Business Briefs – November 28, 2018

Powell: U.S. Economy Healthy And Rate Hikes Aren’t Automatic

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell cast a bright picture of the U.S. economy Wednesday and appeared to suggest that the Fed might consider a pause in its interest rate hikes next year to assess the impact of its credit tightening. Powell’s comments ignited a rally on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average surging more than 200 points after his comments were released.

U.S. Economy Grew at Brisk 3.5 Percent Annual Rate Last Quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. economy expanded at a solid 3.5 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter, led by lower but still strong consumer spending and more business investment than previously estimated. The Commerce Department’s figure for gross domestic product, released Wednesday, was the same as its first estimate last month. GDP is the broadest measure of the nation’s output of goods and services and covers everything from homebuilding to haircuts.

Google CEO to Make Long-Awaited Congressional Appearance

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Google CEO Sundar Pichai will testify next week at a congressional hearing on the company’s business practices, just three months after aides put up an empty chair to symbolize his refusal to appear. Pichai is scheduled to appear Dec. 5 before the House Judiciary Committee. Among other things, lawmakers are expected to grill him on whether Google rigs its influential search engine to stifle conservative voices.

Fed: Some U.S. Businesses’ Debt At Highest Level in 2 Decades

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve is signaling potentially vulnerable spots in the financial system, citing some U.S. businesses’ debt at the highest levels in two decades and risky debt growing. The Fed’s report issued Wednesday was its first assessing the stability of the U.S. financial system. Ten years after the financial crisis, the new report points to excessive borrowing by households and businesses, banks’ elevated debt levels, and unrealistically high prices for stocks and other assets.

Suddenly, Luxury Stores Miss Free-Spending Chinese Tourists

NEW YORK (AP) – Tiffany & Co. is noticing that there is something missing in its stores: Chinese tourists. For the second time in a many months, a big seller of high-end goods noticed that a particularly crucial demographic of its shopping base had made itself sparse. On Wednesday, shares of Tiffany & Co. plunged 12 percent after reporting weaker-than-expected sales in its third quarter. CEO Alessandro Bogliolo said that Chinese tourists have failed to show up.

Microsoft’s Stock Market Value Pulls Ahead of Apple’s

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp’s stock market value surpassed Apple Inc’s and pulled ahead by as much as $3 billion on Wednesday as the Windows software maker benefited from optimism about demand for cloud computing services.

Shares of Microsoft jumped 3 percent, pushing its market capitalization up to $848 billion. With the broad market rebounding following a recent slump, Apple also rose, but less than Microsoft. Its 2.17 percent increase put Apple’s market capitalization at $845 billion, just four months after the iPhone maker breached the $1 trillion mark for the first time.