The daily business briefing: November 2, 2023

The Federal Reserve holds interest rates steady, Toyota raises pay, and more

Federal Reserve keeps interest rates steady
Federal Reserve keeps interest rates steady
(Image credit: Al Drago / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

1. Fed leaves interest rates unchanged

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday held interest rates unchanged for the second straight meeting, but indicated it was open to another hike in December. The central bank has raised rates from near-zero in March 2022 to a 5.25%-5.5% range since July, aiming to slow the economy to cool demand and discourage companies from raising prices. The economy has remained stronger than expected. Inflation has come down significantly from a peak of more than 7% last year, measuring 3.4% on an annual basis in September. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said after a two-day policy meeting that Fed leaders are "proceeding carefully" given "the uncertainties and risks that we face." The New York Times

2. Toyota raises pay in sign of UAW strike impact

Toyota Motor said Wednesday it would raise the pay of most of its non-union U.S. workers by 9%. The announcement came days after the United Auto Workers won big pay and benefit increases in deals to end its strikes against the big Detroit automakers — Ford, General Motors and Chrysler's Stellantis. The Toyota raises provided the first sign of the impact of the UAW strike across the auto industry. The company shows it values employees "by offering robust compensation packages that we continually review to ensure that we remain competitive," Chris Reynolds, Toyota Motor North America's executive vice president, said in a statement. Reuters, The Wall Street Journal

3. Private payrolls rose by just 113,000 last month

U.S. companies added 113,000 jobs in October, fewer than the 150,000 economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected, according to data published Wednesday by the ADP Research Institute. The gains came after private payrolls increased by just 89,000 in September, the smallest monthly increase in two years. The ADP data also indicated that wage growth continued to cool. The release came ahead of Friday's October non-farm employment report from the Labor Department, which includes government jobs and isn't always in line with the private numbers. The federal report is expected to show an increase of 158,000 jobs, down from 263,000 in September. Bloomberg, Reuters

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4. Disney to buy rest of Hulu from Comcast

The Walt Disney Company announced Wednesday it would complete its takeover of Hulu by acquiring Comcast's $8.6 billion stake in the streaming service. The deal values Hulu at $27.5 billion. Disney bought a majority stake in Hulu from Comcast in 2019, trimming Comcast's stake to 33%. Disney said buying the rest of the company furthers its "streaming objectives" as the entertainment giant pushes to boost subscriptions to its Disney+ streaming service. Disney offers bundles including Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+. Disney is expected to give an update on how its streaming offerings are doing in the face of stiff competition when it reports third quarter earnings next week. CBS News

5. Stock futures rise on hopes the Fed is done raising rates

U.S. stock futures rose early Thursday as Treasury yields fell due to increasing speculation that the Federal Reserve is done with its rate hikes to cool inflation. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up 0.4% and 0.5%, respectively, at 7 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were up 0.8%. The Dow and the S&P 500 jumped on Wednesday after the Fed announced it was holding rates steady at the close of a two-day policy meeting. The Dow and the S&P 500 closed up 0.7% and 1.1%, respectively, while the Nasdaq jumped 1.6%. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield fell 8 basis points to 4.71%. CNBC, Morningstar

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