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Business Highlights

September 26, 2018

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Fed raises rates for 3rd time this year with 1 more expected

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve signaled confidence in the U.S. economy by raising a key interest rate for a third time this year, forecasting another rate hike before year’s end and predicting that it will continue to tighten credit into 2020 to help manage growth and inflation. The Fed lifted its short-term rate — a benchmark for many consumer and business loans — by a modest quarter-point to a range of 2 percent to 2.25 percent. It was its eighth hike since late 2015.

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US stocks dip after Federal Reserve raises rates

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes dipped Wednesday after the Federal Reserve took the latest step in its campaign to pull interest rates gradually higher. The decision to raise the federal funds rate for a third time this year was widely expected, and stocks initially climbed following the announcement. But the gains faded in the last 30 minutes of trading. The sharpest losses came from financial stocks, hurt by a drop in Treasury yields, which can crimp lending profits for banks.

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Ford CEO says steel, aluminum tariffs will cost company $1B

DETROIT (AP) — Ford CEO Jim Hackett says the Trump administration’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum will cost the company $1 billion. The automaker says the figure is the year-over-year increase from March through 2019. IHS Markit Senior Analyst Peter Nagle says other automakers will see the same cost increases. Eventually they’ll have to raise prices of cars and trucks or reduce discounts to cover the added costs.

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China cuts some tariffs — but does not address US complaints

BEIJING (AP) — China has announced more tariff cuts on imports of construction machinery and other goods. But it took no action to address the U.S. complaints about its technology policy that are fueling an escalating trade battle. Wednesday’s move reflects the Chinese government’s desire to stick to plans to make the economy more competitive and its intention to press on with state-led development of industry.

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Facebook unveils Quest, its new virtual-reality headset

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is off to a slow start in his mission to bring virtual reality to the masses, so perhaps it’s appropriate his company’s next VR headset will be called Quest. The headset from Facebook’s Oculus division will be a stand-alone device that won’t require a smartphone or a connection to a personal computer to create artificial worlds. Although Zuckerberg unveiled the Quest on Wednesday, it won’t be available until next spring, at a cost of $399.

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Used sedans still cheap, but prices are rising

CARLETON, Mich. (AP) — For more than three years, prices of used sedans have been falling in the U.S. as gas prices dropped and people shifted toward SUVs and trucks. But so far this year, compact and midsize cars have been appreciating as people who can’t afford new vehicles or used SUVs began buying in great numbers. Industry analysts say the sedans still are bargains compared to used or new SUVs.

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McDonald’s says most burgers now preservative-free

CHICAGO (AP) — McDonald’s says it’s removing artificial preservatives, artificial flavors and added colors from two-thirds of its burgers and sandwiches in the U.S. As of Wednesday, the company says classic burgers like the Big Mac and Quarter Pounder with Cheese are preservative-free, with reformulated buns and sauces. Pickles on the sandwiches still contain artificial preservatives, but customers can request sandwiches without pickles.

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A US privacy law could be good for Google - but bad for you

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is working to come up with a new set of national rules governing how companies can use consumers’ data, in part hoping to block a push by California and other U.S. states to do it on their own. But it will be tricky to reconcile the concerns of privacy advocates who want people to have more control over the usage of their personal data - where they’ve been, what they view, who their friends are -and the powerful companies that mine it for profit.

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Zinc-air batteries provide power in remote areas

NEW YORK (AP) — Remote villages in Africa and Asia are receiving electricity using a little-known type of technology: zinc-air batteries. California-based NantEnergy said Wednesday it has created a zinc-air battery storage system that can provide power at a lower cost than lithium-ion batteries. The goal is to provide a battery that can capture renewable energy and store it for later use in a way that’s cheaper and more environmentally friendly than lithium-ion or lead-acid batteries.

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The S&P 500 fell 9.59 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,905.97. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 106.93, or 0.4 percent, to 26,385.28, and the Nasdaq composite lost 17.11, or 0.2 percent, to 7,990.37. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 17.20 points, or 1 percent, to 1,691.61.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 1 percent to $71.57 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 0.6 percent, to $81.34. Wholesale gasoline fell 0.4 percent to $2.06 a gallon, heating oil slipped 0.2 percent to $2.30 a gallon and natural gas dropped 2 percent to $3.02 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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