- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Fed officials: Stronger economy boosts chance for rate hikes

WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal Reserve officials at their January meeting believed that a brightening global economic picture and the effects of recently passed tax cuts had raised the prospect for solid growth and continued interest rate increases. The minutes of the discussions showed that the officials were more optimistic about the economy than they had been in December. They noted a stronger U.S. and global economy as well as expectations that the Republican tax cuts would boost growth.


Less is more: Why the Olympics broadcast beats online

NEW YORK (AP) - When it comes to the Olympics, too much choice can paralyze you with indecision. With five television channels, online streaming, virtual reality and Snapchat, where do you even start? With an event as sprawling as the Olympics, sometimes the straight-up linear TV broadcast is best, even if you’re watching that online. Experts make the choices; you just lean back on your couch.


Amid a flood of plastic, big companies try to clean up image

LONDON (AP) - Amid growing evidence of dire amounts of waste in the world’s oceans, conservation is becoming a selling point for firms. Companies like Coca-Cola and Unilever are trying to jump on the bandwagon of concern about the flood of plastic choking sea life.


White House says US could reach 3 percent growth rate

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House’s top economist says the country could achieve annual growth rates of 3 percent through the next decade. But that outlook hinges on whether President Donald Trump’s policies on regulations and infrastructure are enacted. Three percent growth for the next decade is much more optimistic than most independent economists’ forecasts.


To get a ride, Uber says take a walk

DETROIT (AP) - The latest variation of an Uber ride will require a short walk. In eight U.S. cities, the ride-hailing company is rolling out a service called “Express Pool,” which links riders in the same area who want to travel to similar destinations. Once linked, riders would need to walk a couple of blocks to be picked up at a common location. They also would be dropped off at a site that would be a short walk from their final destinations.


Spike in bond yields upends US stock market rally

NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. stocks closed broadly lower Wednesday, erasing an early gain, as investors reacted to a late-afternoon surge in bond yields. Bond yields climbed to their highest level in four years after the Federal Reserve released minutes from its latest policy meeting. The minutes showed bullish sentiment among policymakers, confirming their intention to raise interest rates this year. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose sharply after the minutes came out, touching 2.95 percent.


Trump Jr: ‘Nonsense’ that family’s profiting from presidency

NEW DELHI (AP) - Donald Trump Jr. says any talk that his family is profiting from his father’s presidency is “nonsense” as he begins a visit to India to promote real estate deals that bear his family’s name. The eldest son of President Donald Trump told an Indian television station that his family was instead missing out on business opportunities because his father pledged to conduct no new foreign business while in office.


Treasury seeks changes in the way US handles troubled banks

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Treasury has recommended retaining a divisive procedure for handling troubled financial institutions with some changes, rather than scrapping the program as many conservative lawmakers had wanted. The department said Wednesday that the process, known as the orderly liquidation authority, could be altered, but should be kept in place as an emergency tool for use in circumstances where the collapse of a large financial institution could destabilize the entire economy.


Sales of US homes fall year over year by most in 3½ years

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. sales of existing homes fell in January from a year earlier by the most in more than three years. Would-be buyers were stymied by rising prices and a shortage of homes for sale. The total supply of homes for sale dipped to 1.52 million, the fewest for any January since records began in 1999.


US panel recommends new adult vaccine against hepatitis B

NEW YORK (AP) - A federal advisory panel is recommending a new vaccine against hepatitis B for adults. The vaccine was licensed in November and is the first new hepatitis B vaccine in 25 years. Hepatitis B vaccines have been in childhood shots for decades. This new vaccine is for adults. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices endorsed the vaccine Wednesday during a meeting in Atlanta. The U.S. government usually adopts its recommendations.


The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 14.93 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,701.33. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 166.97 points, or 0.7 percent, to 24,797.78. The Nasdaq gave up 16.08 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,218.23. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks shed most of its gains from earlier in the day. It inched up 1.84 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,531.84.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 11 cents to settle at $61.68 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 17 cents to close at $65.42 per barrel in London. In other energy futures trading, heating oil was little changed at $1.93 a gallon. Wholesale gasoline added a penny to $1.76 a gallon. Natural gas rose 4 cents to $2.66 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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