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Stocks move higher…Fed sees rates near zero through 2023

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock indexes are moving higher in afternoon trading on Wall Street, though the Nasdaq is up just slightly. Package delivery giant FedEx is helping to lead the way after the boom in online shopping during the pandemic drove stronger profit growth than expected in its latest quarter. Treasury yields fell after a report showed U.S. retail sales rose less last month than expected.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve is adjusting its inflation target to seek price increases above 2% annually. Today’s move will likely keep interest rates low for years to come. The change reflects a growing concern at the Fed that in recessions, inflation often falls far below 2%, but it doesn’t necessarily reach 2% when the economy is expanding. The Fed is also leaving its benchmark short-term rate unchanged at nearly zero, where it has been since the pandemic intensified in March. Fed officials also indicated that they expect the rate to stay there at least through 2023. That interest rate in turn influences borrowing costs for homebuyers, credit card users, and businesses.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal watchdog has found that companies seeking relief from President Donald Trump’s taxes on imported steel and aluminum ran into long delays and cumbersome paperwork. The U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that the Commerce Department, overwhelmed by companies lobbying to avoid the tariffs, could not meet its own deadline for processing around three-fourths of the requests. And Commerce rejected nearly a fifth of the applications before weighing the merits of the appeal because the paperwork was incomplete or included errors.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department has charged five Chinese citizens with hacks targeting more than 100 companies and institutions in the United States and abroad, including social media and video game companies as well as universities and telecommunications providers. The five defendants remain fugitives, but prosecutors say two Malaysian businessmen accused of conspiring with the alleged hackers to profit off the attacks on video game companies were arrested in that country this week and face extradition proceedings. The indictments announced Wednesday are part of a broader effort by the Trump administration to call out cybercrimes by China.

NEW YORK (AP) — A lot of people look forward to Halloween, but this year is shaping up to be vastly different. An association for haunted attractions estimates half among 800 or so of its members won’t open. Parents and governments are weighing whether door-to-door trick-or-treating can safely happen. Block parties, festivals and parades are off around the United States. But one big winner may just be the candy industry. U.S. sales of Halloween-themed chocolate and candy were up 70% over 2019 in the four weeks ending Aug. 9. Ferrara Candy Co., which makes Brach’s Candy Corn, said most retail partners asked for early shipments of Halloween candy because of expected demand.

Associated Press

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