefing

The daily business briefing: December 16, 2022

Twitter suspends journalists who cover Twitter and owner Elon Musk, U.S. retail sales and manufacturing fall, and more

1

Twitter suspends journalists who cover Twitter and owner Elon Musk

Twitter on Thursday suspended the accounts of journalists from The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, and several other news outlets who cover the social media platform and its new owner, Elon Musk. In a Twitter Space audio discussion, Musk linked the suspensions to new rules banning accounts that track private jets. Twitter on Wednesday killed an account that used publicly availably data to track the location of Musk's private jet, which Musk said endangered his family. A participant in the Twitter forum said Thursday's suspended accounts had posted links to jet trackers on other sites. CNN's Donie O'Sullivan and Mashable tech reporter Matt Binder denied linking to tracking accounts. "Musk seems to be just stamping out accounts that he doesn't like," O'Sullivan said.

2

Retail sales drop more than expected

U.S. retail sales and industrial production fell in November as the Federal Reserve's interest rate hikes to fight high inflation slowed the economy. The Commerce Department reported that retail sales fell 0.6 percent in November. Economists polled by Reuters had predicted a 0.1 percent decline. Revised data indicated that sales accelerated by 1.3 percent in October. The Fed rattled Wall Street on Wednesday when it slowed the pace of its aggressive rate hikes but said it would probably have to push borrowing costs higher than previously expected next year. "Most households are acting strategically, planning for a road ahead that may be more difficult to traverse," said Craig Johnson, president of retail consulting firm Customer Growth Partners.

3

E.U. approves new Russia sanctions and more Ukraine aid

European Union leaders ended their last 2022 summit on Thursday with an agreement to impose new sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, blacklisting nearly 200 more people and barring investment in Russia's mining industry. The E.U. also approved $19.5 billion in additional financing for Ukraine next year. "Our joint determination to support Ukraine politically, financially, militarily, and in the humanitarian area for as long as necessary remains unbroken," German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said after talks among the 27 E.U. leaders in Brussels. The E.U. appeared to settle differences on capping gas prices in response to Russia's squeezing of supplies, with ministers working to finalize the terms on Monday.

4

Stock futures fall as selloff continues after Fed meeting

U.S. stock futures fell sharply early Friday as the fallout from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting continued. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were down 1.1 percent at 6:30 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were down 0.8 percent. The Dow and the S&P 500 fell 2.3 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively, on Thursday, extending a selloff that began Wednesday after the Fed slowed its push to raise borrowing costs to fight high inflation but said it would increase its benchmark interest rate to 5.1 percent in 2023 — higher than expected. The Nasdaq fell 3.2 percent on Thursday.

5

Senate passes bill that would ban TikTok on government devices

The Senate on Wednesday approved a bill seeking to ban TikTok from U.S. government devices due to concerns that the social media app, owned by China's ByteDance, could pose an information-security risk. Senators approved the legislation, authored by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), by unanimous consent. U.S. officials say there's a danger that the Chinese government could get hold of TikTok users' data. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said it wasn't clear whether the House would take up its version of the bill, as House lawmakers discuss the legislation's language with the White House. A TikTok spokesperson said the Senate bill "does nothing to advance U.S. national security concerns."

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