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Business Highlights: Holiday shoppers, oil production

Business Highlights: Holiday shoppers, oil production

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Holiday shoppers navigate shortages with mixed results

NEW YORK (AP) — The holidays have always been defined by disappointing out-of-stock messages on the most popular items. But the pandemic-induced supply chain snarls have created unprecedented shortages across all types of products. That has many customers buying early as shortfalls are only expected to worsen as the holiday season moves into the final stretch. Some shoppers aren’t being choosy, while others are trying to find the next best thing. A lot is at stake for retailers. If shoppers can’t get what they want at one store, they could go to another competitor or just not buy an alternative. That could dampen overall holiday sales.

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OPEC, allies stick to modest output boost despite omicron

NEW YORK (AP) — OPEC and allied oil-producing countries have decided to stick to their plans to boost the amount of oil they pump to the world. The decision comes even as the new omicron variant casts a shadow of uncertainty over the global economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Officials from OPEC countries and their allies voted Thursday to deliver steady, modest monthly increases in oil releases. That’s a pace that has frustrated the United States and other oil-consuming nations as gasoline prices rise. The OPEC+ alliance approved an increase in production of 400,000 barrels per day for the month of January.

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Broad rally lifts US stocks after run of volatile trading

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rose broadly on Wall Street Thursday as investors continue to monitor the spread of the new coronavirus variant as well as measures that governments are taking to restrain it. The S&P 500 rose 1.4% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 1.8%. The Nasdaq rose 0.8%. The tech-heavy index was held back by a loss in Apple after news outlets reported that the company was seeing weaker demand for its iPhone 13. Small-company stocks outpaced the rest of the market. Crude oil prices rose after OPEC stuck to its plans to boost output via steady, modest monthly increases.

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Starbucks fights expanding unionization effort at its stores

SEATTLE (AP) — Starbucks is fighting an expanded effort to unionize its stores. The effort comes even as a union vote proceeds at three of the coffee chain’s locations in Buffalo, New York. Union organizers from three additional Buffalo-area stores appeared before the National Labor Relations Board on Thursday, asking to hold union votes at each of their stores. The workers are seeking representation by Workers United. They want more say in pay and how stores are run. Seattle-based Starbucks has never had unionized U.S. employees in its 50-year history, and says its stores function better when it works directly with employees.

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Striking Kellogg’s workers to get 3% raises in new contract

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Kellogg’s has reached a tentative agreement with its 1,400 cereal plant workers that will deliver 3% raises and end a nearly two-month-long strike if it is approved. The Battle Creek, Michigan-based company said Thursday the five-year deal with the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union also includes cost of living adjustments in the later years of the contract and it maintains the workers’ current health benefits. The deal covers workers at four plants in Battle Creek; Omaha, Nebraska; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Memphis, Tennessee where all of Kellogg’s well-known brands of cereal, including Frosted Flakes and Rice Krispies. The workers who have been on strike since Oct. 5 will vote Sunday on the new contract.

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UAW votes for direct election of leaders in wake of scandal

DETROIT (AP) — Members of the United Auto Workers union have overwhelmingly approved picking their leaders by direct ballot elections. In doing so they have rejected a system that many blamed for corruption in the union’s top ranks. The so-called “one member, one vote” measure got nearly 64% of 140,586 valid ballots that were received by Monday’s mail-in deadline. About 36% favored the current system of leadership picked by delegates to a convention. That’s according to results released Thursday. The results are not official until approved by the Labor Department and a federal judge. The election of the union’s 13-member International Executive Board is likely to take place next summer or fall.

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US government sues to block $40 billion Nvidia-Arm chip deal

The Federal Trade Commission has sued to block graphics chip maker Nvidia’s $40 billion purchase of chip designer Arm. The commission says the deal would create a powerful company that could hurt the growth of new technologies. California-based Nvidia said last year that it was buying United Kingdom-based Arm from Japanese technology giant Softbank. The deal immediately raised competition concerns. Regulators in the U.K. and the E.U. have started investigations into the deal. Nvidia says it will contest the lawsuit and that the company is committed to preserving Arm’s open-licensing model.

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Sports betting ads: Industry weighs how much is too much?

SECAUCUS, N.J. (AP) — If you’ve turned on a television in the last three years, chances are you’ve been inundated with advertisements for sports betting, and not only during game broadcasts. Gambling industry executives, and their pro sports and tech partners, are starting to ask themselves: How much is too much? At an international sports betting conference this week in Secaucus, gambling companies simultaneously defended the amount of their advertising, while worrying about a European-style government crackdown if things get out of hand. The president of the American Gaming Association called the current situation “an unsustainable arms race.”

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The S&P 500 rose 64.06 points, or 1.4%, to 4,577.10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 617.75 points, or 1.8%, to 34,639.79. The Nasdaq gained 127.27 points, or 0.8%, to 15,381.32. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies tacked on 58.91 points, or 2.7%, to 2,206.33.