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Watch SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful rocket, launch a Space Force mission

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX on Tuesday is set to launch the first Falcon Heavy mission in over three years, a towering rocket that is the most powerful currently in operation.

SpaceX’s rocket is launching the classified USSF-44 mission for the U.S. Space Force, which is also the first operational national security mission for Falcon Heavy. Its most recent launch was the Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission in June 2019, which carried experimental satellites on a demonstration flight for the Pentagon.

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The mission is scheduled to liftoff at 9:41 a.m. ET from a launchpad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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While Falcon Heavy’s base is reusable, the company only intends to land the side pair of the three rocket boosters – with the central core dropping into the ocean like traditional rockets do, to meet the Space Force’s high-performance requirement for this mission.

The Falcon Heavy rocket for the USSF-44 mission rolls out to the launchpad on Oct. 31, 2022.

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SpaceX

The hiatus in Falcon Heavy launches — the company has completed three since the rocket’s debut in February 2018 — is largely due to the readiness of customers on its schedule.

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This USSF-44 mission was originally scheduled for late 2020, and two other Falcon Heavy missions scheduled for this year, another for the Space Force and the other for NASA, have customer payloads that are also not ready yet. There’s a backlog of about a dozen missions for Falcon Heavy still to come.

SpaceX continues to launch its Falcon series of rockets at a high rate, with Tuesday’s mission set to be the company’s record 50th launch this year. But the company at the same time continues work on the even larger Starship rockets it hopes will replace them.

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Why Starship is indispensable for the future of SpaceX



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Lululemon shares jump as holiday-quarter sales surge

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A Lululemon sign is seen at a shopping mall in San Diego, California, November, 23, 2022.
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Mike Blake | Reuters

Lululemon on Tuesday reported strong holiday-quarter sales, suggesting wealthier shoppers are still purchasing yoga pants and tops despite rising prices for essential goods.
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The company also issued upbeat guidance for its new fiscal year.

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Shares of Lululemon jumped about 11% in after-hours trading following the report. Through Tuesday’s close, the stock is about flat for the year, putting the company’s market value at $40.87 billion.

Here’s what the company reported for the three-month period ended Jan. 29, compared with Wall Street expectations based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:

  • Earnings per share: $4.40 adjusted vs $4.26 expected
  • Revenue: $2.77 billion vs. $2.7 billion expected

Lululemon’s fourth-quarter net income fell to $119.8 million, or 94 cents per share, from $434.5 billion, or $3.36 per share, a year ago. Excluding impairment and other charges related to the acquisition of Mirror, as well as other items, per-share earnings were $4.40.

Revenue rose to $2.77 billion from $2.13 billion a year ago.

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The company expects fiscal 2023 revenue of between $9.3 billion and $9.41 billion, topping Wall Street’s expectations of $9.14 billion, according to Refinitiv estimates. The company expects full-year profit of between $11.50 and $11.72 per share, compared with Refinitiv estimates of $11.26 per share.

“Looking ahead, we remain optimistic regarding our ability to deliver sustained growth and long-term value for all our stakeholders,” said Chief Financial Officer Meghan Frank in a statement.

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The Vancouver-based athletic apparel retailer said total comparable sales for the fourth quarter increased by 27%. Also called same-store sales, the metric includes sales from stores open continuously for at least 12 months.

“We believe that it is one of the few companies in the space that has a very long pathway for growth, and it’s also a very highly visible one,” said Rick Patel, managing director at Raymond James.

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Patel said his firm, which maintains a strong buy rating on the stock, sees upside in Lululemon’s international business and its men’s business, and that the worst of the company’s inventory struggles are in the past.

In December, Lululemon said inventories at the end of its third quarter were up 85% year-over-year. The company said Tuesday that as of the end of 2022, inventories were up 50%.

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Dollar General in settlement talks over workplace safety violations, federal agency says

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The exterior of a Dollar General convenience store is seen on March 16, 2023 in Austin, Texas.
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Dollar General is in settlement talks with federal regulators after the discount retailer was labeled a “severe violator” of workplace safety rules, according to a spokesperson for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
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The spokesperson said the “mandatory settlement proceedings” before the agency’s review commission would occur “pursuant to Commission rules.” OSHA is part of the Department of Labor.

