1. Fed minutes indicate officials favored further aggressive rate hikes
Federal Reserve officials agreed at their June policy meeting that they would have to increase the speed and size of their interest-rate hikes to cool the economy and curb high inflation, according to minutes of the meeting released Wednesday. "Participants concurred that the economic outlook warranted moving to a restrictive stance of policy," the minutes said. A "restrictive stance" refers to rates high enough to slow economic growth. Fed officials made a rare 0.75 percentage point increase to their benchmark short-term interest rate, the biggest hike since 1994. Since the meeting, some of the central bank's leaders have suggested they would support another such hike at their July meeting. The aggressive Fed position has stoked recession concerns.
2. Judge holds Trump Organization appraiser in contempt
A New York judge has held real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield in contempt of court for refusing to cooperate with the New York attorney general's investigation into former President Donald Trump's company, the Trump Organization. Judge Arthur Engoron imposed a $10,000 daily fine on Cushman & Wakefield that will start Thursday and apply every day the company fails to comply with subpoenas for information related to its business relationship with Trump's company. "Cushman & Wakefield's work for Donald Trump and the Trump Organization is clearly relevant to our investigation," New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. Cushman & Wakefield, which provided appraisals and brokerage services to Trump's company, said it will appeal.
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3. Stock futures rise slightly after Fed minutes
U.S. stock futures edged higher early Thursday following the release of the latest Federal Reserve meeting minutes, which indicated that central bank officials supported sharply hiking interest rates to contain inflation even if it slows the economy. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.4 percent at 6:45 a.m. ET. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were up 0.3 percent. Investors will be watching fresh data on the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits for signs of how high inflation and rising interest rates are affecting hiring. Stocks climbed Wednesday after the release of the Fed minutes. The Dow gained 0.2 percent, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose nearly 0.4 percent.
4. FDA agrees to let Juul e-cigarettes stay on market pending review
The Food and Drug Administration has decided to let Juul Labs continue selling its vaping products pending an agency review of its ruling banning domestic sale of the company's e-cigarettes, The New York Times reported Wednesday. The FDA said "scientific issues" justified the review. An appellate court had already given Juul a temporary reprieve. The FDA's original order came after it said Juul's application to stay on the market "lacked evidence" of any public health benefit. Juul has been struggling to stay on the market, scrapping flavored vaping products after being accused of fueling the teenage vaping crisis. Joe Murillo, Juul's chief regulatory officer, expressed confidence Wednesday that the FDA would find its products "appropriate for the protection of the public health."
5. Rihanna now youngest female self-made billionaire
Rihanna, 31, has officially become the youngest female self-made billionaire in the United States, according to Forbes' 2022 list of "America's Richest Self-Made Women." The singer's net worth came in at $1.4 billion, putting her at No. 21 on the Forbes list. Rihanna is co-owner of Fenty Beauty and holds a 30 percent stake in her lingerie line, Savage x Fenty. She co-owns Fenty Beauty with French luxury retailer LVMH, which accounts for a big part of her fortune. The company generated more than $550 million in revenue in 2020. Kim Kardashian, 41, was the nation's second-youngest billionaire on the list.
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