AP Business SummaryBrief at 11:53 p.m. EDT

Asian shares rise after Wall Street rise, Fed Chair comments

TOKYO (AP) — Asian benchmarks are rising, cheered by gains on Wall Street as comments from the Federal Reserve chairman assured markets on the expected rate rise. Benchmarks rose in Japan, Australia and China. Trading was closed in South Korea for a national holiday. Investors are also eyeing interest rates, as the European Central Bank made its largest-ever rate increase to fight inflation. The move...

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Asian shares rise after Wall Street rise, Fed Chair comments

TOKYO (AP) — Asian benchmarks are rising, cheered by gains on Wall Street as comments from the Federal Reserve chairman assured markets on the expected rate rise. Benchmarks rose in Japan, Australia and China. Trading was closed in South Korea for a national holiday. Investors are also eyeing interest rates, as the European Central Bank made its largest-ever rate increase to fight inflation. The move is in line with steps taken by the U.S. Federal Reserve and other central banks. Investors also heard from Fed Chair Jerome Powell, who reaffirmed the central bank’s commitment to keep rates high to get inflation under control.

Powell: Higher rates unlikely to cause deep US recession

WASHINGTON (AP) — The last time the Federal Reserve faced inflation as high as it is now, in the early 1980s, it jacked up interest rates to double-digit levels — and in the process caused a deep recession and sharply higher unemployment. On Thursday, Chair Jerome Powell suggested that this time, the Fed won’t have to go nearly as far. “We think we can avoid the very high social costs that Paul Volcker and the Fed had to bring into play to get inflation back down,” Powell said in an interview at the Cato Institute, referring to the Fed chair in the early 1980s who sent short-term borrowing rates to roughly 19% to throttle punishingly high inflation.

Yellen pushes Biden economic plans in battleground Michigan

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has pressed the case for Democratic economic policies during a visit to Ford’s Rouge electric vehicle assembly plant in election-year battleground Michigan. After a production-line tour, Yellen promoted recent legislative successes for the Biden administration. Yellen says she’s more optimistic about the course of the economy than she’s been “for quite a while” and says she knows “we are headed in the right direction.” Yellen’s visit to Detroit was part of a monthlong tour as well as a larger White House campaign to highlight new laws intended to aid the economy, boost computer chip manufacturing, lower prescription drug prices, expand clean energy and revamp the country’s infrastructure.

Trump partner in Truth Social delays key vote on merger

NEW YORK (AP) — A key decision over whether Donald Trump’s social media platform Truth Social will merge with a cash-rich company and get $1.3 billion to take on Twitter has been put off for another month. Potential partner, Digital World Acquisition Corp., postponed on Thursday a shareholder vote to extend by a year a deadline to close its merger with Trump’s company. At least 65% of shareholders need to approve the extension, a threshold not reached in tallies earlier in the day. Deal delays have rattled investors, though not Trump, who posted recently, “I don’t need financing, I’m really rich.”

Fewer Americans apply for jobless aid last week

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits last week fell to its lowest level since May despite repeated attempts by the Federal Reserve to cool the economy and bring inflation under control. Applications for jobless aid for the week ending Sept. 3 fell by 6,000 to 222,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. First-time applications generally reflect layoffs. The four-week average for claims, which smooths out some of the weekly ups and downs, declined by 7,500 to 233,000. Hiring in the U.S. in 2022 has been remarkably strong even as the country faces rising interest rates and weak economic growth.

Long-term mortgage rates now at highest point since 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates jumped again this week to their highest level in almost 14 years, certain to keep even more potential buyers out of a housing market that’s cooled considerably since the Federal Reserve began jacking up its benchmark borrowing rate. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the 30-year rate jumped to 5.89%, the highest it’s been since November of 2008, just after the housing market collapse set off the Great Recession. The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, popular among those looking to refinance their homes, climbed above 5% for the first time since 2009.

UK to cap energy prices, end fracking ban to ease crisis

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Liz Truss says her Conservative government will cap domestic energy prices for homes and businesses to ease the cost-of-living crisis. She also says she will approve more North Sea oil drilling and lift a ban on fracking to increase the United Kingdom’s domestic energy supply. Truss told lawmakers Thursday that the two-year “energy price guarantee” means average household bills will be no more than 2,500 pounds a year for heating and electricity. Bills had been due to rise to 3,500 pounds pounds a year beginning in October, triple the costs of a year ago. Critics say that means taxpayers will have to foot the bill, instead of energy companies that are seeing windfall profits.

As deadline looms, railroads say strike would cost $2B a day

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The major freight railroads say in a new report designed to put pressure on unions and Congress that a strike would cost the economy more than $2 billion a day and disrupt deliveries of all kinds of goods and passenger traffic nationwide if it happens after a key deadline passes next Friday without a contract agreement. Five of the 12 unions involved have announced tentative five-year agreements with 24% raises and $5,000 in bonuses, but several key unions are holding out in the hope that the railroads will also address some of their concerns about working conditions. A coalition of 31 agriculture groups sent a letter to Congress Thursday urging lawmakers to be prepared to intervene to block a strike if necessary.

Cheaper electric vehicles coming despite high battery costs

WARREN, Mich. (AP) — Auto companies are rolling out more affordable electric vehicles that should widen their appeal to a larger group of buyers. That’s despite rising battery costs. The latest EV came Thursday from General Motors, a Chevrolet Equinox small SUV. It has a starting price around $30,000 and a range-per-charge of 250 miles, or 400 kilometers. You can get range of 300 miles, or 500 kilometers, if you pay more. GM won’t release the exact price of the Equinox EV until closer to the date it goes on sale, about this time next year. But the SUV is at the low end of Edmunds.com’s list of prices for electric vehicles sold in the U.S. The average cost of an EV is now around $65,000.

Regulators try to stop unlawful nursing home debt collection

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal report says nursing homes and debt collectors are flouting a law that prohibits them from requiring friends and family of care home residents to be responsible for costs of the facilities. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says friends and family members have had to declare bankruptcy, had their wages garnished and their homes repossessed. That’s after they signed unenforceable contracts called “admission agreements” with nursing facilities, resulting in them being held liable as third parties for their loved ones’ nursing home stays. Distraught relatives and lawyers for families told federal regulators Thursday about collectors seeking tens of thousands of dollars — even hundreds of thousands — in unpaid nursing home fees.

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