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Business/Economy

  • Fed foresees far weaker growth than it had earlier

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve sketched a bleaker outlook Wednesday for the economy, which it thinks will grow much more slowly and face higher unemployment than it had estimated in June.

    The Fed's gloomier forecast shows that the recovery from the recession has continued to fall short of expectations. Some economists said it makes the Fed more likely to act further to try to boost the economy, though probably not until early next year.

    One option would be a program similar to the Fed's $600 billion in Treasury bond purchases, which it completed in June. Some economists think the Fed could buy mortgage-backed securities instead, which could more directly support the depressed housing market by lowering loan rates.

  • Bank of America backs down on $5 debit card fee--video extra

    NEW YORK (AP) — Bank of America Corp. is scrapping its plan to charge a $5 monthly fee for debit card purchases after outraged customers threatened an exodus.

    The about-face comes as customers across the country petitioned the bank and mobilized to close their accounts in favor of credit unions and community banks. The outcry prompted other major banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co., to cancel trial tests of their own debit card fees.

  • Medicare premiums up but not as much as expected

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Good news for seniors: The government says Medicare's basic monthly premium will rise less than expected next year, by $3.50 for most.

    It could be good, too, for President Barack Obama and Democrats struggling for older Americans' votes in a close election.

    At $99.90 per month, the 2012 Part B premium for outpatient care will be about $7 less than projected as recently as May. The additional money that most seniors will pay works out to about 10 percent of the average Social Security cost-of-living increase they'll also be due.

    Some recently enrolled younger retirees will actually pay less. They were charged $115.40 a month this year, and they'll see that go down to $99.90.

  • Poll: Many boomers staying put amid bad economy

    The latest installment in a joint AP-APME project examining the aging of the baby boomers and the impact that this so-called silver tsunami will have on the communities in which they live.

    WASHINGTON (AP) — As baby boomers look ahead to retirement, they'd prefer a home that is affordable, accessible to medical care and close to family. But an Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com poll finds that amid a shaky economy, few think it's likely they'll move in retirement.

  • Voters with housing woes giving up on politicians

    MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Like just about everyone in the Phoenix area, Jen Pollock has lost several neighbors to foreclosure and short sales. And, like hundreds of thousands of others in Arizona, Pollock and her husband are upside down on their mortgage, owing about twice as much as their suburban house is now worth.

    They don't want to walk away from it. They just wish someone would let them renegotiate their mortgage.

  • Planning 'A Good Goodbye'

    Author Gail Rubin believes that death – like any “creative life cycle” – should be planned for.

    Rubin tells people, “Just as talking about sex won’t make you pregnant, talking about funerals won’t make you dead – and your family will benefit from the conversation.”

    Rubin – a Certified Celebrant specializing in funerals and memorial services– is the author of “A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die” (Light Tree Press). “A Good Goodbye” is also the title of Rubin’s talk at the Los Alamos Jewish Center Sunday.

  • Stocks rise sharply on solid corporate earnings

    Stocks rose sharply early Friday after several big U.S. companies reported solid third-quarter earnings. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 200 points.

    Fast-food giant McDonald's Corp. rose 3.3 percent, the most of any stock in the Dow, after reporting a 9 percent increase in income. The results beat analysts' expectations and marked the ninth straight quarter of gains.

    Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. rose 5 percent after reporting a 25-percent jump in third-quarter income. The fast-casual chain raised prices, sold more burritos and opened new stores.

  • AP-GfK Poll: Public down on economy, Obama cures

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The extreme funk that settled over the country during the summer has eased slightly, but Americans remain gloomy about the economy and more than half say President Barack Obama does not inspire confidence about a recovery.

    A sizable majority — more than 7 in 10 — believe the country is headed in the wrong direction and, in a new high, 43 percent describe the nation's economy as "very poor," according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. Among those surveyed, less than 40 percent say Obama's proposed remedies for high unemployment would increase jobs significantly.

  • Audit: NM State Fair is operationally insolvent

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico State Fair is running in the red and doesn't have enough money to finance day-to-day operations, according to a legislative audit released Thursday.

    Auditors for the Legislative Finance Committee said the fair has been losing money for years as revenues and fair attendance dropped, but it has continued to operate because it's not paying some debts. This year's fair ended last month.

    The fair, also known as Expo New Mexico, owes $1.9 million to the General Services Department's Risk Management Division for insurance coverage going back to 2009.

  • Medicare costs to reduce Social Security increase

    WASHINGTON (AP) — That didn't last long. About 55 million Social Security recipients will get their first increase in benefits next year since 2009 — a 3.6 percent raise. But higher Medicare premiums could erase part of it.

    For some, higher Medicare Part B premiums could wipe out as much as a fourth of their raise from Social Security, according to projections by the trustees who oversee the programs.

    Medicare is expected to announce 2012 Part B premiums as early as next week. The premiums, which cover doctor visits, are deducted automatically from monthly Social Security payments.