Dollar General did not comment directly on the settlement talks. Until recently, the discount retailer was unwilling to engage with OSHA about the violations, according to federal officials who spoke to The New York Times under the condition of anonymity. 

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A Dollar General spokesperson told CNBC “we regularly review and refine our safety programs, and reinforce them through training, ongoing communication, recognition and accountability.”

“When we learn of situations where we have failed to live up to this commitment, we work to address the issue and ensure the company’s expectations regarding safety are clearly communicated, understood and implemented,” the spokesperson added. 

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Dollar General has been accused of exposing workers to fire hazards and other safety concerns, such as merchandise stacked at unsafe heights, leading to “chronic failures to meet federal safety requirements,” according to OSHA.

Since 2017, OSHA inspected over 270 Dollar General stores, finding more than 100 workplace safety violations. OSHA also issued Dollar General over $15 million in fines. The company operates more locations in the U.S. than Target and Walmart.

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Dollar General was the first company to be added to the “severe violators” list last fall after OSHA expanded the reach of one of its longstanding safety enforcement programs. That program, dubbed the Severe Violator Enforcement Program, was traditionally aimed at companies with notably unsafe working conditions, like manufacturers or construction firms. 

Under the program, OSHA officials can inspect a store at random, without a direct complaint about working conditions. 

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The Tennessee-based company rapidly expanded throughout the pandemic, opening thousands of new locations. Amid this growth and profitability, the company also faced criticism from other workers’ rights advocates, making it a logical target for the Biden administration

“Dollar General’s growing record of disregard for safety measures makes it abundantly clear that the company puts profit before people,” said OSHA regional administrator Kurt Petermeyer in a January news release. “These violations are preventable, and failing to prevent them shows a blatant disregard for the workers on whom they depend to keep their stores operating.” 

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Throughout the course of their inspections, OSHA officials have found everything from blocked fire exits to unstable stacked merchandise that could fall on workers. 



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Home prices cool in January, even falling in some cities, S&P Case-Shiller says

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A “For Sale” sign outside of a home in Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday, Feb. 17, 2023.
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Dustin Chambers | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Home prices cooled in January, up only 3.8% nationally than they were a year earlier, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index. That is down from 5.6% in December.
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Prices have been falling for seven straight months, but the decline was a bit smaller in January. That was likely due to a brief drop in mortgage rates and a resulting jump in sales.

The 10-city composite rose 2.5% year over year, down from 4.4% in December. The 20-city composite also rose 2.5%, down from 4.6% in the previous month.

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Home prices have been cooling due to higher mortgage rates. The average rate on the popular 30-year fixed mortgage set more than a dozen record lows during the first two years of the pandemic, briefly going below 2%, but it grew sharply. Since fall, the rate has been hovering in the high 6% range, although it’s been volatile in recent weeks due to several bank failures and the resulting stress on the overall banking industry.

“Despite this, the Federal Reserve remains focused on its inflation-reduction targets, which suggest that rates may remain elevated in the near-term,” said Craig Lazzara, managing director at S&P DJI, in a release. “Mortgage financing and the prospect of economic weakness are therefore likely to remain a headwind for housing prices for at least the next several months.”

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Prices were lower year over year in San Francisco (-7.6%), Seattle (-5.1%), Portland, Oregon (-0.5%) and San Diego (-1.4%). They were flat in Phoenix.

Miami, Tampa and Atlanta again saw the hottest annual price gains of the top 20 cities. Miami prices were up 13.8%, Tampa prices up 10.5%, and Atlanta prices rose 8.4%. All 20 cities, however, reported lower prices in the year ending January 2023 versus the year ending December 2022.

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Homebuyers may be seeing more flexible sellers this spring, but there are still too few homes available for sale. Mortgage lending may also tighten in light of pressure on the banking system.

“More expensive, less available borrowing, especially with an unclear economic outlook, is likely to continue to limit buyer demand. Though home sales are expected to rebound in line with seasonal trends, this spring’s sales pace is expected to remain lower than last year, as uncertainty and high costs limit activity,” said Hannah Jones, economic data analyst for Realtor.com.

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