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Wall Street closes lower as investors size up earnings, inflation

Stocks gave up early gains and closed broadly lower Tuesday as investors weighed the latest quarterly earnings reports from big United States companies and new data pointing to rising inflation.

The S&P 500 fell 0.4 percent, with most of the companies in the benchmark index losing ground. Banks, industrial stocks and companies that rely on consumer spending accounted for a big share of the decline.

Technology stocks bucked the trend, helping counter some of the broader slide. Small company stocks took some of the heaviest losses.

The pullback brought the major stock indexes slightly below the record highs they set a day earlier. Treasury yields rose.

Investors sized up mixed quarterly earnings reports from Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, PepsiCo and other big companies. They also got another snapshot of how inflation continues to show up in the economy as a rapid spike in consumer demand and supply constraints translate into higher prices for consumer goods.

The latest report from the US Department of Labor showed yet another increase in consumer prices in June that surprised economists.

“You had the element of just incredible earnings reported for the most recent quarter, but in some of the commentary that came out there were some questions about, ‘OK, what about cost pressures going forward?’” said Alan McKnight, chief investment officer at Regions Asset Management. “Then you pair that with the inflation report today where we see another high print.”

The S&P 500 fell 15.42 points to 4,369.21. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 107.39 points, or 0.3 percent, to 34,888.79. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index slid 55.59 points, or 0.4 percent, to 14,677.65, while the Russell 2000 index of smaller companies lost 42.96 points, or 1.9 percent, to 2,238.86.

Inflation has been a lingering concern for the markets as investors try to gauge how it will impact everything from the trajectory of the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic to what actions the Federal Reserve will take to tackle it.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that prices for US consumers jumped in June by the most in 13 years, extending a run of higher inflation that has been raising concerns on Wall Street that the Federal Reserve might consider withdrawing its low interest rate policies and scaling back its bond purchases earlier than expected.

The US Department of Labor said Tuesday that prices for US consumers jumped by the most in 13 years in June, perpetuating concerns on Wall Street that the Federal Reserve might consider withdrawing its low interest rate policies and scaling back its bond purchases [File: Richard Drew/AP Photo]

Much of the increase in prices for goods, such as used cars, is mostly tied to a surge in demand and lack of supply. But prices for many items, like lumber and other raw materials, either is easing or will ease as suppliers continue to ramp up operations, said Jamie Cox, managing partner at Harris Financial Group.

“That’s a problem and it shows up in all kinds of places but it’s not going to be there forever,” Cox said.

Major companies opened up the latest round of corporate earnings, with investors listening closely for clues about how companies have fared during the recovery and how they see the rest of the year unfolding.

Goldman Sachs fell 1.2 percent despite reporting the second-best quarterly profit in the investment bank’s history. JPMorgan Chase dropped 1.5 percent after giving investors a mixed report with solid profits but lower revenue as interest rates fell over the last three months.

“The financials have had that real tailwind of rates going higher,” McKnight said. “We’ve already priced that in. Now it’s almost a ‘show me’ story. Can you actually prove that you can deliver earnings at a much higher clip once we get back to a more normalised environment?”

Conagra Brands slid 5.4 percent for the biggest drop in the S&P 500 after the owner of Chef Boyardee and other packaged food brands gave investors a weak financial forecast, citing inflation pressure. Fastenal, a maker of industrial and construction fasteners, also said it expects more pressure from inflation in product and transportation costs. The stock fell 1.6 percent.

Bond yields reversed course from early trading and rose to 1.42 percent from 1.36 percent late Monday. Overall, yields have been falling for months after a sharp spike earlier in the year.

The calmer bond market is partly signalling more confidence that rising inflation will likely be temporary and tied mostly to the economic recovery.

“That narrative is pretty well anchored and the bond market doesn’t fear the Fed tapering or raising rates,” Cox said.

Solid earnings did help some companies make gains. PepsiCo rose 2.3 percent after beating Wall Street’s second-quarter profit and revenue forecasts.

Boeing fell 4.2 percent after the company announced production cuts for its large 787 airliner because of a new structural flaw in some planes that have been built but not delivered to airline customers.

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This post originally posted here Al Jazeera – Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera

Biden’s vaccine charge hits a wall

The Biden administration is running out of ideas for jumpstarting the pace of coronavirus vaccinations, raising the prospect that more than a quarter of American adults could still be vulnerable to the virus into the fall.

The federal immunization campaign has slammed into rising partisanship and deep resistance among the 91 million adults who remain unvaccinated, turning what was once an all-out sprint into a marathon with no clear end in sight.

Even as President Joe Biden vows a “neighborhood-by-neighborhood” vaccination effort, a half-dozen federal and state officials working on the Covid-19 response acknowledged in interviews that none of their outreach efforts are likely to supercharge vaccination rates — and that there are few remaining options to try.

The administration is now strategizing over how to manage a nation with 68 percent of the population at least partially vaccinated, where pockets of the country will be subjected to periodic outbreaks while the majority of Americans move on.

Officials foresee a grinding effort to convert people one shot at a time that could last for months, and that risks being complicated by growing Republican resistance to what was once a largely bipartisan bid to get the country immunized.

