WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. inflation is showing signs of entering a more stubborn phase that will likely require drastic action by the Federal Reserve, a shift that has panicked financial markets and heightens the risks of a recession. Some of the longtime drivers of higher inflation — spiking gas prices, supply chain snarls, soaring used-car prices — are fading. Yet underlying measures of inflation are actually worsening. And the ongoing evolution of the forces behind an inflation rate that’s near a four-decade high has made it harder for the Fed to wrestle it under control.
US wholesale inflation declines in August to still-high 8.7%
WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation at the wholesale level jumped 8.7% in August from a year earlier, a slowdown from July yet still a painfully high level that suggests prices will keep spiking for months to come. The government also said that on a month-to-month basis, the producer price index — which measures inflation before it reaches consumers — declined 0.1% from July to August, the second straight monthly decline. Yet the better readings mostly reflect plunging gas prices and don’t necessarily point to a broader slowdown in inflation. On Tuesday, the government reported that consumer inflation was rampant across much of the economy in August.
1 rail union rejects deal, 2 accept ahead of strike deadline
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Members of one union have rejected a tentative deal with the largest U.S. freight railroads, while two ratified agreements and three other unions remained at the bargaining table just days ahead of a national strike deadline. A strike would intensify snarls in the nation’s supply chain that have contributed to rising prices. But the IAM agreed to delay any strike by its members until Sept. 29 to allow more time for negotiations and to allow other unions to vote. Amtrak has already cancelled a number of its long-distance trains this week, and it said the rest of its long-distance trains would stop Thursday ahead of the strike deadline.
Stocks manage to post modest gains after a wobbly day
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks closed modestly higher on Wall Street after a day of veering between gains and losses. The tentative trading came a day after the market’s worst drop in two years, which was set off by fears that higher interest rates could cause a recession. The S&P 500 added 0.3% Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended just slightly in the green and the Nasdaq composite added about three-quarters of a percent. A report on inflation at the wholesale level showed prices are still rising rapidly. It echoed a report on inflation at the consumer level a day earlier.
California sues Amazon, alleging antitrust law violations
NEW YORK (AP) — California is suing Amazon, accusing the company of violating the state’s antitrust and unfair competition laws. The state says Amazon has stifled competition and engaged in practices that push sellers to maintain higher prices on products on other sites. In an 84-page lawsuit filed Wednesday in San Francisco Superior Court, the California Attorney General’s office says Seattle-based Amazon had effectively barred sellers from offering lower prices for products elsewhere through contract provisions that harm the ability of other retailers to compete. The lawsuit mirrors another complaint filed last year by the District of Columbia, which was dismissed by a district judge earlier this year. That decision is being appealed.
Agency OKs nearly $190M in bids from offshore oil lease sale
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Biden administration has accepted nearly $190 million in bids from an offshore oil and gas lease sale that was held nearly a year ago but rejected by a federal judge. Wednesday’s action by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management was required under the climate bill signed in August — something that disappointed environmentalists and was hailed by industry. The law also requires the bureau to schedule three sales that had been put on hold by President Joe Biden, with the first held by Dec. 31. An American Petroleum Institute official says he’s pleased that the sale has gone through but disappointed “that it took 19 months and an act of Congress.”
EU court largely upholds $4B Google Android antitrust fine
LONDON (AP) — One of the European Union’s highest courts has largely upheld a huge fine issued to Google by the bloc’s antitrust enforcers in 2018 over its Android mobile operating system. The European Court of Justice’s General Court on Wednesday mostly confirmed a European Commission decision to slap Google with a fine of more than 4 billion euros for stifling competition through the dominance of Android. The court said it was appropriate to give Google a fine of 4.125 billion euros, slightly lower than the original 4.34 billion euro penalty.
‘Car guy’ Biden touts electric vehicles at Detroit auto show
DETROIT (AP) — President Joe Biden spent a good portion of his day Wednesday showcasing his administration’s efforts to promote electric vehicles at the Detroit auto show. Biden is a self-proclaimed “car guy” who owns a 1967 Corvette Stingray. He got behind the wheel of a snazzy new Corvette at the show amid jokes that he might drive it back to Washington. But he journeyed to the auto show mostly to highlight the new climate, tax and health care law that offers tax incentives for buying electric vehicles. He announced approval of the first $900 million in infrastructure money to build EV chargers across 53,000 miles of the national highway system.
The S&P 500 added 13.32 points, or 0.3%, to 3,946.01. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 30.12 points, or 0.1%, to 31,135.09. The Nasdaq rose 86.10 points, or 0.7%, to 11,719.68. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies tacked on 6.89 points, or 0.4%, to 1,838.46.