STORY: A bill to lift the US government's $31.4 trillion debt ceiling is heading to President Joe Biden’s desk, after the Senate voted to pass the bipartisan deal late Thursday night. And avert what would have been the country’s first-ever default. "The yeas are 63, the nays are 36 - the 60-vote threshold having been achieved, the bill is passed." Nearly all Democrats and some Republicans in the Senate approved the bill, which had been passed by the House the day before. Lawmakers had been racing against the clock following months of partisan bickering. The U.S. Treasury had warned it would run out of funds starting June 5 if Congress failed to act by then. In a statement, Biden said he would sign the bill into law as soon as possible, adding: "This bipartisan agreement is a big win for our economy and the American people.” Still, it was a bitter victory, and both sides took swipes at the other following the vote. After steering the legislation through, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer blamed his Republican colleagues for pushing the country to the brink of a historic debt default. “Default was the giant sword hanging over America's head. But because of the good work of President Biden, as well as Democrats in the House and Democrats in the Senate, we are not defaulting.” While Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted: "Tonight, the Senate voted to avoid default and begin to curb Washington Democrats' addiction to reckless spending.” With this piece of legislation, the statutory limit on federal borrowing will be suspended until January 1, 2025. Unlike most other developed countries, the United States limits the amount of debt the government can borrow, regardless of any spending allocated by the legislature.
STORY: U.S. stocks climbed on Thursday. Investors welcomed both a vote in Congress to suspend the U.S. government's debt ceiling as well as signs of slowing wage growth, suggesting inflation may be loosening its grip.The Dow rose half of one percent. The S&P 500 added one percent and the Nasdaq climbed nearly 1-point-3 percent.Sanders Morris Harris Chairman George Ball says he expects the market to continue moving higher.“The market is today reflecting relief. We're not going to have a debt crisis. The politicians have had their 60 seconds of great Outcome National TV that's driving the markets. The economy is not tanking. That's good. Job openings? Well, that's good. And and a big part of it is that investors and speculators both are of a positive mindset and the the interpretive bias is going to drive the markets higher for at least the time being.“A report from ADP showed wage inflation is slowing while a separate report from the labor department indicated labor costs increased less than anticipated in the first quarter.Friday the Labor Department releases the May jobs report which could determine whether the Federal Reserve raises interest rates again at its meeting later this month.Stocks on the move included Dollar General which dropped nearly 20 percent after the dollar store chain cut its sales and profit forecasts for the year.And Salesforce which fell 5 percent after the software company posted its slowest pace of revenue growth in 13 years.
STORY: Ball said "the jobs report is going to be a very closely scrutinized... by the Fed, by investors and and by others."He added "I think if there is a increase in what I'm going to call the unemployment rate above 3.9%, that would be a shock. If it was below 3.4%, that would be a shock."According to a Reuters survey of economists, nonfarm payrolls likely increased by 190,000 jobs in May after rising by 253,000 in April. The unemployment rate is seen ticking up to 3.5% from a 53-year low of 3.4% in April.
STORY: Ball said it's probably "not a good idea to invest in the biggest name tech stocks. The FAANG stocks have rebounded off a very low base and they probably run their course that way. They're so big and they're great companies, they can't grow that rapidly."He added there are smaller technology stocks that may have more upside potential including Opendoor Technologies and Teladoc which he gave as examples.
STORY: Business is slowing at Macy’s. Thursday the retailer cut its annual sales and profit forecasts. Higher rental and food prices have led shoppers to trade down to cheaper items or cut back on purchases.The CEO said consumers pulled back more than anticipated and put that money into food, essentials and services.Macy’s said it will need to discount more in the current quarter to clear out excess spring and summer inventory. The company had managed to control promotions which along with lower costs helped it beat profit expectations in the first quarter.Rival department stores including Nordstrom and Kohl’s maintained their outlooks though one analyst tells Reuters he thinks Macy’s is being more conservative which is the right move in this macroeconomic environment.Shares fell 3 percent in morning trading.
ABC News Business Reporter Alexis Christoforous breaks down investing your money, saving for a down payment on a home, and when it’s the right time to get a master's degree.
