NEW YORK (AP) – Stock indexes are down slightly in afternoon trading on Wall Street as health care stocks and home builders temper a sharp slide from technology companies. A potential settlement in the opioid epidemic involving some of the nation’s largest drug distributors has lifted the broader health care sector. Home builders benefited from a surprisingly good survey on sales. Bank of America rose after beating Wall Street’s third-quarter profit forecasts. General Motors rose after the automaker and the United Auto Workers reached a tentative deal to end a month-long strike.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve says the U.S. economy was expanding at a modest pace in September and into October despite the fact manufacturing was being hurt by rising trade tensions and weaker global growth while adverse weather was affecting farmers. In its latest assessment of business conditions around the country, the Fed reported that “persistent trade tensions and slower global growth” were weighing on the economy. The survey, known as the Beige Book, will be used by Fed officials when they meet Oct. 29-30 to decide whether to cut interest rates for a third time this year.
DETROIT (AP) – Many workers who are on strike against General Motors say they’re ready to go back to work now that their union has agreed to a tentative four-year contract with the company. One worker at the GM transmission plant in Toledo, Ohio, says his savings are running low. He thought the strike would only last a week or two. The United Auto Workers union announced today that it has reached a deal that could end the month-long strike. Workers will stay on the picket lines at least until Thursday, when factory-level union officials meet to sign off on the deal. It also has to be ratified by the union’s 49,000 members at GM.
DETROIT (AP) – The government’s highway safety agency says it plans a significant update to its automobile crash test ratings next year, and it will look at including new technology to make roads safer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it will study new test procedures and updates to its star rating system for automobiles, as well as technology that will better protect pedestrians and bicyclists. The announcement comes a day before a road safety advocacy group plans a press conference to call on the agency to update the safety tests. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety say the U.S. pioneered the ratings but they haven’t kept pace with new technology and have fallen behind other countries.
MERRILLVILLE, Ind. (AP) – An Indiana hospital system is warning more than 68,000 patients that their personal information, including Social Security numbers and health records, may have been exposed during a data breach. The Northwest Indiana Times reports that Methodist Hospitals has been mailing letters to patients detailing the steps they can take to safeguard themselves against possible fraud. Methodist says in it was alerted about questionable activity on a staffer’s email account in June and that it learned in August that two employees had fallen victim to an email phishing scam in which an unauthorized user got access to their accounts.