Business Highlights


Yellen says rate hike likely appropriate this year

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday that the central bank has no “fixed timetable” for raising interest rates but she believes the economy is ready for a rate hike by the end of the year.

She said during an appearance before the House Financial Services Committee that when the Fed met last week, a majority of her colleagues believed it would be appropriate to raise rates before the end of this year.

The Fed boosted its key policy rate in December 2015 to a range of 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent. But since then, officials have left the rate unchanged.


Senators ask Justice Department to investigate EpiPen maker

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senators are asking the Justice Department to investigate whether pharmaceutical company Mylan acted illegally when it classified its life-saving EpiPen as a generic drug and qualified for lower rebate payments to states.

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Wednesday and suggested the company may have gamed the system to divert millions of dollars from taxpayers.

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch has come under fire in Congress as the price of the emergency allergy shots has skyrocketed in recent years.


Anheuser-Busch pays $6M to settle India bribery accusations

WASHINGTON (AP) — Anheuser-Busch InBev will pay $6 million to settle charges by U.S. regulators that a joint venture in India paid off government officials to boost sales and production, then tried to quiet an employee who raised the issue.

The joint venture in which AB InBev had a 49 per cent interest used third-party sales promoters to make payments to Indian officials in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Wednesday.

The law is typically used to prevent bribery.


Energy stocks surge on oil deal hopes, sending market higher

NEW YORK (AP) — Energy companies powered to big gains Wednesday, leading the broader stock market higher, on reports that OPEC nations were moving closer to an agreement to cut oil production.

Energy companies surged on reports earlier in the day that a deal was close. A two-year slump in oil prices has decimated profits at energy companies. The energy sector made its biggest gain since January.

After stock trading closed, OPEC said it had reached a preliminary deal to reduce production for the first time in eight years.


Air rage incidents reported by airlines on the rise

WASHINGTON (AP) — Incidents of unruly passengers on planes are increasing, and more effective deterrents are needed to tackle the problem, a global airline trade group said Wednesday.

There were 10,854 air rage incidents reported by airlines worldwide last year, up from 9,316 incidents in 2014, according to the International Air Transport Association. That equates to one incident for every 1,205 flights.

A majority of incidents involved verbal abuse, failure to follow crew instructions and other anti-social behaviour. Eleven per cent included physical aggression toward passengers or crew or damage to the plane. Alcohol or drugs were a factor in 23 per cent of the cases.


FDA approves ‘artificial pancreas’ to manage diabetes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators have approved a first-of-a-kind “artificial pancreas,” a device that can help some diabetes patients manage their disease by constantly monitoring their blood sugar and delivering insulin as needed.

The device from Medtronic was approved Wednesday for patients with Type 1 diabetes. About 5 per cent of the nation’s 29 million Americans with diabetes have this type.

Type 1 diabetes patients now have to manage their insulin through multiple injections throughout the day or a drug pump that delivers it through a tube.


Ford recalls Focus hatchbacks for latch release problem

DETROIT (AP) — Ford is recalling about 74,000 Focus hatchback cars with manual transmissions in the U.S. and Canada because the hatches can be unlatched too easily while the cars are moving.

The recall covers certain Focus hatchback and RS vehicles from the 2013 through 2017 model years. The company says the hatch can be unlocked and unlatched by pushing a single button when the cars are travelling under 4 miles per hour. Federal safety standards require two actions to unlock doors and operate the latch release.

Ford says it doesn’t know of any accidents or injuries caused by the problem.


Tie-up of world’s biggest beer makers clears final hurdle

LONDON (AP) — A deal worth over $100 billion to combine the world’s two biggest beer companies cleared its last major hurdle Wednesday when the shareholders of SABMiller approved the takeover by Budweiser maker Anheuser-Busch InBev.

SABMiller shareholders approved the 79 billion pound ($103 billion) deal — dubbed Megabrew — despite opposition from some investors who saw their share of the payout shrink when the pound plunged following Britain’s vote to the leave the European Union. AB InBev shareholders also backed the transaction.

Regulators around the world have already approved the deal and the takeover is expected to be formally completed on Oct. 10.


Takata sells auto interiors unit as recall costs rise

DETROIT (AP) — Troubled air bag maker Takata Corp. of Japan is selling its automotive interior trim and seating material operation, raising cash as its inflator recall costs continue to mount.

The Japanese company is selling Pontiac, Michigan-based Irvin Automotive Products to Piston Group, an auto parts supplier run by former Detroit Pistons guard Vinnie Johnson. The sale price wasn’t disclosed, but Piston Group, based in suburban Detroit, said in a statement Wednesday that Irvin has annual sales of $500 million.

Takata faces billions in costs for what is now the largest auto recall in U.S. history.


Sandwich chain Cosi files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

NEW YORK (AP) — Cosi, the restaurant chain known for its flatbread sandwiches, said it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday and is seeking to sell itself to its lenders.

The company has closed 29 stores, but said the remaining 76 Cosi restaurants located around the country will remain open as it goes through the bankruptcy process.

In court documents, Cosi Inc. said it has between $10 million and $50 million in assets and the same amounts in debt.


Apple partners with Deloitte in pitch to business

CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) — Apple is extending its push into selling business technology through a partnership with the Deloitte consulting firm to advise companies on using iPhones, iPads and Apple software in the workplace.

While Apple primarily sells to the consumer market, it’s confronting a slowdown in consumer demand. That’s spurred the tech giant to announce business-focused partnerships with companies that sell technology to corporate customers. .

Apple says it sold $25 billion worth of products and services to businesses in the 12 months through September 2015. That was a 40 per cent increase, but just a slice of its $233 billion in total sales.


The Dow Jones industrial average gained 110.94 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 18,339.24. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 11.44 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 2,171.37. The Nasdaq composite picked up 12.84 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 5,318.55.

Benchmark U.S. crude jumped $2.38, or 5.3 per cent, to $47.05 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, rose $2.72, or 5.9 per cent, to $48.69 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline jumped 8 cents, or 6 per cent, to $1.48 a gallon. Heating oil gained 8 cents, or 5.8 per cent, to $1.49 a gallon. Natural gas fell 4 cents to $2.95 per 1,000 cubic feet.