Business Highlights: Target slammed for removing LGBTQ+ items; Sides in debt talks still far apart

The top stories in the business world for the day.

Target is on the defensive following its removal of LGBTQ+ themed products

NEW YORK, NY (AP) -- Target was once known for its bold support of the LGBTQ+ Community. On Wednesday, it risked losing this status after removing certain LGBTQ+-themed items and hiding Pride Month display in some Southern locations. The company has addressed online complaints and confrontations in stores that they say were a danger to the employees' safety. Target faces a second potential backlash by customers upset at the retailer's response to aggressive anti-LGBTQ+ advocacy, which is also sweeping Republican state legislatures. Civil rights groups criticised the company for giving in to anti-LGBTQ+ customers who complained about gender-fluid swimsuits and tipped displays over.

Minutes of the last Fed meeting reveal that a pause in rates hikes until June would be a very close call for Fed officials.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - Federal Reserve officials had differing opinions earlier this month about whether they should pause interest rate increases at their upcoming June meeting. This is according to minutes from their meeting on May 2-3. The minutes stated that 'if the economy developed in line with their current forecasts, further policy firming may not be needed' - Fed speak for a pause. The minutes also stated that "some" officials believed that high inflation would warrant additional rate hikes at future meetings. In the minutes however, the word'several,' which is more than just'some', suggests that those who favor a pause might have the advantage.

McCarthy sends Republican negotiators at the White House to discuss debt limits, but both sides are "far apart"

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) -- House speaker Kevin McCarthy has announced that he will send Republican negotiators at the White House in order to complete debt limit negotiations. He warns that both sides are still 'far apart' in their efforts to reach a deal on a budget with President Joe Biden. McCarthy is optimistic that they will be able to reach an agreement by the deadline next week. The Treasury Department may run out of money to pay its bills at that time. McCarthy makes this promise: 'We won't default.' McCarthy makes this pledge: 'We're not going to default.'

Retirement groups and social services are among those who have default contingency plans in place.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - Politicians may assure that Washington will find a way to avoid default, but economic anxiety is growing across the country and people are already adjusting their daily routines. Millions of Americans, including government beneficiaries and social service organizations that receive federal and state subsidies, are preparing for the possibility of immediate and massive cuts in the event the U.S. defaults on its financial obligations. Others are looking for ways to save and some are cutting back on essentials.

Union Pacific's train engineers will work to improve schedules, and also address concerns about quality of life.

Union Pacific's engineers will be able to better plan their time off with a more predictable schedule. The railroad and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen announced a change Wednesday that will address a key concern about quality of life that brought the rail industry close to a strike in the fall of last year. Union Pacific's 5,600 engineers will be able to plan four consecutive days of vacation after 11 days on call. The Union President Eddie Hall stated that this is a major change for the engineers who have been used to being on-call 24-7 over the past few years.

The DEA's failure in punishing distributors blamed for opioid crisis raises revolving-door questions

(AP) -- U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration allowed one of America's largest drug distribution companies to continue shipping addictive painkillers despite a recommendation from a judge to strip the company's license for turning a deaf ear to thousands of suspect opioid orders. The DEA refused to answer questions regarding its handling of Morris & Dickson Co., or the involvement of a consultant that the company hired and who is now DEA's deputy director. The delay has led to concerns over how the revolving doors may impact the DEA mission of policing drug companies that are blamed for thousands in overdose deaths.

Stock market today: Wall Street sinks, as stocks fall worldwide

NEW YORK, NY (AP) - Wall Street dropped again on Wednesday as stocks fell worldwide due to concerns about the economy. S&P 500 fell 0.7% on Wednesday, after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy stated that Republicans and Democrats are still far apart when it comes to efforts to avoid a U.S. Government debt default. The S&P 500 is set to have its worst week for more than two month as the unthinkable becomes a reality. The economic data that spooked other markets in the world caused them to fall even more. Treasury yields increased as minutes of the Federal Reserve meeting revealed that policy makers were divided on whether or not to continue raising interest rates.

Are you ready for the digital euro? The European Central Bank prepares for the future of money at 25

FRANKFURT (AP) - The proposals for a digital European money are starting to take shape. The European Central Bank has finalized the design for a digital Euro that can be used in shops. This would be an additional way for people to store the euro, in addition to cash and bank account. It's important that the euro is able to keep up with new technology and payment methods. This could also be a more stable alternative to volatile crypto currencies. Christine Lagarde, ECB president, says a central bank-issued digital currency will make Europe independent from payment service companies such as Apple Pay and Mastercard. Is there any convenience to a digital Euro? Final decision is years away.

The S&P500 fell 30.34 or 0.7% to 4,115.24. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 255.59, or 0.8% to 32,799.92. The Nasdaq Composite fell 76.08 or 0.6%, to 12,484.16. Russell 2000, an index of smaller companies, fell 20.71, or 1.2% to 1,767.