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Update on the latest in business:

October 11, 2018

WALL STREET

Stocks fall again

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are falling again a day after their biggest drop since February. Some early relief over a tame report on inflation gave way to renewed selling.

Banks are taking some of the biggest losses. JPMorgan and Bank of America are each down close to 1.5 percent.

Bond yields, which have spiked over the last week, slid after the Labor Department said consumer prices rose less than economists expected in September. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 3.16 percent.

Tech stocks, hit hard Wednesday, crept back into positive territory Thursday morning.

Earnings season is underway. Delta Air Lines shares rose 3.8 percent after the airline beat profit expectations.

CONSUMER PRICES

US consumer prices up slight 0.1 percent in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumer prices edged up a slight 0.1 percent in September as energy prices retreated after a big gain in August.

The Labor Department says that the September gain in its closely watched consumer price index followed a 0.2 percent rise in August. It was the smallest monthly gain since June.

For the 12 months ending in September, consumer prices were up 2.3 percent.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food costs, rose 0.1 percent in September, the same level as in August. It is up 2.2 percent over the past year.

Inflation has been on a slight rise this year after a prolonged stretch when prices kept falling below the 2 percent target set by the Federal Reserve.

SOCIAL SECURITY-COLA

Uptick in Social Security checks for 2019 as inflation rises

WASHINGTON (AP) — Tens of millions of Social Security beneficiaries and other retirees can expect an increase in benefits next year as inflation edges higher.

The government announced a cost-of-living adjustment of 2.8 percent on Thursday. That would mean an extra $39 a month for the average retired worker.

Seniors count on the money to help keep pace with rising prices for health care and housing. The Social Security Administration will formally announce details later on Thursday.

By law, the annual cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, is based on a broad official measure of consumer prices. Advocates for seniors claim the inflation index doesn’t accurately capture costs faced by seniors, especially health care.

The COLA affects benefits for more than 70 million Americans, including Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and federal retirees.

SEARS-STOCK SLIDE

With few seeing second act for Sears, company shares routed

NEW YORK (AP) — Sears stock is again taking a beating, on a report that banks are pushing the 130-year-old retailer to liquidate.

The report Thursday in The Wall Street Journal comes one day after stock in Sears Holdings Corp. tumbled 30 percent.

The company’s stock fell below $1 this month with few seeing a second act for the company that revolutionized how American shop.

Only a quarter of the 4,000 stores operating just six years ago still have the lights on and a significant debt repayment is looming. CEO and chairman Eddie Lampert, who owns 31 percent of outstanding shares, appears to be unwilling to extend another lifeline.

MORTGAGE RATES

Mortgage rates leap to 7-year highs; 30-year at 4.90 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates leaped this week to their highest levels in seven years amid global anxiety over rising interest rates that has gripped financial markets.

Costs for would-be homebuyers are climbing. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages jumped to an average 4.90 percent this week from 4.71 percent last week. That’s the highest level for the benchmark rate since April 2011. A year ago, it stood at 3.91 percent.

The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans rose to 4.29 percent this week from 4.15 percent last week.

The Federal Reserve recently signaled its confidence in the economy by raising a key interest rate for a third time this year, forecasting another rate hike before year’s end.

SEC-ELON MUSK

Shareholders must vote on Musk’s return as Tesla chairman

If Tesla CEO Elon Musk wants to return as chairman, shareholders will have to vote on it.

The requirement is detailed in a court brief filed Thursday by Tesla and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The brief was required by a federal judge who must approve a securities fraud settlement reached with Musk and the company last month.

Musk and Tesla agreed to pay $20 million each and make concessions to settle an SEC lawsuit alleging Musk duped investors with statements about a plan to take the company private.

The settlement allows Musk to remain CEO but requires him to relinquish his role as chairman for at least three years.

U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan ordered the brief, which is a common practice in the court.

BRITAIN-PAY GAP

Britain mulls making firms disclose ethnicity pay gap

LONDON (AP) — The British government is considering making companies reveal the pay gap between white and non-white workers, in a bid to end disadvantages faced by employees from ethnic minorities.

Prime Minister Theresa May says revealing the figures might “uncover some uncomfortable truths.” She says “too often ethnic minority employees feel they’re hitting a brick wall when it comes to career progression.”

Last year the government told companies with 250 or more employees to disclose the difference in median wages between men and women.

The government said Thursday that businesses including accountants KPMG, advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi and the civil service had signed up to a Race at Work Charter, promising to recruit more ethnic-minority employees and help their careers advance.

The government will decide on mandatory reporting after a consultation.

PAKISTAN-IMF

IMF team to visit Pakistan after request for bailout loans

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The head of the International Monetary Fund says it will send a team to Pakistan in the coming weeks after the government requested emergency bailout loans.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde confirmed that Pakistan had requested the loans after meeting with Finance Minister Asad Umar in Indonesia on Thursday, without saying how much the Pakistanis had asked for.

Analysts say Pakistan is seeking $8 billion in loans in order to confront a balance of payments crisis. The government is also seeking fresh loans from China, which is already heavily invested in transport and energy.

Pakistan’s currency plunged by around 7 percent earlier this week after word of the loan request was made public.

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