AP Business SummaryBrief at 9:58 p.m. EDT

Federal Reserve minutes: Policymakers saw a longer path to rate cuts

WASHINGTON (AP) — After several unexpectedly high inflation readings, Federal Reserve officials concluded at a meeting earlier this month that it would take longer than they previously thought for inflation to cool enough to justify reducing their key interest rate, now at a 23-year high. Minutes of the meeting showed that officials also debated whether their benchmark rate was exerting enough of a drag on the economy to further slow inflation. Many officials noted that they were uncertain how restrictive the Fed’s rate policies are. That suggests that it wasn’t clear to the policymakers whether they were doing enough to restrain price growth. High interest rates “may be having smaller effects than in the past,” the minutes said.

Nvidia's profit soars, underscoring its dominance in chips for artificial intelligence

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Nvidia overshot Wall Street estimates as its quarterly profit skyrocketed, bolstered by the chipmaking dominance that has made the company an icon of the artificial intelligence boom. Its net income rose more than sevenfold compared with a year earlier, jumping to $14.88 billion in the first quarter from $2.04 billion a year earlier. Revenue more than tripled in the quarter, rising to $26.04 billion from $7.19 billion in the previous year. It also announced a 10-for-1 stock split, a move that it noted will make its shares more accessible to employees and investors. The company, based in Santa Clara, California, carved out an early lead in the hardware and software needed to tailor its technology to AI applications.

Trump or Biden? Either way, US seems poised to preserve heavy tariffs on imports

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and Donald Trump agree on essentially nothing, from taxes and climate change to immigration and regulation. Yet on trade policy, the two presumptive presidential nominees have embraced surprisingly similar approaches. Which means that whether Biden or Trump wins the presidency, the United States seems poised to maintain a protectionist trade policy — a policy that experts say could feed inflation pressures. The protectionist tilt of the two presidential contenders reflects the widespread view that opening the nation to more imports — especially from China — wiped out American manufacturing jobs and shuttered factories. It’s an especially potent political topic in the Midwestern industrial states that will likely decide who wins the White House.

UK inflation lowest in 3 years. Prime Minister Sunak makes it a focus in election call for July 4

LONDON (AP) — Inflation in the U.K. fell sharply to its lowest level in nearly three years in April on the back of big declines in domestic bills. The drop was widely seen as a trigger for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to call a general election for July 4. The Office for National Statistics said Wednesday that inflation, as measured by the consumer prices index, fell to 2.3% in the year through April, down from 3.2% in March. That is the lowest level since July 2021 when the global economy was still being held back by the coronavirus pandemic. Britain’s governing Conservative Party hopes that lower inflation and economic recovery may trigger a feelgood factor ahead of the general election.

Target sales decline to start the year, but it sees improvement

NEW YORK (AP) — Target is reporting a decline in quarterly revenue as still-stubborn inflation cuts into shoppers’ spending. The Minneapolis retailer also delivered a muted profit outlook on Wednesday. But it said it expects it will get back to quarterly sales growth in the current quarter. The fiscal first-quarter report comes as Target is looking for ways to reverse a sales malaise. On Monday, it announced plans to cut prices on thousands of consumer basics this summer, from diapers to milk. Target reported net income of $942 million, or $2.03 per share, in the quarter ended May 4. Earnings per share was $2.03. The company’s revenue slipped 3.1% to $24.53 billion, from $25.32 billion. Analysts were expecting $2.06 per share on revenue of $24.51 billion.

Abrupt shutdown of financial middleman Synapse has frozen thousands of Americans' deposits

NEW YORK (AP) — The bank accounts of tens of thousands of U.S. businesses and consumers have been frozen in the aftermath of the abrupt shutdown and bankruptcy of financial technology company Synapse, which acts as a middleman between financial technology companies and banks. Synapse filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April and has shut down its services to some of its fintech or bank partners, including Evolve Bank & Trust. That has caused disruptions for customers of Synapse’s partners, leading to accounts being frozen or showing funds not existing at all.

Buy now, pay later companies must adhere to credit card standards, consumer agency says

NEW YORK (AP) — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says in a new rule that buy now, pay later lenders are basically credit card providers and must provide the same protections and rights that apply to those lenders. That includes the right to dispute charges and to demand a refund after product returns. The CFPB says the rule will help bring consistency to the market. Two major buy now, pay later companies say they welcome the regulation.

Cybersecurity labeling for smart devices aims to help people choose items less likely to be hacked

WASHINGTON (AP) — Smart devices like baby monitors, fitness trackers and internet-connected appliances will soon be eligible for labels certifying that they meet federal cybersecurity standards. Federal officials said Wednesday that the first “Cyber Trust” labels could appear in time for the holiday shopping season. The White House announced the labels last year to help consumers avoid devices that are vulnerable to hacking. The trust mark program is voluntary, but manufacturers and retailers including Amazon, Best Buy and Samsung are among industry participants. Federal cybersecurity officials liken the labels to the Energy Star energy efficiency ratings for appliances.

U.S. existing home sales drop 1.9% in April, pushed lower by high rates and high prices

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes sank last month, pushed down by high mortgage rates and rising prices. The National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday that existing home sales fell 1.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.14 million from a revised 4.22 million in March. The median price of a previously occupied homes rose 5.7% to $407,600 — the tenth straight increase and a record for April.

Stock market today: Wall Street retreats from its records as worries about high interest rates weigh

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes pulled back from their records as concerns about high interest rates weighed on the market. The S&P 500 fell 0.3%, and the Nasdaq composite slipped 0.2% Wednesday, a day after both set all-time highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.5%. Indexes had been close to flat early in the day, but they sank after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting suggesting it may take longer than previously thought to get inflation fully under control. Target tumbled to one of the market’s worst losses after the retailer reported profit that fell short of analysts’ expectations.

The Associated Press