1. Obama administration unveiling rules on payday loans
The Obama administration is expected on Thursday to unveil federal rules to extend federal oversight to the $38.5 billion payday lending industry. The rules proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would require lenders to assess borrowers' ability to repay, and discourage rolling over loans, which can pile up lending fees. Lenders say the new rules, now opening up for public comment, would gut the industry. Consumer advocates say the rules are necessary to protect borrowers who can be ruined by loans with effective interest rates that can exceed 390 percent.
2. Uber gets $3.5 billion investment from Saudi Arabia
Uber said Wednesday that it had received a $3.5 billion investment from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, the kingdom's main investment fund. The infusion of cash was the ride-hailing service's largest yet. The investment valued Uber at $62.5 billion, right where the last valuation put it. The investment does not cash out any previous investors. As part of the deal, a managing director at the Public Investment Fund will get a seat on Uber's board.
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3. Fed report shows economic expansion continues
The labor market tightened as the economy expanded at a modest pace since mid-April, according to the Federal Reserve's latest Beige Book, released Wednesday. "Wages grew modestly, and price pressures grew slightly in most districts," said the report, which is published eight times a year. Fed policy makers have said they would raise interest rates soon if the economy continued to improve, and the latest Beige Book is not expected to change the economic outlook. A hike could come as early as the next Federal Open Market Committee meeting on June 14 and 15.
4. Oil prices hold steady as OPEC meets
Oil prices held close to seven-months highs just above $49 a barrel on Thursday as OPEC leaders met in Vienna to discuss output levels. Saudi Arabia has been pushing for a production freeze at January levels to ease a global glut, but the country's energy minister said ahead of the meeting that supply and demand appear to be coming into balance. European stocks made early gains after two days of losses ahead of the OPEC meeting and an expected announcement on interest rates by the European Central Bank, which is not expected to add to its record monetary stimulus.
5. 6.8 million homes face hurricane surge risk, report says
More than 6.8 million Atlantic and Gulf Coast homes are at risk of damage from hurricane storm surges, according to CoreLogic's 2016 Storm Surge Report, which was released at the start of the Atlantic hurricane season on Wednesday. The total reconstruction cost value for the homes potentially in the path of summer storms is more than $1.5 trillion. Forecasters say this season is likely to be slightly more active than 2015's, with 14 named storms, six hurricanes, and two major hurricanes.
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