AP NEWS

Business Highlights

June 19, 2019

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Fed leaves its key rate unchanged but hints of future cuts

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve left its key interest rate unchanged but signaled that it’s prepared to start cutting rates if needed to protect the U.S. economy from trade conflicts and other threats. It issued a statement saying that because “uncertainties” have increased, it would “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion.” That language echoes a remark that Chairman Jerome Powell made two weeks ago that analysts interpreted as a signal that rate cuts were on the way.

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EPA defies climate warnings, gives coal plants a reprieve

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has replaced a landmark Obama-era effort that sought to wean the nation’s electrical grid off coal-fired power plants and their climate-damaging pollution. The move completes one of its biggest rollbacks of environmental rules. Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler has signed a replacement rule that instead gives states leeway in deciding whether to require efficiency upgrades at existing coal plants.

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Pilots criticize Boeing for mistakes on its grounded jet

WASHINGTON (AP) — Airline union leaders and a famed former airline pilot said Wednesday that Boeing made mistakes while developing the 737 Max, and the biggest was not telling anybody about new flight-control software so that pilots could train for it. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who landed a crippled airliner safely on the Hudson River in 2009, said he doubted that any U.S. pilots practiced handling a specific malfunction until it happened on two Max jets that crashed, killing 346 people.

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Mexico’s senate approves trade deal with US, Canada

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s Senate has voted to ratify a new free trade agreement with the United States and Canada, making it the first of the three countries to gain legislative approval. Mexico’s upper chamber voted 114 to four with three abstentions in favor of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The treaty is still awaiting consideration by lawmakers in the United States and Canada.

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House passes $1T spending bill as budget talks resume

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic-controlled House has passed a $1 trillion spending bill that amounts to an opening bid in a guns vs. butter fight with the Trump administration. Both sides are trying to avert the return of drastic automatic spending cuts or a budgetary impasse that could put federal agencies on autopilot. The House voted along party lines to pass the bill, which blends military spending that’s a priority for Republicans with Democratic-sought funding increases for health and education programs.

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A newspaper bucks layoff trend, and hopes readers respond

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (AP) — The investors who bought The Berkshire Eagle have an emotional connection to the newspaper, and they want their readers to have one, too. They have made major investments that include beefed up coverage of the towns and schools in western Massachusetts, but readers have been slow to respond. Many residents don’t want to pay $13 a month for a digital subscription because they have gotten used to clicking on news stories for free online.

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Draghi’s “whatever it takes” a tough act to follow

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Mario Draghi is credited with saving the euro through decisive action as president of the European Central Bank. Which makes it all the more important who succeeds him when his term ends Oct. 31. European leaders are searching for a replacement for Draghi, but sharing the 71-year-old’s pragmatic and activist approach is not the only qualification. Instead, picking the ECB president is part of complex horse trading among governments.

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Florida city pays $600,000 ransom to save computer records

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida city agreed to pay $600,000 in ransom to hackers who took over its computer system, the latest in thousands of attacks worldwide aimed at extorting money from governments and businesses. The Riviera Beach City Council voted unanimously this week to pay the hackers’ demands, believing the Palm Beach suburb had no choice if it wanted to retrieve its records, which the hackers encrypted.

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US stocks rise after Fed signals future rate cuts

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks brushed off a muted start on Wall Street and notched modest gains Wednesday after the Federal Reserve reaffirmed that it is prepared to cut interest rates if needed to shield the U.S. economy from trade conflicts or other threats. The 10-year Treasury note slid to 2.03%, its lowest level since November 2016. Investors are betting on at least one interest rate cut this year, possibly as early as July.

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The S&P 500 rose 8.71 points, or 0.3%, to 2,926.46. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 38.46 points, or 0.1%, to 26,504. The Nasdaq composite added 33.44 points, or 0.4%, to 7,987.32. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies picked up 5.35 points, or 0.3%, to 1,555.58.

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