“We are under no illusions that each person in this stage will take longer to reach,” said a senior administration official. “The first 180 million were much easier than the next 5 million.”

The shift comes as the more transmissible Delta variant is driving a resurgence of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations within unvaccinated communities across the U.S. In the days after Biden celebrated a July Fourth he said marked “independence” from the virus, daily new vaccinations reached six-month lows.

It’s a slowdown that administration officials argue was inevitable, and a side effect of the government’s largely faster-than-anticipated vaccine rollout. The rapid deployment left a surplus of shots by summer and prevented possibly hundreds of thousands of additional deaths while easing the pressure on local health departments and hospitals.

Yet as the pandemic recedes and officials concentrate on the holdouts, their efforts are being made increasingly difficult by conservative politicians and pundits who’ve ramped up criticism of the vaccination drive.

Most recently, the administration scrambled to tamp down backlash to Health secretary Xavier Becerra’s insistence that “it is absolutely the government’s business” to know which Americans have been vaccinated — an episode described as frustrating for officials already trying to combat misinformation surrounding the vaccines.

Since April, the gap in vaccination rates between counties that voted for Biden in the 2020 election and those that went for former President Donald Trump grew by five times, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.

The White House in the meantime is redoubling efforts to convert the unvaccinated by intensifying outreach programs and further expanding the vaccines’ availability, all while adopting an increasingly urgent tone.

Still, there is little expectation of major breakthroughs or sharp increases in the vaccination rate. Nearly everyone eager to get a vaccine has already gotten one, polling shows. Within the White House, officials believe that only about a third of those who remain unvaccinated are in the “wait and see” mode most likely to be persuaded to get a shot.

“We were spoiled in a sense by the early numbers, because that really represented all of this pent-up demand for the vaccine,” said Richard Besser, CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and a former acting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director.

And while there’s still opportunity for progress, “there is a core group in every segment that has lower vaccination rates where there’s just not going to be any movement,” he added.

Biden officials are embracing a mantra that the senior administration official described as “every single shot matters.” After hitting a series of high-profile vaccination milestones, the focus is shifting away from speed and toward a less quantifiable measure of success: the returning feel of normalcy.

“Every person we can get vaccinated at this point is another person protected,” the official said. “You’ve got to be realistic that people in this phase are going to take a little bit longer.”

It’s a tacit admission that, outside of an anticipated surge of vaccinations when young children become eligible for the shot, there’s little left to drive fresh demand.

Though a range of prominent health experts contend the Food and Drug Administration could prime demand by fully approving the vaccines, there’s skepticism within the administration that millions are holding out until the agency gives its final endorsement.

And while the White House has taken pains not to get involved in the FDA’s processes, officials said they don’t expect the vaccine approvals to come through until at least the fall, as the agency evaluates data submitted on a rolling basis by the drug manufacturers.

Another potential conduit for accelerated vaccinations — primary care doctors — has not expanded as quickly as some had hoped, with some physicians hesitant to turn their practices into vaccine distribution points when the shot is already widely available elsewhere. Others have embraced the effort, only to be forced to throw away much of the multidose vials after vaccinating only a couple patients in a day.

Biden’s Covid-19 response team has instead turned its recent focus on driving up the vaccination rate for younger Americans. Officials believe a significant number are still open to getting the shot but haven’t gone out of their way to seek it.

Jeff Zients, the White House’s Covid-19 response coordinator, and other federal officials have met privately in recent weeks with various school associations to encourage them to turn their individual schools into vaccination sites — and get eligible students their shots well before classrooms open up in the fall.

“Schools are trusted places, not only for the children and the youth but for the parents and community members,” said John Bridgeland, the co-founder of COVID Collaborative, which has worked with the administration on vaccine messaging efforts.

The administration has similarly coordinated with business groups, in a bid to convince more employers to encourage their workers to get vaccinated.

But the process is already fraught with politics. Universities in GOP-led states have already faced intense blowback for mandating that students get vaccinated before returning to campus, and similar requirements instituted by hospitals have drawn protests.

At some high schools and businesses, even the prospect of administering vaccines voluntarily has become a political flashpoint.

“It’s just: We’d love to do it, but I’ve got parents that are up in arms against it, or my board is not for it,” Dan Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, said of the lament he’s gotten from some superintendents.

The one option sure to spark mass vaccinations is also the one federal and state health officials are loath to discuss: widespread mandates. In public and private, administration officials have stressed that they’ll only go as far as encouraging people to get the shots, wary of hardening opposition and fueling conspiracy theories.

State officials, meanwhile, are bracing for the community-by-community debate over mandates likely to break out once the vaccines are fully approved.

“What we’d like to do is get another 10 percent quickly done,” said Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. “Maybe mandates would do that. But I don’t know that it’s worth it for the amount of backlash we’d get.”

Within the White House, there’s little discussion of a defined end game for the Covid-19 response — even as cases drop and Biden pivots increasingly toward revving up a post-pandemic economy.

Rather, Biden’s team expects the vaccination effort to gradually fade into the background over the long term, as the splashy rollouts and big ideas that marked the first six months morph into a slow, steady campaign to get more shots into arms.

