AP Business SummaryBrief at 12:08 a.m. EDT

Powell: Rate hikes may slow, but inflation fight hardly over

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell sought to strike a delicate balance at a moment when high inflation is bedeviling the nation’s economy and commanding a central role in the midterm elections. Powell suggested that the Fed may decide in coming months to slow its aggressive interest rate increases. Yet he also made clear that the Fed isn’t even close to declaring victory in its fight to curb an inflation rate that is near four-decade highs. The Fed pumped up its key rate by a substantial three-quarters of a point for a fourth straight time. It was the sixth rate hike this year — a streak that has made mortgages and other consumer and business loans increasingly expensive.

Asia stocks fall after Fed says more US rate hikes likely

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets have sunk after the Federal Reserve added to fears of a possible recession by saying it wasn’t finished raising U.S. interest rates to cool inflation. Hong Kong’s benchmark lost 3.1%. Shanghai, Seoul and Sydney also followed Wall Street lower after the Fed raised its key short-term lending rate to the highest level in 15 years. Oil prices declined while the euro stayed below 99 cents. Fed Chair Jerome Powell reinforced expectations of more rate hikes, saying “we have a ways to go.” He said it would be “very premature” to consider pausing. Economists at ING said “recession risks are rising” but the Fed is ready to tolerate that to get inflation under control.

How steep fed rate hikes affect your finances

NEW YORK (AP) — Mortgage rates continue to jump, home sales slump and credit cards and auto loans increase. Savings rates are slightly juicier, though.As the Federal Reserve rapidly increases interest rates, many economists say they fear that a recession remains inevitable in the coming months — and with it, job losses that could cause hardship for households already hurt worst by inflation.Wednesday, the Federal Reserve is expected to raise its key short-term rate by three-quarters of a point for a fourth straight time, even as its previous rate increases are being felt by households at all income levels.

USDA says more than $200M will help meat processors expand

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Agriculture Department has announced more than $223 million in grants and loans to help small- and mid-sized meat processing plants expand. It’s part of a larger $1 billion effort to boost competition in the highly concentrated industry. The effort is expected to increase cattle and pig slaughter capacity by more than 500,000 head a year. It will also help poultry plants process nearly 34 million more birds while adding more than 1,100 jobs, mostly in rural areas where the plants are located. The Biden administration wants to add meat-processing capacity to give farmers and ranchers more options where they can sell their animals, while hopefully reducing prices for consumers by increasing competition.

Musk: People banned from Twitter won’t be restored for weeks

NEW YORK (AP) — Elon Musk says Twitter will not allow anyone who has been kicked off the site to return until it sets up procedures on how to do that — a process that will take at least a few weeks. That would mean people banned from the site for violating Twitters rules for harassment, violence, or election and COVID-related misinformation will not be able to return before next Tuesday’s U.S. midterm elections. The pledge came after Musk met with a handful of civil-society leaders Tuesday. Meeting attendees said they asked Musk not to restore the accounts of banned users before the midterm. They also requested Twitter to have a transparent process on how it plans to restore accounts and enforce election integrity measures are already in place.

CBS, Moonves must pay $30.5 million for insider trading

NEW YORK (AP) — CBS and its former president, Leslie Moonves, will pay $30.5 million as part of an agreement with the New York attorney general’s office, which says the network’s executives conspired with a Los Angeles police captain to conceal sexual assault allegations against Moonves. The broadcast giant is required to pay $22 million to shareholders and another $6 million for sexual harassment and assault programs. Moonves will have to pay $2.5 million, all of which will benefit stockholders who the New York attorney general said were kept in the dark because network executives concealed the allegations.

CVS, Walgreens announce opioid settlements totaling $10B

CVS and Walgreens have agreed in principle to pay a total of about $10 billion to settle lawsuits over the toll of powerful prescription opioids. A lawyer for local governments also said Wednesday that settlement talks continue with Walmart. The developments involving the nation’s largest pharmacy chains could amount to the last huge settlements announced in years of litigation between government entities and drugmakers, distributors and pharmacies over opioids. Governments say pharmacies were filling prescriptions they should have flagged as inappropriate. Opioids have been linked to more than 500,000 deaths in the U.S. over two decades, and the crisis is intensifying.

Biden spending $4.5 billion to help lower home heating costs

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is making $4.5 billion available through a low-income home energy assistance program to help lower heating costs heading into what is expected to be a brutal winter. The White House says the money will help more than 5 million families pay heating and utility bills and can be used to make home energy repairs. The Energy Department also says will begin allocating $9 billion over the next 10 years for a program aimed at supporting energy upgrades to 1.6 million households. Vice President Kamala Harris highlighted energy programs at an event Wednesday in Boston.

FAA mandates seaplane inspections after Puget Sound crash

SEATTLE (AP) — Federal regulators have ordered seaplanes like the one that went down in Washington’s Puget Sound in September be inspected for a flaw that likely caused the deadly crash. The Seattle Times reports that the Federal Aviation Administration’s Wednesday airworthiness directive mandates that operators of all the DHC-3 Otter seaplanes in the United States examine the stabilizer to confirm the condition of an actuator piece missing from the Friday Harbor Seaplanes aircraft that fell into the water near Whidbey Island. Ten people were killed in the Sept. 4 crash. The directive says operators must confirm that the stabilizer actuator lock ring is correctly installed and report back to the FAA by Dec. 19. The order does not ground the aircraft.

Medical marijuana firms lead donors for legal weed campaigns

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Donors associated with companies holding medical marijuana licenses are providing most of the funding for ballot measures that would legalize recreational marijuana in several states. An analysis of campaign finance data by The Associated Press shows that marijuana legalization campaigns have raised about $23 million in Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota. Entities associated with the existing marijuana industry have provided the bulk of the money in every state except North Dakota, where a national cannabis advocacy group is the top donor. The New Approach advocacy group also is the main backer of a Colorado initiative to legalize psychedelic mushrooms.

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