The daily business briefing: April 11, 2023
U.S. proposes changing EV mileage ratings, the government and drug companies fight to keep abortion pill available, and more
U.S. proposes changing EV mileage ratings
The Energy Department on Monday proposed changing the way it calculates mileage equivalency for electric vehicles. The change would reduce EV mileage ratings, which could force automakers to improve efficiency of conventional gasoline-powered vehicles or sell more low-emission cars to comply with average mileage targets under the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program. "Encouraging adoption of EVs can reduce petroleum consumption but giving too much credit for that adoption can lead to increased net petroleum use because it enables lower fuel economy among conventional vehicles, which represent by far the majority of vehicles sold," DOE said. Under the proposal, a Volkswagen EV with a current 380.6 MPGe under CAFE would drop to 107.4 MPGe; a Ford F-150 EV would fall from 237.1 to 67.1 MPGe.
Government, drug companies appeal to keep abortion drug available
Pharmacies are continuing to sell the abortion pill mifepristone despite a Texas judge's ruling threatening to restrict nationwide access. The Justice Department and abortion pill manufacturers on Monday asked the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to block the ruling by a federal judge in Texas, Matthew Kacsmaryk, who ordered the suspension of the Food and Drug Administration's September 2000 approval of mifepristone. The Justice Department requested that the appeals court respond to its emergency request by Thursday so the government can "seek relief in the Supreme Court if necessary" before Kacsmaryk's ruling takes effect on Friday, arguing that restricting mifepristone access would "thwart FDA's scientific judgment and severely harm women."
Stock pickers miss out on rally
Actively managed large-cap mutual funds had their worst quarter since the end of 2020 in the first three months of this year, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. Only one in three actively-managed funds beat their benchmarks during the first-quarter rally, according to data from Bank of America Global Research. Last year, 57 percent beat their benchmarks as high inflation and recession fears dragged down stocks. Not since 2007, when 71 percent of funds beat their benchmarks, had stock-pickers seen a better year, the Journal reported, citing data compiled by Goldman Sachs Group. Active fund managers appeared headed toward gains in what appeared to be a bear market favoring value stocks, but a rally boosted shares of fast-growing companies, and many actively managed funds missed out.
Stock futures rise slightly ahead of earnings, inflation data
U.S. stock futures edged higher early Tuesday as investors braced for the start of earnings season and the release of economic data later in the week. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.1 percent at 6:30 a.m. ET. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were up 0.3 percent. The Dow and the S&P 500 gained 0.3 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively, on Monday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq was essentially flat. Investors are looking ahead to two key inflation updates. The March consumer price index is set to be released on Wednesday, followed by the producer price index on Thursday. The data could provide clues on what the Federal Reserve might do next in its campaign to curb inflation with aggressive interest rate hikes.
Poll shows lingering resistance to buying EVs
Only 19 percent of U.S. adults said they were "very" or "extremely" likely to buy an electric vehicle the next time they need a car, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. About 4 in 10 U.S. adults said they were at least somewhat likely to switch. The main deterrents they mentioned were limited availability of charging stations and high prices, despite tax credits of up to $7,500 to buy a new EV. Only eight percent of participants said they or someone in their household already owns or leases an EV. Eight percent said their household has a plug-in hybrid.