Fed lifts rates for 4th time this year but sees fewer hikes
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Fed’s move came despite President Donald Trump’s attacks in recent weeks on its rate hikes and on Chairman Jerome Powell personally. The president has complained that the moves are threatening the economy. At a news conference after the Fed’s announcement, Powell said Trump’s tweets and statements would have no bearing on the central bank’s policymaking.
Stocks skid to 15-month low after Fed raises rates again
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks gave up an early rally and took a dive in afternoon trading after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates again and said it plans to keep raising them next year. The U.S. central bank also said it wouldn’t make any changes in allowing its large bond portfolio to shrink. The Fed’s announcements didn’t appear to go as far as some investors had hoped in signaling a sharper slowdown in its credit tightening policies. Bond prices rose, sending yields lower.
DC sues Facebook over Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal
WASHINGTON (AP) — The District of Columbia sued Facebook on Wednesday for allowing data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica to improperly access data from as many as 87 million users. D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine’s suit alleges that Facebook misled users about the security of their data and failed to properly monitor third-party apps.
Elon Musk’s new tunnel ‘a little rough around the edges’
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Elon Musk has unveiled his underground transportation tunnel, allowing reporters and VIPs to take some of the first rides in the subterranean tube. The tech entrepreneur says the tunnel is the answer to what he calls “soul-destroying traffic.” Guests boarded a Tesla Model S, were driven to the test station in Los Angeles and lowered into the tunnel. Then they zipped through.
100 days to Brexit: EU, UK act to cushion no-deal chaos
LONDON (AP) — With 100 days until Brexit, the European Union has triggered an action plan to ensure planes can still fly and money flow between Britain and the bloc in the increasingly likely event that the U.K. leaves the EU without a divorce deal. Britain’s Conservative government, which is struggling to break a political logjam over Brexit, released immigration plans it says will “take back control” of the country’s borders — but which critics say will shut out everyone except highly paid professionals.
Obama health law sign-ups beat forecast despite headwinds
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Affordable Care Act has yet again beaten predictions of its downfall, as government figures released Wednesday showed unexpectedly solid sign-ups for coverage next year. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said nearly 8.5 million people had enrolled as of last Saturday’s deadline, with about a dozen states still left to report. Though the final count won’t be known for a few months, it will be higher.
US home sales rose 1.9 percent in November
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home sales increased in November for the second straight month, but sales plummeted 7 percent from a year ago amid growing affordability pressures. The National Association of Realtors says that sales of existing homes rose 1.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.32 million last month.
Former bank executives sentenced to prison for fraud
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Two former executives of the only financial institution criminally charged in connection with the federal bank bailout program were sentenced to prison Wednesday for misleading investors and federal regulators about the bank’s troubled condition in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Former Wilmington Trust chief credit officer William North, 59, was sentenced to 4½ years in prison, while former controller Kevyn Rakowski, 65, was sentenced to three years. North must also pay a $100,000 fine.
Missouri farmer charged in $140M organic grain fraud scheme
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Missouri farmer is accused of marketing $140 million worth of non-organic corn, soybeans and wheat as organic over 7½ years. The U.S. attorney’s office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, charged Randy Constant with fraud on Wednesday. The Chillicothe, Missouri, man is expected to appear in court Thursday. Prosecutors say more than 90 percent of his product was non-organic grain purchased from others. Three Nebraska farmers have pleaded guilty in the alleged scheme.
Consumer financial watchdog abandons name change plan
NEW YORK (AP) — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has decided to abandon a controversial renaming plan, in one of the first big decisions by its new permanent director. The CFPB no longer wants to call itself the “Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection,” a change that had been sought by Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s acting director of the bureau. The decision was announced in an email by new director Kathy Kraninger on Wednesday, who took over earlier this month.
The S&P 500 skidded 39.20 points, or 1.5 percent, to 2,506.96. The Dow industrials fell 351.98 points, or 1.5 percent, to 23,323.66. The Nasdaq composite gave up 147.08 points, or 2.2 percent, to 6,636.83. The Russell 2000 index fell 27.95 points, or 2 percent, to 1,349.23.
Benchmark U.S. crude climbed 2.1 percent to $47.20 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 1.7 percent to $57.24 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 2.7 percent to $1.39 a gallon and heating oil added 2.9 percent to $1.81 a gallon. Natural gas lost 2.9 percent to $3.73 per 1,000 cubic feet.