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Thursday, December 01, 2022

Business Highlights: Ruble’s dive, Shell’s Russia exit

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Ruble plummets as sanctions bite, sending Russians to banks

MOSCOW ( Associated Press) — Ordinary Russians are facing the prospect of higher prices as Western sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine sent the ruble plummeting. That’s led uneasy people to line up at banks and ATMs in a country that has seen more than one currency disaster in the post-Soviet era. The Russian currency plunged about 30% against the US dollar after Western nations announced moves to block some Russian banks from the SWIFT international payment system and to restrict Russia’s use of its massive foreign currency reserves. The exchange rate later recovered ground after swift action by Russia’s central bank.

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Shell to pull out of energy investments in Russia over war

LONDON ( Associated Press) — Shell says it’s pulling out of Russia as President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine continues to cost the country’s all-important energy industry foreign investment and expertise. The company on Monday announced its intention to exit joint ventures with Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom and related entities. That includes stakes in a key liquefied natural gas project and two projects that are developing oil fields in Siberia. Shell also intends to end its involvement in the now-halted Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline. BP announced plans Sunday to shed an almost 20% stake in Russian-controlled Rosneft. Norway’s Equinor said Monday that it would halt new investment in Russia and begin selling holdings there.

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Swings return to Wall Street, oil up after Russia sanctions

NEW YORK ( Associated Press) — Markets quivered Monday amid concerns about how high oil prices will go and how badly the global economy will get hit after the US and allies upped the financial pressure on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Stocks swung down, up and down again, while investors herded into bonds in search of safety and the value of the Russian ruble plunged to a record low. The S&P 500 was down as much as 1.6% but recouped much of its losses to end down 0.2%. Oil prices rose sharply amid concerns about what will happen to crude supplies.

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Biden’s high court choice defies expectations on labor cases

DETROIT ( Associated Press) — Labor unions and worker advocates have applauded President Joe Biden’s nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for the Supreme Court. Yet a look back at Jackson’s decisions in cases involving business and labor suggest that she won’t always rule as they want or expect her to. Though Jackson is widely seen as a liberal on social and economic issues and as a defender of workers’ rights, her decisions, as a federal district court judge and then as a federal appellate judge since last year, defy easy categorization.

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With sanctions, Russian Sberbank faces ‘failure’ in Europe

BELGRADE, Serbia ( Associated Press) — Sberbank and the Russian bank’s subsidiaries in southeastern Europe are facing closures or takeovers following international sanctions imposed on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine. The European Central Bank said Monday that Sberbank Europe AG and its branches in Slovenia and Croatia are failing or likely to fail after they “experienced significant deposit outflows” because of the impact to their reputation from the conflict. In both Slovenia and Croatia, Sberbank temporarily closed its branches or limited cash withdrawals following a rush by its clients last week. Sberbank Europe AG also has subsidiaries in Bosnia the Czech Republic, Hungary and Serbia.

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Biden to launch ambitious overhaul of nursing home quality

WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) — President Joe Biden is launching a major overhaul of nursing home standards in his State of the Union speech. White House officials Monday outlined a series of measures long sought by advocates and opposed by the industry. Taken together, the measures would raise the bar on quality, increase government oversight, and continue efforts to keep COVID-19 out of nursing homes. The cornerstone of Biden’s plan is a new requirement for minimum staffing standards for nursing homes. Experts say staffing levels are a critical marker for nursing home quality, and many facilities lack sufficient numbers of nurses, nursing assistants and other workers.

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Biden’s Russia sanctions may let Moscow profit from oil, gas

NEW YORK ( Associated Press) — There’s a glaring carve-out in President Joe Biden’s sanctions against Russia, and that’s oil and natural gas, which will continue to flow freely to the rest of the world. That means that money will also keep flowing into Russia. Biden is defending the decision by saying he needs stable oil supplies so Americans feel less pain at the gasoline pump. Inflation is at a 40-year high and that’s been a political challenge for Biden. But some academics, lawmakers and analysts say the fossil fuels carve-out could defang the sanctions and embolden Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Chris Licht appointed as new CNN chief to replace Zucker

NEW YORK ( Associated Press) — Chris Licht, who has been late-night host Stephen Colbert’s top producer since 2016, was appointed the new chairman and CEO of CNN. Licht will replace Jeff Zucker, who was forced out as CNN chief earlier this month for not revealing his romantic relationship with a CNN marketing executive to his superiors. Licht has a news background, working as the top producer at “CBS This Morning” and “Morning Joe” prior to getting into late-night television. He was appointed by Discovery chief executive David Zaslav, pending the expected approval of Discovery’s takeover of CNN parent company WarnerMedia. Licht said in a statement that he’s looking forward to getting back to his journalism roots.

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The S&P 500 fell 10.71 points, or 0.2%, to 4,373.94. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 166.15 points, or 0.5%, to 33,892.60. The Nasdaq rose 56.77 points, or 0.4%, to 13,751.40. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gained 7.16 points, or 0.4%, to 2,048.09.

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