STORY: Russian shoppers are getting used to some new names. As Western brands leave, local firms are rushing in to fill the gaps. This store in a Moscow mall used to be a branch of Spanish clothing chain Zara. Now it’s operated by new brand MAAG. Some former Zara fans say the quality isn’t what it was.Others think it’s no big deal: (Anton, Moscow resident) "Looks like nothing changed, since you-know-who (Zara) was here. I think you can find some basic, everyday clothes here. Shorts for the summer, for example, shirts, T-shirts. I think the price-to-quality ratio is OK."Hundreds of Western clothing brands quit Russia after conflict began in Ukraine. Besides Zara, departures include H&M and Uniqlo. That saw a slump in retail sales, but Russia's Council of Shopping Centres President Oleg Klimov says the sector soon bounced back: "Of course, we incurred financial losses. People in general just did not understand what was going on. They did not want to spend money. Losses were about 200 billion roubles ($2.5 billion dollars) across the whole industry. But it is recovering now. Money always eventually changes hands. People earn money to live. And in life, there are clothes and other expenses. So, people go to malls anyway."Even so, filling the gaps hasn’t been easy for Russian makers. Ksenia Zhdanova runs her own label, and is commercial director for a designer clothing website. She says access to vital imports is one problem amid sanctions. Finding good workers is another:"The biggest one is the shortage of staff. I mean we do not have enough seamstresses and professionals in technology. I think it’s a big big problem. How can we cope with it? I have no idea. Maybe we need to ask our government to make some campaigns or even propaganda activities in order to make this profession more popular.”Zhdanova says it could take ten years for Russia to reach the level of existing textile producers like Turkey. Meantime, some Russians say they are going to Kazakhstan to buy clothes. (Tatiana Vakhonina, Moscow resident) "We go to Kazakhstan to go shopping now. But some things you cannot buy at all anymore. It happens."(Reporter) "What brands do you miss the most?""For example, we are now in the middle of refurbishing our home, so we miss IKEA a lot. And if you mean clothes, then Zara.”
STORY: Investors were cheered by developments in U.S. politics Thursday (June 1).European stocks rose after a bill was passed through the House of Representatives to suspend the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, and avoid a catastrophic debt default.Markets were optimistic the legislation could pass through the Senate before the weekend.The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.7% in morning trade. The slight recovery comes a day after it closed at a two-month low.Markets were also hopeful the Federal Reserve could keep interest rates steady this month.Some Fed officials pointed towards an interest rate hike 'skip' in June.That led to markets reversing their expectations for another increase. Investors also received a positive, if not totally unexpected, update from euro zone inflation data. It eased more than expected last month as underlying price growth also slowed.The data gave weight to arguments for cautious further rate hikes.That as the fastest ever European Central Bank monetary tightening cycle starts to take effect.Inflation in the 20 nations sharing the euro eased to 6.1% in May from 7% in April. The reading was only a modest surprise for investors, though, as national data earlier this week implied the drop was coming.
ABC News business reporter Alexis Christoforous has more on how the debt ceiling deal impacts the economy.
ABC News legal contributor Brian Buckmire has more on why Murdaugh might have pleaded not guilty to 22 counts of federal charges, including wire fraud and money laundering.
STORY: “The bill is passed” The bill to suspend the U.S. debt ceiling made it through the House of Representatives on Wednesday. An overwhelming bipartisan majority of 314 out of 435 members supported the measure suspending the $31.4 trillion dollar debt limit for at least a year and a half. The bill is a compromise deal between Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy that fast-tracks some contentious fossil fuel projects, trims Democratic spending initiatives and slaps restrictions on federal anti-poverty programs. Seventy-one Republicans voted against the bill. It had to overcome ultra conservatives who have publicly said it fails to meaningfully restrain government spending, a view echoed by Chip Roy of Texas, in Wednesday’s debate. “Talk about food programs, I don’t hear a whole hell of a lot about what we’re doing to devastate American families with rampant inflation because we keep spending money we don’t have. To my colleagues on this side of the aisle. My beef isn’t that I don’t understand the struggle with the negotiators with that kind of reasoning. My beef is that you cut a deal that shouldn’t have been cut.” But many more Republicans spoke before the floor vote to support the deal and end a standoff that put the global financial system on edge. “We all have a responsibility to govern, and default is not an option.” “We need to avoid a default that would stop checks to our seniors, benefits for our veterans, hurt the US dollar, and Americans’ retirement savings. We also need to change the fiscal trajectory of our nation. And this bill does both.” The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said on Tuesday the legislation would result in $1.5 trillion in savings over a decade, mostly from cuts to domestic programs like housing, education, and other forms of “discretionary” spending. Democrats, who outnumber Republicans in backing the bill, said ordinary people will suffer the most. “Every demand the Republicans made in this bill hurts somebody. And hurts the most vulnerable in our country. Going after SNAP for older people, a measly $6-a-day benefit. Shame on you for doing that.” “We used the power we had to force the president to negotiate.” Kevin McCarthy, who almost faced a revolt from GOP hardliners to remove him as speaker over the debt fight, appeared elated that the fractious Republican majority marshalled in the last minute. “This is fabulous. This is one of the best nights I've ever had since I've been here. Now, I found there's a whole new day here. We've woken them up.” The bill now advances to the Democratic-controlled Senate, which must enact it and get Biden to sign it by next Monday to stave off a destabilizing default. Voting there could stretch into the weekend, especially if any one of the 100 senators tries to slow down its passage.
