Monday Afternoon Business Brief
September 23, 2013, 1:24 PM
- Anxiety over a brewing Capitol Hill budget showdown has been pushing stocks lower for most of the day. The Dow was down more than 75 points in morning trading but has been inching its way back up. It was 20-30 points off by mid-afternoon. The broader indexes have been following a similar path.
- The head of the Environmental Protection Agency says if Congress fails to approve a stopgap funding measure by Oct. 1, her agency won't be able to pay employees and will "effectively shut down." EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says only a core group of people will remain on duty in case the EPA has to respond to a "significant emergency."
- The Food and Drug Administration says it plans to begin regulating medical applications and other gadgets that can turn smartphones into health monitoring devices. The agency says it will focus on just a handful of the thousands of medical apps. The director of the FDA's medical device center says the apps "have the potential to transform health care by allowing doctors to diagnose patients with potentially life-threatening conditions outside of traditional health care settings."
- Wal-Mart is boosting its workforce ahead of the holiday shopping season. The world's largest retailer says it will elevate 35,000 workers from temporary to part-time status, while 35,000 part-time workers will gain full-time jobs. The shift means that Wal-Mart will be offering more of its workers benefits. Wal-Mart also plans to hire 55,000 seasonal workers.
- Abercrombie & Fitch has agreed to make religious accommodations to its policy governing employees' appearance. The move is part of a settlement of discrimination lawsuits filed in California on behalf of two Muslim women. They accused the company of discriminating against them because they wore head scarves. Court papers indicate the retailers also agreed to pay the women a combined $71,000 along with attorney fees.
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