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Update on the latest in business:

October 12, 2018

WALL STREET

Early rally fades

NEW YORK (AP) — An early rally on Wall Street has mostly evaporated in afternoon trading, leaving indexes with meager gains following a two-day rout.

Longtime investor favorites like Amazon and Apple were still higher, but banks turned lower and energy stocks were also lagging.

Major indexes fell more than 5 percent over the previous two days as investors worried about rising interest rates.

Small-company stocks were mostly lower, and more stocks fell than rose on the New York Stock Exchange.

FEDERAL RESERVE-MNUCHIN

Mnuchin says Trump respects the independence of the Fed

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says President Donald Trump respects the independence of the Federal Reserve and his recent comments were simply a reflection of the fact that he favors low interest rates.

In a CNBC interview, Mnuchin says that Trump understands that the Fed is doing its job. Mnuchin praised Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, who took over as Fed leader in February. Trump this week has blamed the market’s big sell-off on the Fed’s interest rate increases, saying “the Fed is out of control.”

Mnuchin says that the fundamentals of the U.S. economy remain very strong and he views the sharp drop in stock prices as a natural correction with markets often going too far in both directions. Mnuchin was interviewed in Bali where he is attending global finance meetings.

FACEBOOK-SECURITY BREACH

Facebook says hackers accessed 29M people’s accounts

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook says hackers accessed data from 29 million accounts as part of the security breach disclosed two weeks ago.

The exact number hadn’t been known before. Originally Facebook said 50 million accounts could have been affected, but Facebook didn’t know if they had been misused.

The hackers accessed name, email addresses or phone numbers from those 29 million accounts. For 14 million of those accounts, hackers got even more data, such as hometown, birthdate, the last 10 places they checked into or 15 most recent searches. One million accounts were affected but hackers didn’t gain information. The social media service plans to send messages to people whose accounts were hacked.

Facebook says third-party apps and Facebook apps like WhatsApp and Instagram were unaffected by the breach.

CHINA-AUTO SALES

China auto sales sink in September as economy cools

BEIJING (AP) — China’s auto sales shrank for a third straight month in September, adding to pressure on the country’s leaders who face slowing economic growth and a tariff fight with Washington.

An industry group, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said Friday that sales shrank 12 percent from a year ago to 2 million sedans, SUVs and minivans. Total vehicle sales, including trucks and buses, shrank 11.6 percent to 2.4 million.

Demand has weakened as Chinese economic growth cools. With the latest contraction, total sales growth for the first nine months of this year was just 0.6 percent compared with the same period of 2017.

Weak demand is a setback for global automakers that look to China to drive revenue and are spending heavily to develop models for local tastes.

TOYOTA RECALL

Toyota recalls trucks, SUVs and cars to fix air bag problem

DETROIT (AP) — Toyota is recalling more than 168,000 pickup trucks, SUVs and cars because the air bags may not inflate in a crash.

The recall covers 2018 and 2019 Tundra pickups and Sequoia SUVs as well as 2019 Avalon sedans.

Toyota says the air bag control computer can erroneously detect a fault when the vehicles are started. With a fault, the air bags may not deploy in a crash.

Toyota will notify owners and dealers will update the air bag control software. The recall is expected to begin Oct. 22.

HYUNDAI-KIA-FIRES

Safety group wants Hyundai and Kia to recall 2.9M vehicles

DETROIT (AP) — A nonprofit auto safety group is demanding that Hyundai and Kia recall 2.9 million cars and SUVs due to consumer complaints that they can catch fire.

The Center For Auto Safety says there have been more than 220 complaints to the government since 2010 about fires without collisions and another 200 complaints about melted wires as well as smoke and burning odors.

The complaints involve the 2011 through 2014 Kia Sorento and Optima and the Hyundai Sonata and Santa Fe. Also included is the 2010 through 2015 Kia Soul.

The fires are being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as part of a 2017 probe into Hyundai and Kia engine failures.

Hyundai says it monitors safety concerns and acts quickly to recall defective vehicles. Kia did not immediately comment.

TESLA-TAX CREDIT

Tesla says order by Monday to get full $7,500 tax credit

DETROIT (AP) — Tesla Inc. says buyers must order cars by Monday to get the full federal electric vehicle tax credit of $7,500.

The company says on its website that cars ordered by Monday will be delivered by the end of the year.

Under federal law, buyers get the full credit until a manufacturer reaches 200,000 in sales since the start of 2010. Tesla hit 200,000 in July but the full credit continues for vehicles delivered by Dec. 31. Then it is gradually phased out.

Tesla recently has had trouble delivering its lower-priced Model 3 electric car. The company was struggling to produce them but said Oct. 2 that it manufactured more than 53,000 in the third quarter. The company also made almost 27,000 higher-priced Model S sedans and Model X SUVs.

MEDICARE PREMIUMS

Slight increase in Medicare’s outpatient ‘Part B’ premium

WASHINGTON (AP) — Medicare says its “Part B” premium for outpatient care will rise by just $1.50 a month next year. That means retirees should be able to keep more of their recently-announced Social Security cost-of-living increase.

Medicare officials said Friday the standard premium will be $135.50 a month for 2019. “Part B” of Medicare covers doctor visits and outpatient care, while “Part A” covers hospitalization.

The annual outpatient deductible will increase by only $2, to $185 next year. That’s the amount beneficiaries are responsible for before Medicare starts paying.

The inpatient deductible will increase by $24, to $1,364 in 2019.

Just Thursday, Social Security announced a 2.8 percent cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, the highest in 7 years. It works out to an estimated $39 a month for the average retired worker.

BREWERS-FREE BEER

Free Miller Lite Friday in Milwaukee with ‘beer series’ win

MILWAUKEE (AP) — As the Milwaukee Brewers prepare for Game One of the National League Championship Series, fans are cashing in on the team’s victory in what some are calling the ‘beer series.’

Free Miller Lite or Coors was at stake in the National League Division Series between two beer cities, Milwaukee and Denver. The Brewers won it in a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies. As a result, MillerCoors is making good on its promise and calling it Free Beer Friday in Milwaukee.

Free Miller Lite is available at dozens of bars and restaurants in Milwaukee.

The caveats: The offer is good for one beer only per customers 21 years or older. The free beer will flow from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday or while supplies last.

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