“We’re at a point in the pandemic where things are a little bit more one by one,” the senior administration official said. “It’s definitely not as sexy to routinize Covid vaccinations, but it’s just as important.”

Texas Says It Will Build Border Wall With Mexico

McALLEN, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas said on Thursday that the state would build a border wall with Mexico, providing few specifics about construction that would extend one of former President Donald J. Trump’s favored projects.

It is unclear if the state has the authority to build a wall in an attempt to deter immigrants, a majority of whom have been fleeing poverty and violence from Central America.

Speaking at a meeting with state law enforcement officials in Del Rio, a small border city that has seen a large influx of immigrants since President Biden took office in January, Mr. Abbott said he expected to announce more details about the wall next week.

Mr. Abbott explained that he would start by setting up barriers to identify people trying to cross the border and by deploying additional law enforcement agents to assist the Border Patrol. He has blamed the increase in migrant crossings on Mr. Biden’s unwinding of Mr. Trump’s restrictive border rules.

“It is out of control and a change is needed,” he said. “Some of these border barriers will be built immediately.”

Then the governor revealed, to thundering applause, that Texas would also build a border wall.

“While securing the border is the federal government’s responsibility, Texas will not sit idly by as this crisis grows,” Mr. Abbott said, adding, “Our efforts will only be effective if we work together to secure the border, make criminal arrests, protect landowners, rid our communities of dangerous drugs and provide Texans with the support they need and deserve.”

In March, Mr. Abbott put into action what he called Operation Lone Star, which allows the deployment of hundreds of agents and resources along the southwestern border to combat the smuggling of human beings, drugs and guns, said Victor Escalon, a regional director with the Texas Department of Public Safety. But deciding to build a border wall may be a first for a state executive.

Mr. Abbott’s announcement was quickly criticized by immigration advocates, who said it would most likely face legal challenges.

“There is no substantive plan,” said Edna Yang, co-executive director of American Gateways, an immigration legal aid and advocacy group in Texas. “It’s not going to make any border community or county safer.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas tweeted, “To be clear, this is an attempt to distract from his governing failures while targeting vulnerable immigrants.”

Mr. Trump made the border wall a signature campaign promise and often pressed his homeland security officials to speed the construction of the project, waiving federal contracting and environmental laws in the process.

During his campaign, Mr. Trump promised that Mexico would pay for the wall, but he instead redirected billions from Defense Department funds that were initially meant for anti-narcotics or construction programs. His administration eventually built more than 450 miles of new wall, primarily in areas where dilapidated barriers once stood. Most of the construction was in Arizona, where migrants already struggle through rough terrain to cross the border, rather than in South Texas, an area prone to illegal crossings.

Private landowners in South Texas emerged as an obstacle to Mr. Trump’s construction, with many resisting the administration’s efforts to seize their land through eminent domain. And then Mr. Biden suspended construction of the wall on his first day in office, part of a series of actions to roll back Mr. Trump’s immigration agenda.

The Biden administration and Mr. Abbott have clashed over how to handle the thousands of unaccompanied minors who have crossed the border in recent months. The administration was unable to redirect federal funds designated for disaster aid to assist in border processing when Mr. Abbott refused to provide his consent.

At the time, Mr. Abbott said that the federal government, not Texas, was responsible for asserting control over the border.

When the migrant children filled detention facilities run by the Border Patrol, the Biden administration responded by opening temporary facilities in a Dallas convention center, a San Antonio sports arena and other vacant sites around the country. While Vice President Kamala Harris was in Guatemala this week, she discouraged potential migrants from traveling to the border, telling them, “Do not come.”

The Biden administration still uses a pandemic emergency rule, known as Title 42, that empowers border agents to rapidly turn away most single adults and many families crossing the border into the hands of Mexican authorities. Mr. Biden has exempted unaccompanied minors from the policy, which prevents most other migrants from having a chance to apply for asylum.

Some families, however, have been able to cross into Texas because of a change in Mexican law that barred the detention of small immigrant children, and a lack of shelter capacity south of the border. Instead of detaining those families, U.S. authorities release many into Texas communities.

Author: Edgar Sandoval and Zolan Kanno-Youngs
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

Gov. Abbott says he’ll share plans next week for Texas

share plans next week for Texas

DEL RIO, Texas (Nexstar) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he’ll share plans next week for the state to build a wall along the Mexico border, but he offered no other specifics about how the project would proceed.

This particular announcement drew a standing ovation and cheers Thursday evening from the crowd gathered at Abbott’s border security summit in Del Rio. He also discussed several other initiatives he said would “secure the border and restore order.”

Abbott held up a stack of papers and told the crowd Texas lawmakers allocated $ 1 billion in the latest budget to fund border security efforts. He also announced the formation of a new governor’s task force on border and homeland security, which he said will meet every two weeks to come up with “every solution to make your border safer.”

That task force, Abbott explained, would include members of his office, the attorney general’s office, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Division of Emergency Management, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the state commissions on law enforcement and jail standards.

Abbott invited local landowners like John Paul Schuster to the summit as well. He said he encounters migrants on his ranch in Kinney County, 25 miles from the border, almost daily in recent weeks.

