AP Business SummaryBrief at 11:30 p.m. EST

US inflation eases grip on economy, falling for a 6th month

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rising U.S. consumer prices moderated again last month, bolstering hopes that inflation’s grip on the economy will continue to ease this year and possibly require less drastic action by the Federal Reserve to control it. Inflation declined to 6.5% in December compared with a year earlier. It was the sixth straight year-over-year slowdown. On a monthly basis, prices actually slipped 0.1% from November to December, the first such drop since May 2020. The softer readings add to growing signs that the worst inflation bout in four decades is steadily waning. Gas prices, which have tumbled, are likely to keep lowering overall inflation in the coming months.

Designer Thom Browne bests Adidas in court battle of stripes

NEW YORK (AP) — Thom Browne emerged from a New York courthouse victorious over sportswear giant Adidas in a battle over stripes. A smiling Browne told The Associated Press on Thursday that he hopes the preservation of his striped designs on luxury athletic clothing and accessories inspires others whose work is challenged by larger clothing producers. Adidas had sued Browne over the stripes on his activewear, which the company said infringed on its own well-known trademark. In a statement after the jury’s verdict, an Adidas spokesperson promised to “continue to vigilantly enforce our intellectual property, including filing any appropriate appeals.”

Disney faces proxy fight as Peltz pushes to join board

Activist investor Nelson Peltz is fighting for a seat on the board of Walt Disney Co., claiming that the theme park and media company is struggling with self-inflicted problems. Peltz’s attempt to join Disney’s board comes just months after the company brought back longtime CEO Bob Iger to lead Disney again. Disney urged shareholders to vote against Peltz and named current board member Mark Parker as its chairman. Parker, who also serves as executive chairman at Nike Inc., succeeds Susan Arnold. The move that will shrink the board to 11 members.

Toyota pushes zero-emission goals by converting old models

CHIBA, Japan (AP) — To accelerate the global move toward sustainable vehicles, Toyota is suggesting simply replacing the inner workings of vehicles already on the roads with cleaner technology like fuel cells and electric motors. Chief Executive Akio Toyoda told reporters that he doesn’t want to leave car lovers behind. Japan’s top automaker showed battery-electric and hydrogen versions of older models like the Corolla at an industry event near Tokyo to drive home the message. The company says that instead of waiting for all cars sold to be green, converting the ones already out on the roads is a good option.

Study: Exxon Mobil accurately predicted warming since 1970s

DENVER (AP) — A new study says Exxon Mobil’s scientists were remarkably accurate in their predictions about global warming. But at the same time, the company made public statements that contradicted its scientists’ conclusions. The study in the journal Science looked at research that Exxon funded. The research forecast the coming warming with precision equal to or better than government and academic scientists. This was during the same time that the oil giant publicly doubted that warming was real and dismissed climate models’ accuracy. Exxon says its understanding of climate change evolved over the years and that critics are misunderstanding its earlier research.

US air travel returns to normal after technology breakdown

U.S. air travel has returned mostly to normal, a day after a computer system that sends safety information to pilots broke down and grounded traffic from coast to coast. By early afternoon Thursday on the East Coast, only about 100 flights had been canceled and 1,700 delayed. Those figures are much lower than on Wednesday, when more than 1,300 flights were scrubbed and 11,000 delayed. The Federal Aviation Administration said a damaged database file appeared to have caused the outage in the safety-alert system. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg promised a thorough examination to avoid another major failure.

EXPLAINER: List of states banning TikTok grows

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin and North Carolina have joined at least 22 other states in banning the popular social media app TikTok on state-owned devices, including Mississippi, Indiana, Louisiana and South Dakota. Congress also recently banned TikTok from most U.S. government-issued devices over bipartisan concerns about security. TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company that moved its headquarters to Singapore in 2020. It has been targeted by critics who say the Chinese government could access user data, such as browsing history and location. U.S. armed forces also have prohibited the app on military devices.

Asian markets mostly higher, tracking Wall Street gains

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares have advanced in Asia after news that U.S. consumer inflation slowed last month pushed Wall Street benchmarks higher. U.S. futures and oil prices edged lower. Tokyo fell more than 1% but most other regional indexes gained. China reported its trade surplus ballooned to a record $877.6 billion in 2022 as exports rose 7% despite weakening U.S. and European demand and anti-virus controls that temporarily shut down Shanghai and other industrial centers. On Thursday, the S&P 500 rose 0.3% and the Nasdaq and the Dow each rose 0.6%. The report on inflation was clearly encouraging, stocks had already rallied earlier this week in anticipation of exactly such data. s.

House votes to block China from buying oil from US reserves

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-controlled House has voted to block oil from the country’s emergency stockpile from going to China. Republicans say the bill would help end what they call President Joe Biden’s “abuse of our strategic reserves.” Biden withdrew 180 million barrels from the reserve last year in a bid to halt rising gasoline prices after a ban on Russian oil imports following its invasion of Ukraine. Democrats say Republicans are trying to fix a problem of their own making. China is among numerous potential adversaries that buy U.S. oil after the GOP-led Congress lifted an export ban in 2015.  Last year, millions of barrels of oil from the U.S. reserves wound up being exported to China.

Nurses at 2 NYC hospitals return to work as deal ends strike

NEW YORK (AP) — Thousands of nurses at two New York City hospitals have ended a three-day strike after reaching a tentative contract agreement. Union officials say it will relieve chronic short staffing and boost pay by 19% over three years. Nurses began returning to work at Mount Sinai Hospital and Montefiore Medical Center after the deal was announced Thursday morning. The New York State Nurses Association stressed staffing levels as a key concern. It said nurses were stretched too thin because too many jobs are open. The privately owned, nonprofit hospitals cited a widespread nursing shortage exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

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