A bipartisan group of state attorneys general said on Thursday they had opened an investigation into Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, for promoting its social media app Instagram while knowing of mental and emotional harms caused by the service.
At least 11 states are involved in the investigation, including California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Tennessee and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia.
Maura Healey, the Massachusetts attorney general and one of the leaders of the investigation, said the states were examining whether the company’s actions violated state consumer protection laws and put the public at risk.
“Facebook, now Meta, has failed to protect young people on its platforms and instead chose to ignore or, in some cases, double down on known manipulations that pose a real threat to physical and mental health — exploiting children in the interest of profit,” Ms. Healey said.
The move comes after a trove of documents from a former employee detailed research inside of the social media company that suggested teenagers suffered body image issues when using Instagram. The documents, called The Facebook Papers, were shared with journalists in October. The Wall Street Journal first reported on the documents and the issues at Instagram with the help of Frances Haugen, the whistle-blower.
Doug Peterson, the Nebraska attorney general and another leader of the investigation, said the states would examine “the techniques utilized by Meta to increase the frequency and duration of engagement by young users and the resulting harms caused by such extended engagement.”
“When social media platforms treat our kids as mere commodities to manipulate for longer screen time engagement & data extraction, it becomes imperative for state attorneys general to engage our investigative authority under our consumer protection laws,” Mr. Peterson said in a tweet.
The states’ investigation adds to building regulatory pressure on Meta and other giants of Silicon Valley.
Ms. Haugen and public interest groups have filed at least nine complaints to the Securities and Exchange Commission claiming Meta mislead investors about its efforts to protect users from disinformation and hate. The Federal Trade Commission and dozens of states have filed antitrust lawsuits to break up Meta, and members of Congress have also vowed to create privacy, speech and antitrust legislation aimed at reining in the power of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.
Spanning tens of thousands of pages and gigabytes of data, the Facebook Papers show a company struggling to deal with many issues that come as a byproduct of its enormous scale and billions of users, spanning topics like misinformation, addiction and manipulation of users around the world. Much of the information came in the form of detailed reports investigating the issues, laid out by the company’s research division.
Meta has said the research efforts are intended to address the issues they pinpoint, with the aim of improving the company’s products and services.
The documents detail that roughly a third of teenage girls in a survey who already felt bad about their bodies said Instagram made them feel worse. “Comparisons on Instagram can change how young women view and describe themselves,” the documents said.
Meta has disputed the characterization of the initial reporting on Instagram’s issues, saying that the story lacked context, left out vital information and was a poor interpretation of the data obtained by The Journal. The company argued that on 11 of 12 well-being issues, the surveyed teenage girls said that Instagram made them feel “better and not worse.”
“It is simply not accurate that this research demonstrates Instagram is ‘toxic’ for teen girls,” Pratiti Raychoudhury a vice president and head of research at Facebook, said in a company blog post in September.
In a statement on Thursday, a representative for Meta strongly disputed the claims made by the state attorneys general against Instagram.
“These accusations are false and demonstrate a deep misunderstanding of the facts,” said Liza Crenshaw, a spokeswoman for the company. “While challenges in protecting young people online impact the entire industry, we’ve led the industry in combating bullying and supporting people struggling with suicidal thoughts, self-injury, and eating disorders.”
The head of a Boston local who urged a more assertive stand toward employers like the United Parcel Service — and an aggressive drive to organize workers at Amazon — declared victory Thursday in his bid to lead the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
If the result is confirmed, the victory by Sean O’Brien, an international vice president of the Teamsters, would put a new imprint on the nearly 1.4 million-member union after more than two decades of leadership by James P. Hoffa, who did not seek another five-year term.
The outcome appears to reflect frustration over the union’s most recent contract with UPS and a growing dissatisfaction with the tenure of Mr. Hoffa, whose father ran the union from 1957 to 1971.
With about 90 percent of the ballots tallied, Mr. O’Brien had more than two-thirds of the vote in his race against Steve Vairma, a fellow international vice president who had been endorsed by Mr. Hoffa. The election was conducted by mail-in ballots that were due Monday.
Mr. O’Brien, 49, railed against the contract that the union negotiated with UPS — where more than 300,000 Teamsters work — for allowing the company to create a category of employees who work on weekends and top out at a lower wage, among other perceived flaws.
