The world this week -- Business
Democrats in the American Senate tried to pin down proposed tax rises that will pay for a $1.5trn spending bill on welfare and the climate, legislation that is much reduced in scope from what its backers originally envisaged.
But their plans were thrown into confusion when moderates pushed back against both radical ideas on taxing the super-wealthy and a levy on the profits of America’s biggest companies based on their financial accounting for shareholders, and not what they declare to the taxman.
A blizzard of policies was announced in the British government’s budget (or leaked to the press several days before).
The national living wage is to rise to 9.50 pounds ($13) an hour, a 6.6% increase.
And with fuel prices surging, a planned tax increase on petrol was scrapped.
That didn’t go down well with greens, just days ahead of the British-hosted COP26 summit.
Masters of the metaverse
Facebook formalised its expansion into the “metaverse”, a collection of online worlds where users’ avatars buy clothes, attend concerts and socialise.
The company announced more investment in its Reality Labs division, which from now on will report separately from the rest of the business.
Part of the reason for Facebook’s refocus is growing competition from TikTok and other apps for attention from younger customers, many of whom think the platform, which will turn 18 next year, is boring.
It also faces claims that it cannot control hate speech.
Mark Zuckerberg said the policy was having a negative effect on Facebook.
Snap, a photo and messaging platform, also blamed the change for weaker-than-expected revenues; its share price shed more than a quarter of its value.
Meanwhile Alphabet, the parent company of Google, said that the change in Apple’s policy was having only a modest impact on its advertising business, most of which comes via its search engine.
Sales from ads across its divisions, which include YouTube, surged in the third quarter by 43%, year on year, to $53bn.
Tesla became the first carmaker to pass a stockmarket value of $1trn, after Hertz placed an order for 100,000 of its vehicles as part of its drive to electrify its rental fleet.
Tesla joins Alphabet, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft in the club of American companies valued at over $1trn.
Elon Musk’s net fortune alone is now worth more than ExxonMobil’s market value.
The bullish quarterly earnings season in corporate America pushed the S&P 500 to a new record.
The index is up by a fifth since the start of the year.