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Virus Headwinds Hit Wall St. After Months of Smooth Sailing

On Monday, investors behaved as they had during the pandemic’s early days, pouring money into so-called stay-at-home stocks, whose business models appear almost tailor-made to thrive despite lockdowns. Shares of Peloton climbed more than 7 percent. Stock in Etsy, which soared last year as consumers sought out homemade masks, jumped 3.2 percent.Daily Business BriefingUpdated July 19, 2021, 5:11 p.m. ETInvestors also bought shares of Clorox, the grocery chain Kroger, Campbell Soup and the toilet tissue maker Kimberly-Clark. Such consumer staples companies fared extraordinarily well during the worst period of last year’s pandemic panic, as consumers stockpiled essentials.The pain was especially pronounced …

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In Fighting Climate Change, What’s an Individual to Do?

Brooklyn Solar Works, which installed Mr. Ross’s array, said it had put in place just over 1,000 sets of solar panels in New York City. On average, federal, state and city incentives cover about 60 percent of the cost, which ranges from $28,000 to $40,000. For most homes, the remaining amount is paid off in electricity savings over about eight years, said T.R. Ludwig, the company’s founder.He said most of his company’s systems offset about 10,000 pounds of carbon each year, and produce about 7,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, about a quarter of what a family of four would use in a …

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E.P.A. Approved Toxic Chemicals for Fracking a Decade Ago, New Files Show

A class of man-made chemicals that are toxic even in minuscule concentrations, for decades PFAS were used to make products like nonstick pans, stain-resistant carpeting and firefighting foam. The substances have come under scrutiny in recent years for their tendency to persist in the environment, and to accumulate inside the human body, as well as for their links to health problems like cancer and birth defects. Both Congress and the Biden administration have moved to better regulate PFAS, which contaminate the drinking water of as many as 80 million Americans.Industry researchers have long been aware of their toxicity. But it …

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Gas Price Increase Poses Challenge to U.S. Economy

Policymakers at the Federal Reserve have said they expect the increase in inflation to be short-lived, and they are unlikely to change that view based on an increase in energy prices, which are often volatile even in normal times, said Jay Bryson, chief economist at Wells Fargo.But if rising oil prices lead consumers and businesses to believe that faster inflation will continue, that could be a harder problem for the Fed. Economic research suggests that prices of things that consumers buy often, such as food and gasoline, weigh particularly heavily on their expectations for inflation. With public opinion surveys …

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Oil Nations Again Fail to Reach Deal as U.A.E. Demands Higher Quota

OPEC, Russia and other major oil producers failed to reach an agreement on proposed production increases on Monday — a third straight day of scheduled meetings without a deal.The main sticking point has been the insistence of the United Arab Emirates, an important OPEC member, on a revision of its output quota. Efforts at mediation did not make enough progress for Monday’s meeting to even begin. OPEC said in a news release that the timing of its next meeting would be “decided in due course.”Some analysts say that OPEC Plus, the 23-nation alliance of oil producers, will likely …

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Halfway Through 2021, the Hot Stocks Are Old-Fashioned

The company sells a surprising amount of its sculpting lipstick, stay-in-place foundation and skin care creams at airports. Ms. Perin Vinton is betting, in part, that the company’s sales will continue to recover as vaccinated travelers return to the skies and as people simply return to work and socialize face to face.“Now, it’s really like we only put on barely a little bit of makeup for a Zoom call,” Ms. Perin Vinton joked.She has also beefed up her holdings of other companies that are poised to ride the recovery, including the casino operator Las Vegas Sands …

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Exxon Mobil Defeated by Activist Investor Engine No. 1

Wall Street has seen its share of strange bedfellows, but a recent alliance of investors that took on Exxon Mobil was unprecedented.Last week, an activist investor successfully waged a battle to install three directors on the board of Exxon with the goal of pushing the energy giant to reduce its carbon footprint. The investor, a hedge fund called Engine No. 1, was virtually unknown before the fight.The tiny firm wouldn’t have had a chance were it not for an unusual twist: the support of some of Exxon’s biggest institutional investors. BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street voted against …

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Flying and Climate: Airlines Under Pressure to Cut Emissions

The worst of the pandemic may be over for airlines, but the industry faces another looming crisis: an accounting over its contribution to climate change.The industry is under increasing pressure to do something to reduce and eventually eliminate emissions from travel, but it won’t be easy. Some solutions, like hydrogen fuel cells, are promising, but it’s unclear when they will be available, if ever. That leaves companies with few options: They can make tweaks to squeeze out efficiencies, wait for technology to improve or invest today to help make viable options for the future.“It’s a …

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Exxon Mobil Faces Off Against Activist Investors on Climate Change

“I don’t expect a meaningful change in strategy such as large investments in renewables,” said Allen Good, a Morningstar analyst. But he said a victory for the dissidents “would be a signal that shareholders don’t think current initiatives have gone far enough, and that could spur further change.”There have been several challenges to Exxon’s management over the years, but the dissidents gained strength last year when the company did not increase its dividend and slashed its $200 billion investment program by a third. And the company’s stock dropped by nearly half. Its share price has regained …

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Colonial Pipeline Hack Shows Risk to US Energy Independence

HOUSTON — When OPEC barred oil exports to the United States in 1973, creating long gasoline lines, President Richard Nixon pledged an effort that would combine the spirit of the Apollo program and the determination of the Manhattan Project.“By the end of this decade, we will have developed the potential to meet our own energy needs without depending on any foreign energy sources,” he said in a televised address.His timing was off — it took more than 40 years — but the country has come pretty close to energy independence in recent years thanks to a surge in domestic shale oil and natural …

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