Stocks in holding pattern ahead of Fed decision
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are moving between small gains and losses in early trading on Wall Street as investors wait to hear from the Federal Reserve on issues related to economy and inflation. The S&P 500 index was down less than 0.1%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.1% and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.3%. The Federal Reserve will end a two-day policy meeting later in the day. While investors do not expect the nation’s central bank to increase interest rates from their near-zero levels, most are looking for some sort of guidance from the Fed on inflation.
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. home construction rose 3.6% in May as builders battled a surge in lumber prices that have made homes more expensive. The Commerce Department says the May increase left construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.57 million units. Applications for building permits, considered a sign of future activity, fell 3% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.68 million units. Housing has been one of the standout performers during the pandemic-triggered recession.
DETROIT (AP) – General Motors will raise its spending on electric and autonomous vehicles and add two U.S. battery factories as it gambles that consumers will eagerly switch from gasoline to the new technology. The announcements today came as crosstown rival Ford said its entire Lincoln luxury brand lineup would be electric or gas-electric hybrid by 2030, including four fully electric vehicles. GM wouldn’t give details about where it will build the new plants, but Chief Financial Officer Paul Jacobson said they would be similar in size to two factories now under construction in Lordstown, Ohio, and Spring Hill, Tennessee. Those factories each will employ more than 1,000 workers and cost about $2.3 billion.
BRUSSELS (AP) – The European Union is recommending that member countries start lifting restrictions on tourists from the United States. EU members agreed Wednesday to add the U.S. to the list of countries in whose cases restrictions on non-essential travel should be lifted. The move was adopted during a meeting in Brussels of permanent representatives to the 27-nation bloc. The recommendation is non-binding, and national governments have authority to require test results or vaccination records and to set other entry conditions. In addition to the U.S., the representatives of EU nations also added North Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Lebanon and Taiwan to the tourist travel list.
LISBON, Portugal (AP) – European Union authorities are moving a step closer to deploying the bloc’s massive pandemic recovery fund. The president of the 27-nation bloc’s executive commission has started a tour of EU capitals to announce the initial endorsement of national recovery spending plans. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen arrived Wednesday in Portugal. The country was the first EU member to formally present ideas for spending its share of the more than $900 billion earmarked to help the bloc out of a sharp economic downturn caused by COVID-19. The money is to be distributed in the form of grants and credit. Final approval for EU countries’ spending plans is still weeks away.