“If we’re negotiating concessionary contracts and we’re negotiating substandard agreements, why would any member, why would any person want to join the Teamsters union?” Mr. O’Brien said at a candidate forum in September in which he frequently tied his opponent to Mr. Hoffa.
Mr. O’Brien has also criticized Mr. Hoffa’s approach to Amazon, which many in the labor movement regard as an existential threat. Although the union approved a resolution at its recent convention pledging to “supply all resources necessary” to unionize Amazon workers and eventually create a division overseeing that organizing, Mr. O’Brien said the efforts were too late.
A group of cryptocurrency fans lost a much-anticipated bid for a rare first printing of the U.S. Constitution at a Sotheby’s auction on Thursday.
The group, ConstitutionDAO, conducted a frenzied, weeklong online crowdfunding campaign to place a bid on the artifact, one of only 13 copies known to exist. It had raised more than $40 million in less than a week for the bid.
The final sale price was $43.2 million, according to a Sotheby’s spokesman. The winner’s identity was not immediately known. Minutes after the gavel, ConstitutionDAO confirmed the loss on Twitter.
“While this wasn’t the outcome we hoped for, we still made history tonight with ConstitutionDAO,” it said, adding that contributors would have their donations refunded, minus fees.
ConstitutionDAO is what’s known as a decentralized autonomous organization, a new type of group that is governed by holders of a cryptocurrency token and enshrines its rules in blockchain-based “smart contracts.” The group was formed last week, and its last-minute effort to raise money for the auction became a cause célèbre among cryptocurrency fans online.
Crypto-collectives have bought high-priced art before, including a Wu-Tang Clan album, “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” which was bought by the anonymous investor collective PleasrDAO last month for $4 million. Had it won the auction, ConstitutionDAO would have made the biggest purchase by a DAO, and the first of such a prominent physical artifact.
The copy of the Constitution sold by Sotheby’s previously belonged to Dorothy Goldman, the widow of a New York real estate developer who bought it in 1988 for $165,000. Proceeds from the auction will go to the Dorothy Tapper Goldman Foundation, the auction house said.
The auction on Thursday night produced a frenzy of excitement among ConstitutionDAO participants, with thousands watching a livestream to cheer on the group’s bid. At first, it was not clear whether the winning bidder represented ConstitutionDAO or not, and several people affiliated with the group mistakenly claimed victory.
But after the loss became clear, the mood in the group’s Discord chat darkened. As they talked about getting their money back, some participants began making plans for the future.
“Okay so we didn’t get the Constitution,” one user wrote. “What are we going to bid on now?”
The South Korean media conglomerate whose entertainment arm produced the winner of the 2019 Oscar for best picture, “Parasite,” has acquired a majority stake in the scripted arm of Endeavor Content, a subsidiary of the entertainment company Endeavor Group.
Upon closure of the $775 million deal, which was announced late Thursday night, the South Korean conglomerate, CJ ENM, will own 80 percent of the business and the Endeavor Group 20 percent. The companies said they expected the deal to close in the first quarter of 2022.
The Wall Street Journal reported the news earlier.
“At the end of the day, CJ ENM strives to become a major global studio that encompasses content that appeals to a global audience — like this deal with Endeavor Content, we will continue to expand our presence in the global market,” Kang Ho-Sung, the conglomerate’s chief executive, said in a statement.
Endeavor is being forced to reduce its ownership stake in its scripted content business as a result of a settlement this year with the Writers Guild of America, whose writers went on strike to protest what they saw as a conflict of interest at agencies that owned both talent representation businesses and production companies.
Endeavor is not required to sell its unscripted assets and will maintain 100 percent ownership of that business.
Endeavor Content was formed in 2017 by Graham Taylor and Chris Rice. Today, it calls itself a global film and television studio, and it has produced such projects as “Nine Perfect Strangers,” a Hulu mini-series starring Nicole Kidman, and Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut, “The Lost Daughter.” It owns a minority stake in Bruna Papandrea’s production company, Made Up Stories, in addition to PictureStart and Media Res.
Mr. Taylor and Mr. Rice will remain co-chief executives of the new company.
