Lackluster profit reports dent stocks; Buffett's firm remains bullish on oil

Wall St. slips as weak earnings hit tech, travel stocks

NEW YORK — Stocks on Wall Street extended their recent run of losses Aug. 9 as investors reviewed disappointing earnings reports and looked ahead to the release of an inflation snapshot closely watched by the Federal Reserve.

The S&P 500 fell 0.4 percent, marking its fourth consecutive drop. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2 percent and the Nasdaq slid 1.2 percent.

Smaller company stocks also gave up ground, sending the Russell 2000 index 1.5 percent lower.

Technology companies and retailers were the biggest drags on the market, outweighing gains in energy, financials and elsewhere. Bond yields rose broadly.

The selling likely reflects profit-taking by investors ahead of Wednesday’s consumer price index report, said Sameer Samana, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

The headline figure is expected to show a smaller annual increase in July than in June, according to FactSet. But core inflation, which strips out volatile energy and food costs, leaving rent and other big-ticket purchases, is expected to come in higher than in June.

“With core (inflation) being the more important of the two, the fact that it hasn’t peaked yet and may not peak for a few months to come, given how much momentum we’re seeing in rent increases, in wage increases, that’s going to be the real problem for the Fed,” Samana said. “How to cool that down, especially when the economy is adding as many jobs as it is?”

Berkshire has bet $47B on the oil sector

OMAHA, Neb. — Warren Buffett’s company has now bought up more than $11 billion worth of Occidental Petroleum stock this year to give Berkshire Hathaway control of more than 20 percent of the oil producer.

Occidental’s stock jumped nearly 5 percent Tuesday to trade for $62.89 after Buffett revealed his latest purchases of nearly 6.7 million Occidental shares worth more than $400 million over the past week.

Berkshire also dropped more than $20 billion on Chevron stock in the first quarter of this year and took advantage of the surge in oil prices after Russia invaded Ukraine. That means Berkshire has nearly $47 billion invested in the oil sector, including preferred Occidental shares valued at $10 billion.

Kia recalls cars over loose ceiling plates

DETROIT — Kia is recalling nearly 260,000 older midsize cars in the U.S. because plates in the ceiling can come loose if the side curtain air bags inflate in a crash.

The recall covers certain 2012 and 2013 Optima sedans. The automaker says headliner pates on both sides of the cars may not be secured properly and could detach and hit drivers or passengers.

Kia says it has one report of a driver being hurt in a 2012 Optima.

Kia says in documents posted Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that dealers will put industrial-grade tape over the plates to help secure them. Notification letters will be sent Sept. 26.

Chipotle to pay $20M for violating labor laws

NEW YORK — The fast-food chain Chipotle Mexican Grill will pay $20 million to current and former workers at its New York City restaurants for violating city labor laws.

The settlement between the city and Chipotle was announced Aug. 9. It covers about 13,000 employees who worked at the chain’s New York City outlets between 2017 and this year, and is is the largest worker protection settlement in New York City history.

Scott Boatwright, Chipotle’s chief restaurant officer, said the chain has taken steps to improve compliance.

NJ casino dealers reject smoking idea

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Atlantic City casino dealers opposed to smoking indoors are rejecting an idea being floated among state legislators to create designated outdoor smoking areas that employees could opt out of staffing.

Pete Naccarelli, a Borgata dealer and a leader of a group of workers pushing for a full indoor smoking ban, says the opt-out suggestion is not the solution to protecting workers and customers.

A bill to ban smoking inside casinos has sat untouched in the state Legislature since February. An identical bill died in last year’s session, even though Gov. Phil Murphy has said he will sign it.

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