Asian shares, Wall Street log gains after Fed statement
UNDATED (AP) — Asian shares are mostly higher after the Federal Reserve signaled it may begin easing its extraordinary support measures for the economy later this year.
Shares rose in Hong Kong, Shanghai Australia and Taiwan but fell in South Korea and Malaysia. Tokyo was closed for a holiday.
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The U.S. central bank indicated it may start raising its benchmark interest rate sometime next year, earlier than it envisioned three months ago. The S&P 500 rose 1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq composite also rose about 1%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note wobbled up and down after the Fed’s announcement, but was holding steady at 1.31% early Thursday.
Biden presses fellow Dems: Resolve party split on $3.5T plan
WASHINGTON (AP) Calling fellow Democrats to the White House, President Joe Biden is pushing in person for them to hasten work on his “build back better” agenda. Biden and congressional Democrats are laboring to bridge party divisions that threaten his big proposals. In hours of back-to-back meetings Wednesday at the White House, Biden told them to come up with a framework and topline budget figure they can live with soon, even next week.
The House is to vote soon on the first part of Biden’s plan — a nearly $1 trillion public works package. That vote Monday now serves as a deadline.
Meanwhile, the House and Senate remained at a standstill over a separate package to keep the government funded past the Sept. 30 fiscal yearend and to suspend the federal debt limit to avert a shutdown and a devastating U.S. default on payments. Senate Republicans are refusing the House-passed bill.
Business group: China’s tech self-reliance plans hurt growth
BEIJING (AP) — A foreign business group in China says the ruling Communist Party’s campaign to tighten control over China’s industries and reduce use of foreign technology is denting its economic growth.
The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China appealed to Beijing to reverse course and open state-dominated markets wider.
The Chamber’s report adds to warnings about the costs of Beijing’s strategy at a time when economic growth is in long-term decline and the workforce is aging and shrinking.
The ruling party’s plans are straining relations with Washington and other governments that complain they violate its trade commitments.
FDA backs Pfizer COVID-19 boosters for seniors, high-risk
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. has moved a step closer to offering booster doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to seniors and others at high risk from the virus. The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday signed off on such shots as a way to shore up protection in those groups.
This is not a done deal yet: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention opened a two-day meeting Wednesday to make their own, more specific recommendations about who should get the extra shots and when. And in their first day of discussions, some experts were so perplexed by the questions surrounding the rationale for boosters that they suggested putting off a decision for a month in hopes of more evidence.
Epic CEO: Apple won’t let Fortnite back until case ends
UNDATED (AP) — Tim Sweeney, CEO of Fortnite maker Epic, said Wednesday it’s been told by Apple that the game will be “blacklisted from the Apple ecosystem” until the companies’ legal case is resolved and all appeals are exhausted, which could take as long as five years.
Sweeney posted on Twitter that Epic has asked Apple to reinstate “Fortnite” and promised “that it will adhere to Apple’s guidelines whenever and wherever we release products on Apple’s platforms.”
A representative for Apple did not immediately respond to a message for comment.
FEDERAL RESERVE-ETHICS REVIEW
Under pressure, Powell says Fed to revamp its trading rules
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell says the central bank will overhaul its financial ethics policies in response to growing questions about investing and trading decisions by high-ranking Fed officials that raise potential conflicts of interest.
Powell stopped short of saying explicitly Wednesday that the trading moves were inappropriate. And he provided no details about what the Fed might do or how it would conduct its ethics review.
The issue arose after it was revealed that Robert Kaplan, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, traded millions of dollars’ worth of individual stocks such as Amazon, Chevron, Facebook and Johnson & Johnson in 2020, at the same time that the Fed was taking extraordinary measures to boost the economy. The Fed’s moves likely lifted stock prices and other financial assets.
US projections on drought-hit Colorado River grow more dire
UNDATED (AP) — The U.S. government has released projections that indicate an even more troubling outlook for a river that serves 40 million people in the American West.
The grim outlook Wednesday from the Bureau of Reclamation comes after it recently declared the first-ever shortage on the Colorado River. That means Arizona, Nevada and Mexico get less water than normal next year.
By 2025, the agency says there’s a 66% chance Lake Mead, a key reservoir for river water, will fall to a level where California’s supply also will be reduced. The projections also say hydropower could be affected as early as next July at Glen Canyon Dam, which holds back Lake Powell, another key reservoir.
FACEBOOK EXEC STEPS DOWN
Facebook tech chief Mike Schroepfer to step down
UNDATED (AP) — Facebook’s Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer is stepping down from the social media company, taking on a part time role while longtime executive Andrew Bosworth will replace him next year.
Schroepfer, known as “Schrep,” has been at Facebook for 13 years and is a close friend of CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
He called his decision difficult “because of how much I love Facebook and how excited I am about the future we are building together” but added that his new role will let him focus on personal and philanthropic efforts while staying connected to Facebook.
The transition will happen sometime in 2022.
TAIWAN-PACIFIC TRADE GROUP
Taiwan asks to join trade group, says China might interfere
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan officials say the island has applied to join an 11-nation Pacific trade group. That sets up a potential clash with rival Beijing.
A Taiwan Cabinet minister says the island’s application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership might be disrupted if China, which applied last week, is admitted first.
The mainland’s ruling Communist Party claims Taiwan as part of its territory and says it has no right to conduct foreign relations.
The CPTPP, which took effect in 2018, includes agreements on market access, movement of labor and government procurement. The U.S. once led the effort but President Donald Trump pulled out of the arrangement in 2017.
China’s Ant Group shares credit data with central bank
BEIJING (AP) — China’s central bank will soon have access to private credit information of hundreds of millions of users of Ant Group’s online credit service, in a move signaling more regulatory oversight of the financial technology sector.
Huabei, Ant Group’s credit service, said in a statement that consumer credit data it has collected will be included in the People’s Bank of China’s financial credit information database.
The move is part of various regulations for Ant, which has been ordered to end its monopoly on information and behave more like a bank. Earlier, the authorities abruptly halted Ant’s planned $34.5 billion listing days before its stock debut.
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