“The other day at the house was a gentleman, he was by himself. He was dirty. He had been traveling through the brush,” Schuster explained. “As he approaches the house, there he is got a long sleeve hoodie on jeans and a backpack. Okay, good guy or bad guy? What’s in that backpack?”

“You only got just five or six seconds to make that decision. Good guy. Bad guy. Yeah. Are they gonna stop and talk to me? Are they gonna keep coming at me?” Schuster said, adding he and his wife carry a gun almost all of the time, even at home at the dinner table.

“I don’t want to have to kill somebody, and I don’t want to,” Schuster said, tearing up.

Ahead of the governor’s summit, he said the government needed to come up with a better plan to help.

“I don’t ask a lot of the government, I work hard, we work hard, pay our taxes, that’s justifiable. But we need help,” Schuster said.

Following the summit, Schuster said he was hopeful Abbott’s new proposals would help.

The summit also included county sheriffs, police chiefs, county judges and mayors to talk about how the state is trying to secure the U.S./Mexico border, a press release from Abbott’s office said. It also focused on “collaborative strategies between state government, local city and county officials, law enforcement, and landowners to secure our border communities and ensure a safer future for all Texans.”

Along with Abbott, TDEM Chief Nim Kidd, Texas Military Department Maj. Gen. Tracy Norris and Texas DPS Director Steve McCraw spoke at the Del Rio Civic Center.

The summit came after Abbott made comments to FOX News’ Sean Hannity that he wants to arrest “everybody coming across the border.” Two law enforcement members that confirmed the summit last week to our news partners at Border Report are hoping the summit “sheds light” on Abbott’s comments.

Abbott said Thursday he’ll sign another disaster declaration next week to create this plan.

“What this will do, it will focus on making arrests,” Abbott said. “The Department of Public Safety will work with local officials to arrest anyone who enters our state illegally and is found trespassing against them. We will be arresting a lot more people in the future, so more jail space will be required.”

Abbott made disaster declarations in 34 border counties due to the influx of migrants trying to cross the border. In response, migrant advocates in the Rio Grande Valley issued their own counter-declaration, saying Abbott’s move was “a transparent attempt to distract from his failed leadership,” and unfairly mischaracterized the border communities. It pressed for more support for those communities, not more law enforcement.

Migrant advocates criticize Abbott’s approach, pointing to other Republican state leaders who have tried ramping up enforcement during surges in the past.

“This isn’t a new tactic, necessarily. And Texas governors in the past have also tried to sending National Guard troops or Department of Public Safety officers to the border. We’ve seen little, if any effect of that. Most of the changes in migration flows at the U.S.-Mexico border come either from changes in U.S. federal policy or changes in the degree to which Mexican immigration authorities are enforcing immigration laws in the interior of that country,” Jessica Bolter with the Migration Policy Institute explained.

While Abbott largely pointed the finger at the Biden administration for the current crisis, Bolter explained that’s not the only factor weighing on migrants flocking to our border.

“Their plans to migrate depend much more on the conditions that they’re experiencing in their home, in their home countries, and then what they’re hearing about, whether that’s from smugglers or from others in their social networks, about who’s being able to cross the border at the moment,” Bolter said.

Kate Huddleston, a staff attorney at the ACLU of Texas, said in a statement Abbott’s plan is “unlawful” and threatens to harm families at the border, creating trauma for young kids.

“Abbott is also undermining the right to seek asylum by jailing those fleeing danger and punishing them for seeking refuge in the U.S. Additionally, Abbott’s proposed border wall will harm border communities and the environment,” Huddleston’s statement reads. “In this plan, Abbott is yet again scapegoating immigrants in an effort to distract from his own failures in governing and managing actual crises in Texas — like the historic winter storm that led to the deaths of more than 150 Texans  — with cruel results.”

Author: Will DuPree
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

A 20-Foot Sea Wall? Miami Faces the Hard Choices of Climate Change.

MIAMI — Three years ago, not long after Hurricane Irma left parts of Miami underwater, the federal government embarked on a study to find a way to protect the vulnerable South Florida coast from deadly and destructive storm surge.

Already, no one likes the answer.

Build a wall, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed in its first draft of the study, now under review. Six miles of it, in fact, mostly inland, running parallel to the coast through neighborhoods — except for a one-mile stretch right on Biscayne Bay, past the gleaming sky-rises of Brickell, the city’s financial district.

The dramatic $ 6 billion proposal remains tentative and at least five years off. But the startling suggestion of a massive sea wall up to 20 feet high cutting across beautiful Biscayne Bay was enough to jolt some Miamians to attention: The hard choices that will be necessary to deal with the city’s many environmental challenges are here, and few people want to face them.

“You need to have a conversation about, culturally, what are our priorities?” said Benjamin Kirtman, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Miami. “Where do we want to invest? Where does it make sense?”

“Those are what I refer to as generational questions,” he added. “And there is a tremendous amount of reluctance to enter into that discussion.”

In Miami, the U.S. metropolitan area that is perhaps most exposed to sea-level rise, the problem is not climate change denialism. Not when hurricane season, which begins this week, returns each year with more intense and frequent storms. Not when finding flood insurance has become increasingly difficult and unaffordable. Not when the nights stay so hot that leaving home with a sweater to fend off the evening chill has become a thing of the past.

