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January 14, 2015 01:14 PM

Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief

NEW YORK (AP) - Dismal news on retail sales and more signs of slowing global growth have stocks plunging on Wall Street today. The price of copper, a metal used in many industries, fell for a second day following the World Bank's downgrade. Investors are seeking safety in government bonds, pushing down the yield on the 10-year Treasury note to its lowest level since May 2013.

  • The Federal Reserve says the U.S. economy was growing at a moderate pace in December and early January, helped by gains in sales of autos and other consumer products, increased factory production and a pickup in tourism in various parts of the country. The Fed says business contacts in its 12 regional banking districts reported "modest" or "moderate" growth. Payrolls grew in a variety of sectors but significant wage gains were seen only by workers with specialized technical skills.
  • The House has passed a bill to soften the law reining in banks and Wall Street. The bill alters sections of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul, which tightened government oversight of banks and financial markets with an eye toward preventing another crisis and taxpayer bailout of banks. The bill, which passed by a vote of 271-154, now goes to the Senate, where it's expected to face strong opposition. It also faces a threatened veto by President Barack Obama.
  • Responding to what Republicans call an unconstitutional overreach by the president, the House has voted to overturn President Barack Obama's actions on immigration. A bill passed today would roll back executive actions extending temporary stays of deportation to some 4 million immigrants in the country illegally. It would also undo a program that provided work permits and deportation protections to immigrants who arrived illegally in the country as children. The bill faces tough prospects in the Senate and a veto threat from the president.
  • Federal regulators have approved an appetite-suppressing implant designed to treat obesity by zapping nerves that connect the stomach and the brain. The Maestro Rechargeable System uses electrodes implanted in the abdomen to stimulate the nerve that signals to the brain that the stomach is empty or full. The Food and Drug Administration approved the device for certain patients 18 and older who have been unable to lose weight via other methods.
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