Business briefing

The daily business briefing: January 12, 2023

FAA glitch disrupts U.S. flights, Georgia to get $2.5 billion solar-panel plant, and more

1

FAA alert-system glitch delays U.S. flights

Airlines were forced to delay more than 9,000 flights into, out of, or within the United States on Wednesday due to a temporary outage on a Federal Aviation Administration critical pilot-alert system. More than 1,300 flights were canceled. The White House said there was no evidence the problem was caused by a cyberattack. The glitch stranded passengers for hours. Airlines said they hoped to return to normal operations on Thursday, but 511 U.S. flights had been delayed and 63 canceled as of early Thursday morning, according to flight-tracking site FlightAware. U.S. airlines shares fell initially, but rebounded when flights resumed, with the S&P 500 airline index closing up 0.9 percent.

2

South Korea's Hanwha Qcells to build $2.5 billion Georgia solar-panel plant 

South Korean solar company Hanwha Qcells announced Wednesday that it would build a $2.5 billion solar-panel manufacturing complex in Georgia. Qcells said it was making the investment in producing components and complete panels in the United States to take advantage of green-energy tax credits and other incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act, which President Biden signed in August. The manufacturing complex, in Cartersville, Georgia, 50 miles northwest of Atlanta, and an existing plant in Dalton, Georgia, are expected to create 2,500 jobs. The new plant will start production in 2024. The company opened its first Georgia solar panel plant in 2019, and is now one of the biggest U.S. producers.

3

Home Depot altering pay policy after complaints

Home Depot announced Wednesday that it would change its pay policy for hourly workers next week, paying employees for exactly the amount of time punched on their timecards. The home-improvement retailer previously rounded to the nearest 15 minutes, but will pay to the minute starting Jan. 16. Retailers and restaurants have rounded timesheets up or down for years. The practice is legal under federal laws as long as it doesn't hurt workers and as long as it doesn't exceed 15-minute chunks. But Home Depot employees in California have accused the company in state and federal courts of "rounding down their time for its own gain," Business Insider reported.

4

Stock futures little changed ahead of inflation data 

U.S. stock futures struggled early Thursday ahead of a key report on consumer prices that could affect the Federal Reserve's campaign to raise interest rates to bring down high inflation. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq were little changed at 6:45 a.m. ET. Economists expect the consumer price index to show a 0.1 percent decline in December, and a 6.5 percent annual increase. In November, the key inflation gauge showed a 0.1 percent monthly gain, and an annual rise of 7.1 percent, well below the 9.1 percent 40-year high reported in June. Core prices, which the Fed watches closely, are expected to show a 0.3 percent increase from November and a 5.7 percent annual increase.

5

Report: Subway exploring sale

Subway is exploring a possible sale that could value the closely held sandwich-shop chain at more than $10 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing people familiar with the situation. The company has retained advisers, but the process is in its early states and might not result in a sale or other deal. But the process is expected to attract corporate suitors and private-equity firms, the Journal's sources said. The company, which has been owned by its two founding families for more than 50 years, declined to comment, saying it was "focused on moving the brand forward with our transformational journey to help our franchisees be successful and profitable."

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