Official: Fed could slow bond buys in October
WASHINGTON — A voting member of the Federal Reserve says the Fed could start to reduce its bond purchases as early as the next meeting in October, if the economy shows improvement.
James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, told Bloomberg television Friday that it was a “close decision” not to slow the $85-billion-a-month in bond buying at the Sept. 17-18 meeting. He said stronger data before the Oct. 29-30 meeting could make Fed officials “comfortable with a small taper in October.”
The bond purchases are intended to keep long-term interest rates low, encouraging more borrowing, spending and growth.
Bullard also noted that not having a news conference scheduled next month doesn’t represent an obstacle to Fed action at the October meeting. The Fed could schedule one, if it felt it needed to explain a decision.
Target to hire 70,000 fewer seasonal workers
SAN FRANCISCO — Target plans to hire about 70,000 seasonal workers for the holiday shopping season, down about 20 percent from a year ago. The discounter is aiming to be more efficient in its hiring practices.
The move to hire 18,000 fewer temporary holiday workers versus last year’s 88,000 comes as the Minneapolis-based chain saw that its own permanent employees wanted to get first dibs on working extra hours for the holiday season.
Target Corp. said it also wants to respond more quickly to the peaks and valleys of customer traffic, which have become more pronounced for many stores as shoppers time their buying for when they believe they can get the best deals.
Last year, one third of Target’s temporary holiday hires became permanent workers, the company said.
Allegiant grounds MD-80 aircraft to inspect slides
LAS VEGAS — Allegiant Air delayed dozens of flights Friday while it took most of its MD-80 aircraft out of service to overhaul emergency slides like the ones deployed in an aircraft evacuation earlier this week.
The slides worked properly Monday when smoke was reported in the cabin of an Allegiant MD-80 before takeoff from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, company officials said, but an incident review found fleetwide maintenance of the chutes hadn’t complied with manufacturer’s recommendations.
Grounding the aircraft led to delays on many of the 121 flights Allegiant had scheduled Friday, company spokesman Brian Davis told reporters, and 16 flights were rescheduled for Saturday. Two Friday flights between Oakland, Calif., and Reno were canceled. Company officials reported another 22 flights were delayed around the country, bringing to 40 the number of flights directly affected by the grounding.
Sprint joins national rivals with upgrade program
NEW YORK — Sprint is launching a new program that gives customers the chance to upgrade their phones every 12 months, becoming the last of the four national wireless carriers to target customers who want the latest devices.
Sprint Corp.’s new One Up plan is most similar to Jump from T-Mobile US Inc. T-Mobile allows for more frequent upgrades, but requires a $10 monthly fee to participate. Sprint’s is free, but doesn’t include insurance, as Jump does.
Like T-Mobile, Sprint is reducing the monthly cost of voice, text and data services while charging for the phone in installments. But unlike T-Mobile, Sprint’s discount ends after the phone is paid off over two years. T-Mobile customers can keep the lower service rates indefinitely.