Business Highlights

October 20, 2017


Trump promises tax cuts as Senate GOP paves way with budget

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is promising the biggest tax cuts “in the history of our country” following Senate passage of a $4 trillion budget. The budget plan lays the groundwork for action on a tax overhaul Republicans hope to push through by year’s end. They’ll now be able to get the plan through the Senate without Democratic votes. Also Friday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said the GOP was adding a fourth tax bracket for high-income people to the three already in its proposal.


At GE, a new urgency to return to industrial roots

NEW YORK (AP) — General Electric’s new CEO is starting to lay out bold plans to return the conglomerate to its industrial roots by slashing costs and streamlining its operations. John Flannery said Friday that the company will shed business units worth more than $20 billion over the next year or two.


Wells Fargo: 4 currency executives no longer work at bank

NEW YORK (AP) — Three high-level foreign exchange executives and a currency trader have left Wells Fargo, the bank that has been through several investigations after a scandal over millions of fake accounts and another over auto insurance practices. Wells Fargo confirmed that the four employees from the investment bank side of the business were no longer with the firm but would not say if they were fired.


Ryan says GOP working on 4th tax bracket

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Paul Ryan says the tax plan pushed by President Donald Trump and Republican leaders will add a fourth tax bracket for high-income people to the three originally proposed. Ryan isn’t yet saying what the tax rate would be for the fourth income-tax bracket. The current GOP blueprint reduces the number of brackets from the current seven to three. Ryan tells “CBS This Morning” of the fourth bracket: “We’re working on” the tax rate for it.


US home sales ticked up in September as Houston recovers

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home sales rose slightly last month as the Houston housing market quickly recovered from Hurricane Harvey. Still, a shortage of available homes is thwarting many would-be buyers and limiting sales. The National Association of Realtors says existing home sales increased 0.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million. That’s the first increase after three months of declines.


Hurricanes, earthquakes estimated to cost insurers $95B

GENEVA (AP) — Swiss Re, one of the world’s biggest reinsurers, estimates that Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, two recent earthquakes in Mexico will cost the industry about $95 billion. The Zurich-based company, which as a reinsurer provides backup policies to companies that write primary insurance policies, says the claims process is ongoing and such estimates could evolve.


Trump: Considering Powell and Taylor for Fed’s top 2 posts

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is signaling that he is considering dual nominations for the Federal Reserve’s top two jobs. Trump may appoint Jerome Powell, a member of the Fed’s board, potentially as chairman, and John Taylor, a Stanford University economist, as vice chairman, according to an interview with Trump that Fox Business outlined on its website Friday.


Arctic refuge drilling closer as Senate moves to open site

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is a step closer to opening Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling. A budget measure approved by the Republican-controlled Senate allows Congress to pursue legislation allowing oil and gas exploration in the remote refuge on a majority vote.


Budget deficit hits $666B, an $80B spike for the year

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration says the federal budget deficit rose to $666 billion in the just-completed budget year. That $80 billion spike comes as Republicans controlling Washington are moving to draft a rewrite of the tax code that promises to add to the national debt. House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin insists Republicans are sensitive to the deficit, while top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer is calling for a bipartisan approach to revamping the tax code without adding to the deficit.


US stocks end higher; S&P 500, Dow on 6-week winning streak

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street capped a week with no shortage of milestones with a few more Friday. U.S. stocks closed modestly higher, lifting the Standard & Poor’s 500 index to its fifth record close in a row. The Dow Jones industrial average, which crossed past the 23,000 mark for the first time on Wednesday, also finished the day with its fifth-straight all-time high. Banks led the gainers Friday. Technology companies also posted big gains, helping to drive the Nasdaq composite to a record high.


The S&P 500 index rose 13.11 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,575.21. The Dow gained 165.59 points, or 0.7 percent, to 23,328.63. The Nasdaq composite added 23.99 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,629.05. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 7.20 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,509.25.

Benchmark U.S. crude added 18 cents to settle at $51.47 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 52 cents to $57.75 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 3 cents to $1.68 a gallon. Heating oil picked up 3 cents to $1.81 a gallon. Natural gas gained 4 cents to $2.92 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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