Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks fall as tumult continues

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes are falling in afternoon trading as Wall Street’s tumultuous month continues to churn. The S&P 500 was 0.6% lower after giving up an earlier gain, the latest erratic trading for a market dominated by several sudden turns of momentum recently. The Dow and the Nasdaq were also down. Nike jumped to one of the biggest gains in the S&P 500 after reporting stronger profit than analysts expected. Airlines and other companies that would benefit from a reopening economy rose slightly. But several Big Tech stocks are weakening, the latest drops in their September swoon.

FEDERAL RESERVE-POWELL

Powell faces lawmakers’ skepticism on some Fed aid programs

WASHINGTON (AP) — Chairman Jerome Powell on Wednesday defended the Federal Reserve’s efforts to support the economy during the pandemic-induced recession from assertions that its programs bungled aspects of its response. A House subcommittee released a staff analysis that found that a program in which the Fed bought corporate bonds to try to support companies struggling in the pandemic included buying bonds from companies that laid off more than 1 million workers since March. The report concluded that 383 companies whose bonds were bought by the Fed had continued to pay dividends to shareholders, with 95 of those companies also laying off workers.

TRUMP-CUBA

Trump tightens Cuba sanctions as he woos Cuban-American vote

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans won’t be allowed to bring home cigars and rum from Cuba under new measures President Donald Trump says will help to financially starve the island’s government. Trump announced the action as he tries to boost his appeal among Cuban-Americans, who are a crucial voting bloc in the battleground state of Florida. Trump says U.S. travelers will also be prohibited from staying at hotels and other lodging owned by the Cuban government. In announcing the sanctions, the Republican president reaffirmed his administration’s solidary with the Cuban people, whose descendants in the U.S. often vote for the GOP.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-VACCINE

Single-dose vaccine tested as US experts say no corners cut

WASHINGTON (AP) — Johnson & Johnson is beginning a huge final study to try to prove if a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine can protect against the virus. The study starting to will be one of the world’s largest coronavirus vaccine studies so far, testing the shot in 60,000 volunteers in the U.S., South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. A handful of other vaccines in the U.S. and other countries are already in final-stage testing. Hopes are high that answers about at least one candidate being tested in the U.S. could come by year’s end, maybe sooner.

CALIFORNIA-GAS VEHICLES

California moves to end sales of new gas-powered cars

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom says the state will halt sales of new gasoline-powered passenger cars and trucks by 2035. On Wednesday he ordered state regulators to come up with requirements to meet that goal. California would be the first state with such a rule, though Germany and France are among countries that have a similar requirement. His plan would not ban people from owning gas-powered cars or selling them on the used car market. But it would end the sales of all new gasoline-powered passenger cars and trucks in the state. California already has rules mandating a certain percentage of new car sales be electric or zero-emission vehicles.

VOLKSWAGEN-ELECTRIC SUV

New SUV is next step in VW’s post-scandal electric offensive

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Volkswagen is taking its electric offense to the next level. The German automaker is unveiling a battery-powered SUV called the ID.4. It shows how the company has pivoted from its 2015 scandal over diesel cars that emitted illegal amounts of pollution in the U.S. Now it is emphasizing cars that don’t have any local emissions at all. The shift is driving by European Union rules limiting emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming. Volkswagen hopes the electric vehicle in the popular SUV format will convince car buyers not just in Europe but soon in China and the United States as well.

GULF-ECONOMY

Reports: Kuwait and the UAE in economic pain amid pandemic

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Two oil-rich Arab Gulf states have suffered severe economic blows as a major credit agency downgraded Kuwait for the first time and the United Arab Emirates acknowledged its economy would contract to a level last seen in 2009. The agency, Moody’s Investors Service, cut Kuwait’s debt rating Wednesday for the first time, sounding the alarm over its liquidity risks. The UAE’s Central Bank reported the country’s gross domestic product is expected to shrink 5.2% for the year, worse than even the 3.5% drop that the International Monetary Fund predicted. It’s the steepest decline since 2009, when the global financial crisis plunged the Emirati economy into a lingering recession.

WELLS-FARGO-CEO-APOLOGY

Wells Fargo CEO apologizes for comments about diversity

NEW YORK (AP) — Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf is apologizing for comments he made about the difficulty of finding qualified Black executives. Scharf said in a memo released this week that “there is a very limited pool of black talent to recruit from” in corporate America. The comments and similar statements made in a Zoom meeting led to an intense backlash in Washington and from advocacy groups. Scharf on Wednesday said in a prepared statement that the comments he made reflect “my own unconscious bias.”

UNCLE BEN’S-NAME CHANGE

Mars drops Uncle Ben’s, reveals new name for rice brand

NEW YORK (AP) — The Uncle Ben’s rice brand is getting a new name: Ben’s Original.

Parent firm Mars Inc. unveiled the change Wednesday for the 70-year-old brand, the latest company to drop a logo criticized as a racial stereotype. Packaging with the new name will hit stores next year. The company is still deciding on an image to accompany the new name. Since the 1940s, the rice boxes have featured a white-haired Black man, sometimes with a bowtie. Critics have said the image evokes servitude.

PILGRIM’S PRIDE-CEO

Pilgrim’s Pride CEO, indicted on price fixing counts, is out

GREELEY, Colo. (AP) — Pilgrim’s Pride has replaced its CEO as he prepares to face price fixing charges. The company announced in June that its chief executive, Jayson Penn, was taking a leave of absence to focus on his defense after he was indicted, and named Chief Financial Officer Fabio Sandri to lead the company in the interim. Sandri’s move to CEO was made permanent this week and Pilgrim’s Pride said in a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that Penn is no longer with the company. Penn is one of four current and former executives indicted in June on charges of fixing prices on chickens. He has pleaded not guilty.

MINNESOTA PUBLIC RADIO-CEO DEPARTS

CEO of Minnesota Public Radio’s parent to step down

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The president and CEO of the parent company of Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media plans to step down, an announcement that came the same day employees released a letter saying the company has fostered a harmful working environment for women and journalists of color. Jon McTaggart said Tuesday he will leave American Public Media Group as soon as a replacement is found. The open letter sent from employees to listeners described a lack of faith in senior leaders and said the company’s problems had persisted over its 53-year history.

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