The trouble is that the magnitude of the interconnected obstacles the region faces can feel overwhelming, and none of the possible solutions are cheap, easy or pretty.

For its study, the corps focused on storm surge — the rising seas that often inundate the coastline during storms — made worse lately by stronger hurricanes and higher sea levels. But that is only one concern.

South Florida, flat and low-lying, sits on porous limestone, which allows the ocean to swell up through the ground. Even when there is no storm, rising seas contribute to more significant tidal flooding, where streets fill with water even on sunny days. The expanding saltwater threatens to spoil the underground aquifer that supplies the region’s drinking water, and to crack old sewer pipes and aging septic tanks. It leaves less space for the earth to absorb liquid, so floodwaters linger longer, their runoff polluting the bay and killing fish.

And that is just sea-level rise. Temperatures have gotten so sweltering over recent summers that Miami-Dade County has named a new interim “chief heat officer.”

“What you realize is each of these problems, which are totally intersecting, are handled by different parts of the government,” said Amy C. Clement, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Miami and the chairwoman of the city of Miami’s climate resilience committee. “It’s divided up in ways that make things really, really difficult to move forward. And the bottom line is it’s way more money than any local government has to spend.”

The state could help, to a point. Republican lawmakers, who have controlled the Florida Legislature for more than 20 years, acknowledged in late 2019 that they had ignored climate change for so long that the state had “lost a decade.” They have begun to take steps to fund solutions, directing more than $ 200 million in tax dollars, collected on real estate transactions, to sea-level rise and sewer projects. Legislators also designated $ 500 million in federal stimulus money for the fund.

The price tag for all that needs to be done, however, is in the billions. The estimate for Miami-Dade County alone to phase out some 120,000 septic tanks is about $ 4 billion, and that does not include the thousands of dollars that each homeowner would also have to pay.

Enter the corps, whose engineering projects, if funded by Congress, are covered 65 percent by the federal government and 35 percent by a local government sponsor.

No one wants to turn away a penny from Washington, but the proposal for a massive sea wall along one of Miami’s most scenic stretches has produced a rare moment of agreement between environmentalists and real estate developers, who fear harm to the bay’s delicate ecology and lower property values.

“We were, like, ruh-roh,” said Ken Russell, the Miami city commissioner whose district includes Brickell. “The $ 40 billion in assets you’re trying to protect will be diminished if you build a wall around downtown because you’re going to affect market values and quality of life.”

Other parts of the corps’s draft plan, which includes surge barriers at the mouth of the Miami River and several other waterways, are more appealing: fortifying sewer plants and fire and police stations to withstand a crush of seawater. Elevating or flood-proofing thousands of businesses and homes. Planting some mangroves, which can provide a first line of defense against flooding and erosion. Miami-Dade County wants all of those portions to take priority; a final draft of the plan is due this fall.

Sticking points remain. Among the homes proposed to be elevated on the taxpayer dime are multimillion-dollar waterfront mansions — a result of the corps’s mandate to efficiently protect as much life and property as possible, which critics say inevitably leads to more protection for the wealthy, whose properties are worth more.

And then there are the walls. The inland walls, some fairly small but others up to 13 feet high, would divide neighborhoods, leaving homes on the seaward side with less protection. The sea wall along Biscayne Bay, which could rise to 20 feet and look as formidable as the sound barriers along Interstate 95, would reverse decades of policies intended to avoid dredging and filling the bay.

To some critics, the plan harks back to more than a century of dredging and pumping of the Florida Everglades, which made way for intensive farming and sprawling development but disregarded the serious damage to the environment that the state is still wrestling with.

“It is my sense that most Floridians would live with the risk of water to preserve their lifestyle,” said Cynthia Barnett, a Gainesville-based environmental journalist who has published books about rain and the fate of the oceans. “This idea of working with water rather than always fighting against it is really the lesson of Florida history. If Florida history has taught us one thing, it’s that hardscaping this water that defines us will bring hardships to future generations.”

In fact, when local governments have asked the public how they would like to tackle climate change, residents by far prefer what is known as green infrastructure: layered coastal protection from a mix of dunes, sea grasses, coral reefs and mangroves, said Zelalem Adefris, vice president for policy and advocacy at Catalyst Miami, which works with low-income communities in the county.

“The Army Corps’s plan just looks so different,” she said. “It seemed to be really incongruous with the conversations that are being had locally.”

Officials with the corps, though, say — gently — that they see no way around what they call structural elements. The storm surge threat to Miami-Dade County is just too grave.

“It’s going to be a part of the solution,” said Niklas Hallberg, the study’s project manager.

He said the corps is committed to working with the community in the next phase of design for the project, so “maybe it doesn’t look like so much of a wall.”

That sounds like inching toward the vision that emerged from engineering consultants hired by Swire Properties, a big local developer, after the corps’s draft plan alarmed Miami’s Downtown Development Authority. The consultants suggested building a berm of earth and rock that could be further elevated over time. (A landscape architectural firm brought in by the Downtown Development Authority developed renderings of the corps’s plan showing dirty brown water in the bay and, yes, “Berlin” graffitied on the wall.)

