Business Highlights: Expected rate hike, Ford price cut

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Fed, set to impose smaller hike, may hint of fewer increases

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve is poised this week to raise its benchmark interest rate for an eighth time since March. But the Fed will likely announce a smaller hike for a second straight time, and it could change some key wording in its post-meeting statement about future rate increases. A change in its statement, if there is one, could be seen as signaling an eventual pause in the Fed’s aggressive drive to raise borrowing costs. Chair Jerome Powell is still likely to stress, though, that the Fed’s campaign to conquer high inflation is far from over.

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Will Europe’s ban on Russian diesel hike global fuel prices?

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Europe is cutting more energy ties with Russia. A ban on imports of diesel fuel and other products made from crude oil in Russian refineries takes effect Feb. 5. The goal is to stop feeding Russia’s war chest with energy payments. But it’s not so simple. Diesel prices have already jumped since the war started on Feb. 24, and they could rise again. The ban is likely to be accompanied by a price cap, and the uncertainty of how that will work has markets on edge. Depending on how the cap is applied, flows of diesel could reshuffle after temporarily higher prices, with Europe finding new suppliers in the U.S., Middle East and Asia. ___

Treasury to increase borrowing amid debt ceiling standoff

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department has announced plans to increase its borrowing during the first three months of 2023. The move highlights the ongoing debate over federal spending that has overtaken Washington, as the U.S. government is on track to max out on its $31.4 trillion statutory borrowing authority — also known as the debt ceiling. Treasury officials said Monday the U.S. plans to borrow $932 billion during the January-to-March quarter — which is $353 billion more than announced last October. That’s due to a lower beginning-of-quarter cash balance of $253 billion, and projections of lower than expected income tax receipts and higher spending.

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Stocks sink as markets brace for big week with Fed, earnings

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell on Wall Street ahead of a week full of potentially market-moving events. The S&P 500 dropped 1.3% Monday as markets prepare for decisions on interest rates around the world and a slew of earnings reports. Wall Street ended last week at its highest level since early December in part on hopes that cooling inflation will get the Federal Reserve to take it easier on interest rates. Its next decision will come Wednesday, and investors expect a smaller increase. Several of the biggest U.S. companies will also report their earnings this week, and the monthly U.S. jobs report arrives Friday.

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Adani accuses short-seller Hindenburg of attacking India

NEW DELHI, India (AP) — India’s Adani Group, run by Asia’s richest man, has hit back at a report from U.S.-based short-seller Hindenburg Research, calling it “malicious,” “baseless” and full of “selective misinformation.” Shares in the conglomerate have suffered massive losses since Hindenburg issued its report alleging fraud and other malfeasance. Adani has also accused Hindenburg, which said it was betting against the group’s companies, of trying to derail a share sale originally expected to bring in about $2.5 billion. Adani’s 400-page rebuttal issued late Sunday accuses Hindenburg of attacking India and its institutions. Hindenburg denied that and said the group’s response failed to address key questions. ___

China accuses Washington of abusing export controls

BEIJING (AP) — China’s government has criticized U.S. controls on technology exports as a trade violation after Japan and the Netherlands agreed to join Washington in limiting Beijing’s access to materials to make advanced processor chips. The Foreign Ministry didn’t mention the latest development but accused Washington of abusing export controls and organizing other governments to maintain its hegemony and contain China. The United States is trying to block China from acquiring the most powerful processor chips and technology that might help its fledgling industry develop the ability to make them. Washington says they can be used to make weapons and to facilitate the ruling Communist Party’s surveillance and human rights abuses.

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After Tesla price cut, Ford follows suit with Mustang Mach-E

DETROIT (AP) — Ford is cutting prices on its Mustang Mach-E electric SUV by as much as $6,000 just weeks after market leader Tesla made similar moves. The company says in a statement that it’s increasing production of the Mach-E this year and is taking advantage of streamlined costs to reduce prices across the board. The company says in a statement Monday that the price cuts are part of Ford’s plan to keep the SUV competitive in a fast-changing market. The price of a base rear-wheel-drive standard range Mach-E will drop $900, from $46,895 to $45,995. The top-end GT extended range will fall $5,900, from $69,895 to $63,995. The prices don’t include shipping, government fees or taxes.

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Automakers Renault, Nissan to make cross-shareholdings equal

TOKYO (AP) — Nissan and Renault have agreed to equalize the stakes they hold in each other, ironing out a source of conflict in the Japan-French auto alliance. The companies say Renault Group will transfer 28.4% of the Nissan shares it owns to a French trust, making its ownership level with Nissan’s 15% stake in the French automaker. The companies say voting rights would be “neutralized” for most decisions. The move had been anticipated. The Nissan-Renault alliance began in 1999 at a time when the Japanese automaker was in tough financial straits. The disparity was a cause of friction, especially after Nissan became far more profitable than Renault.

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Russian millionaire on trial in hack, insider trade scheme

BOSTON (AP) — A federal prosecutor says a wealthy Russian businessman and associates made tens of millions of dollars by cheating the stock market in an elaborate scheme that involved hacking into U.S. computer systems to steal insider information about companies such as Miscrosoft and Tesla. Vladislav Klyushin is standing in trial in Boston federal court nearly two years after he was arrested in Switzerland while on a skiing trip. He’s the owner of a Moscow-based information technology company with ties to the upper levels of the Russian government. Klyushin also has close ties to a Russian military intelligence officer who was charged in 2018 with meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

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The S&P 500 fell 52.79 points, or 1.3%, to 4,017.77. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 260.99 points, or 0.8%, to 33,717.09. The Nasdaq composite lost 227.90 points, or 2%, to 11,393.81. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies dropped 25.74 points, or 1.3%, to 1,885.72.

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