CJ has been expanding its foothold in Hollywood in recent years. Miky Lee, the vice chair of CJ Entertainment, the Hollywood arm of CJ ENM, rose to the national stage when she accepted the best picture Oscar for “Parasite,” but she was an industry player before then, nudging CJ toward Hollywood in the 1990s with a stake in DreamWorks. Most recently, she invested $100 million in David Ellison’s Skydance Media and was elected vice chair of the board of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.
“Having known Miky Lee for more than 25 years, I’m confident that CJ ENM will be excellent stewards of the studio, accelerating and amplifying its projects on a global stage,” Ari Emanuel, the chief executive of Endeavor, said in a statement.
CVS will close about 300 stores a year in the next three years, the company said on Thursday, as the pharmacy chain focuses on offering more health care services and expanding its digital services.
The closures, which will affect about 9 percent of the company’s stores, are part of an effort to realign its retail strategy, CVS said in statement on its website.
The company operates more than 9,900 stores in the United States, according to its website. A CVS spokesman said the company did not expect CVS pharmacies in Target stores to be affected.
“We remain focused on the competitive advantage provided by our presence in thousands of communities across the country, which complements our rapidly expanding digital presence,” said Karen S. Lynch, the president and chief executive of CVS Health.
CVS is aiming to remake many of its stores. Some will offer primary care services, and others will offer broader health care services than standard pharmacies, such as treatment for diabetes. The company will also maintain traditional CVS stores, which provide prescription services and health products.
“Hybrid models really took off during the pandemic, including rapid delivery services, curbside pickup and buy online/pick up in-store,” said Ted Rossman, a senior analyst at Bankrate.com. “Those approaches could be particularly advantageous for CVS.”
CVS said earlier this month that about 70 percent of CVS Pharmacy customers were enrolled in its text messaging program.
“We continue to modernize our operating systems and enhance the integration of pharmacy models, simplifying consumer interactions and driving further engagement with our customers,” Ms. Lynch said during the company’s earnings conference call on Nov. 3.
Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and the Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd are joining Blackstone in investing in Spanx, the DealBook newsletter was first to report. Blackstone closed its deal to acquire a majority stake in the shapewear brand that values it at $1.2 billion on Thursday.
Founded more than 20 years ago, Spanx has become synonymous with the foundation garments it sells. Ms. Winfrey helped put the brand on the map in its early days when in 2000 she named Spanx her favorite product of the year. (Sara Blakely, Spanx’s founder, said Ms. Winfrey had earlier validated her business idea when the talk show host told the audience one day that she cut the feet off her pantyhose.)
“I’m happy to be part of the evolution,” Ms. Winfrey said about the brand in a statement.
It’s the latest investment deal for Ms. Winfrey and Ms. Witherspoon, whose financial backing is valued as a stamp of approval for consumer brands. The TV and film stars are also familiar partners for Blackstone. Ms. Winfrey invested alongside Blackstone in Oatly, the oat milk brand, which went public this year. Blackstone also recently acquired Ms. Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine production studio, adding her to the board of its parent media company. Ms. Wolfe Herd’s Bumble, a dating app, was acquired by Blackstone in 2019 before going public this year.
Ms. Winfrey, Ms. Witherspoon and Ms. Wolfe Herd are investing in Spanx directly, outside any Blackstone fund. They were also joined by the investment funds G9 Ventures and Able Partners.
Blackstone and Spanx had previously said they intended to create a board comprising only women. Ms. Blakely, who put the company up for sale this year without ever having taken on outside investment, is keeping a significant equity stake in the business.
“In addition to developing a remarkable product and business that literally supports women every day, Sara has become a role model for leveraging your success to elevate other women,” Ms. Witherspoon said in a statement.
Republican senators took turns describing her as a communist, a socialist and a radical on Thursday, but it was the circumspect stance of moderate Democrats that spoke loudest about Saule Omarova’s prospects for becoming one of the country’s top banking regulators.
Ms. Omarova, President Biden’s pick to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, has faced steep opposition from industry groups and Republican lawmakers, with critics at times suggesting that her birthplace — the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan — and her education in Moscow were reason to be suspicious of her.
During Thursday’s hearing to consider her confirmation, she sought to fend off critics on the Senate Banking Committee by declaring her devotion to American capitalism. “I fell in love with this country and its people from Day 1,” she said, praising the United States’ “dynamic and diverse markets.”
