A divided Fed reduces rates but may not cut again this year
WASHINGTON (AP) — A sharply divided Federal Reserve cut its benchmark interest rate for a second time this year and indicated that it may not cut rates any further this year. The Fed’s move will reduce its benchmark rate — which influences many consumer and business loans — by an additional quarter-point to a range of 1.75% to 2%. The action was approved 7-3, with two officials preferring to keep rates unchanged and one arguing for a bigger half-point cut. It was the most Fed dissents in three years.
US stocks end mixed following Fed’s decision to cut rates
NEW YORK (AP) — Major U.S. stock indexes closed mostly higher Wednesday after the Federal Reserve cut its benchmark interest rate for a second time this year. Gains in banks, utilities and technology stocks outweighed losses elsewhere in the market, which had been broadly lower until the last hour of trading. Bond yields moved lower. The Fed reiterated that the central bank could easily alter its interest rate policy based on new economic data, but declined to signal that further rate cuts are likely this year.
Tech execs say they’re acting faster on extremist content
WASHINGTON (AP) — Executives of Facebook, Google and Twitter are telling Congress they’ve gotten better and faster at detecting and removing violent extremist content on their social media platforms in the face of mass shootings fueled by hate. The executives were questioned at a hearing Wednesday by the Senate Commerce Committee and said they are spending money on technology to improve their ability to flag extremist content and taking the initiative to reach out to law enforcement to head off violent incidents.
Striking workers question whether UAW leaders can be trusted
ROMULUS, Mich. (AP) — The strike against General Motors by the United Auto Workers is playing out amid a federal corruption investigation of top UAW officials that has created distrust of the union leadership among rank-and-file members. On picket lines at plants across the country, many of the 49,000 striking workers have doubts about whether leaders are acting in their best interests.
Oil price drops for 2nd day despite heightened Gulf tensions
NEW YORK (AP) — Oil prices retreated even as the Saudi military blamed Iran for recent attacks to critical oil infrastructure and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the strike an “act of war.” Benchmark U.S. crude fell 2% to close at $58.11 per barrel. It was another day of volatile, unpredictable trading after Saudi officials said oil production halted by weekend attacks would be fully restored within weeks.
Trump bars California from setting stricter fuel standards
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has announced that his administration is revoking California’s authority to set auto mileage standards stricter than those issued by federal regulators. In a tweet, Trump said it would result in less expensive, safer cars. However, U.S. automakers contend that without a substantial increase in fuel efficiency, their vehicles will be less competitive globally, which could potentially result in job losses. Environmentalists are condemning the move.
Johnson faces Brexit flak from EU lawmakers and top UK court
STRASBOURG, France (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been accused by European Union officials of failing to negotiate seriously and branded the “father of lies” by a lawyer in the U.K. Supreme Court, as his plan to leave the EU in just over six weeks face hurdles on both sides of the Channel. In Strasbourg, France, the European Parliament said it would be the fault of Britain, not the bloc, if the U.K. left without a divorce deal on the scheduled Oct. 31 departure day.
Facebook still auto-generating Islamic State, al-Qaida pages
WASHINGTON (AP) — Facebook likes to say that its automated systems remove the vast majority of prohibited content glorifying the Islamic State group and al-Qaida before it’s reported. But a whistleblower’s complaint shows that Facebook itself has inadvertently produced dozens of pages in their names. The social networking company appears to have made little progress on the issue in the four months since The Associated Press detailed how pages that Facebook auto-generates for businesses are aiding extremists.
California adds wage, benefit protections for gig workers
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The governor of California has signed sweeping legislation aimed at giving wage and benefit protections to rideshare drivers and workers in other industries. The legislation signed Wednesday makes it harder for companies to classify workers as independent contractors instead of employees, who are entitled to minimum wage and benefits like workers compensation. Uber has joined Lyft and DoorDash in threatening to spend $90 million on a ballot measure if it can’t negotiate other rules for drivers
The S&P 500 index inched 1.03 points higher, or less than 0.1%, to 3,006.73. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 36.28 points, or 0.1%, to 27,147.08. The Nasdaq slid 8.62 points, or 0.1%, to 8,177.39. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks dropped 9.95 points, or 0.6%, to 1,568.34.
The Associated Press