Stocks wobble...Biden orders oil released...Santa is back

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks wobbled in morning trading on Wall Street as gains from a mix of banks and energy companies countered losses from communications and technology companies. The S&P 500 fell 0.1%, The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.1% and the Nasdaq slipped 0.5%. Prices for crude oil and wholesale gasoline rose despite the fact that President Joe Biden ordered 50 million barrels of oil released from the nation’s strategic reserve to help bring down energy costs. Banks and energy companies made gains and countered falling communications and technology stocks.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden's order for 50 million barrels of oil to be released from the strategic reserve was carried out in coordination with other major energy consuming nations, including China, India, and the United Kingdom. The move is aimed at global energy markets, but also aimed at voters who are coping with higher inflation and rising prices ahead of Thanksgiving and winter holiday travel. Gas prices are at about $3.40 a gallon, more than 50% higher than a year ago, according to the American Automobile Association. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is an emergency stockpile to preserve access to oil in case of natural disasters, national security issues and other events.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles police say a group of thieves smashed windows at department store at a luxury mall. The latest incident in a trend of smash-and-grab crimes targeted a Nordstrom store late Monday at The Grove retail and entertainment complex. Officers pursued an SUV involved in the crime and the chase ended in South Los Angeles, where the three people were taken into custody. Police did not immediately know how many people were involved in the crime. The Grove incident follows a weekend of similar smash-and-grab crimes in the San Francisco Bay Area and Beverly Hills.

NEW YORK (AP) — Santa is back this year, but he’s asking people to be cautious as he continues to tiptoe through the pandemic. There are fewer available Santas this year, which means some are busier than ever. Where it’s allowed, some malls and big-box stores are offering Santa’s guests a choice of full contact or social distance. About 8.9 million U.S. households are expected to visit Santa in person this year, with virtual visits still a big option. That’s up from 6.1 million last year but fewer than the 10 million who paid the Jolly Old Elf a visit in 2019.

UNDATED (AP) — Good Morning America co-host Michael Strahan is going to space next month. Strahan, who turned 50 on Sunday, will join Laura Shepard Churchley, the eldest daughter of astronaut Alan Shepard, on the Dec. 9 mission aboard the New Shepard, a spacecraft named after her father, the first American in space. The Blue Origin flight, the company headed by Jeff Bezos, will also carry four paying customers and will be the third by the New Shepard craft this year to shuttle humans to space.

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