Business Highlights: Fed chair hints at rate hike pause; Talks to avoid US default at standstill

___ Federal Reserve Chair Powell hints at a pause in rate hikes when central bank meets next month

WASHINGTON (AP) — Chair Jerome Powell indicated that the Federal Reserve will likely forgo an increase in its benchmark interest rate when it meets in June for the first time since it began raising its key rate 14 months ago to fight high inflation. In signaling so, Powell provided some clarity about the Fed’s likely next policy move after a cacophony of speeches this week by central bank officials had clouded the picture. “Having come this far, we can afford to look at the data and the evolving outlook and make careful assessments,” Powell said, referring to the Fed’s 10 straight rate hikes.


Debt limit talks in standstill as Republicans, White House face ‘real differences’

WASHINGTON (AP) — Debt limit talks came to an abrupt standstill after Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said it’s time to “pause” negotiations. A White House official acknowledged there are “real differences” that are making talks difficult. Wall Street markets were down Friday amid the developments. It’s not clear when the talks will resume. Biden’s administration is racing to strike a deal with Republicans as the nation careens toward a potentially catastrophic debt default if the nation fails to pay its bills. McCarthy says it’s an “easy” problem to resolve by cutting government spending.


4th death, more vision loss cases linked to tainted eyedrops

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. health officials are reporting another death and several more cases of vision loss linked to eyedrops tainted with a drug-resistant bacteria. The government says 81 people have now been diagnosed with infections from the bacteria. There have been four deaths and 14 cases of people losing vision. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated the case counts on Friday. The outbreak is considered particularly worrisome because the bacteria driving it is resistant to standard antibiotics.


Detroit enclave built on auto industry struggles under $20M water debt

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. (AP) — A small enclave of Detroit is considering municipal bankruptcy to help rid itself of a decades-old water debt that has grown to about $20 million and threatens to swamp the already financially struggling city. Highland Park and the Great Lakes Water Authority are in court-ordered mediation over how the debt will be paid. It’s a hit in the decline of Highland Park, which was built a century ago on the strength of the area’s auto industry and had more than 50,000 residents in 1930. Now, fewer than 9,000 people live in the city, which only expects about $12 million in revenue for the coming fiscal year.


San Francisco officials are investigating if Elon Musk’s ‘Twitter Hotel’ plan broke laws

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco officials are investigating Twitter. Six former employees allege that owner Elon Musk’s leadership team broke laws in turning the company’s headquarters into a “Twitter Hotel” for workers who were pushed to stay up late to transform the social media platform. The San Francisco Department of Building Inspection says it has opened a new complaint and will be conducting an investigation into the allegations. That’s after the ex-employees alleged in a lawsuit filed in a Delaware court that Twitter didn’t pay them promised severance and violated numerous building codes.


More than 30 million US drivers don’t know if they’re at risk from a rare but dangerous airbag blast

DETROIT (AP) — More than 33 million people in the United States are driving vehicles that contain a potentially deadly threat: Airbag inflators that in rare cases can explode in a collision and spew shrapnel. Few of them know it. And because of a dispute between federal safety regulators and an airbag parts manufacturer, they aren’t likely to find out anytime soon. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is demanding that the manufacturer, ARC Automotive of Knoxville, Tennessee, recall 67 million inflators that could explode with such force as to blow apart a metal canister and expel shrapnel. But ARC is refusing to do so, setting up a possible court fight with the agency.


Most favor pairing debt limit rise with deficit cuts, but few following debate closely: AP-NORC poll

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new poll finds that most U.S. adults say they are highly concerned about how the nation’s economy would be affected if the debt limit isn’t increased and the government can’t pay its debts. That’s according to a survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The poll shows 6 in 10 adults say they want any increase in the debt limit to be coupled with agreed-upon terms for reducing the federal budget deficit. At the same time, Americans are more likely to disapprove than approve of how President Joe Biden and congressional negotiators in both political parties are handling negotiations.


Kia, Hyundai settle class-action lawsuit after a rash of thefts due to security flaw

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hyundai Motor America and Kia America say they have reached a settlement to resolve a class-action lawsuit prompted by a surge in vehicle thefts. The companies say the settlement could be valued at $200 million and covers about 9 million 2011-2022 model year Hyundai and Kia vehicles in the U.S. The cars are not equipped with push-button ignitions and immobilizing anti-theft devices. That has allowed thieves to easily steal them using just a screwdriver and a USB cord, creating a recent rash of auto thefts across the country. The total settlement amount will depend on how many customers participate.


TikTok content creators file lawsuit against Montana over first-in-nation law banning app

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Five TikTok content creators have filed a lawsuit to overturn a planned ban on the video sharing app in Montana. They argued in a legal complaint filed in federal court in Missoula on Wednesday that the law is an unconstitutional violation of free speech rights. They also say the state doesn’t have authority over matters of national security. Republican Governor Greg Gianforte signed the bill into law Wednesday and said it would protect Montana residents’ private data and personal information from being harvested by the Chinese government. The ban is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2024.


Disney World’s “Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser” hotel to close

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — No more premium stay in a galaxy far, far away: Disney World’s “Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser” hotel is making its last voyage at the end of September. The hotel in Florida opened in March 2022 and lets guests create and live out “Star Wars” immersive adventures. It costs nearly $5,000 per couple for a two-night stay. The company says its “premium, boutique experience” gave it the the chance to try new things on a smaller scale and that it will take what it’s learned to “create future experiences that can reach more of our guests and fans.”


The S&P 500 fell 6.07 points, or 0.1%, to 4,191.98. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 109.28 points, or 0.3%, to 33,426.63. The Nasdaq composite fell 30.94 points, or 0.2% to 12,657.90. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 11.14 points, or 0.6%, to 1,773.72.

Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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