Business Highlights
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Business Highlights

Last Updated Sep 16, 2020 at 5:02 pm EDT

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Federal Reserve sees rates near zero at least through 2023

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve expects to keep its benchmark interest rate pegged near zero at least through 2023 as it strives to accelerate economic growth and drive down the unemployment rate. The Fed’s has kept its benchmark short-term rate at nearly zero since the coronavirus pandemic intensified in March. The Fed’s benchmark interest rate influences borrowing costs for homebuyers, credit card users, and businesses. Fed chair Jay Powell said the economy has recovered faster than expected, but a full recovery still depends on the ability of the U.S. to get control of the virus. Fed policymakers hope an extended period of low interest rates will encourage more borrowing and spending.

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Politics creates economic illusion in Houdini’s hometown

APPLETON, Wis. (AP) — Appleton, Wisconsin, is a predominately white city of 75,000 people along Wisconsin’s Fox River. By almost any measure, President Donald Trump’s promises of an economic revival have gone unfulfilled. The area has lost about 8,000 jobs since he was elected. But these days the health of the economy isn’t judged on jobs, personal bank accounts or union contracts. Instead, it’s viewed through partisan lenses — filtered through the facts that voters want to see and hear, and those they don’t. Many Trump supporters remain faithful. One is Scott Rice, who has seen businesses close and friends furloughed and has even suffered his own bout with the novel coronavirus. Others, though, say they have had enough.

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US charges 5 Chinese citizens in global hacking campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department has charged five Chinese citizens with hacks targeting more than 100 companies and institutions in the United States and abroad, including social media and video game companies as well as universities and telecommunications providers. The five defendants remain fugitives, but prosecutors say two Malaysian businessmen accused of conspiring with the alleged hackers to profit off the attacks on video game companies were arrested in that country this week and face extradition proceedings. The indictments announced Wednesday are part of a broader effort by the Trump administration to call out cybercrimes by China.

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US stocks closing lower after Fed rate decision

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock indexes closed lower on Wall Street after a getting a brief boost Wednesday from the Federal Reserve’s decision to leave interest rates unchanged at nearly zero. The central bank also issued a less dire outlook for economic growth and unemployment. The S&P 500 was down 0.5% after having been up 0.6% following the 2 p.m. Eastern Fed announcement. Technology stocks led the slide, outweighing gains in financial, industrial and energy companies. Package delivery giant FedEx surged after the boom in online shopping during the pandemic drove stronger profit growth than expected in its latest quarter.

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Panel’s report blasts Boeing, FAA for crashes, seeks reforms

WASHINGTON (AP) — A House committee is questioning whether Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration will be willing to make big changes needed to fix problems that caused two deadly 737 Max jet crashes. Staff members from the Transportation Committee blamed the crashes that killed 346 people on failed government oversight, design flaws and a lack of action at Boeing despite knowing about problems. The committee said the Max complied with FAA safety regulations even though the planes crashed in Indonesia and Ethiopia. Members say this shows a need for reforms. Boeing says it’s made changes and it co-operated with House investigators. A message was left seeking comment from the FAA.

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US companies seeking tariff relief faced red tape, delays

WASHINGTON (AP) — Companies seeking relief from President Donald Trump’s taxes on imported steel and aluminum ran into long delays and cumbersome paperwork, a federal watchdog found. The U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that the Commerce Department, overwhelmed by companies lobbying to avoid the tariffs, could not meet its own deadline for processing around three-fourths of the requests. And Commerce rejected nearly a fifth of the applications before weighing the merits of the appeal because the paperwork was incomplete or included errors.

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Retail sales rise for 4th straight month as growth slows

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans kept spending in August, but the pace of that growth is slowing as millions of unemployed people lost a $600 a week boost in their unemployment checks. The U.S. Commerce Department said Wednesday that retail sales rose 0.6% last month, the fourth straight month of growth. In July, the number rose 0.9%. Retail sales have been recovering after they plunged in April and March as clothing stores and malls temporarily closed due to the spread of the coronavirus.

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The S&P 500 lost 15.71 points, or 0.5%, to 3,385.49. The Dow Jones Industrial average rose 36.78 points, or 0.1%, to 28,032.38. The Nasdaq composite lost 139.85 points, or 1.3%, to 11,050.47. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks ended up 14.17 points, or 0.9%, at 1,552.33.

The Associated Press

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