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Business Highlights: Fed’s next step, rules for stablecoin

November 1, 2021 GMT

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Fed to start reining in economic aid as inflation risk rises

WASHINGTON (AP) — With inflation at its highest point in three decades, the Federal Reserve is set this week to begin winding down the extraordinary aid it has given the economy since the pandemic recession struck early last year, a process that could prove to be a risky balancing act. Chair Jerome Powell has signaled that the Fed will announce after its policy meeting Wednesday that it will start paring its $120 billion in monthly bond purchases as early as this month. Those purchases have been intended to keep long-term loan rates low to spur borrowing and spending.

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Treasury report calls for stricter oversight of stablecoins

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is calling on Congress to pass legislation that would strengthen government regulation of stablecoins, a form of cryptocurrency that has soared in popularity in the past year. In a 22-page report issued Monday, the Treasury Department and several other regulators said the legislation should require that stablecoin issuers become banks, which would potentially subject them to a wide range of rules, including those requiring that banks hold sufficient cash reserves and implement measures to prevent money laundering and other illicit activities. Officials says stablecoins largely fall through the gaps in regulations that currently govern banks, securities exchanges, and investment funds.

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Americans sour on economy amid inflation woes: AP-NORC Poll

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Americans’ opinions on the U.S. economy have soured noticeably in the past month, a new poll finds. Just 35% of Americans now call the national economy good, while 65% call it poor, according to a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. That’s a dip since September, when 45% called the economy good, and a return to about where views of the nation’s economy stood in January and February. Roughly half of Americans now say they expect the economy to get worse in the next year. Still, the majority of individuals remain optimistic about their personal financial situation.

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Barclays CEO steps down over Epstein report by UK regulators

LONDON (AP) — The chief executive of British bank Barclays has stepped down following a report by United Kingdom regulators into his past links with the late financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Jes Staley has previously said he “deeply regrets” his relationship with Epstein, who killed himself in a New York jail in 2019 while awaiting a sex trafficking trial. There’s no suggestion that Staley knew anything about Epstein’s alleged crimes. Staley says he will contest regulators’ preliminary conclusions, which regulators have not released. Shares in Barclays fell 2% following the announcement Monday, as Staley has been widely credited with doing a good job at the bank.

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Shiba Inu passes Dogecoin as top “dog” in cryptocurrency

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — Cryptocurrency has officially gone to the dogs. The recent trading frenzy over a digital token called Shiba Inu — commonly billed as a “meme” or joke coin — has vaulted the canine-themed cryptocurrency into the top ten most valuable digital assets by market value, hitting $40 billion and surpassing its cousin and apparent inspiration, Dogecoin. Shiba has doubled in value in the past week, thanks in part to a whopping 66% gain on Wednesday amid a flurry of volume. Even though it’s up about 900% in the past month, each Shiba coin costs just a tiny fraction of one cent.

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Treasury says plans to borrow $1.02 trillion this quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department says it plans to borrow $1.02 trillion during the current quarter. That’s the largest amount since the government began passing trillion-dollar rescue packages for the economy in the spring of 2020. The department announced Monday that the $1.02 trillion borrowing estimate for the October-December quarter would follow $103 billion in actual borrowing in the previous July-September quarter. That was a period when the debt limit went back into effect after being suspended for two years. Treasury officials say they expect to borrow another $476 billion in next year’s January-March quarter.

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Coke acquires remainder of sports drink BodyArmor for $5.6B

NEW YORK (AP) — Coca-Cola has completed its acquisition of sports drink brand BodyArmor. Coke said Monday it paid $5.6 billion for the remaining 85% of the sports beverage company. Coke originally bought a 15% stake in the BodyArmor in 2018. BodyArmor was founded a decade ago by the entrepreneurs who also developed smartwater and Fuze. Basketball star Kobe Bryant was an early investor. Atlanta-based Coke said it will manage the BodyArmor brand as a separate business and it will continue to be based in New York.

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Major Wall Street stock indexes eke out more record highs

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks ended a wobbly day modestly higher on Wall Street, enough to notch more all-time highs for major indexes. The S&P 500 rose 0.2% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3%. The Nasdaq rose 0.6%. Smaller company stocks far outpaced the broader market. Energy stocks made solid gains as oil prices rose. Bond yields also rose. This week traders will be watching another policy meeting by the Federal Reserve, which is in the process of considering how to wind down its extraordinary support measures for the economy. More companies are reporting quarterly earnings and the government releases its monthly jobs report Friday.

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American plagued by major flight cancellations for 4th day

DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines is still trying to dig out from under a blizzard of canceled flights over the last few days. By midafternoon Monday, American had canceled more than 400 flights. It’s the fourth straight day of major disruptions at American, which canceled more than 1,000 flights on Sunday. American hopes to fix its operation by hiring more flight attendants, pilots and reservations agents. The airline encouraged thousands of workers to quit last year when air travel collapsed during the pandemic, then was caught shorthanded when travel bounced back this year.

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The S&P 500 rose 8.29 points, or 0.2%, to 4,613.67. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 94.28 points, or 0.3%, to 35,913.84. The Nasdaq rose 97.53 points, 0.6%, to 15,595.92. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 60.93 points, or 2.7%, to 2,358.12.