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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 1:00 am


Prices show inflation risk milder

News services

WASHINGTON – Consumer prices increased at a modest pace in February, underscoring that inflation pressures appear to be muted for now.

The consumer price index increased 0.2 percent last month after a sharp 0.5 percent gain in January, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Core prices – which exclude the volatile food and energy categories – also climbed 0.2 percent.

Overall consumer prices rose 2.2 percent in February from a year earlier, while core prices rose 1.8 percent from a year ago for the third straight month.

Inflation fears have intensified this year after a report last month suggested wages were rising more quickly, which can push up prices. Subsequent data have shown that hourly pay gains remain moderate.

Settlement reached over modified corn

A $1.5 billion settlement was reached in a class-action lawsuit covering tens of thousands of farmers, grain-handling facilities and ethanol plants that sued Swiss agribusiness giant Syngenta over its introduction of a genetically engineered corn seed.

Lawsuits in state and federal courts challenged Syngenta's decision to introduce its modified Viptera and Duracade corn seed strains to the U.S. market for the 2011 growing season before having approval for import by China in 2014.

The plaintiffs said Syngenta's decision cut off access to the large Chinese corn market and caused price drops for several years.

Volkswagen part of diesel solution: CEO

Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller says the automaker had “an excellent year” in 2017 and is committed to addressing concerns about diesel pollution.

Mueller cited the company's efforts to reduce diesel emissions and recover from its 2015 diesel emissions scandal. He said 160,000 older diesels had been taken off the road through trade-in incentives, and decided to update software on 4 million cars to reduce emissions.

He said Tuesday the company would be “part of the solution” in finding a way to address controversy over the diesel issue. Environmentalists are pressing for bans on older diesels in German cities with high pollution levels.

Dick's reports weak holiday season

Dick's Sporting Goods on Tuesday reported disappointing holiday sales numbers in part because of weak demand for one-time hot brands like Under Armour.

The company's CEO also said recent changes to its firearm policies, ending the sale of guns to anyone under 21, will hurt future sales and may cause fewer shoppers to come to its stores.

Sales fell 2 percent at established stores during the fourth quarter, which was about double the decline that Wall Street was expecting. Industry analysts watch that figure closely as a barometer of a retailer's health as it excludes the volatility of stores recently opened or closed.

Amazon recalls chargers for fire risk

Amazon is recalling 260,000 AmazonBasics portable chargers after reports that they can overheat and cause fires or burns.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says Amazon received 53 reports of the chargers overheating, including one of a customer burned by battery acid. There were also four reports of property damage from fire and smoke.