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Low interest-rate policies unchanged

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve says its low interest-rate policies are still needed to invigorate a subpar U.S. economy.

In a statement Wednesday after a policy meeting, the Fed said it would keep buying $85 billion a month in bonds to keep long-term rates low and encourage borrowing and spending.

Yet the Fed seemed to signal that it thinks the economy is improving despite some recent weak data and uncertainties caused by the partial government shutdown.

The Fed no longer expresses concern, as it did in September, that higher mortgage rates could hold back hiring and economic growth.

Some analysts said this suggests that the Fed might be prepared to slow its bond purchases by early next year – sooner than some have assumed.

Visitor spending will top $2 million

Visitors to Augusta in November are expected to generate almost $2.3 million in direct visitor spending.

The top two November events are the Augusta Rowing Club’s Head of the South Regatta, from Nov. 8-11, and the Georgia Association of School Business Officials’ annual convention, from Nov. 2-8. Combined, the events are expected to draw 3,500 people and generate about $1.1 million, according to a monthly report compiled by the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Augusta Sports Council.

The bureau bases direct visitor spending on the number of occupied overnight hotel rooms and factors in money spent by visitors in local hotels, restaurants and retail stores. Last November, the bureau anticipated the city’s tourism to produce $947,000.

In October, the direct visitor spending was calculated to be about $2.6 million. That figure, however, included the Boshears SkyFest, which was postponed as a result of the federal government’s partial shutdown. The mid-October event was expected to draw crowds of more than 20,000 and generate about $172,000 for the city’s economy.

Branum’s is under new ownership

Branum’s Sewing and Vacuum is under new ownership, according to a news release.

Former minority owner and managing partner Nick Meabon has taken over ownership of the company from Mark Branum, the company announced Wednesday.

Meabon, who worked at Hoover for 12 years, started his career at Branum’s in 2011.

In other news

SOUTHERN CO., the owner of Georgia Power, on Wednesday reported third-quarter earnings of $852 million, or 97 cents per share, compared with earnings of $976 million, or $1.11 per share, in the third quarter of 2012. Third-quarter operating revenues were $5.02 billion, compared with $5.05 billion for the same period in 2012.

FACEBOOK’S LATEST quarterly results showed continued strength in mobile advertising, which spurred a 60 percent revenue increase in the July-September quarter. The world’s largest social network said Wednesday that it earned $425 million, or 17 cents per share, in the third quarter. That’s up from a loss of $59 million, or 2 cents per share, in the same period last year.


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