A gloomy business mood spread in October

COMPANIES

A somber mood spread in October

Business confidence in Massachusetts fell further in October for the second straight month as rising interest rates took their toll on the housing, financial and technology sectors, according to the latest Associated Industries of Massachusetts survey. The AIM Business Confidence Index, based on monthly surveys of AIM members, fell 3 points to 50.9 in October, just above the 50-point line between a generally negative and a positive outlook. This was a particularly somber month, although it remained in positive territory as it was only the second month in the past year that the index had fallen below 51. (The other was June when the index was 50.8.) The latest reading was more than 7 points below where the index was a year ago (58.4) when it was well in positive territory. AIM cited the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise the Federal Reserve’s interest rate target by another three-quarters of a percentage point to control inflation, as well as a slowdown in job growth and a decline in the state’s labor force. Based on AIM polls, local employers appear to be much more concerned about the state of the US economy than the Massachusetts economy. And AIM chief executive John Regan said the labor shortage, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, has dealt a severe blow to many of its members’ day-to-day operations. —JON CHESTO

ECONOMY

Former Fed member says back-to-back rate hikes haven’t impacted the job market

The Federal Reserve has “achieved nothing” in easing the US jobs market, even after four consecutive 75 basis point hikes, said former New York Fed President Bill Dudley. Friday’s jobs report, which showed a 261,000 rise in payrolls and a modest rise in unemployment in October, “is not consistent with an easing of the labor market,” Dudley, chair of the Bretton Woods committee, said on Monday at a conference on the future of finance in Singapore. “There’s work to be done and unfortunately it’s going to cause a lot of suffering for the rest of the world because as the Fed tightens and the dollar appreciates, it puts more pressure on other emerging markets – particularly those that have made it on a lot.” Dollar debt,” he said. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

PHARMACEUTICALS

BioNTech raises outlook on Omicron booster sales

BioNTech, which has partnered with Pfizer to develop a powerful COVID-19 vaccine, reported that its third-quarter profits were almost half year-on-year, but the German drugmaker raised its expectations for post-launch vaccine revenue of the update shots targeting Omicron tribes. The company announced Monday that it had net income of 1.8 billion euros ($1.8 billion) on sales of 3.5 billion euros ($3.5 billion) for the three months ended September. achieved, down from a profit of 3.2 billion euros and sales of 6.1 billion euros in the same period a year ago. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

A Peloton Interactive Inc. logo on an exercise bike at the company’s showroom in Dedham, Massachusetts, on Wednesday, February 3, 2021. Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg

Ecommerce

The co-founders of Peloton started an online carpet company

A group of Peloton co-founders, including former CEO John Foley, have created a new company to sell custom-made carpets over the internet. Hisao Kushi, Peloton’s former Chief Legal Officer, and Yony Feng, ex-Chief Technology Officer, have joined Foley to launch Ernesta, providing customers with customized designed and tailored rugs at around the same price as a standard in-store product can buy , with fast delivery . The company just closed a $25 million Series A funding round, it said in a statement Monday. Foley resigned as Peloton’s CEO in February and relinquished his role as executive chairman in September. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

SMOKING

Philip Morris takes over the Swedish manufacturer of nicotine patches

Philip Morris is proceeding with its $16 billion acquisition of nicotine pouch maker SwedishMatch after securing the support of a sufficient number of shareholders including Elliott Investment Management. The transaction was in doubt as it was unclear whether Elliott, the largest shareholder, would support the transaction, which was contingent on 90 percent support. The acquisition will allow the Marlboro cigarette maker to accelerate its goal of having half of its sales come from alternative smoking products by 2025. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

MEAL KITS

Blue Apron Withdraws Guidance After Investor Funding Fails

Blue Apron fell to a record low after withdrawing its guidance because it failed to secure expected funding from subsidiaries of one of its top investors. The meal kit delivery platform announced Monday that it had entered into a pledge agreement with one of its subsidiaries to secure payment of $56.5 million owed to the company due to the funding delay. Blue Apron may take action under the agreement if the money is not paid by November 30th. If it doesn’t receive funds or negotiate relief from its lenders, the company expects to be in breach of its liquidity requirement requirement as early as later this month. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

JOB

UK packaging company votes to strike, impacting Amazon ahead of the holiday season

Nearly 1,000 workers at packaging maker DS Smith voted to strike over pay in a move their union said will affect customers of the UK company, including Amazon, at one of the busiest times for retail shopping. Employees at five DS Smith sites across the UK could resign before the end of this month, according to an email statement from the GMB union, which said 93 per cent of members had supported industrial action. As a result of the dispute, Amazon could face a packaging shortage when fulfilling Black Friday shopping-period orders, the GMB said. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister, speaking at DefExpo 2022 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India on Wednesday, October 19, 2022.T.Narayan/Bloomberg

INTERNATIONAL

India’s Supreme Court supports Modi’s plan to cut government jobs

India’s Supreme Court approved Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s move to reserve 10 percent of government posts and seats in educational institutions for “economically vulnerable” people who do not fall into other affirmative action categories. A five-judge panel said Monday the government’s decision in 2019 did not violate the constitution and the reservation system could be extended to any vulnerable class in society. The decision follows years of legal challenges surrounding the government’s move to reserve a portion of all government posts and seats in schools and colleges for those who are poor but belong to the upper strata of Hinduism’s complex caste structure. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

AUTOMOBILE

Honda is developing small, self-driving electric vehicles for non-drivers

At first glance, you might think you are looking at a photo booth on wheels or a golf cart. But this is the sort of machine Honda is hoping will catch up with a brand new automotive audience for the company – folks who don’t want to drive. The automaker is considering a range of self-driving electric vehicles aimed at groups including older people who no longer drive but still want to get around, and the younger Generation Z who are uninterested in owning or driving traditional cars. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

ENERGY

Warm weather dampens heat demand in Europe

European natural gas fell as mild weather kept heating demand under control and mitigated the impact of a historic energy crisis that has already pushed consumer bills to record highs. Benchmark futures fell as much as 8.1 percent to their lowest level in more than a week. A slightly warmer forecast will delay storage fuel utilization and create a larger buffer for the colder months. According to Gas Infrastructure Europe, German stocks are more than 99 percent full. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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