STORY: U.S. stocks dropped on Wednesday. Unexpectedly strong data on the labor market raised concerns the Federal Reserve may have to continue hiking interest rates.The Dow fell four-tenths of one percent, the S&P 500 dropped six tenths as did the Nasdaq.The Labor Department released data indicating U.S. job openings unexpectedly rose in April according to the so-called JOLTS report, pointing to resilience in the labor market that suggests pressure on both wages and inflation.Baird Managing Director and Market Strategist Michael Antonelli said the economy could actually be strengthening."This is what the Federal Reserve is grappling with is the economy actually hot? Is the economy actually accelerating and not declining? Where is this push and pull in the markets of recession? If job openings accelerate, that means the economy is actually probably accelerating and not receding. So jolts going up definitely puts a question mark over my head, which is is economic data actually getting better and if it's getting better, does that put the Federal Reserve back on hike duty, right? Does that put them back on ‘wow, we may actually need to consider another hike’. So that's really what's important now, especially for, you know, not only retail investors but institutional investors."Futures traders raised the probability of a quarter point rate hike at the Fed's June 13-14 policy meeting to 70 percent following the release of the jobs data but that was cut back to about 30 percent after two fed officials said they think central bank should keep rates where they are at least through the next meeting.The Labor Department's closely watched May unemployment report, due on Friday, could decide whether a rate hike occurs.Stocks on the move included Advance Auto Parts which plunged 35 percent after the auto parts retailer cut its full-year forecast. Also Intel which climbed 5 percent as the chipmaker said it was on track to hit the upper end of its second-quarter revenue forecast.
STORY: This doctor is known asLebanon’s ‘mother of the poor’for offering some consultations for a very low symbolic fee Location: Al-Mina, Lebanon(Dr. Bouchra Dabaj, General practitioner and pediatrician)"This has been my message since I opened the clinic in 1983. My consultation fee was initially very low so I was able to reach a lot of people, and now as my experience increases and as the economic situation deteriorates, I felt that I needed to stay with the people and keep my fee low, to help as much as I can. I take 200,000 Lebanese Liras ($13.23), some patients pay 100,000 Lebanese Liras ($6.62) and some others do not pay at all. I try to help them as much as I can and provide medication. They come back for follow-ups and I don't take anything."Dabaj says she receives donated medicine from her Orthodox church community and pharmaceutical companies "The problem now is the hospitals because they are very expensive and we can't... When a child comes to me with a certain condition, I keep following up with them every day without taking anything for the follow-ups so I can save them from being admitted to a hospital. But in some cases, they have to (be admitted to a hospital) and this is a big problem because hospitals cost a lot."(Georgette Saliba, Patient) "Doctor Bouchra is the mother of the poor. She doesn't say no to anyone. Whether they have money or not, she helps everyone. May God keep her in good health and give her strength... She gives us anything we ask of her, medicine or otherwise. She doesn't differentiate, everyone is equal."
