Stocks fall…Powell reaffirms Fed plans…Deal reached with Boeing on presidential planes

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are lower, and treasury yields are higher, after the head of the Federal Reserve said that he’s feeling more optimistic about the economy. The testimony by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell before Congress was highly anticipated, and investors dissected his every word for clues about how quickly the central bank will raise interest rates in the face of a growing economy and the threat of higher inflation.

WASHINGTON (AP) — In today’s comments to a House panel — his first as head of the Federal Reserve — Jerome Powell reaffirmed that the central bank plans to raise interest rates gradually as the economy improves. The Fed increased rates three times last year, and investors are debating whether this year will see three or four more moves. The market got spooked last month when potential signs of inflation strengthened, which raised expectations that the Fed may become more aggressive and knocked stock prices down by 10 percent around the world.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is coming under pressure from Democrats who want the Fed to do more to deal with growing income inequality. Many Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee pressed Powell to take a stand in opposition to the $1.5 trillion tax cut supported by Republicans on the grounds that the bulk of the benefits were going to wealthy Americans and would worsen income inequality. The Democrats also pushed Powell to criticize rising budget deficits in coming years. Powell told them he would only venture opinions in areas dealing with monetary policy.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has reached an informal deal with Boeing to provide the next generation presidential aircraft. A spokesman says the $3.9 billion “fixed price contract” for the new planes, known as Air Force One when the president is on board, “will save the taxpayers more than $1.4 billion.” The agreement includes the two 747-800 aircraft, and the cost of modifying the commercial planes with the equipment needed to support the president.

PARIS (AP) — The Walt Disney Company has announced a $2.5 billion expansion plan for Disneyland Paris, which will feature Marvel superheroes. The plan was unveiled today following a meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and Disney chairman Robert A. Iger. Disney Group said the development, which includes a transformation of Walt Disney Studios Park, will include three new areas based on Marvel superheroes as well as Frozen and Star Wars movies.

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