Top News & Analysis Washington DC

  • Sept 29- U.S. stocks were slightly lower in choppy trading on Thursday morning as oil prices pulled back and investors assessed a set of economic data and comments from Federal Reserve officials. Investors are awaiting Fed Chair Yellen's speech in Washington and will look for hints on the timing of the next interest rate hike. Kansas City Fed President and...

  • WASHINGTON— Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes in August, as a shortage of properties for sale is weighing on the market. The National Association of Realtors said Thursday its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index fell 2.4 percent last month to 108.5, its lowest reading since January. The number of signed contracts slumped sharply in the...

  • WASHINGTON— Long-term U.S. mortgage rates slipped this week to the lowest level since mid-July. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac says the average for a 30- year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 3.42 percent, lowest since mid-July and down from 3.48 percent last week. The benchmark rate is down from 3.85 percent a year ago and is close to its all-time low of 3.31 percent in...

  • WASHINGTON— The Supreme Court will hear a dispute over state laws that prohibit merchants from imposing fees on customers who use credit cards. The federal appeals court in New York upheld the state's law. The Atlanta- based court of appeals struck down Florida's version of the same law.

  • Sept 29- U.S. stocks looked set to open slightly lower as oil prices lost ground and investors assessed a set of economic data ahead of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's speech. Wall Street cut losses on Wednesday, ending the session higher as the oil rally boosted shares of energy companies. "I think you are going to get a tight-ranged choppy market," said Andre...

  • Sept 29- Wells Fargo& Co Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf returns to Capitol Hill on Thursday with his job under threat and the bank facing rising political pressure over a sales scandal that has become a major issue in Washington and on Wall Street. Stumpf will appear before the House Financial Services Committee, his second congressional appearance in...

  • WASHINGTON— The U.S. economy expanded at a slightly faster pace in the spring than previously reported, aided by new-found strength in business construction. The Commerce Department said Thursday the gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the economy, expanded at an annual pace of 1.4 percent in the April-June quarter. "Because this revision was...

  • WASHINGTON— More Americans sought unemployment benefits last week but the number of applications remained low, the latest sign that layoffs are scarce. THE NUMBERS: The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications for jobless aid rose 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 254,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, ticked down to 256,000,...

  • WASHINGTON— Slightly more people sought US unemployment aid last week, though layoffs remain low.

  • *Wall Street ended higher on Wednesday as the oil rally lifted shares of energy companies. *Yellen speaks on banking and the economy at 4:00 p.m. ET in Washington and her comments will be parsed for any hints on the future path of interest rates. *Fed Board Governor Jerome Powell and Kansas City Fed President Esther George, members who vote on interest rates, are...

  • When she openly blamed Russia for recent U.S. cyber break-ins, Donald Trump wondered whether to blame overseas governments or overweight hackers working from home. "She's saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don't— maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China, "Trump said during this week's presidential debate.

  • WASHINGTON— Lawmakers are venting outrage over high prescription drug costs, but if Congress is looking for culprits, it might want to look in the mirror. In the last 13 years, Congress passed major legislation that expanded taxpayer-financed coverage for prescription drugs but lacked explicit mechanisms for dealing with costs, instead relying mainly on...

  • In the popularity contest between Yellowstone's natural wonders and on-demand phone service, park administrators appear to have lost ground on a 2009 pledge to minimize cell phone access in backcountry areas. Signal coverage maps for two of Yellowstone's five cellphone towers show calls can now be received in large swaths of Yellowstone's interior, such...

  • WASHINGTON— Federal regulators have approved a first-of-a-kind "artificial pancreas," a device that can help some diabetes patients manage their disease by constantly monitoring their blood sugar and delivering insulin as needed. The device from Medtronic was approved Wednesday for patients with Type 1 diabetes, the kind usually diagnosed during...

  • Sept 29- Wells Fargo& Co's Chief Executive John Stumpf returns to Capitol Hill on Thursday with his job still under threat and the bank facing rising political pressure over a sales scandal that has become a major issue in Washington and on Wall Street. California, Wells Fargo's home state, suspended business relationships with the bank for a year on Wednesday...

  • NEW YORK, Sept 29- The Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan's actions last week have given a second wind to an alternative investment strategy that relies on cheap money and low market volatility to produce outsized returns. The funds had a rough 2015 when volatility spiked because of concerns about China's economy and tumbling oil prices, prompting investors to...

  • *Commodity currencies benefit from OPEC output cut deal. TOKYO, Sept 29- Commodity-linked currencies held firm on Thursday after OPEC agreed to cut oil output in the first such deal since 2008, boosting oil prices while a broad gain in risk assets dented the yen. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said it would reduce output to a range of...

  • Separate legislation was approved by the House of Representatives earlier in the day setting aid for Flint. It must now be reconciled with a somewhat different bill passed by the Senate. The Senate voted 72-26 earlier on Wednesday to adopt the short-term spending bill.

  • ST. LOUIS, Sept 28- Investors may be expecting a U.S. interest rate increase in December, but Federal Reserve policymakers remain divided over whether the economy is mired in a rut, strong enough to withstand an immediate hike or hovering somewhere in between. "The low interest rate environment is not just a U.S. phenomenon, or simply a situation engineered by...

  • THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 WASHINGTON- Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen participates in a conversation before the "Banking and the Economy: A Forum for Minority Bankers" conference hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City- 2110 GMT. ORLANDO, United States- Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart speaks before the 2016 Future of Florida...