US sanctions Iran-backed militia members in Iraq conducting strikes against American forces
The U.S. has imposed sanctions on six people affiliated with the Iranian-backed Iraqi militia Kataeb Hezbollah, which is accused of being behind a spate of recent attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria following the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas against Israel.
The average long-term US mortgage rate reaches highest point in nearly 23 years, hitting 7.31%
Home loan borrowing costs climbed again this week, pushing the average long-term U.S. mortgage rate to its highest level in nearly 23 years, another blow to prospective homebuyers facing an increasingly less affordable housing market.
US hits North Korean and Russian accused of supporting North Korea's ballistics missile program
In response to North Korea’s failed launch of a spy satellite last week, the U.S. has imposed sanctions on two men and a Moscow-registered firm accused of supporting North Korea’s ballistic missile program.
US sanctions Russian operatives accused in the poisoning of Putin critic Alexei Navalny
The U.S. has imposed sanctions and visa restrictions on four Russian intelligence operatives accused of direct involvement in the 2020 poisoning of Alexei Navalny, a Russian politician and corruption investigator who is one of President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics.
Stock market today: Asian shares mostly decline after Wall Street drop on higher bond yields
Asian shares have slipped as rising yields in the bond market on Wall Street set off expectations that high interest rates would continue in the U.S. Benchmarks fell in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Seoul, while rising slightly in Sydney.
Public funding for King Charles III and royals has been recalculated due to windfarm deal profits
The U.K. Treasury says the amount of public funding for King Charles III and the royal family’s official duties has been recalculated for next year because of an unexpected profit boost from offshore wind farms on the monarch’s Crown Estate.
Debt ceiling talks stuck on classic problem: Republicans demand spending cuts and Democrats resist
Debt ceiling negotiations are locked on a classic problem that has vexed Washington before: Republicans led by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy want to roll back federal government spending, while President Joe Biden and other Democrats do not.
Treasury's Yellen says US could default as soon as June 1
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has notified Congress that the U.S. could default on its debt as early as June 1, if legislators do not raise or suspend the nation’s borrowing authority before then and avert what could potentially become a global financial crisis.
More sanctions for deadly fentanyl if bill wins passage
Over the course of a year, the U.S. Treasury Department has used the hammer of its sanctions powers to impose wide-ranging financial restrictions on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine, turning Russia into the most sanctioned country in the world.
US sanction officials plan missions to clamp down on Russia
Top sanctions officials from the U.S. Treasury Department are set to make a series of international trips as part of a new campaign to pressure firms and countries that continue to do business with the Kremlin to cut off financial ties because of Russia's war on Ukraine.
Average 30-year mortgage rate dips as spring season opens
The average long-term U.S. mortgage rate dipped for the fourth straight week, a good sign for potential home buyers and a real estate market that has been mostly cold since the Federal Reserve began raising interest rates more than a year ago.
Mortgage rates' rise has led to wide gap with US bond yields
Economists are baffled by a wider-than-usual divergence between long-term mortgage rates and the yield on the benchmark U.S. government bond that is driving a sharp rise in borrowing costs and helping to torpedo the U.S. housing market this year.
Bank of England fails to reassure markets after pound plunge
The Bank of England has sought to reassure financial markets after the British pound touched an all-time low against the U.S. dollar, but its entreaty has fallen flat for investors concerned about the government's sweeping package of tax cuts.
Asian shares mixed on China rebound, pandemic worries
Asian shares were mixed Wednesday as data showed a strong economic recovery in China but worries lingered about the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)TOKYO – Asian shares were mixed Wednesday as pointed to a strong economic recovery in China but worries lingered about the coronavirus pandemic. A survey released Wednesday shows China’s factory activity rebounded in March from a three-month slowdown as export orders rose. U.S. stock indexes fell as another swell higher for Treasury yields pressured big technology stocks. AdHealth care stocks also dragged shares lower, outweighing gains by banks, industrial stocks and companies that rely on consumer spending.
