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Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief

January 29, 2014, 1:39 PM

Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief

The Federal Reserve says it's cutting monthly bond purchases by an additional $10 billion to $65 billion because of a strengthening U.S. economy. The Fed is also reaffirming its plan to keep short-term rates at record lows. The announcement comes after Chairman Ben Bernanke's final policy meeting. He will step down Friday after eight years as chairman.

  • Stocks are heading lower following the Federal Reserve's announcement that it's again trimming its economic stimulus efforts. The move was expected, but it has rattled global markets. Many investors fear it will boost U.S. interest rates and cause investors to move money out of emerging markets in favor of higher returns in the U.S. The Dow was down as much as 220 points after the announcement, while the broader indexes were off close to 1 percent.
  • The House has passed a $100 billion-a-year, compromise farm bill. It cuts the food stamp program by about 1 percent and preserves most crop subsidies. Some subsidies are being eliminated in favor of more politically defensible insurance programs. For instance, in place of guaranteeing dairy farmers a certain price for milk, they'll be eligible for subsidized insurance to pay them when the difference between milk and feed prices becomes too small to cover their other expenses.
  • Chrysler and Fiat will now be known as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. Fiat's board of directors agreed on the name today and says the company will be headquartered for tax purposes in the United Kingdom. The board sidestepped a thorny political issue of whether the automakers' true headquarters will be in the United States or Italy. It plans to keep significant operations in both. Meanwhile, Chrysler reported another quarter of strong profits today, propping up the parent company, which otherwise would have lost money.
  • Chobani has lost a court fight in Britain. An appeals panel upheld a lower court ruling today that the U.S. yogurt brand cannot label its products "Greek" in the U.K. because they are made in America. Chobani's rival Fage maintains the "Greek yogurt" label is misleading to consumers if the yogurt is not made in Greece. Greek yogurt is strained to achieve a thick and creamy texture.

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