Update on the latest in business:


Stocks mixed

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are mixed in afternoon trading on Wall Street as investors look over another big batch of earnings reports from U.S. companies. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were modestly higher after the announcement from the Federal Reserve that it plans to start slowing pandemic aid soon, while the Dow Jones industrial average was lower. All three indexes set their latest record closing highs Tuesday. Bond yields rose and U.S. crude oil prices fell.


Fed to begin slowing economic aid as inflation worries rise

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve will begin dialing back the extraordinary economic aid it’s provided since the pandemic erupted last year, a response to high inflation that now looks likely to persist longer than it did just a few months ago. In a statement Wednesday after its latest policy meeting, the Fed said it will start reducing its $120 billion in monthly bond purchases in the coming weeks, by $15 billion a month, though it reserved the right to change that pace. Those purchases have been intended to hold down long-term interest rates to encourage borrowing and spending. With the economy recovering, that’s no longer needed. The Fed will slow its $80 billion in Treasury purchases by $10 billion a month and its $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities by $5 billion in November and December and said similar reductions “will likely be appropriate” in the following months.


Treasury to trim debt auctions that accelerated in pandemic

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Treasury Department plans to start scaling back the size of some of its government debt auctions, a sign that the government’s huge pandemic-driven borrowing needs are starting to ease. The government began selling debt at accelerated levels to fund the trillion-dollar-plus support bills Congress started passing the the spring of 2020 after the pandemic-triggered shutdowns forced millions of people out of work. Treasury on Wednesday released a schedule for auction sizes of securities ranging from two-year notes to 30-year bonds. Over the next three months, the Treasury anticipates reducing the size of the two-year, three-year and five-year note auctions by $2 billion each on a monthly basis through the end of January.


US service sector expands at record pace in October

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — The rate of expansion in the U.S. services sector, where most Americans work, hit a record high in October as demand remained strong even as supply chain problems persisted. The Institute for Supply Management says its monthly survey of service industries jumped to a reading of 66.7. That follows September’s reading of 61.9. Any reading above 50 indicates growth in service industries. Readings for the categories of business activity, new orders, supplier deliveries and backlog of orders all surpassed previous records.


CVS Health expects growth in 2022 as pandemic impact eases

UNDATED (AP) — CVS Health delivered a better-than-expected third quarter and raised its 2021 forecast again as customers returned to its drugstores for prescriptions or COVID-19 vaccinations. The company says it now expects 2021 adjusted earnings per share to range from $7.90 to $8. That’s nearly a 3% hike at the midpoint of that range from the forecast it made in August. FactSet says analyst expect on average adjusted earnings of $7.79 per share. In the quarter, CVS Health posted adjusted earnings of $1.97 per share on $73.79 billion in revenue. Analysts forecast earnings of $1.79 per share on $70.52 billion in revenue.


Investors bet big on climate fight but motives questioned

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Governments and big investors have announced fresh plans to pour trillions of dollars into curbing global warming. The move reflects the financial world’s growing embrace of efforts to fight climate change as both a business necessity and opportunity. A group representing over 450 major financial institutions with assets of more than $130 trillion said Wednesday its members will pursue the goals of the 2015 Paris climate accord. But some social justice activists have warned that the same financial institutions that profited from funding fossil fuel firms are now being presented as green champions.


Bucking Manchin, House puts paid leave back in budget bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats in the House say that paid family and medical leave will be placed back into their $1.75 trillion social and environmental spending bill. Democrats also say they have sealed a deal to lower pharmaceutical drug costs for most Americans as part of President Joe Biden’s sweeping $1.75 trillion domestic proposal. The plan would cap out-of-pocket Medicare costs to $2,000 and lower insulin prices, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who announced it Tuesday. Another deal is emerging to do away with the $10,000 limit on state and local tax deductions that hits high-tax states. Democrats are hoping to finish a final draft of the overall package soon.


US puts new controls on Israeli spyware company NSO Group

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Biden administration has announced it is putting new export limits on Israel’s NSO Group, the world’s most infamous hacker-for-hire company, saying its tools have been used to “conduct transnational repression.” The U.S. Commerce Department said Wednesday that NSO Group and three other firms are being added to the “entity list,” which limits their access to U.S. components and technology by requiring government permission for exports. The department said putting these companies on the entity list was part of efforts to promote human rights in U.S. foreign policy. Researchers say NSO Group’s spyware has been used around the world to break into the phones of human rights activists, journalists and even members of the Catholic clergy. The company denies wrongdoing.


Australia regulator demands face-scanning firm delete photos

UNDATED (AP) — An Australian privacy authority has ordered facial recognition company Clearview AI to destroy face images it has collected from Australians. It’s the latest challenge for the New York startup that has angered privacy advocates around the world over its practice of “scraping” photos from social media to identify people wanted by police and other government agencies. Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk said Wednesday that the company breached Australians’ privacy by pulling their personal data from the web and disclosing it through a facial recognition tool. Falk’s office and its British counterpart jointly opened an investigation into Clearview last year.


DoorDash adds safety features to help protect drivers

UNDATED (AP) — DoorDash is adding security features to its app to help protect drivers. The San Francisco-based delivery company is partnering with security company ADT on the new features, which will be available to all U.S. DoorDash drivers by the end of this year. Under the new system, DoorDash drivers who feel unsafe can connect to an ADT agent using a button in DoorDash’s app. Drivers can also swipe an emergency button to request immediate assistance. The changes come after a handful of cases last year in which delivery drivers were assaulted or killed.

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