Business Highlights: OPEC+ output cut, ‘Best Before’ labels

October 5, 2022 GMT

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OPEC+ makes big oil cut to boost prices; pump costs may rise

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The OPEC+ alliance of oil-exporting countries has decided to sharply cut production to support sagging oil prices. The move Wednesday could deal the struggling global economy another blow and raise politically sensitive pump prices for U.S. drivers just ahead of key national elections. Energy ministers meeting at the Vienna headquarters of the OPEC oil cartel cut production by 2 million barrels per day at their first face-to-face meeting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides a token trim in oil production last month, the major cut is an abrupt turnaround from months of restoring deep cuts made during the depths of the pandemic and could help alliance member Russia weather a looming European ban on oil imports.

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Wall Street’s rally runs out of gas, leaving indexes lower

NEW YORK (AP) —Stocks ended slightly lower on Wall Street as a gangbuster two-day rally ran out of gas. The S&P 500 ended 0.2% lower Wednesday after briefly heading into the green late in the day. Its early rally this week was the biggest since the spring of 2020, spurred in part by hopes a softening economy may convince central banks to take it easier on interest rate hikes. Analysts have said such hopes may be premature. Other major U.S. indexes including the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq also lost ground. Oil prices rose after the OPEC+ cartel ordered production cuts.

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What’s next in Musk’s epic battle with Twitter?

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Elon Musk’s monthslong tussle with Twitter took another twist this week after the Tesla billionaire seemed to return to where he started in April — offering to buy the company for $44 billion. But it’s not over yet. Twitter says it intends to close the deal at the agreed-upon price, but the two sides are still booked for an Oct. 17 trial in Delaware over Musk’s earlier attempts to terminate the deal. On Wednesday, the judge presiding over the case said she will continue to press on toward the trial because neither side has formally moved to stop it. Twitter’s deposition of Musk is set to begin Thursday.

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Keep it or toss it? ‘Best Before’ labels cause confusion

NEW YORK (AP) —- “Best before” labels are coming under scrutiny as concerns about food waste grow around the world. Manufacturers have used the labels for decades to estimate peak freshness. But “best before” labels have nothing to do with safety, and some worry they encourage consumers to throw away food that’s perfectly fine to eat. Major U.K. chains like Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer recently removed “best before” labels from prepackaged fruit and vegetables. The European Union is expected to announce a revamp to its labeling laws by the end of this year. In the U.S., there’s no similar push to scrap “best before” labels. But there is growing momentum to standardize the language on date labels to help educate buyers about food waste.

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Ian deals blow to Florida’s teetering insurance sector

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NEW YORK (AP) — Florida’s home insurance market was already on shaky ground. It now faces an even mightier struggle after the damage caused by Hurricane Ian. Wind and storm-surge losses from the hurricane could reach between $28 billion and $47 billion, making Ian Florida’s costliest storm since Hurricane Andrew made landfall in 1992, according to one property analytics firm. The storm destroyed a record number of homes in Florida, the firm said. The wreckage comes at a time when Florida’s home insurance market was already dealing with billions of dollars in losses and ever-increasing costs from a string of natural disasters, rampant litigation and increasing fraud.

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WTO predicts trade growth to slow next year amid crises

GENEVA (AP) — The World Trade Organization is predicting global trade volumes to grow a lackluster 1% next year as higher energy prices, rising interest rates and uncertainties about Chinese manufacturing output amid the lingering COVID-19 pandemic weigh on markets. The Geneva-based trade body said Wednesday that the total amount of goods shipped between countries are expected to rise 3.5% this year, up from the 3% that WTO anticipated in its first forecast for the year in April. Trade volumes are set to grow just 1% next year, down from the 3.4% expected previously.

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Nigeria regulator seeks $70M penalty in lawsuit against Meta

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — A Nigerian advertising regulator has sued Meta, accusing the owner of Facebook and WhatsApp of publishing unauthorized ads. In a lawsuit filed in a local court, the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria sought a $70 million penalty against Meta for publishing unvetted digital ads and for loss of government revenue. A Meta spokesperson said the company doesn’t comment on ongoing legal claims. Nigerian advertising laws require the regulator to approve ads based on certain criteria with the involvement of an advertising practitioner in Africa’s largest economy. The court case comes about a year after the Nigerian government began moves to get social media networks to run local offices in the country.

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California water agencies offer Colorado River savings

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California water agencies that rely on the parched Colorado River say they’re willing to cut their use by about one-tenth. The four agencies laid out their proposal in a Wednesday letter to the U.S. Department of the Interior. It marks the first time the agencies are publicly saying what they’d be willing to give up since the federal government called for reductions this summer. The river provides about one-third of Southern California’s urban water and is the only source of water for farms in the Imperial Valley. California is legally entitled to more water than any other state and is the last to lose it in times of shortage.

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The S&P 500 eased 7.65 points, or 0.2%, to 3,783.28. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 42.45 points, or 0.1%, to 30,273.87. The Nasdaq dropped 27.77 points, or 0.2%, to 11,148.64. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 13.07 points, or 0.7%, to 1,762.69.