On a recent afternoon along the stretch of Brickell Bay Drive where a wall might go, Rachel Silverstein, executive director of Miami Waterkeeper, an environmental research and activist group, stood next to high-rises built right up to the water, which she called “the fundamental problem with Miami” because they leave the storm surge with nowhere to go.

(Ms. Silverstein is in the camp of people who favor more natural structural elements to combat storm surge, such as bolstering coral reefs that would also provide an ecological benefit to the bay.)

She pointed over the shimmering blue-green bay.

“Instead of seeing this beautiful water, you would see a gross wall,” she said.

In front of her, a manatee came up for air.

Author: Patricia Mazzei
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

Wall Street on track to snap 3-day losing streak as technology stocks rise

Wall Street on track to snap 3-day losing streak as technology stocks rise© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The front facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen in New York City, U.S., May 4, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

(Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes rebounded after a three-day slide on Thursday, driven by gains in technology stocks as the smallest weekly jobless claims since the start of a pandemic-driven recession lifted the mood.

regained some lost ground to trade near $ 40,000 a day after a brutal selloff, helping renew appetite for risk. Crypto-exchange operator Coinbase Global rose 3.7%. Crypto-miner Riot Blockchain (NASDAQ:) fell 1%, Marathon Digital Holdings dropped 1.5%.

“There’s a big risk of regulatory risk to crypto. That’s not fully appreciated,” said Jay Hatfield, founder and chief executive of Infrastructure Capital Management in New York. “The central banks have a monopoly on currency. And so we just think that it’s a little bit surprising they haven’t enforced that monopoly.”

The number of Americans filing for new claims for unemployment benefits fell to 444,000 in the week ended May 15, down for the third straight time, suggesting job growth picked up this month, though companies still are desperate for workers.

Wall Street’s main indexes fell for the third consecutive session on Wednesday after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s meeting last month indicated many policymakers thought it would be appropriate to discuss easing of crisis-era support, such as tapering bond purchases, in upcoming meetings if the strong economic momentum is sustained.

“Right now really there is just one driver of the market, and that is the Fed and potential timing of tapering and quantitative easing,” Hatfield added.

Signs of rising inflation have increased bets that the Federal Reserve may tighten its policy soon, hitting rate-sensitive growth stocks that set the tech-heavy Nasdaq on track for its fifth consecutive weekly drop.

Technology and communication services rose the most among the 11 major S&P sectors. Energy was the only sector in the red. By 1:47PM ET, the rose 228.16 points, or 0.67%, to 34,124.2, the gained 45.46 points, or 1.10%, to 4,161.14 and the added 229.57 points, or 1.73%, to 13,529.30.

Retailers were a weak spot. Ralph Lauren Corp (NYSE:) dropped 8.33% after it forecast full-year sales below analysts’ estimates.

Kohl’s Corp (NYSE:) slumped 10.02% after warning of a hit to its full-year profit margin from higher labor and shipping costs, as well as selling fewer products at full price.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.69-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.74-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 13 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 50 new highs and 22 new lows.

Therefore doesn`t .

By Echo Wang

Author: Reuters
This post originally appeared on Stock Market News

Fall of Red Wall! Nigel Farage says he knew Labour had betrayed working class back in 2006

The then-UKIP candidate finished third in the Bromley and Chiselhurst poll, pushing Labour into fourth place for only the second time previously in a by-election since 1945. Mr Farage revealed that during canvassing in poorer areas of the constituency he was “stunned” by how many voters were “turned off” by Labour.
Writing in the Telegraph, he said: “The removal of another brick from the Red Wall last week in Hartlepool by Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party is dismal news for Labour.

“I say this because I find it hard to believe that this result will be reversed any time soon.

“These Labour voters will not go back in a hurry.

“While it is true that millions of Conservative voters switched to UKIP over the years, they usually lent us their votes for the European elections and then returned to the fold at the time of a general election.

READ MORE: Sturgeon on collision course with independence allies over NATO

Mr Farage’s analysis was echoed by many, including polling expert Sir John Curtice – who said the party’s silence over Brexit turned off many voters.

Sir John also insisted that the Labour Party’s post-Brexit strategy had failed as he slammed its choice of candidate in the Hartlepool by-election.

Speaking on the Today Programme, Sir John said choosing Paul Williams, a pro-Remain doctor, did not hold well with Hartlepool voters.

And hoping that once-loyal voters would simply return to the party now that Brexit was over was wrong, he said.

The polling expert remarked that this proved not to be the case for many voters.

Sir John said: “What is clear and frankly has been clear from the opinion polls throughout the last 12 months is that there is absolutely no sign at all of Labour making ground back against leave voters that they lost in 2019.

“Even when Labour was running at 40 percent in the polls last summer, yes their vote had gone up to a degree amongst leave voters but it went up by just as much amongst remain voters.

“In a sense, I think the challenge that we are seeing both in this by-election and in the local election is that Labour’s strategy for the last 12 months on Brexit has been to keep schtum in the hope that voters will move on.

“The truth is voters have not moved on and simply keeping schtum isn’t enough.”

