Business Highlights

Powell and Mnuchin voice optimism but back more economic aid

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressed cautious optimism that the U.S. economy is rebounding from the pandemic-induced recession with federal support but that more help from the government is likely needed. Powell told the House Financial Services Committee that he believed the economy was “healing.” Mnuchin, the chief economic spokesman for the Trump administration, proclaimed that the country was in the “midst of the fastest economic recovery from any crisis in history” after the steepest plunge since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Striking a more cautious note, Powell noted that the job market has regained only about half the 22 million jobs that were lost in March and April.


As Europe faces 2nd wave of virus, tracing apps lack impact

LONDON (AP) — Mobile apps tracing new COVID cases were touted as a key part of Europe’s plan to beat the coronavirus outbreak. Seven months into the pandemic, virus cases are surging again and the apps have not been widely adopted due to privacy concerns, technical problems and lack of interest from the public. Britain, Portugal, and Finland this month became the latest to unveil smartphone apps that alert people if they’ve been near someone who turned out to be infected so they can seek treatment or isolate. But a few countries have scrapped their tracing apps already while others have found so few users that the technology is not very effective.


AP-NORC poll: Views of economy stabilize as election nears

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new poll finds that most Americans view the nation’s economic situation as bleak. But a rising percentage also see signs of stability six weeks before Election Day — if not reasons for optimism. The new survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 60% of Americans describe the national economy as poor and 40% deem it good. But only 28% say they expect things to get even worse in the year ahead, a slight improvement from the 35% who said so in July and a significant improvement from May, when 40% expected things to continue getting worse.


Facebook: Fake pages from China tried to disrupt US politics

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook says it has removed a small network of fake accounts and pages that originated in China and focused on disrupting political activity in the U.S. and several other countries. The U.S.-focused activity was the most limited and gained almost no following, Facebook said. The accounts posted material both in support of and against presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Facebook also removed a second network originating in the Philippines. The people behind the network tried to conceal their identities and location via virtual private networks and other methods.


Congress seeks to block goods from China over forced labor

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan bill aimed at keeping goods out of the U.S. that are made with the forced labor of detained ethnic minorities in China passed overwhelmingly Tuesday in the House of Representatives. That’s despite some concerns about the potential economic effects. The House voted 406-3 to declare that any goods produced in the vast Xinjiang region of northwestern China are presumptively made with the forced labor of detained Uighurs and other ethnic minorities, and therefore banned from being imported to the U.S. If enacted into law, it could have significant ripple effects in global trade.


Wall Street steadies itself, halting 4-day losing streak

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rebounded on Wall Street Tuesday, recovering some of their losses after tumbling on a raft of worries about the pandemic and governments’ response to it. The S&P 500 gained 1.1%, halting its first four-day losing streak since the market was selling off in February. Trading was erratic, though, and indexes swung from small gains to losses through the morning. The head of the Federal Reserve is pressing Congress for more aid to support the economy’s recovery amid concerns about the coronavirus’ lingering impact.


US homes sales rise 2.4% in August

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — Sales of existing homes rose 2.4% in August to its highest level since 2006 as the housing market continues to recover from a huge spring decline caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The National Association of Realtors said Tuesday that sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6 million homes sold last month. Overall sales are up 10.5% from a year ago. It’s the the third straight monthly gain for sales of existing homes following big declines in March, April and May. The median price for an existing single-family home reached $315,000 in August, up 11.7% from August 2019.