Market Commentary and Intraday News
251 days ago
By The Associated Press
Fed unveils bold, open-ended steps to aid economy
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Federal Reserve unleashed a series of bold and open-ended steps Thursday designed to stimulate the economy by making it cheaper for people to borrow and spend.
The Fed said it will spend $40 billion a month to buy mortgage bonds for as long as it deems necessary to make home buying more affordable. It plans to keep short-term interest rates at record lows through mid-2015 _ six months longer than previously planned. And it's ready to try other measures if hiring doesn't pick up.
Stock prices rose steadily after the Fed's announcement at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average closed up more than 200 points. Other stock averages also surged.
NYC bans big, sugary drinks at restaurants
NEW YORK (AP) _ New York City cracked down on the sale of supersized sodas and other sugary drinks Thursday in what was celebrated by some as a groundbreaking attempt to curb obesity but condemned by others as a blatant intrusion into people's lives by a busybody mayor.
Public health experts around the nation _ and the restaurant and soft-drink industry _ will be watching closely to see how it goes over among New Yorkers, a famously disputatious bunch. Barring any court action, the measure will take effect in March.
The regulations, approved easily by the city Board of Health, apply to any establishment with a food-service license, including fast-food places, delis, movie and Broadway theaters, the concession stands at Yankee Stadium and the pizzerias of Little Italy. They will be barred from serving sugary beverages in cups or bottles larger than 16 ounces.
Asian casino boom aims to lure region's new rich
MACAU (AP) _ In the Philippines, a $4-billion casino will soon rise from reclaimed land on Manila Bay. In South Korea, foreign investors are expected to break ground next year on a clutch of casino resorts offshore. And on the eastern edge of Russia, authorities plan a resort zone aimed at drawing Chinese high-rollers.
The projects are part of a casino building boom rolling across Asia, where governments are trying to develop their tourism markets to capture increasingly affluent Asians with a penchant for gambling. They're building glitzy, upscale Las Vegas-style resorts in a bid to copy the runaway success of Asian gambling hubs Macau, which rapidly became the world's biggest casino market after ending a monopoly, and Singapore, where the city-state's first two casinos raked in an estimated $6 billion a year after their 2010 openings.
The casino boom highlights how the gambling industry is being propelled by the region's rapid economic growth, with millions entering the middle class thanks to rising incomes that allow them to spend more on travel and leisure pursuits. But it has also intensified debate over the social ills and perceived economic benefits of the gambling industry.
Hurricane Isaac sends US jobless claims up to 382,000
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits jumped to the highest level in two months, although the figures were skewed in part by Hurricane Isaac.
Applications increased by 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 382,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's up from 367,000 the previous week. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased for the fourth straight week to 375,000.
Isaac made landfall as Category 1 hurricane on Aug. 28 in southeastern Louisiana and was later downgraded to a tropical storm. It disrupted work in nine states and boosted applications by roughly 9,000, Labor officials said.
More expensive gas pushes up US wholesale prices
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A sharp rise in gasoline costs drove up wholesale prices last month by the most in more than three years. But outside energy and food, price gains were mild.
The producer price index, which measures price changes before they reach the consumer, jumped 1.7 percent in August, the Labor Department said Thursday. The increase was mostly because gas prices soared 13.6 percent, the biggest gain in three years.
Food prices rose 0.9 percent, driven up by steep increases in the cost of eggs and dairy products.
Average on 30-year US mortgage stays at 3.55 percent
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage held steady this week, staying slightly above the lowest level on record. Low mortgage rates have aided a modest housing recovery.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year loan was unchanged at 3.55 percent. In July, the rate fell to 3.49 percent, the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.
The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage, a popular refinancing option, slipped to 2.85 percent, down from 2.86 percent last week. That's above the record low of 2.80 percent.
ABC News sued for defamation over `pink slime'
NORTH SIOUX CITY, S.D. (AP) _ Beef Products Inc. sued ABC News Inc. for defamation Thursday over its coverage of a meat product that critics dub "pink slime," claiming the network damaged the company by misleading consumers into believing it is unhealthy and unsafe.
The Dakota Dunes, S.D.-based meat processor is seeking $1.2 billion in damages for roughly 200 "false and misleading and defamatory" statements about the product officially known as lean, finely textured beef, said Dan Webb, BPI's Chicago-based attorney.
The lawsuit filed in a South Dakota state court also names several individuals as defendants, including ABC news anchor Diane Sawyer and the Department of Agriculture microbiologist who coined the term "pink slime."
Nintendo says Wii U will launch on Nov. 18
NEW YORK (AP) _ Nintendo's upcoming Wii U gaming console will start at $300 and go on sale in the U.S. on Nov. 18, in time for the holidays, the company said Thursday.
A "deluxe" version will sell for $350. It will be black instead of white and include extra features such as more memory, a charging stand and the game "Nintendo Land."
Nintendo Co. has been trying to drum up excitement for the Wii U, which is the first major gaming console to launch since 2006. The device has a touch-screen controller called the Wii U GamePad. It also plays games made for the original Wii.
Disney CFO says ads weak; announces $50 million film loss
NEW YORK (AP) _ The Walt Disney Co.'s TV advertising revenue did not rebound as expected after last month's conclusion of the hugely popular London Olympics that were aired on rival NBC, the company's chief financial officer said Thursday.
Disney also expects to book a $50 million charge for discontinuing a movie that was in the works, Rasulo said. The film write-down will trim profits by 2 cents per share in the three-month period that ends this month, Disney's final quarter of its fiscal year.
The write-down was for an untitled stop-motion animation movie directed by Henry Selick, the director of the spooky 2009 hit "Coraline." The movie had been slated for release in October 2013. Its cancellation marks one of the first big decisions by Disney's new studio chairman, Alan Horn, who was hired in May.
USA Today unveils page-turning digital revamp
USA Today, the nation's second-largest newspaper, is unveiling an overhaul of its printed and digital editions for the second time in less than two years.
USA Today's print version will introduce a redesign on Friday. It changes the logo for the first time in its 30-year history and nearly doubles the number of pages that use color. Editors will also use color more often to do things such as highlight text in key portions of stories.
The newspaper, the first major daily to use color when it launched in 1982, will also feature more graphics and photos. The newspaper's front page and section fronts will sport a "ball" icon that will contain a different graphic or photo each day to reflect noteworthy news.
By The Associated Press(equals)
The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 206.51 points at 13,539.86. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 23.43 points at 1,459.99. The Nasdaq composite index was up 41.52 at 3,155.83.
Benchmark oil closed at $98.31, up $1.30. Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, ended up 55 cents at $115.88 per barrel.
Gasoline futures dropped 3.9 cents to $2.962, on top of a 4.2 cent drop a day earlier. Natural gas ended down 2.6 cents at $3.037 per 1,000 cubic feet. Heating oil fell less than a penny to $3.2113.
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