Ms. Omarova, a Cornell Law School professor, worked with banks as a lawyer at the white-shoe firm Davis Polk & Wardwell and was a policy adviser in the Treasury Department during the presidency of George W. Bush. But in her academic career she has explored ideas that would amount to sweeping overhauls to the structure of the financial system, including a plan she sketched out to let the Federal Reserve provide bank accounts to small-time customers using its own digital currency.
Ms. Omarova has also proposed a new infrastructure investment authority that would pair private money with government input to fund projects that companies might not deem profitable on their own, and she has often denounced the way banks and their leaders keep spoils of boom times for themselves, then turn to the public for bailouts when things go wrong.
In her testimony, Ms. Omarova said that her writings were intended to be “part of an ongoing academic debate” and that it was not right for readers of her work to assume she was endorsing every idea she explored. But Republicans on the committee said her writings were proof of her desire to nationalize the banking industry, bankrupt fossil fuel companies and take control of private investment decisions.
Some Democrats were only slightly less critical. Two moderate Democrats, Senators Mark Warner of Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana, said they were troubled by Ms. Omarova’s opposition to a 2018 bill they had supported, which loosened some restrictions on banks imposed by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. Senator Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat and the committee’s chairman, asked whether Ms. Omarova had objected to the 2018 bill only because it also created new loopholes for the biggest banks. Ms. Omarova replied, “That was my sole objection.”
The hearing ended with neither Mr. Warner nor Mr. Tester having given a strong sign of support for Ms. Omarova, who needs the committee’s approval before facing a full Senate vote.
Senators spent most of the hearing asking Ms. Omarova about her writings and opinions on legislation, offering only a handful of questions about how she would run the O.C.C. The agency, which has nearly 3,500 employees, oversees nationally chartered banks including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.
The office’s next leader will be expected to help carry out Mr. Biden’s stated mission to get the financial industry to help combat economic inequality and climate change. That person will also play a crucial role in offering lenders clarity on how they can participate in cryptocurrency markets and will most likely have to help draft new rules for a decades-old anti-redlining law, the Community Reinvestment Act.
Ms. Omarova’s path to confirmation never looked easy. Soon after her nomination, bank lobbyists began an unusually strident campaign against her, citing in particular her education under Soviet rule.
Mr. Brown, the committee chairman, described such attacks as “McCarthyism.” But some Republicans on the committee, including the party’s highest-ranking member, Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, kept up that line of attack during the hearing.
“My concern with Professor Omarova is her long history of promoting ideas that she herself describes as ‘radical,’” Mr. Toomey said. “I agree that they are radical. But I’d also describe them as socialist.”
Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana said to Ms. Omarova: “I don’t know whether to call you ‘professor’ or ‘comrade,’” prompting someone else in the room to whisper: “Oh, my goodness.”
Ms. Omarova repeatedly stressed her allegiance to the United States and American capitalism. In response to questions about why she had said the way to combat climate change was to “starve” the fossil fuel industry of capital, Ms. Omarova called the industry “a very important part of the economy” and added that she had no intention of bankrupting it. She also professed strong support for community banks, which she said could find “no better or stronger ally” than her.
Ms. Omarova also described growing up with a grandmother who had been orphaned when Stalin sent her family to Siberia for refusing to join the Communist Party, and called the government during her childhood an “oppressive state-run system, with no free enterprise and no economic opportunity for people like me.”
Her ultimate dream, she told the committee, became “coming to America — the land of opportunity and freedom.”
At least 70 of the largest companies in the United States would pay more in taxes under a new minimum tax that Democrats are proposing as a way to pay for the spending bill moving through Congress, according to an analysis released on Thursday by Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts.
The report offered a first look at which companies could face higher tax bills under the proposal, which calls for enacting a 15 percent minimum tax on companies that report more than $1 billion in profit to shareholders, even if they have zero federal tax liability. The plan is included as a source of revenue in a $1.85 trillion social policy and climate bill that President Biden is trying to push through Congress.
The new tax would apply to the so-called book income that companies report to their shareholders but not to the Internal Revenue Service. Many profitable companies are able to reduce or eliminate their tax liability through the use of tax credits, deductions and previous losses that can carry over.
The book tax aims to raise money from companies without increasing the 21 percent corporate tax rate. Mr. Biden originally pledged to raise the corporate tax rate to 28 percent, but moderate Democrats have resisted that proposal.
