STOCK MARKET NEWS: National railroad strike looms, Disney could shakeup streaming services

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It looks like what would have been a crippling strike by workers at freight railroads may have been avoided.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh sent out this tweet.

“Following more than 20 consecutive hours of negotiations,the rail companies and union negotiators came to a tentative agreement that balances the needs of workers, businesses, and our nation’s economy.”

During marathon negotiations early Thursday  morning, talks were taking place with three remaining unions.

Gasoline price continues downward trend

The average price of a gallon of gasoline slipped on Thursday to $3.698, according to AAA. Wednesday’s price was $3.703. Gas has been on the decline since hitting a high of $5.016 on June 14.

Analysts and traders say wholesale gasoline prices are expected to keep falling in coming months as U.S. refiners overproduce fuel to try to rebuild low stocks of diesel and heating oil.

Diesel’s price slipped to $4.989 per gallon.

Oil steady as market weight weak demand

Oil prices remained steady on Thursday as the market balanced weak demand with supply disruption ahead of a potential rail stoppage in the United States.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude traded around $88.00.

Brent crude futures were around $93.00 a barrel.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said Wednesday it expects widespread switching from gas to oil for heating purposes, saying it will average 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) in October 2022 to March 2023 – double the level of a year ago. 

But data released by the Energy Information Administration showed U.S. crude and distillate inventories rose more than expected in the most recent week, suggesting weaker fuel demand and putting a lid on oil prices. 

Cryptocurrency prices for Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin were lower Thursday morning.

Bitcoin was trading around $20,000, after down over the last two days.

For the week, Bitcoin has gained more than 4%. For the month, the cryptocurrency was down just over 1%, but down more than 56% year-to-date.

Ethereum was trading at $1.600 and was little changed over the past week.

Dogecoin was trading around 6 cents and was down 0.3% over the past week. 

Disney could look to shake up streaming by merging content under one app

The next company that may combine all its streaming assets under on app could be The Walt Disney Co., if Chief Executive Bob Chapek gets his way.

During Wednesday’s Goldman Sachs investor conference, Chapek said that “there’s a little bit of consumer friction” for streaming customers who want to shift between Disney’s family-focused and franchise content in Disney+ and the general entertainment content of Hulu or sports content on the ESPN+ app, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Viewers must toggle between different apps on their smartphones, televisions and other devices to watch content on each service. 

Placing all three services under one umbrella in a single app would reduce that.

However, to do that Disney must take full ownership of Hulu, which is now one-third owned by Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal.

Under a 2019 agreement, Disney had the right to force a sale of Comcast’s stake at fair-market value, starting in 2024, with a floor valuation of $27.5 billion.

Chapek suggested a more modest payout could be pursued, though Comcast Chief Executive Brian Roberts seemed to disagree.

Speaking at the same conference, Roberts signaled Hulu would not come cheap and would  seek market value for its minority stake.

Here’s more on the story: Disney CEO may combine streaming assets, including Hulu in one app

Railroad unions continue talks to avert rail strike ahead of Friday’s deadline

The deadline to avert a freight railroad strike by Friday morning is fast approaching with three unions still talking. Negotiations have stretched on for at least 14 hours.

A Department of Labor spokesperson told Fox News that they “don’t have any updates or sense of timing.” 

Of the 12 unions involved, one rejected a tentative deal, but agreed to delay a strike as talks with other unions continue.

Two have ratified agreements and three others remained at the bargaining table just days ahead of a strike deadline, threatening to intensify snarls in the nation’s supply chain that have contributed to rising prices.

About 4,900 members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 19 voted to reject the tentative agreement negotiated by IAM leadership with the railroads, the union said Wednesday. But the IAM agreed to delay any strike by its members until Sept. 29 to allow more time for negotiations and to allow other unions to vote.

For more on the story, click here: Talks continue to avert rail strike that could cripple supply chain

Republican House leaders meet with Apple CEO Tim Cook to discuss Big Tech censorship, China

Apple CEO Tim Cook attended a private meeting with several House Republican leaders on Wednesday to discuss issues surrounding tech censorship, according to a source familiar with the meeting.

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Rep. Tim McClintock, R-Calif. were among those who attended the Capitol Hill meeting on Wednesday.

According to a source, the group discussed Big Tech censorship and what Republicans see as a bias against conservatives.

Issues surrounding China and privacy were also discussed.

Click here for more on the story: Republican House leaders meet with Apple CEO Tim Cook to discuss Big Tech censorship, China

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