Business Briefs – August 14, 2017

Top Fed Official Tells AP: Bond Portfolio Could Shrink Soon

NEW YORK (AP) — A top Federal Reserve official is suggesting that the Fed will likely announce next month that it will begin paring its bond portfolio, a step that could lead to slightly higher rates on mortgages and other long-term loans. In an interview with The Associated Press, William Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said he thinks the Fed has adequately prepared investors for a reduction in the portfolio, which swelled after the 2008 financial crisis as the Fed bought bonds to reduce long-term rates. With the economy now much healthier, the Fed is ready to begin trimming its bond holdings.

Trump Attacks Exec for Quitting Council Over Charlottesville

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — President Donald Trump lashed out on Twitter at the CEO of the nation’s third-largest pharmaceutical company after he resigned from a federal advisory council. Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier, one of the few African Americans heading a Fortune 500 company, cited Trump’s failure to explicitly rebuke the white nationalists who marched in Charlottesville, Virginia.

 

One-Fifth of Americans Find Workplace Hostile or Threatening

WASHINGTON (AP) — The American workplace is grueling, stressful and surprisingly hostile. So finds an in-depth study of 3,066 U.S. workers by the Rand Corp., Harvard Medical School and the University of California, Los Angeles. Nearly one in five workers — a share the study calls “disturbingly high” — says they face a hostile or threatening environment at work, which can include harassment and bullying. Workers who have to face customers endure a disproportionate share of abuse.

New Life for Medicaid After GOP’s Health Care Debacle

WASHINGTON (AP) — It doesn’t equal Social Security and Medicare as a “third rail” program that politicians touch at their own risk, but Medicaid has gotten new life after the Republican failure to pass health overhaul legislation. The 1960s Great Society creation has long been criticized by conservatives. GOP bills would have rolled back former President Barack Obama’s Medicaid expansion and imposed new overall spending limits. That combination translated to such deep cuts that it drove a wedge among Republicans.

EPA Moves to Rewrite Limits for Coal Power Plant Wastewater

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency says it plans to scrap an Obama-era measure limiting water pollution from coal-fired power plants.

A letter from EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt released Monday as part of a legal appeal, said he will seek to revise the 2015 guidelines mandating increased treatment for wastewater from steam electric power-generating plants.

Acting at the behest of electric utilities who opposed the stricter standards, Pruitt first moved in April to delay implementation of the new guidelines. Pruitt’s letter, dated Friday, was filed Monday with the Fifth Circuit U. S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans, which is hearing legal challenges of the wastewater rule. With Pruitt now moving to rewrite the standards, EPA has asked the court to freeze the legal fight.

Berkshire Hathaway to File Update on Its Stock Portfolio

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Berkshire Hathaway is expected to file an update on its U.S. stock portfolio, and give investors a glimpse of any moves Warren Buffett might have made during the second quarter.

The filing expected Monday afternoon will detail all of Berkshire’s U.S. stock holdings at the end of June.

Many investors follow what Berkshire buys and sells because of Buffett’s remarkably successful record over more than five decades.

Berkshire holds major stakes in Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, American Express and other companies.