Stocks modestly higher... Oil prices decline ... Fed expects modest economic growth from GOP tax cut plan
UNDATED (AP) — The major stock indexes have finished mostly higher, with small companies notching big gains today as lawmakers in the House and Senate reached a deal on a sweeping tax reform package. The S&P 500 slipped 1 point to 2,662. The index closed at all-time highs on Monday and Tuesday. The Dow gained over 80 points to close at 24,585. The Nasdaq added 13 to end the day at 6,875. And the Russell 2000 index picked up 8 points, to 1,524.
UNDATED (AP) —Oil prices have slipped, giving up early gains. Benchmark U.S. crude fell 54 cents to settle at $56.60 per barrel today on the New York Mercantile Exchange. At the same time, Brent crude, used to price international oils, slid 90 cents, or 1.4 percent, to close at $62.44 per barrel in London. In other energy futures trading, wholesale gasoline fell 5 cents to $1.65 a gallon.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says she and her colleagues expect a “modest lift” to economic growth from the tax cuts being proposed by the Republicans. Yellen says the likelihood of lower taxes is why Fed officials expect the economy to grow at 2.5 percent in 2018. But, she says, growth would then slip back closer to its recent 2 percent average. The central bank also raised the federal funds rate a quarter point today.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A recent letter from the U.S. Attorney’s office confirms the Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation connected to allegations that a former Uber executive stole self-driving car technology from a Google spin-off to help the ride-hailing service build robotic vehicles. Google spin-off Waymo has alleged former executive Anthony Levandowski stole its technology before he joined Uber last year.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Young, minority residents who have long felt excluded from the benefits of Atlantic City’s casinos are being trained as construction workers for the gambling town’s newest resort. Hard Rock is converting the former Trump Taj Mahal into its own casino resort next summer and it’s sponsoring a program to train and connect 15 of them with jobs.