Business News

Aug 26, 7:15 PM EDT

Business Highlights


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Yellen suggests rate hike is coming but offers no timetable

WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Friday that the case for raising interest rates has strengthened in light of a solid job market and an improved outlook for the U.S. economy and inflation. But she stopped short of offering any timetable.

Yellen sketched a generally upbeat assessment of the economy in a speech to an annual conference of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She pointed to steady gains in employment and strength in consumer spending.

She also noted that while inflation is still running below the Fed's 2 percent target, it's being depressed mainly by temporary factors.

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US economy grew at tepid 1.1 percent pace in spring

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. economy expanded at a sluggish 1.1 percent pace this spring as businesses sharply reduced their stockpiles of goods and spent less on new buildings and equipment. Yet most analysts forecast much faster growth in the summer and fall, fueled by healthy consumer spending.

Consumers offset the corporate cutbacks in the April-June quarter by spending at the fastest pace in six quarters, Commerce said Friday. That suggests steady job growth and modest pay gains are making Americans more confident and willing to spend.

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Stocks end mostly lower after Yellen speech

NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks ended mostly lower on Friday after Federal Reserve officials said the case has strengthened for raising interest rates above the super-low levels that have helped fuel a seven-year bull market.

Major U.S. indexes initially climbed after a speech by Fed Chair Janet Yellen that was bullish on the economy but gave no timetable for future rate increases. Then investors began to have second thoughts, wondering if an increase was possible as early as next month, and buyers turned to sellers. By the close of trading, seven of the 10 sectors of the Standard and Poor's 500 index had fallen.

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US wants to force lower speeds on truck and bus drivers

DETROIT (AP) - The U.S. is seeking to forcibly limit how fast trucks, buses and other large vehicles can travel on the nation's highways.

A new proposal Friday would impose a nationwide limit by electronically capping speeds with a device on newly made U.S. vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 pounds. Regulators are considering a cap of 60, 65 or 68 mph, though that could change. Whatever the speed limit, drivers would be physically prevented from exceeding it.

The government said capping speeds for new large vehicles will reduce the 1,115 fatal crashes involving heavy trucks that occur each year and save $1 billion in fuel costs.

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Brewer AB Inbev to cut thousands of jobs in takeover deal

BRUSSELS (AP) - The world's largest brewer, AB Inbev, expects to cut about 3 percent of its total workforce once it completes its huge takeover of its closest rival, SABMiller.

The company headquartered in Belgium, has about 150,000 workers while the London-based SABMiller claims to have around 70,000.

That would put the estimated job losses at around 6,600 over a three-year period. However, AB Inbev said in documents published Friday that the estimate doesn't include its sales and front-office supply departments, for which integration plans are not completed.

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Mazda recalls SUVs over potential steering problem

NEW YORK (AP) - Mazda Motor Corp. is recalling more than 190,000 CX-7 sport utility vehicles because of a potentially dangerous steering control defect.

The recall involves vehicles made from February 14, 2006 through May 9, 2012. Last year, the company recalled more than 190,000 CX-9 SUVs made between 2007 and 2014 because of concerns over steering control loss.

In the latest recall, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that water may enter the front suspension ball joint fittings. Water from salted roadways in the winter months can result in corrosion loosening ball joint fittings, which could eventually result in a loss of steering control.

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The colonel's secret recipe revealed? Not so fast, says KFC

NEW YORK (AP) - Has Colonel Sanders' nephew inadvertently revealed to the world the secret blend of 11 herbs and spices behind KFC's fried chicken empire?

The company says the recipe, shown to a reporter and published in the Chicago Tribune, is not authentic. But that hasn't stopped online speculation that one of the most legendary and closely guarded secrets in the history of fast food has been exposed.

KFC - which is a subsidiary of Yum Brands Inc. - says the recipe the reporter saw is not the real thing.

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Biden announces new funding for Amtrak Northeast Corridor

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Federal officials say the government will make a $2.45 billion loan to Amtrak to buy new trains, upgrade tracks and make platform improvements on the Northeast corridor.

Vice President Joe Biden made the announcement Friday at the Wilmington, Delaware, station, which is named for him. He was joined by Deputy Secretary of Transportation Victor Mendez, whose agency is making the loan.

Officials say the loan will allow Amtrak to boost seating by about 40 percent on Acela trains traveling between Washington and Boston.

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Billionaire Richard Branson survives bike crash

LONDON (AP) - Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson said Friday he thought he was going to die after flying head first off his bicycle in the British Virgin Islands.

The Virgin Group boss hit a hump in the road on Virgin Gorda, one of the islands in the Caribbean, catapulting him into the road. The 66-year-old posted pictures of his bloodied face on social media on Friday, showing the gruesome injuries that included a cracked cheek, torn ligaments and severe cuts.

Branson traveled to Miami to receive medical treatment. He said he was really lucky to have not suffered more serious injuries.

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The Dow Jones industrial average fell 53.01 points, or 0.3 percent, to 18,395.40. The S&P 500 slipped 3.43 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,169.04. The Nasdaq composite rose 6.71 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,218.92.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 31 cents to close at $47.64 a barrel. Brent crude, used to price oil internationally, rose 25 cents to close at $49.92 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.52 a gallon, heating oil slipped 1 cent to $1.50 a gallon and natural gas rose 2.5 cents to $2.871 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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