Business Briefs – February 26, 2019

Fed’s Powell Predicts Solid But Slower Growth in 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says the U.S. economy should keep growing at a solid but slower pace this year but he cautions about a number of risks ranging from a global slowdown to volatile financial markets and uncertainty surrounding U.S. trade policy. In delivering the Fed’s semiannual monetary report to Congress, Powell says the Fed will be “patient” in determining when to boost rates in light of the various risks.

Senators Draw on Own Experiences To Chastise Drug Companies

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senators from both parties informed drug company executives that they’ll act to curb high costs, while the CEOs warned that government price controls could jeopardize medical breakthroughs. Tuesday’s Senate Finance Committee hearing marked the first time lawmakers have called top industry executives to account for rising prices. The public accounting is a sign Congress and the White House are moving toward legislation to curb costs.

U.S. Housing Starts Plummeted 11.2 Percent in December

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of homes being constructed in December plunged to its lowest in more than two years, a possible sign that developers are anticipating fewer new houses to be sold this year. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that housing starts fell 11.2 percent in December from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate 1.08 million. This is the slowest pace of construction since September 2016.