US jobless claims fall to 684,000, fewest since pandemic
The number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell sharply last week to 684,000, the fewest since the pandemic erupted a year ago and a sign the economy is improving. Thursday’s report from the Labor Department showed that jobless claims fell from 781,000 the week before. All told, the number of applicants fell below 1 million for the first time since the pandemic. AdNationally, though, the number of recipients in an extended federal jobless benefits program jumped by 730,000 to 5.5 million. Historically, the weekly unemployment claims figure has been considered an accurate reflection of the pace of layoffs.
Yellen, Powell say more needed to limit US economic damage
Yellen and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell say more needs to be done to limit the damage from the coronavirus pandemic and promote a full economic recovery. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)WASHINGTON – Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told Congress on Tuesday that more must be done to limit the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic. Powell also reiterated that he does not expect programs aimed at reviving the economy will trigger unwanted inflation. Yellen said the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan held out the prospect of returning the country to full employment next year. AdYellen on Tuesday pledged a rapid rollout from the Treasury of the new relief plan.
Fed to end relaxed capital requirements for large banks
The Federal Reserve says it will restore capital requirements for large banks that were relaxed as part of the Feds efforts to shore up the financial system during the early days of the pandemic. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve says it will restore capital requirements for large banks that were relaxed as part of the Fed’s efforts to shore up the financial system during the early days of the pandemic. But the SLR, unlike other bank capital requirements, doesn't take risk into account. Bank lobbyists argue that without an extension of the exemption, large banks will be less likely to hold Treasury securities. “We are also confident that the thousands of community banks that are not subject to the SLR requirements would be happy to accept deposits that large banks may reject,” they said.
Powell: Higher inflation temporary, no rate hikes in sight
His message of wait-and-see patience caused bond yields to jump and stocks to fall further, signaling that investors foresee stronger growth and higher inflation on the horizon. Higher yields on government bonds can entice some investors to sell stocks and buy Treasurys instead, thereby forcing stock prices down. "It was looking for more assurance, for example, that the Fed might take action.”The surge in Treasury bond yields has also forced up mortgage rates. Higher inflation is unlikely to persist, Powell said, because most consumers and businesses expect mild prices gains, and therefore will keep their prices and wage demands in check. The Fed has previously signaled that it intends to keep its rate near zero through at least 2023.
Shares slip in Asia after bond yield spike hits Wall St
Stocks are moving modestly higher in early trading on Wall Street as investors cautiously welcome signs of calm in the bond market. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)Asian shares slipped Friday after surging U.S. bond yields renewed pressure on high-flying technology companies. Powell did not indicate the Fed might seek to rein in rising bond yields, which tend to draw money out of stocks into less risky bonds. Small-company stocks fell even more. Bank stocks, in contrast, tend to do better when bond yields are rising because higher yields mean banks can charge higher rates on mortgages and other loans.
Asian shares track Wall St decline as bond yields rebound
Asian shares fell Thursday, tracking a decline on Wall Street as another rise in bond yields rattled investors who worry that higher inflation may prompt central banks to raise ultra-low interest rates. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)BANGKOK – Asian shares fell Thursday, tracking a decline on Wall Street as another rise in bond yields rattled investors who worry that higher inflation may prompt central banks to raise ultra-low interest rates. Shares have yoyo'd recently with fluctuations in bond yields. When yields rise quickly, as they have in recent weeks, it forces Wall Street to rethink the value of stocks. U.S. government bond yields rose Wednesday after easing a day earlier.
Asian shares advance despite Wall Street retreat
Stocks advanced in Asia on Wednesday after a wobbly day on Wall Street, when the S&P 500 gave back most of its gains from a day earlier. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)BEIJING – Stocks advanced in Asia on Wednesday after a wobbly day on Wall Street, when the S&P 500 gave back most of its gains from a day earlier. Investors have taken heart from an easing in bond prices that has alleviated worries over possible interest rate hikes. But expectations for stronger economic growth in coming months continue to fuel worries that interest rates will head higher. Higher interest rates force investors to rethink how much they’re willing to pay for stocks, making each $1 of profit that companies earn a little less valuable.
