Business Highlights: Amazon profits, US economy rebounds

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon returned to profitability after two consecutive quarters of losses this year, but its stocks tanked due to weaker than expected revenue as well as the company’s disappointing projections for the current quarter. Amazon reported revenue of $127.1 billion, less than the $127.4 billion analysts surveyed by FactSet had predicted. The company expects revenue for the fourth quarter to be between $140 billion and $148 billion, a growth of 2% and 8% compared with the fourth quarter of last year. Amazon said it anticipates an unfavorable impact from fluctuations in foreign exchange rates.

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US economy returned to growth last quarter, expanding 2.6%

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy grew at a 2.6% annual rate from July through September, snapping two straight quarters of contraction and overcoming high inflation and interest rates just as voting begins in midterm elections in which the economy’s health has emerged as a paramount issue. The better-than-expected government estimate showed that the gross domestic product grew in the third quarter after having shrunk in the first half of 2022. Overall, though, the outlook for the economy has darkened. The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates five times this year and is set to do so again next week and in December. Concern about the likelihood of a recession next year has been growing.

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Musk doesn’t seek a ‘free-for-all hellscape’ for Twitter

Elon Musk is telling Twitter advertisers he is buying the platform to help humanity. He says he doesn’t want it to become a “free-for-all hellscape” where anything can be said with no consequences. Musk’s message to advertisers posted Thursday on Twitter comes a day before the deadline for closing his $44 billion deal to buy the social-media company and take it private. He says he’s buying the San Francisco company because he believes it’s important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square. The message reflects concerns among advertisers that Musk’s plans for Twitter could render it more toxic and less welcoming for ads.

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Auto prices finally begin to creep down from inflated highs

DETROIT (AP) — Average prices on new and used vehicles have begun easing from their record highs, and more vehicles have become available at dealerships. The average used vehicle price in September was down 1% from its peak in May. Even so, auto purchases remain unaffordable for many, with average prices still 30% to 50% above where they were when the pandemic erupted in early 2020. The average used auto cost nearly $31,000 last month. The average new? $47,000. With monthly payments on a new vehicle averaging above $700, millions of buyers have been priced out of the new-vehicle market and are now confined to used vehicles.

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Call of Duty’s latest battle is between Microsoft and Sony

Hunting down your enemies on the bustling streets of Amsterdam, along the U.S.-Mexico border or in a Middle Eastern fishing village is just part of the intense action in the latest Call of Duty video game. The Friday release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 continues a nearly two-decade run for California-based Activision Blizzard’s wildly popular military shooting game franchise. New installments of the game can rival Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters . But the battle this time is also happening off-screen as Call of Duty is at the center of a corporate tug-of-war between Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation over Microsoft’s pending $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard.

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US mortgage rates top 7% for the first time in 2 decades

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates topped 7% for the first time in more than two decades this week, a result of the Federal Reserve’s aggressive rate hikes intended to tame inflation not seen in some 40 years. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average on the key 30-year rate jumped to 7.08% from 6.94% last week. The last time the average rate was above 7% was April 2002, a time when the U.S. was still reeling from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but six years away from the 2008 housing market collapse that triggered the Great Recession.

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Europe sees fastest pace of rate hikes since euro launched

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The European Central Bank has made another outsized interest rate hike aimed at squelching out-of-control inflation, moving at the fastest pace in the euro currency’s history. The hike of three-quarters of a percentage point Thursday underscores the bank’s determination to control prices despite the threat of recession. The ECB has matched its record increase from last month and is joining the U.S. Federal Reserve in making a series of rapid hikes to tackle soaring consumer prices. The ECB has now raised rates for the 19-country euro area by a full 2 percentage points in just three months and expects more hikes ahead.

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The S&P 500 fell 23.30 points, or 0.6%, to 3,807.30. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 194.17 points, or 0.6%, to 32,033.28. The Nasdaq fell 178.32 points, or 1.6%, to 10,792.67. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 1.99 points, or 0.1%, to 1,806.32.

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