The report by Ms. Warren found that the tax would require companies such as Amazon, Facebook, FedEx, General Motors, Google, T-Mobile and Verizon to pay more to the U.S. government. A recent report by the Joint Committee on Taxation determined that the proposal would generate $319 billion over 10 years.
“Giant corporations have figured out how to game the system so that the costs of running this country are borne by hardworking families while these big corporations scoop up all of the profits and pay little or nothing in taxes,” Ms. Warren said in an interview. “It’s time to put a stop to that.”
Ms. Warren’s office used data compiled by the nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy on publicly traded companies in the Fortune 500 and S&P 500. The analysis considered “taxes paid” as a company’s current income tax expense, or how much it paid in U.S. federal taxes and foreign taxes in 2020.
According to Ms. Warren’s analysis, Amazon was able to reduce its tax rate to 11.5 percent rather than 21 percent in 2020. The company would have paid $836 million more in federal and foreign income taxes had the minimum tax been in place, according to her analysis. Amazon declined to comment.
The report also found that FedEx had a 7.2 percent effective tax rate and, if the new tax were in place, would have paid $518 million more in taxes in 2020. FedEx said that the analysis was “premature” and that it paid all of the taxes it owed.
“Until there are clear details on the calculation of this proposed corporate minimum tax, it is premature to assume or estimate how the tax would apply to specific companies,” Chris Allen, a spokesman for FedEx, said in a statement.
Opponents of the new tax have expressed concerns that it would give more control over the U.S. tax base to the Financial Accounting Standards Board, an independent organization that sets accounting rules.
“The potential politicization of the F.A.S.B. will likely lead to lower-quality financial accounting standards and lower-quality financial accounting earnings,” according to a letter to members of Congress from more than 260 accounting academics.
The group also warned that, under the proposal, companies were likely to report smaller profits to their shareholders in order to lower their tax bills. They suggested that the idea of using book income as an alternative tax base was overly complex.
“It would be cleaner and simpler to just fix the tax code if there are perceived problems with the tax system,” they wrote.
Macy’s, the beleaguered department store chain, reported rosy third-quarter sales on Thursday and raised its sales and earnings forecast for the year, in a positive signal for retailers that struggled during the pandemic.
The company said its sales for the three months that ended on Oct. 30 were $5.4 billion, and it posted a net profit of $239 million. Comparable sales rose 37 percent from the same period last year and about 9 percent from 2019. Macy’s noted that a Friends and Family event fell into the third quarter this year from the fourth quarter in 2019.
Retail sales overall jumped 1.7 percent in October, the third monthly increase, the Commerce Department said Tuesday, a sign of the strength of the U.S. economic recovery from pandemic restrictions. Walmart and Home Depot each reported quarterly earnings this week that topped Wall Street’s expectations.
Retailers like Macy’s, which also owns Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury, are benefiting as customers resume social activities and gear up for a busier holiday season than last year, when the country was in the depths of the pandemic and before vaccines were widely available.
The company said its downtown stores had yet to recover as tourism remained depressed and many office workers continued to work remotely.
The company, which is trying to accelerate its digital sales, separately said on Thursday that it would introduce an online marketplace next year with third-party merchants.
Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce company, reported its slowest sales growth in a year and a half on Thursday, the effect of Beijing’s regulatory clampdown on internet giants and tough competition from rival online retail destinations in China.
On a conference call with analysts, Alibaba’s chief executive, Daniel Zhang, also blamed “economic headwinds” for the weak results. China’s economic growth was slower in the July-to-September period than in the quarter before.
Retail sales growth has been bumpy. Alibaba’s revenue for the latest quarter increased 29 percent from a year earlier. Profit shrank by 81 percent, which the company attributed to increased spending on newer businesses such as its Lazada shopping platform in Southeast Asia.
Other factors depressing Alibaba’s earnings relate to the Chinese government’s campaign to stop internet companies from behaving in ways it considers unfair or anticompetitive. In April, the country’s antitrust regulator fined Alibaba a record $2.8 billion for restricting the merchants on its virtual bazaars from selling on other platforms.
Two days later, Alibaba pledged to go further to help those merchants by lowering the fees it charges them and by spending on new services for them. Income from such fees — Alibaba’s largest source of revenue — grew just 3 percent in the latest quarter, in part because of the initiatives. The company’s increased spending to support vendors also crimped its profit.