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

Wall Street extends slide on rising inflation fears

Wall Street extends slide on rising inflation fears© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The front facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen in New York City, U.S., May 4, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street slid on Wednesday as inflation data blew past expectations and further stoked jitters over the prospect of the Fed raising rates sooner than anticipated.

All three major U.S. stock indexes were deep in negative territory in the wake of the Labor Department’s April consumer prices report, which showed the biggest rise in nearly 12 years.

The report, which measures the prices U.S. consumers pay for a basket of goods, was hotly anticipated by market participants who have grown increasingly worried over whether current price jumps will defy the U.S. Federal Reserve’s reassurances by morphing into long-term inflation.

But pent-up demand from consumers flush with stimulus and savings is colliding with a supply drought, sending commodity prices spiking, while a labor shortage drives wages higher.

“The argument is whether this bout of inflation is transitory or here to stay,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia. “I think it’s here to stay until you see labor costs and commodity costs mitigate some,” Tuz added. (Graphic on inflation) https://tmsnrt.rs/3we4MO7

The fell 478.89 points, or 1.4%, to 33,790.27, the lost 71.27 points, or 1.72%, to 4,080.83 and the dropped 305.72 points, or 2.28%, to 13,083.70.

Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, 10 were in negative territory, with tech down most.

Energy was the sole gainer, advancing 1.4%, boosted by rising crude prices. [O/R]

U.S. Treasury yields climbed following the consumer prices report, which helped shield rate-sensitive banking stocks from the broader sell-off.

The , a gauge of market anxiety, appeared set to close at its highest level since March 4.

Market-leading mega-caps, including Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:), Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:), Apple Inc (NASDAQ:), Alphabet (NASDAQ:) Inc, Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:) and Tesla (NASDAQ:) Inc, fell between 1.6% and 2.9% as investors shied away from what many feel are inflated valuations.

Bumble Inc slipped 7.5% ahead of the online dating platform’s first-quarter results expected after the closing bell.

First-quarter earnings season is on the wane, with 456 constituents of the S&P 500 having reported. Of those, 86.8% have beaten consensus estimates, according to Refinitiv IBES.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 3.81-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.22-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted eight new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 30 new highs and 85 new lows.

By Stephen Culp

Author: Reuters
This post originally appeared on Stock Market News

Wall Street closes lower as inflation jitters spark broad sell-off

Wall Street closes lower as inflation jitters spark broad sell-off© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People are seen on Wall St. outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., March 19, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks closed lower on Tuesday as rising commodity prices and labor shortages fed fears that despite reassurances from the U.S. Federal Reserve, near-term price spikes could translate into longer-term inflation.

While all three indexes pared their losses from session lows, the sell-off was fairly evenly dispersed across the sectors.

“Today feels like a catch-up in that tech has been weak so far this month and it’s finally spilled over into other areas of the market and we’re seeing broader weakness,” said Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial (NASDAQ:) in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Economic data released on Tuesday from the Labor Department showed job openings at U.S. companies jumped to a record high in March, further evidence of the labor shortage hinted by Friday’s disappointing employment report.

The report suggests labor supply is not keeping up with surging demand as employers scramble to find qualified workers.

Burrito chain Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:) announced it would hike the average hourly wage of its workers to $ 15, a further sign that the worker shortage in the face of a demand revival could add fuel to the inflation surge.

That worker shortage, along with a supply drought in the face of booming demand could contribute to what is seen as inevitable prices spikes, which the U.S. Federal Reserve has repeatedly said are unlikely to translate into long-term inflation.

“The inflation concerns continue,” Detrick said. “The supply chain issues coupled with record stimulus coupled with apparently a tighter labor market have all contributed to fears that inflation could trend higher over the summer months.”

“I don’t think (the market) believes the Fed when it says they won’t raise rates until after 2023,” Detrick added. “That could be where the market and the Fed do not see eye to eye.”

Market participants will scrutinize the Labor Department’s CPI report, due early Wednesday, for further signs of potential inflationary pressures. (Graphic on inflation) https://tmsnrt.rs/2SxpkST

The fell 473.66 points, or 1.36%, to 34,269.16, the lost 36.33 points, or 0.87%, to 4,152.1 and the dropped 12.43 points, or 0.09%, to 13,389.43.

Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, only materials ended the session green. Energy suffered the largest percentage loss, closing down 2.6%

The , a measure of investor anxiety, closed at 21.85, its highest level since March 11.

Boeing (NYSE:) Co lost 1.7% after the planemaker announced deliveries of its 737 MAX fell to just four planes in April due to an electrical problem.

Tesla (NASDAQ:) Inc continued its slide, dropping 1.9% following the electric automaker’s decision to expand its Shanghai plant owing to heightened U.S.-China tensions.

Mall REIT Simon Property Group Inc (NYSE:) fell 3.2% after the company said it does not expect a return to 2019 occupancy levels until next year or 2023.

L Brands Inc (NYSE:) announced it will split into two publicly traded companies, Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret. Its stock dropped 1.8%.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.85-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.62-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted seven new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 28 new highs and 224 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 11.78 billion shares, compared with the 10.33 billion average over the last 20 trading days.

