Business Highlights: Consumer spending, inflation risks
Consumer spending rebounds despite rising October inflation
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer spending rebound in October, rising by a solid 1.3%, but inflation was up as well, rising over the past year at the fastest pace in more than three decades. The jump in consumer spending last month was double the 0.6% gain in September, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. Consumer prices were up 5% compared to a year ago, the fastest 12-month gain since the 12 months ending in November 1990.
Many environmentalists back Biden’s move to tap oil reserve
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats and climate activists generally support President Joe Biden’s decision to release a record-setting 50 million barrels of oil from America’s strategic reserve, even as the action appeared to contradict Biden’s long-term goal to fight climate change. The U.S. action announced Tuesday is aimed at global energy markets and helping lower gasoline prices that have risen more than $1 per gallon since January. Biden and his administration insist tapping more oil from the reserve does not conflict with his climate goals — including a 50% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. They say the short-term fix meets a specific problem, while climate policies are a long-term answer over decades.
Beyond Manchin: Dems’ $2T bill faces Senate gauntlet
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats have finally driven President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion package of family services, health care and climate initiatives through the House. Now the focus turns to the Senate, where painful Republican amendments, restrictive rules and moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin lurk. It took Democrats six months, but they finally settled their internal disputes and moved compromise legislation through the House on Nov. 19. They’re now negotiating further changes for a final version that they hope by Christmas would win approval in the 50-50 Senate, where the Democrats will need all of their votes. House passage of the altered bill would also be needed.
Fed officials express resolve to address inflation risks
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve officials in discussions earlier this month said the central bank “would not hesitate” to take appropriate actions to address inflation pressures that posed risks to the economy. In minutes released Wednesday of the Fed’s Nov. 2-3 meeting, Fed officials maintained that the spike in inflation seen this year was still likely to be transitory while acknowledging that the rise in prices had been greater than expected. The minutes covered a meeting in which the Fed voted to take the first steps to roll back the massive support it has provided to the economy struggling to recover from a global pandemic.
US new homes sales rise 0.4% in October as prices climb
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. sales of new homes edged up 0.4% last month, coming in below expectations as housing prices continued to climb. The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that sales of new single-family homes rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 745,000 last month from 742,000 in September. Economists had expected October new home sales to come in at a 795,000 annual pace. And the September sales rate was revised sharply lower from 800,000 in Commerce’s original report. New home sales were down 23% from a year earlier.
Housing market trends fuel single-family home rental growth
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Homebuilders and other real estate companies are increasingly betting that would-be homebuyers frustrated with a shortage of homes for sale and runaway prices will settle for renting their slice of the American Dream. Homebuilders have stepped up construction this year of new houses being built for rent. In the third quarter, they broke ground on 16,000 single-family homes slated to become rentals — the highest quarterly total of housing starts for such homes going back to at least 1990, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Some of the nation’s biggest homebuilders, such as PulteGroup and D.R. Horton, are looking to take advantage of the trend.
Public nuisance laws in opioid cases give hope to both sides
CLEVELAND (AP) — Pharmacies have lost in a groundbreaking trial in Ohio over the toll of opioids, but there’s no assurance the results will hold up on appeal. Tuesday’s verdict was the first in a wave of opioid lawsuits involving pharmacies and the first to be decided by a jury. CVS, Walgreens and Walmart said they will appeal. The pharmacy case filed by two counties in Ohio centered on claims that the companies created public nuisances. The pharmacies say public nuisance laws don’t apply and find reason for optimism in two recent decisions that favored the opioid industry in California and Oklahoma.
Stocks edge higher after another choppy day on Wall Street
NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street capped another wobbly day of trading Wednesday with an uneven finish for the major stock indexes ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. The S&P 500 rose 0.2% after wavering between small gains and losses most of the morning. The benchmark index regained its footing in the final hour of trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped less than 0.1% after having been down 0.6% in the early going. The Nasdaq rose 0.4%, getting a lift from a late-afternoon rally in technology stocks.
The S&P 500 rose 10.76 points, or 0.2%, to 4,701.46. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 9.42 points, or less than 0.1%, to 35,804.38. The Nasdaq rose 70.09 points, or 0.4%, to 15,845.23. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 3.60 points, or 0.2%, to 2,331.46