THE NEWS WRAP: US Federal Reserve to wind back stimulus

The US Federal Reserve has announced it will begin to scale down its massive stimulus program from next month, the first step towards winding back the program that helped the US recover from recession.

 

The Fed has spent $US85 billion a month for a year as it sought to keep long-term interest rates in check and stimulate jobs and the economy.

 

“Today’s policy actions reflect the committee’s assessment that the economy is continuing to make progress, that it also has much farther to travel before conditions can be judged normal,” outgoing Fed chief Ben Bernanke said.

 

The Fed will reduce its monthly asset purchases by $US10 billion from January, bringing them down to $US75 billion.

 

Government close to rejecting assistance for SPC Ardmona

 

The federal government is close to rejecting calls for financial help from food processor SPC Ardmona, amid fears it could set a “dangerous precedent”, The Australian reports.

 

It says ministers believe the company has itself to blame for cost pressures it faces.

 

The move comes as the government pledges $100 million to help create jobs for manufacturing workers following GM Holden’s announcement it will stop production of cars in 2017.

 

Apple to amend consumer guarantees and warranties

 

Apple has agreed to take action over its consumer guarantees and warranties to avoid being taken to court by Australia’s consumer watchdog.

 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission had been investigating the technology giant over its consumer guarantee policies, the ABC reports.

 

“The ACCC was concerned that Apple was applying its own warranties and refund policies effectively to the exclusion of the consumer guarantees contained in the Australian Consumer Law,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

 

Apple has acknowledged some of its practices may have contravened Australian Consumer Law (ACL), and is taking a number of compliance measures including retraining staff.

 

Markets

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 1.9% at 16,172.08 points, while the Australian dollar is down at 88.5 US cents.

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