Stocks up modestly…Consumer spending ticks up…Manufacturing expands…Equifax finds additional victims of breach

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock indexes have been flipping between modest gains and losses in morning trading on Wall Street. Investors have been waiting for Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s latest comments to Congress. Powell is appearing before the Senate Finance Committee this morning. Earlier this week, Treasury yields jumped and stocks tumbled when he told a House committee that he’s feeling more optimistic about the economy.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Commerce Department reports that Americans lifted their spending just 0.2 percent in January, while their incomes jumped because of last year’s tax cuts. Incomes rose 0.4 percent, boosted by $30 billion in tax cut-related bonuses the government estimates were paid out in January. After-tax income jumped 0.9 percent, the most in a year. With consumers holding back on spending, the savings rate rose. A key inflation gauge, excluding the volatile food and energy categories, rose 0.3 percent, the most in a year.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Spending on U.S. construction projects was unchanged in January, held back by a sharp fall in commercial real estate building. The Commerce Department says spending on the construction of single-family homes rose 0.6 percent, while apartment building fell. Construction of commercial projects, such as office towers and malls, fell 2.7 percent. Construction spending on new power plants plunged 6.2 percent.

WASHINGTON (AP) — American manufacturers say they expanded in February at the fastest pace in nearly 14 years. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, reports that its manufacturing index climbed to 60.8 in February from 59.1 in January. This was the strongest reading since May 2014. Any score above 50 signals growth. Among 18 manufacturing industries, 15 reported growth last month, including electronic products and transportation equipment.

NEW YORK (AP) — Equifax is saying that an additional 2.4 million Americans were impacted by last year’s data breach, but these newly disclosed consumers had much less personal information stolen. The company says the 2.4 million additional consumers only had their names and a partial driver’s license number stolen by the attackers, unlike the original 145.5 million Americans who had their Social Security numbers exposed. Attackers were unable to get state where the license was issued, the date of issuance or its expiration date.

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