- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 30, 2014

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Fed cuts monthly bond purchases and sounds upbeat

WASHINGTON(AP) - The Federal Reserve struck an encouraging note Wednesday: It will further cut its bond purchases because the U.S. job market needs less help. And it said the economy had strengthened after all but stalling during a harsh winter.

The Fed also reaffirmed its plan to keep short-term interest rates low to support the economy “for a considerable time” after its bond purchases end, likely late this year. But it again offered no specific timetable for any rate increase. Most economists expect no rate increase before mid-2015 at the earliest.

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US economy slowed to 0.1 percent growth rate in Q1

WASHINGTON(AP) - The U.S. economy slowed sharply in the first three months of the year as a harsh winter exacted a toll on business activity. The slowdown, while worse than expected, is likely to be temporary as growth rebounds with warmer weather.

Growth slowed to a barely discernible 0.1 percent annual rate in the January-March quarter, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That was the weakest pace since the end of 2012 and was down from a 2.6 percent rate in the previous quarter.

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China rejects sign it may soon be No. 1 economy

BEIJING (AP) - China has rejected a World Bank report that suggests it might pass the United States this year to become the biggest economy measured by its currency’s purchasing power.

China is on track to become the top economy by sheer size by the early 2020s, possibly sooner. But its leaders downplay such comparisons, possibly to avert pressure to take on financial obligations or make concessions on trade or climate change.

While faster-growing China would pass the United States in purchasing power terms this year, it still would be about 60 percent the size of the U.S. economy at market exchange rates.

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What Wal-Mart doesn’t sell

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