Business Highlights: Stocks tumble, consumer confidence dips

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Stocks slide further amid Ukraine crisis; S&P in correction

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are closing lower on Wall Street Tuesday after Russia sent forces into Ukraine’s eastern, escalating regions. The benchmark S&P 500 index fell 1% to 4,304.76, and is now more than 10% below it’s all-time high set in January, what’s known as a “correction.” The Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq also lost more than 1%. Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the independence of rebel-held regions of Ukraine, raising fears of an imminent full-scale invasion. The US and European Union responded with sanctions. Technology shares also weighed on the broader market. Bond yields rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.93%.

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A 10% drop for stocks is scary, but it’s not that rare

NEW YORK (AP) — The worries rocking Wall Street about interest rates, inflation and now Ukraine have sent the S&P 500 tumbling by 10% from its recent high. It’s an arbitrary number, but it’s big enough that Wall Street has a name for such a decline: a “correction.” Such drops have been regular occurrences through history, and some investors see them as potentially healthy things that can clear out excessive and dangerous risk-taking. But they’re frightening in the moment, particularly for a new generation of investors who got in the market when it seemed like stocks only go up.

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Biden halts oil, gas leases amid legal fight on climate cost

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is delaying decisions on new federal oil and gas drilling and other energy-related actions. That comes after a federal court ruling that has blocked the way officials were calculating the real-world costs of climate change. The administration said in a legal filing that a Feb. 11 ruling by a Louisiana federal judge will affect dozens of rules by federal agencies. This will indefinitely delay oil and gas lease sales on public lands in a half-dozen Western states. A federal judge in Louisiana had blocked federal agencies from using an estimate called the “social cost of carbon” to assess the costs of pollution.

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US consumer confidence dips slightly but remains high

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — US consumer confidence declined modestly this month but remains high, even as prices for just about everything continue to rise. The Conference Board, a business research group, said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index — which takes into account consumers’ assessment of current conditions and their outlook for the future — ticked down to 110.5 in February from 111.1 in January. Consumer confidence remains high in the US despite surging prices for virtually everything. Earlier this month, the Labor Department reported that for the 12 months ending in January, inflation hit 7.5% — the fastest year-over-year pace since 1982.

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Macy’s Q4 results tops analysts’ estimates, completes review

NEW YORK (AP) — Macy’s is reporting strong fourth-quarter sales and profits that exceeded Wall Street estimates even as the department store chain faced numerous challenges from supply chain issues to labor shortages and inflation. The New York company also said that it would not spin off its ecommerce division from its physical stores, rejecting a push from an activist investor Jana to separate the businesses to create better value. The company reported profits of $742 million, or $2.44 per share, for the three-month period ended Jan. 29. That compares with $160 million, or 50 cents per share, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted earnings were $2.45 per share. Revenue rose nearly 30% to $8.66 billion.

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Home Depot sales remain strong in the 4th quarter

ATLANTA (AP) — Home Depot saw its sales remain strong in its fourth quarter as it continues to benefit from a sizzling housing market. Sales for the three months ended Jan. 30 rose to $35.72 billion from $32.26 billion. This beat the $34.88 billion that analysts polled by FactSet forecast. Sales at stores open at least a year, a key gauge of a retailer’s health, climbed 8.1%. In the US, the metric increased 7.6%.

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Musk, lawyer escalate word fight with securities regulators

DETROIT (AP) — Elon Musk and his lawyers are escalating their fight with US securities regulators. A Musk lawyer has accused regulators of leaking investigative information, and Musk is alleging on Twitter that government corruption is being exposed. Musk’s tweet early Tuesday and a Monday letter from lawyer Alex Spiro to a federal judge didn’t offer any specifics about the alleged leak by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Spiro accused the commission of retaliating against Tesla and Musk for exercising First Amendment rights. The SEC declined comment Tuesday.

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Hedge fund returns to court in battle to buy Lee Enterprises

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The hedge fund trying to buy newspaper publisher Lee Enterprises has returned to court. It is seeking to settle a dispute over the way the votes for two longtime board members should be counted next month at the company’s annual meeting. Alden Global Capital has already lost one lawsuit in the takeover battle. Now it wants the court to decide how many votes Lee’s chairman and its lead independent director need to be re-elected to the board. Lee rejected Alden’s $141 million offer to buy the publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Buffalo News and dozens of other newspapers in December. Alden is already one of the nation’s largest newspaper owners.

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The S&P 500 lost 44.11 points, or 1%, to 4,304.76. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 482.57 points, or 1.4%, to 33,596.61. The Nasdaq dropped 166.55 points, or 1.2%, to 13,381.52. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 29.16 points, or 1.5%, to 1,980.17.

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