Business Highlights


With economy uncertain, no Fed rate hike is seen before fall

WASHINGTON (AP) — For 6 1/2 years, the Federal Reserve has held its key interest rate near zero, and for nearly that long the financial world has speculated about when the Fed will start raising it.

Don’t look for it soon.

That’s the view of most economists, who say a still-subpar economy and still-low inflation will keep rates at record lows at least until September.


Forget the watch: Apple’s iPhones are still the main event

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The iPhone is still the engine behind Apple’s phenomenal success, even as attention turned to its new smartwatch in recent weeks.

While skeptics question whether the company’s future is tied too much to one product, the iPhone’s popularity was the reason Apple turned in another blow-out financial report Monday. The results far surpassed most analysts’ expectations for the first three months of the year, when sales traditionally fall from their holiday-season peak.


VW chairman quits, but questions over future remain

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Volkswagen’s patriarch has left the building. Does this mean change is coming to the world’s No. 2 automaker — in particular, to its high-cost ways of doing business?

Ferdinand Piech shaped the company’s destiny for more than 25 years. He rescued Volkswagen’s fortunes as CEO from 1993 to 2002. He then served as a powerful board chairman, his clout heightened by the fact his family owns a majority stake in the company.

Piech had criticized CEO Martin Winterkorn in an interview with Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine, saying he was “at a distance” from him. Other board members — including Piech’s cousin, Wolfgang Porsche — backed Winterkorn.


Starbucks breakdown shows how registers have evolved

NEW YORK (AP) — A glitch that disabled registers at thousands of Starbucks stores Friday was a reminder of the invisible systems restaurants rely on to run increasingly sophisticated operations.

Registers that once merely rang up tabs and stored cash have evolved into hubs that can collect enormous volumes of data and carry out many tasks.

They process credit cards, send orders to computer screens in kitchens and help run loyalty programs. In the industry, they’re called point-of-sale, or POS, systems, and vary greatly in what they can do.


Old companies thrive in brand-loyal Japan adapting to times

KYOTO, Japan (AP) — Successful businesses shine for a few years, then nimbler competitors outwit them in a constant cycle that spans being feted to forgotten in less than a generation. But Japan has something different: thousands of companies that have prospered for centuries.

Japan has more old companies than any other developed nation. A study of 41 countries carried out by the Bank of Korea found that Japan has more than half of the known pool of companies older than 200 years.


Burger King heats it up with spicy Whopper and sales surge

NEW YORK (AP) — The home of the Whopper enjoyed its biggest sales jump in nearly a decade in the U.S. and Canada during the first quarter, boosted by a pricier new flavour of its signature burger and an ongoing 2 for $5 promotion.

Burger King’s sales rose 6.9 per cent at established locations in the U.S. and Canada, parent company Restaurant Brands International said Monday. The company, which also owns Tim Hortons doughnut chain, declined to say whether the increase at Burger King was driven by higher average spending or an uptick in customer traffic, which is a key indicator of health.


Chipotle says removal of GMO ingredients from food complete

NEW YORK (AP) — Chipotle says it has completed phasing out genetically modified ingredients from its food, making it the first national fast-food chain to do so.

The Denver-based chain had already been using mostly non-GMO ingredients, but was working on making final changes to its tortillas.

The Food and Drug Administration maintains that GMOs are safe, and most of the country’s corn and soybean crops are genetically modified to have certain traits like resistance to herbicides and plant diseases.


Mylan rejects Teva’s $40.1 billion buyout offer

NEW YORK (AP) — Mylan N.V. rejected Teva Pharmaceuticals’ $40.1 billion buyout offer, saying the cash-and-stock proposal undervalues the company.

Mylan said that it won’t think about starting talks unless Teva offers more than $100 per share, far above its current offer of $82 per share. After the rejection Teva said it is committed to completing the deal and that a sale to Teva is Mylan’s best option.


Corinthian Colleges closes all 28 remaining campuses

WASHINGTON (AP) — Corinthian Colleges cancelled classes Monday and shut down all of its remaining 28 ground campuses, displacing about 16,000 students, less than two weeks after the Education Department announced it was fining the for-profit institution $30 million for misrepresentation.

The Santa Ana, California-based company said it was working with other schools to help students continue their education by making transcripts available and co-ordinating with other educational institutions to accept them. The closures include Heald College campuses in California, Hawaii and Oregon, as well as Everest and WyoTech schools in California, Arizona and New York.


Deutsche Bank to streamline operations to improve profit

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Deutsche Bank says its reorganization will mean spinning off its Postbank branches in Germany through a share offering, closing offices in some countries, and eliminating less profitable business at its investment banking division

Bank co-CEOs Juergen Fitschen and Anshu Jain made the announcements Monday as they provided more detail about the bank’s reorganization announced Friday.


Peltz gets key backer in fight for influence at DuPont

NEW YORK (AP) — Nelson Peltz gained a powerful backer Monday after the proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services said that change may be warranted at DuPont and recommended shareholders give the billionaire investor seats on its board.

Peltz’s Trian Fund Management is pushing the chemicals maker to split into two companies and it has nominated four directors for company the board.

ISS on Monday said that shareholders should support Peltz and one of his nominees, John Myers, the former CEO of General Electric Co.’s asset management business. It said that some of Trian’s criticisms of DuPont have merit.


FDA: Medtronic must stop most sales of Synchromed drug pumps

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration says Medtronic must stop most sales of its implantable drug pumps after years of uncorrected problems.

The FDA has filed a court order against Medtronic that says the medical device giant must halt most production and distribution of its Synchromed II drug pumps, which are implanted devices used to treat patients with cancer, chronic pain and severe muscle spasms.


ESPN suing Verizon over unbundling of its sports channel

ESPN is suing Verizon in an escalating clash over how the popular sports channel is being sold in a discounted pay-TV package.

The complaint filed Monday in New York’s state Supreme Court alleges Verizon is breaking its contract with ESPN, owned by Walt Disney Co., by unbundling the sports channel from the main programming line-up of Verizon’s FiOS TV.

The legal showdown could have ripple effects on how other pay-TV programming is packaged. Cable and satellite services are scrambling to retain subscribers as the advent of Internet video spawns new and less expensive ways to stay entertained and informed.


Change to Greek bailout negotiating team fuels market hopes

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece reshuffled its bailout negotiating team on Monday following fierce criticism of its finance minister, meeting with market applause as investors hoped it will facilitate a deal to save the country from bankruptcy.

A Greek official insisted Yanis Varoufakis, who has come under fire from his European peers for dragging his feet in the bailout talks, continued to enjoy the government’s support. He will continue to lead the negotiations, which have been delayed for three months.

But Euclid Tsakalotos, who is minister of international financial relations and part of the foreign ministry, will handle the co-ordination within Varoufakis’ negotiating team


By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 42.17 points, or 0.2 per cent, to close at 18,037.97. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 8.77 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 2,108.92. The Nasdaq shed 31.84 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 5,060.25.

U.S. oil slipped 16 cents to $56.99 per barrel. Brent crude, a benchmark for many international oils used by U.S. refineries to make gasoline, fell 45 cents to $64.83 in London. Wholesale gasoline was flat at $2.01 per gallon. Heating oil slipped 0.7 cent to $1.921 per gallon. Natural gas fell 4.1 cents to $2.49 per 1,000 cubic feet.