STORY: This Nepali sherpa guide is carrying a Malaysian climber on his back, down from a part of Mount Everest called the ‘death zone’…Gelje Sherpa says he saved the man’s life.He was guiding a client to the summit in mid-May.That’s when he saw the Malaysian climber clinging to a rope and shivering in the extreme cold.The ‘death zone’ is a part of the mountain where temperatures can drop below minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit.Rescues are “almost impossible” there, authorities say.Gelje convinced his client to give up the summit attempt.And began his rare high-altitude rescue.“It took me five to six hours to get from 8,500 (metres above sea level) to 7,900. It was very difficult. In places where it was rockier, we could not drag him; we had to carry him on our backs with difficulty." He eventually got help from another guide.A helicopter then carried the climber down to base camp.“It was important for us to rescue him, even from the summit. Money can be earned anytime. Left like that, he could have died. We have saved his life by quitting the summit."The climber was put on a flight to Malaysia last week.The dramatic rescue comes as Nepal has issued a record 478 permits for Everest during this year’s climbing season.At least 12 climbers have died and another five are still missing on Everest’s slopes.
STORY: Antonelli said "If you were to look at a chart of the small caps, if you look at a chart of the financial sector... I'm not talking regional banks, the entire financial sector, you will notice that they have flirted with their lows from last year from kind of summer, late fall of last year. If small caps and financials break those lows, I would get worried. I would think that something's wrong, the market's telling me something."
STORY: Antonelli said "so we're down off the highs, but still historically very high for (job openings). This is what the Federal Reserve is grappling with is the economy actually hot? Is the economy actually accelerating and not declining? Where is this push and pull in the markets of recession? If job openings accelerate, that means the economy is actually probably accelerating and not receding."
Business and technology experts said AI could pose a "risk of extinction."
STORY: More signs of resilience in the U.S. labor market.A report out Wednesday showed job openings unexpectedly rose in April, while data for the prior month was revised higher.Openings in April hit 10.1 million which was well above the forecast for about 9.4 million according to economists polled by Reuters. That works out to about 1.8 open jobs for each unemployed job-seeker.Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and other policymakers have paid particular attention to the statistic, and they would like to see it back to pre-pandemic levels of around 1.2.Expectations for another interest rate increase rose following the release of this report.Comments from Cleveland Federal Reserve President Loretta Mester may have contributed as well. She told the Financial Times in a story out Wednesday that she sees no "compelling" reason to wait to implement another hike.The May jobs report out Friday will provide more details on the state of the labor market.
STORY: France prides itself on taking its food seriously.But many consumers are now spending less or cutting quality because of high inflation.A leading statistics agency said Wednesday (May 31) that household spending on food fell year-on-year by a record 10% in April, hitting its lowest level since March 2009.That followed a near 16% annual rise in food prices in March.Sandra Hamadouche is a mother of two in Paris."Clearly, I go with what's the cheapest, I look at things on sale, especially generic brands. I really compare the prices per kilo or per item, which I I didn't necessarily do before."Spending less on food is increasingly common in France.Eight out of 10 French consumers have adapted their food shopping habits in recent months, according to another survey.Just over half said they had stopped buying certain products altogether.44% had switched to cheaper products, and cut back mainly on meat and fish.The rising prices are causing political pressure.Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said that while retailers had eased back on hikes, the 75 big food producers that make 80% of what the French eat needed to re-open price negotiations."Either the big food companies keep their promises in the coming days, or I will use taxes to recover the profits that they should be passing onto consumers."The producers say they have had to contend with higher energy prices and wage increases. But some have scored major profits over the past year.
Plus, State Farm will no longer insure news homes in California due to the high risk of wildfires.
STORY: Busari Kasali used to live in fear that his cassava would spoil before it got to market.Now the Nigerian farmer says his main concern is keeping up with growing demand from Unilever.The consumer goods giant - behind brands including Knorr, Hellman's and Ben and Jerry's - says it's pivoting to African suppliers for its operations on the continent.And that's good news for Kasali. "They collect the cassava from us all the time, once we load the van and we take it to them, they weigh it and give us our money. Now we are very confident to plant as much as we wish to plant because we do not have any problem selling it, we know where to sell it."Many global companies have been grappling with rising energy and raw material costs - a consequence of the war in Ukraine and the hangover from the global health crisis.They've also faced supply disruptions and wild currency volatility, making it hard to import goods to Africa. Unilever says that's why it's trying to source locally for products sold on the continent, even if they aren't actually cheaper. Kasali's cassava plants are used to make sorbitol, a key ingredient of toothpaste, replacing supplies from China. The crop is processed by firms like Psaltry International, which then supplies Nestle and Danone, as well as Unilever. Founder Oluyemisi Iranloye says turnover should at least double this year, but worries that African farms just can't produce enough: ’We still don’t have enough. We are still operating at about 55-60% today because of raw materials, and so raw material is a challenge, farmers need to be properly funded for raw materials to be produced at a level at which we can increase our capacity to about 80%.''Cassava producers aren't the only ones to benefit. In South Africa, Unilever is sourcing herbs and spices for products like its curry blends and stock cubes. Those ingredients would previously have come from India. That just leaves African farmers with the challenge of meeting demand.