Asian shares mostly gain after Biden speaks with China's Xi
FILE - A street sign is displayed at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)BEIJING – Major Asian stock indexes were mostly higher on Thursday after President Joe Biden held his first conversation with Chinese leader Xi Jinping since taking office. In their phone conversation, Biden and Xi appeared to have struck a conciliatory tone, Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary. Shares in Aphria and Tilray, Canadian companies that agreed to combine in December, also rose. The stocks are also benefiting from optimism that industry friendly legislation measures could become law under the Biden administration.
Yellen's nomination as treasury secretary advances in Senate
President-elect Joe Biden announced Yellen as his nominee for Treasury Secretary. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)WASHINGTON – The Senate Finance Committee approved President Joe Biden’s nomination of Janet Yellen to be the nation’s 78th treasury secretary on Friday, setting up a final vote that would make her the first woman to hold the job. The Finance Committee approved her nomination on a 26-0 vote. Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the incoming chair of the Finance Committee, said he hoped to get Yellen's nomination approved by the full Senate later Friday, but the vote was not scheduled. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told Yellen that Biden’s plan represented a “laundry list of liberal structural economic reforms.”As treasury secretary, Yellen, 74, would occupy a pivotal role in shaping and directing Biden’s economic policies.
Yellen's Senate confirmation hearing set for Jan. 19
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)WASHINGTON – The Senate Finance Committee announced Tuesday that it will hold a confirmation hearing for Treasury Secretary-nominee Janet Yellen on Jan. 19. The timing for the hearing will mean that Yellen will appear before a panel still controlled by Republicans. Democrats will not take over control of the Senate until Jan. 20 after President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are sworn into office. With the election to the Senate of two Democrats from Georgia last week, the Senate will be split 50-50. Biden is hoping to get Yellen's nomination through the Senate quickly so that she will be able to help win congressional passage of another COVID-19 relief package.
Asian stocks mixed after Wall St rebounds from uncertainty
In this photo provided by the New York Stock Exchange, traders Edward MacCarthy, left, and Robert Charmak work on the trading floor, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. (Colin Ziemer/New York Stock Exchange via AP)BEIJING – Asian stock markets were mixed Wednesday after Wall Street rebounded, shrugging off uncertainty about a possible new attempt to impeach President Donald Trump over last week's attack on the U.S. Capitol. On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index gained less than 0.1%, recovering from the previous day's decline. On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose to 3,801.19. In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 61 cents to $53.82 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Asian shares track Wall St rally on hopes for stimulus
Shares rose in Asia on Thursday after Wall Street rallied on expectations of more stimulus for the economy, despite chaotic scenes in Washington as Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. India's Sensex rose 0.6% and shares in most other markets were higher. Overnight, the S&P 500 rose 0.6% to 3,748.14. Financial stocks rose 4.4% for the biggest gain among the 11 sectors that make up the S&P 500. Several Big Tech stocks fell, including a 3.4% drop for Apple and a 2.8% decline for Facebook.
US agencies hacked in monthslong global cyberspying campaign
The threat apparently came from the same cyberespionage campaign that has afflicted FireEye, foreign governments and major corporations, and the FBI was investigating. FireEye’s customers include federal, state and local governments and top global corporations. Cybersecurity experts said last week that they considered Russian state hackers to be the main suspect in the FireEye hack. Federal government agencies have long been attractive targets for foreign hackers. “I suspect that there’s a number of other (federal) agencies we’re going to hear from this week that have also been hit,” Williams added.
The Latest: Biden inaugural committee limits donors to $500K
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)WASHINGTON – The Latest on President-elect Joe Biden (all times local):2:10 p.m. The committee raising money for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration will take contributions from individual donors of as much as $500,000 and from corporations of as much as $1 million. The contribution limits for Biden are far lower than those of President Donald Trump in 2017. Neera Tanden would help prepare Biden’s federal budgets as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. Biden also introduced Neera Tanden as his choice to run the White House budget office.
