Business Briefs – October 11, 2018

Higher Rates Both a Sign of U.S. Economic Might and Risk to It

WASHINGTON (AP) – This week’s dizzying sell-offs in the financial markets have been a rude reminder that the U.S. economy is no longer relying on ultra-low interest rates to fuel growth. Borrowing costs are starting to climb for companies, homebuyers and the U.S. government — all of which could eventually dampen economic growth.

President Steps Up His Attacks on Federal Reserve’s Rate Hikes

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump on Thursday escalated his attack on the Federal Reserve’s interest rate increases, asserting that “the Fed is out of control” and blaming it for this week’s plunge in stock prices. “It’s a correction that I think is caused by the Federal Reserve with interest rates,” Mr. Trump replied when asked by reporters in the Oval Office about the stock market swoon.

“We have interest rates going up at a clip that’s much faster than certainly a lot of people, including myself, would have anticipated. I think the Fed is out of control,” the president said.

Mr. Trump said he had no intention of firing Jerome Powell, who he appointed as Fed chairman in February.

AP Exclusive: Tests Show Toxin In Chain Stores’ Jewelry

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Some national retailers say they’re making changes after testing found a toxic metal in jewelry on their stores’ shelves. Analysis done for the nonprofit Center for Environmental Health revealed cadmium in products sold by Ross, Nordstrom Rack and Papaya. The precise health risk from the jewelry is unclear, but extended exposure to cadmium can cause cancer and reproductive harm. Most of the tainted items were sold at Ross. The retailer says it has addressed the issue with its supplier.

Shareholders Must Vote on Musk’s Return as Tesla Chairman

WASHINGTON (AP) – If Tesla CEO Elon Musk wants to return as chairman, shareholders will have to vote on it. The requirement is detailed in a court brief filed jointly on Thursday by Tesla and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The brief was required by a federal judge who must approve a securities fraud settlement reached with Musk and the company last month. Musk and Tesla agreed to pay $20 million each and make concessions to settle an SEC lawsuit alleging Musk duped investors with statements about a plan to take the company private.

Former U.K. Envoy Says May’s Brexit Plan a ‘Pipe Dream’

LONDON (AP) – Britain’s former ambassador to the European Union has called Prime Minister Theresa May’s blueprint for Brexit a “pipe dream” that has no chance of being accepted by the bloc.

As Mrs. May prepared to update key Cabinet ministers on progress toward a deal, Ivan Rogers said that, more than two years after voting to leave the EU, Britain is [in a dream] about what kind of divorce agreement is possible.

Rogers, who quit his post last year, said both May’s plan, which would keep Britain in the EU single market for goods, and rival Boris Johnson’s vision of a looser free-trade deal have “precisely zero” chance of being accepted by the bloc.

Britain is leaving the EU on March 29 and the possibility of there being no deal on trade and future relations is worrying businesses and politicians.