STORY: Newly declared presidential candidate Ron DeSantis kicked off his first campaign tour beginning in Iowa Tuesday and stepped up his attacks on Donald Trump. In remarks to the press after the main event, the Florida governor showed less restraint than he has before on the former president, who is his main opponent within the Republican party, suggesting Trump had become less conservative on issues like immigration, COVID policy and federal spending. He said, “Unfortunately, he's decided to move left on some of these issues," calling Trump’s recent attacks on him “detached from reality...” and that “I think he's doing it in a way that the voters are going to side with me”. Tuesday’s event was at a packed church in western Des Moines, earlier, the candidate had said the nation was on the wrong track. [Ron DeSantis, Republican presidential candidate]"We can see it and we can feel it. Our southern border has collapsed. The Mexican drug cartels have more control over what goes on at the border than our own United States government." "Look at the economy. The Biden administration is doing all it can to make it harder for the average family to make ends meet and to attain and maintain a middle class lifestyle." After a glitch-plagued debut on Twitter Spaces last week, DeSantis’ choosing Iowa to start an old school tour is a strategic move. The Iowa caucuses host the country’s first nominating contests in election season – as they will next February. More importantly, the state’s sizeable white, evangelical population have sometimes been at odds with Trump, and DeSantis may be able to seize on that. Trump lost the state in 2016 to Ted Cruz, who mopped up most of the Christian vote. DeSantis will hold four campaign events across the state on Wednesday, before heading to New Hampshire and South Carolina.
STORY: U.S. stocks saw mixed trading on Monday.Worries remain over opposition to the deal to raise the debt ceiling. But tech shares were boosted by Nvidia as the chipmaker eclipsed $1 trillion in market value at one point during the session.The Dow dropped nearly 2-tenths of one percent, the S&P 500 closed flat and the Nasdaq rose three tenths.Over the weekend, U.S. President Joe Biden and Republican House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy agreed to a two-year-deal lifting the debt ceiling and capping some federal spending.On Tuesday, McCarthy said the deal should be "easy" for Republicans to vote for and was likely to pass. However, some right-wing Republicans said they opposed the bipartisan measure.CFRA Research Chief Investment Officer Sam Stovall said he thinks the bill could face a bumpy path before eventual passage."We don't have an agreement that is on paper with the debt ceiling. I think that more drama could be injected that maybe we actually have the first pass at Congress not be approved because the fringe parties want to make sure that their voices are heard. But we do think that the the debt situation will resolve itself by June 5th. Doesn't mean, however, that the headwinds have turned into simply a light breeze, because now we have to focus on the the FOMC meeting in the middle of June and still the possibility of recession sometime in the third quarter. So I think investors will still be sitting on their hands."Nvidia Corp pared gains after setting a record high as the company anticipates a surge in demand for its AI chips that power chatbot sensation ChatGPT. It finished 3-percent higher.Only four of the S&P 500's 11 sectors were higher, while declining stocks outweighed advancing shares on both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq.
STORY: Stovall said "believe it or not, our economists are saying no recession. Yes, a possible slowdown in the second and third quarters of this year, but really no back-to-back GDP declines."He added, "our belief is that the bear market bottom is in and that while we could end up with volatility along the way, we're now only 2% below a 20% recovery level. So we're very, very close to the beginning of a new bull market, at least based on percent change."
STORY: Stovall said "we do think that the debt situation will resolve itself by June 5th. Doesn't mean, however, that the headwinds have turned into simply a light breeze, because now we have to focus on the the FOMC meeting in the middle of June."He added "we initially thought that the Fed had hit the pause button after the May FOMC meeting based on some adjustments made to the the post meeting statement. But because of stronger than expected economic data, stickier than anticipated inflation results-- we also think that the employment numbers might be pretty good this coming Friday-- that as a result, the Fed probably will raise rates again in June by 25 basis points."