As overall economic growth slows in China, Alibaba is having to compete more fiercely for customers against both old foes such as JD.com and Tencent’s WeChat social platform and newer apps like Pinduoduo and Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok.
Order volume from Alibaba’s annual Singles Day shopping bonanza, which ended last week, grew 8.5 percent from last year, a slower rate of increase than in years past. JD.com, by contrast, reported 29 percent growth in order volume during this year’s Singles Day event.
In the first 11 weeks of the trial of Elizabeth Holmes, who founded of the blood-testing start-up Theranos, jurors have heard from only about 25 witnesses in proceedings that have been mired by delays, including a coronavirus scare, a broken water main and technical issues.
Despite the interruptions, the trial has pressed forward. Jurors are being asked to decide whether Ms. Holmes, 37, misled investors by appealing to their egos and withholding crucial information or whether investors simply failed to do their due diligence, ignoring red flags as they poured money into the Silicon Valley start-up.
Ms. Holmes has pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Prosecutors have said they are likely to rest their case against her this week.
Here are some highlights from the prosecution’s case so far:
Sept. 14: Erika Cheung, a key whistle-blower, testified that she had joined Theranos because she was dazzled by Ms. Holmes’s charisma. “She was very articulate and had a strong sense of conviction about her mission,” Ms. Cheung said of Ms. Holmes.
Ms. Cheung eventually resigned over her misgivings about Theranos’s testing services. “I was uncomfortable processing patient samples,” she said. “I did not think the technology we were using was adequate enough to be engaging in that behavior.”
Sept. 22: James Mattis, the retired four-star Marine Corps general and former defense secretary under President Donald J. Trump, said he was excited by the prospect of the military using Theranos’s blood analyzers. He joined the company’s board but became disillusioned, testifying that Ms. Holmes had not been forthcoming with Theranos’s directors about the problems.
“We were unable to help her on the fundamental issues that she was grappling with if we only saw them in the rearview mirror,” Mr. Mattis said.
Sept. 28: Dr. Adam Rosendorff, a former lab director at Theranos, emerged as a key witness for the prosecution, providing greater detail about the range of problems and patient complaints. He said Ms. Holmes had been aware of his concerns but pressed forward with Theranos’s commercial launch anyway.
In his testimony, he said he became increasingly uncomfortable with the failure rate of Theranos’s blood-testing machines and the volume of physician complaints about inaccurate test results. “The company was more about P.R. and fund-raising than patient care,” he said.
U.S. stocks rose on Thursday, with the S&P 500 rebounding from Wednesday’s losses. The benchmark index edged up 0.3 percent, while the Nasdaq composite gained 0.5 percent.
Retailers have been posting their quarterly financial performance reports this week, signaling strong profits and optimistic forecasts. Several retailers reported grappling with a tight labor market and a snarled supply chain.
Shares of Macy’s jumped more than 21 percent after the company reported in its quarterly earnings report on Thursday that its profit grew to $239 million in the three months ending in October, compared with a $91 million loss during the same period last year. Kohl’s reported that sales grew 15.5 percent during its third quarter.
Alibaba shares fell more than 11 percent after the company reported its slowest sales growth in a year and a half on Thursday, attributing it to Beijing’s regulatory clampdown on internet giants. The Chinese e-commerce giant said in its quarterly earnings report that profit shrank by 81 percent.
Shares of Nvidia rose more than 8 percent after the tech company reported on Wednesday that its revenue climbed 50 percent to $7.1 billion compared with the same period last year.
The Labor Department reported on Thursday that initial claims for state jobless benefits fell to 268,000 last week, down 1,000 from the previous week. “Initial claims should continue to gradually work their way back toward prepandemic levels as employers facing shortages of workers will likely keep layoffs to a minimum,” Nancy Vanden Houten, lead economist at Oxford Economics, wrote in a note on Thursday.
European stock indexes dipped, with the Stoxx Europe 600 down 0.5 percent.
Apple has pushed back its return-to-office plans to Feb. 1, according to an internal memo circulated at the company. Apple will begin a “phased approach,” asking small teams to return to the company’s global offices one to two days a week for four weeks before ramping up to three days a week, with the option to work remotely on Thursday and Friday.
The company also said it had doubled its remote work policy to four weeks a year, saying that it would allow employees to travel, see friends or family or “shake up their routines.”