By Stephen Culp

Author: Reuters
This post originally appeared on Stock Market News

Lisa Nandy admits defeat in Hartlepool by-election: 'No idea what a Red Wall seat is'

Lisa Nandy discusses the concept of the ‘red wall’

Ms Nandy claimed not to know what the Red Wall is despite her party funnelling all resources into Hartlepool in order to stop the crumbling of Labour’s once dominant position across the Midlands and North of England. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is currently scrambling to garner support across a band of working class communities where much of the so-called Red Wall is located. He was dealt a blow this week after a poll found the Conservative Party had a thumping 17-point lead in Hartlepool.
The port town has become one of the stars of the May elections, being one of only a handful of seats that survived Labour’s 2019 general election purge.

Many of those Red Wall seats turned to the Conservatives after nearly four years of ardent pro-Remain Labour MPs championing Brussels and a People’s Vote despite their constituents having voted to leave the EU.

Despite the very real prospect of Labour losing the last remnants of its Red Wall, Ms Nandy, during a Policy Exchange seminar with Labour MP Jon Cruddas, claimed not to know what the term Red Wall meant, rejecting the umbrella term.

The Shadow Foreign Secretary said: “I rang Jon up earlier just to find out what I was supposed to be doing ahead of this event and ended up having a 20-minute rant about the phrase the ‘Red Wall’.

Lisa Nandy: The Foreign Secretary claimed not to know what a Red Wall seat was

Lisa Nandy: The Foreign Secretary claimed not to know what a Red Wall seat was (Image: GETTY)

Keir Starmer: Labour was dealt a bow in Hartlepool after a poll showed the Tories ahead by 17 points

Keir Starmer: Labour was dealt a bow in Hartlepool after a poll showed the Tories ahead by 17 points (Image: GETTY)

“I have no idea what most people are talking about when they talk about the ‘Red Wall’ and I don’t think they do either – it means whatever you want it to mean.

“It’s really unhelpful and it signifies to people in those areas that Labour though they were Labour towns and now the Tories think they’re Tory towns when they talk about the ‘Blue Wall’.

“These are people who are smarter than the political establishment who are supposed to represent them, who saw these changes coming, who looked at the global and domestic political system, and felt that nobody really spoke for them and hadn’t done for some time, and who voted on that basis.

“And that’s why we’ve seen this huge, seismic political upheaval that most of the political establishment frankly didn’t see coming.

“We saw it in the UK but we saw it in the US as well where fewer than 100,000 voters switching from Clinton to Trump in the Rust Belt put Donald Trump in the White House.”

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Labour campaign: Nandy on the campaign trail with Paul Williams in Hartlepool

Labour campaign: Nandy on the campaign trail with Paul Williams in Hartlepool (Image: GETTY)

Ms Nandy’s comments appear to suggest she is expecting a Tory victory in Hartlepool as she feels the political establishment is still obsessing over its definition of the Red Wall, whereas voters are a step ahead and know what direction they want to go in.

As Hartlepool had a Leave majority of almost 70 percent, the consensus is that the seat will back Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s party as he has delivered on his “get Brexit done” mandate.

On Tuesday, campaigners began describing the three polls which found Labour to be considerably behind the Tories as the “hat-trick”, according to Politico’s Playbook.

The polls revealed that Mr Johnson’s candidates were ahead in not only Hartlepool but also the West Midlands and Tees Valley.

Many Labour MPs are believed to have been set on winning all three areas.

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Hartlepool: Many were dumbfounded when Williams, a militant Remainer, was picked to sit in the seat

Hartlepool: Many were dumbfounded when Williams, a militant Remainer, was picked to sit in the seat (Image: GETTY)

Liam Byrne: The Labour candidate was dealt a blow this week after a new poll showed a widening gap

Liam Byrne: The Labour candidate was dealt a blow this week after a new poll showed a widening gap (Image: GETTY)

A former frontbencher under Jeremy Corbyn told The Independent: “If we don’t win all three of those on Thursday, that will be a disaster.

“It’s a pretty low bar to set.

“If we can’t clear it, then the plan clearly isn’t working.”

Labour’s Liam Byrne is running in the West Midlands, having told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge last month that he was going to win comfortably.

Brexit: Much of Starmer's problems appear to be rooted in Brexit

Brexit: Much of Starmer’s problems appear to be rooted in Brexit (Image: Express Newspapers)

Despite the new poll, conducted by Opinium for The Times, Mr Byrne is still confident that he can win the seat.

A source told Sienna Rodgers of Labour List that the latest Midlands poll was “b****ks” and that it did not reflect “what they’re seeing on the ground”.

Sir Keir will begin Thursday’s campaigning in the West Midlands with Mr Byrne, later travelling to West Yorkshire and the West of England.

Jill Mortimer: The Tory candidate is hoping to be the party's first MP in the seat

Jill Mortimer: The Tory candidate is hoping to be the party’s first MP in the seat (Image: GETTY)

In Hartlepool, Labour faces the risk of the vote getting split by the Northern Independence Party (NIP).

According to the Survation poll, carried out for Good Morning Britain, NIP currently stand in third place with six percent of the Hartlepool vote.

The NIP says it is not splitting the vote, arguing instead that it is the only credible left-wing vote in the by-election, as the Tories are now “more progressive” than Labour, according to Politics Home.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed