Banks led U.S. stocks mostly lower Wednesday after a brief rally sparked by the Federal Reserve’s latest policy update faded. The real action centered in the bond market, where prices rose sharply, pulling Treasury yields down to the lowest levels they have seen in more than a year. The central bank said it has ruled out interest rate increases this year and issued a dimmer outlook on the U.S. economy. That triggered one of the biggest slides for Treasury yields in months, knocking the 10-year Treasury yield as low as 2.53 percent, down from 2.61 percent late Tuesday and from 3.20 percent late last year. The two-year Treasury yield, which is more influenced by Fed movements, fell to 2.39 percent from 2.45 percent late Tuesday. The S&P 500 dropped 8.34 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,824.23. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 141.71 points, or 0.5 percent, to 25,745.67. The Nasdaq composite eked out a slight gain, adding 5.02 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,728.97. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 11.83 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,543.16.
Ford says it will add 900 jobs with project
Ford Motor Co. is repackaging a previously announced $900 million manufacturing investment in the Detroit area, boosting the number of jobs added from 850 to 900. Most of the new workers will build a new generation of electric vehicle at Ford’s existing factory in Flat Rock, Mich., south of Detroit, which will see an $850 million investment. The company also plans a roughly $50 million autonomous-vehicle manufacturing center at an undisclosed site near Detroit that will add hardware to existing vehicles. Back in January of 2017, Ford had announced different plans for the money, directing $700 million to the Flat Rock plant to make hybrid, electric and autonomous vehicles. Later that year, the company moved an all-electric SUV to a factory in Mexico, freeing more space at Flat Rock to build future electric and self-driving cars and adding $200 million to that investment. At that time, it was promising 850 new jobs.
Companies attempt to restore rail traffic
Union Pacific said its crews are working around the clock so rail traffic can return to normal in Nebraska and adjacent states hard hit by floodwaters from a late-winter storm and snowmelt. Spokeswoman Raquel Espinoza said Wednesday that workers are clearing trees and other debris off the Omaha-based railroad’s tracks and have begun repairing them and bridges. She said water remains over portions of the tracks between Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Kansas City, Kan. Levees have been breached or overtopped in southwest Iowa. Fort Worth, Texas-based BNSF Railway said it also is confronting flood-related washouts in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota.
Wells Fargo to pay $800K in Schilling case
A federal judge has approved an agreement for Wells Fargo Securities to pay an $800,000 civil penalty to end a lawsuit by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over Rhode Island’s failed $75 million deal with former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s video game company, 38 Studios. Wells Fargo doesn’t admit or deny wrongdoing in the judgment entered Wednesday. The case represents the final legal battle over 38 Studios. The state’s economic-development agency used bond funding to lure the company from Massachusetts to Rhode Island, where it went bankrupt. The SEC accused Wells Fargo and the economic development agency of making misleading statements.
Final customers hooked up to power grid
Crews were preparing Wednesday to shut down generators that have powered an island off Puerto Rico’s coast — the last customers to be reconnected to the U.S. territory’s main power system 18 months after Hurricane Maria destroyed the grid. The Electric Power Authority said it would connect an underwater cable to Culebra by the afternoon, despite wariness from the more than 1,000 people who live on the island, which is popular with tourists. Jose Sepulveda, the power company’s transmission and distribution director, acknowledged to the Associated Press that the current system, which serves 1.5 million customers, is a patch-up job following the Sept. 20, 2017, hurricane, and that it needs further repairs and updates.