US hits Iran with new sanctions as Pompeo defends strategy
(Menahem Kahana/Pool via AP)WASHINGTON – The United States hit Iran with new sanctions on Wednesday, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the case that undoing the actions of the Trump administration would be foolish and dangerous. At the same time, Pompeo released a statement titled “The Importance of Sanctions on Iran,” which argued that the Trump administration's moves against Iran made the world safer and should not be reversed. But they come as the administration seeks to ramp up pressure on Iran before President-elect Joe Biden takes office. In an apparent nod to the incoming Biden administration's stated plans to rejoin or renegotiated the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that Trump withdrew from, Pompeo said sanctions imposed against Iran had been “extraordinarily effective" in reducing the threat from the country. “These sanctions are a critical tool of national security to preserve the safety of the region and to protect American lives.”
US futures, Asia markets rise as investors eye US election
BEIJING – U.S. futures rose and Asia markets posted gains as investors worldwide await the results from the U.S. presidential election. Dow futures were up 0.6% and the S&P 500 futures rose 1.6% as of 10:25 p.m. Eastern time after falling earlier as election returns began coming in. The gain in the futures follow a strong performance in regular trading on Wall Street. What investors fear is the prospect of a contested election, one that drags on and injects even more uncertainty into markets. The moves in global markets follow a solid finish for stocks on Wall Street Tuesday.
Asian shares slip after Wall St's worst day in a month
A woman walks past a bank's electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index at Hong Kong Stock Exchange Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Shares skidded in Asia on Tuesday after surging coronavirus cases and waning hopes for U.S. economic stimulus gave Wall Street its worst day in a month. Stock benchmarks fell in Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Sydney. This upcoming week is the busiest of this quarter's earnings season, with more than a third of the companies in the S&P 500 index scheduled to report. Still, by Friday, 84% of S&P 500 companies had reported better results than analysts had forecast, according to FactSet.
Mnuchin and Powell back jobless aid and small business loans
Mnuchin agreed that business loans and enhanced unemployment support would be good priorities for Congress to back in any new package. Pressed to state what the top priorities should be, Powell cited providing more support through the popular Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses and boosting unemployment benefits. The original relief package provided a $600-a-week federal unemployment benefit, on top of whatever jobless aid a state provides. Powell repeated his view that providing more support was essential to keep the economy on a sustained upturn. Mnuchin was pressed by some senators to further simplify government forms that businesses need to provide to qualify for having their Paycheck Protection Program loans forgiven.
Michigan women seek $27M refund from state in tampon tax lawsuit
Michigan currently imposes a 0.06% sales tax on most goods, including menstrual products. In administering and enforcing the (tampon tax), the (state Treasury) maintains a tax on women.The lawsuit comes as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to negatively financially impact Americans -- particularly, and disproportionately, Michigan women, the plaintiffs argue. According to the complaint, Michigan women comprised 49 percent of the U.S. workforce but accounted for 55 percent of job losses in April amid the pandemic. A bill was introduced to the Michigan Legislature in 2016 regarding ending the tampon tax, but no real change came of it. Some states, including Montana, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania no longer tax menstrual products.
UK Treasury chief warns of depth of recession
But it could cost the Treasury as much as 9.4 billion pounds, and critics are wondering whether it makes sense. Though he acknowledged he couldn't save every job, Sunak told the BBC he was "throwing everything,' he could at stemming the losses. We are entering one of the most severe recessions this country has ever seen, Sunak told the BBC. The government hopes employers will help get the country back on track during a severe downturn - in March and April alone, the U.K. economy shrank 25%. Many economists think unemployment could more than double to over 3 million this year, to levels last seen in the 1980s.
Michigan bottle return facilities to resume operations by June 15
LANSING, Mich. – On Monday, Treasury issued a Notice Regarding Phased Reestablishment of Michigan’s Bottle Deposit Return Program. UPDATE: Michigan stores can start accepting bottle, can returns immediatelyBy June 15, retailers must reopen their bottle return facilities and resume the collection of returnable beverage containers and refund of customer bottle deposits. Retailers reopening their bottle return facilities must ensure those facilities comply with all state-mandated safety protocols and restrictions, including the most recent state-mandated safeguards to protect workers. Establish special or limited hours of operation for bottle return facilities. Periodically close bottle deposit facilities as needed for cleaning and supply management.