Fed’s preferred inflation gauge shows a modest rise in latest sign of slowing price increases
WASHINGTON (AP) — An inflation gauge closely tracked by the Federal Reserve remained low last month, adding to signs of cooling price increases and raising the likelihood that the Fed will leave interest rates unchanged when it next meets in late September. Prices rose just 0.2% from June to July, the third straight modest increase. Compared with a year earlier, prices rose 3.3% in July, up from a 3% annual increase in June. The year-over-year figure, though, is down sharply from the 7% peak it reached a year ago, though still above the Fed’s 2% inflation target. It rose partly because of much smaller price increases a year ago.
Stock market today: Wall Street ends lower, closes out first losing month since February
Stocks gave up early gains and closed lower, a downbeat end to the market’s first losing month since February. The S&P 500 ended with a loss of 0.2%, breaking a four-day winning streak. The Dow fell 168 points, or 0.5%. The Nasdaq edged up 0.1%. Treasury yields fell. The government reported that the measure of inflation that’s closely tracked by the Federal Reserve remained low last month. That’s the latest sign that price increases are cooling. Investors are hoping the Fed may be close to done raising interest rates. Discount retailer Dollar General sank 12.2% after cutting its profit forecast for the year.
Food ads are in the crosshairs as Burger King, others face lawsuits for false advertising
NEW YORK (AP) — Food ads have long made their subjects look bigger, juicier and crispier than they are in real life. But some consumers say those mouthwatering ads can cross the line into deception, and that’s leading to a growing number of lawsuits. Burger King is the latest company in the crosshairs. In August, a federal judge in Florida refused to dismiss a class action lawsuit that claims Burger King’s ads overstate the amount of meat in its Whopper burger and other sandwiches. But Burger King is far from the only one. Perkins Coie, a law firm that tracks class action suits, said 214 were filed against food and beverage companies last year.
Microsoft to stop packaging Teams and Office software in Europe to head off EU antitrust action
LONDON (AP) — Microsoft will stop packaging its Teams videoconferencing app with its Office software in Europe in an effort to head off antitrust penalties by regulators. The U.S. tech company also said Thursday it would take steps to make it easier for competing products to work with its software. The announcement comes a month after the EU’s executive Commission opened a formal investigation over concerns that bundling Teams with Office gives it an unfair edge over competitors. The investigation was triggered by a complaint filed in 2020 by rival Slack Technologies, maker of popular workplace messaging software. The Commission said it was aware of the announced changes, but did not comment further.
US applications for jobless claims inch back down as companies hold on to their employees
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. applications for unemployment benefits fell slightly last week as businesses continue to retain employees in an economy that has largely withstood rapidly rising interest rates for more than a year. The number of Americans applying for jobless benefits last fell week by 4,000, to 228,000 the week ending August 26, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Jobless claim applications are seen as representative of the number of layoffs in a given week. Overall, 1.73 million people were collecting unemployment benefits the week that ended August 19, about 28,000 more than the previous week.
The average long-term US mortgage rate fell to 7.18% this week, easing from more than 20-year high
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The average long-term U.S. mortgage rate declined this week after climbing five consecutive weeks to a more than 20-year high, a modest relief for would-be homebuyers challenged by rising home prices and a thin inventory of homes on the market. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the benchmark 30-year home loan fell to 7.18% from 7.23% last week. A year ago, the rate averaged 5.66%. High rates can add hundreds of dollars a month in costs for borrowers, limiting how much they can afford in a market already unaffordable to many Americans.
Hyundai and LG will invest an additional $2B into making batteries at Georgia electric vehicle plant
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Hyundai and LG Energy Solution are spending an additional $2 billion and hiring an extra 400 workers to make batteries at the automaker’s sprawling U.S. electrical vehicle plant that’s under construction in Georgia. The announcement Thursday comes three months after the companies first announced a partnership to produce EV batteries for the vehicles Hyundai plans to begin manufacturing at the site west of Savannah in 2025. Expanding the plant’s battery-making operation brings the project’s total investment to more than $7.5 billion and its overall workforce to 8,500. Gov. Brian Kemp hailed the expansion announcement as part of a continuing effort to “make Georgia the e-mobility capital of the nation.”
Visual artists fight back against AI companies for repurposing their work
NEW YORK (AP) — Three visual artists are suing artificial intelligence image-generators to protect their copyrights and careers. A federal judge must soon decide whether to dismiss the case. The lawsuit may serve as an early bellwether of how hard it will be for all kinds of creators to stop AI developers from profiting off their work. The issue could affect Hollywood actors, novelists, musicians and computer programmers, among others. Two of the plaintiffs, Kelly McKernan and Karla Ortiz, say the case is essentially about preserving the human element of artistic creation — and protecting the livelihoods of artists.
White House asks Congress to pass short-term funding bill to keep government operating
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says Congress should pass a short-term funding measure to ensure the government keeps operating after the current budget year ends Sept. 30. An official with the Office of Management and Budget says lawmakers would very likely need to pass a temporary spending measure in September to prevent a potential partial shutdown. The official wasn’t authorized to discuss the administration’s plans and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Without such congressional approval, parts of the federal government could shut down when the new budget year begins Oct. 1. That would jeopardize federal programs on which millions of U.S. households rely.
Europe’s inflation held steady in August as European Central Bank keeps an open mind on rates
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — New numbers show annual inflation held steady in Europe in August. Food prices raced ahead of falling fuel costs, but there was no clarity about whether the European Central Bank can pause its record series of interest rate hikes. The consumer price index for the 20 countries that use the euro currency was unchanged at 5.3% from the July reading, Food, alcohol and tobacco prices increased a painful 9.8%. That’s according to official figures from EU statistics agency Eurostat. Another key inflation number, so-called core inflation, also eased in August. It fell to 5.3% from 5.5%. ___ The S&P 500 fell 7.21 points, or 0.2%, to 4,507.66. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 168.33 points, or 0.5%, to 34,721.91. The Nasdaq composite rose 15.66 points, or 0.1%, to 14,034.97. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies shed 3.54 points, or 0.2%, to 1,899.68.