Business Highlights

By: The Associated Press
June 28, 2016 Updated: Today at 4:18 pm
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Volkswagen settles emissions-cheating cases for up to $15.3B

WASHINGTON (AP) — Volkswagen will spend up to $15.3 billion to settle consumer lawsuits and government allegations that it cheated on emissions tests in what lawyers are calling the largest auto-related class-action settlement in U.S. history.

Up to $10 billion will go to 475,000 VW or Audi diesel owners, who thought they were buying high-performance, environmentally friendly cars but later learned the vehicles' emissions vastly exceeded U.S. pollution laws. VW agreed to either buy back or repair the vehicles, although it hasn't yet developed a fix for the problem. Owners will also receive payments of $5,100 to $10,000.

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UK business in limbo in face of years of Brexit uncertainty

LONDON (AP) — Businesses in Britain already are seeing the impact of the seismic Brexit vote.

Britain will have to first negotiate its exit, which could take years, and then renegotiate new relations with Europe, which could take even longer. With so much uncertainty looming and financial markets crashing, a lot of business is suddenly in limbo and some are pulling back.

A leading business group said 20 percent of its members plan to move some of their operations outside of the U.K. to be closer to clients on the mainland. Others say they will freeze hiring or cut jobs.

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US stocks rebound as anxiety over British vote eases

U.S. stock indexes mounted a broad comeback Tuesday as investors set aside their anxiety over Britain's vote to leave the European Union and snapped up shares following a two-day rout.

Encouraging data on the U.S. economy and housing market helped put traders in a buying mood. The broad rally followed even bigger gains in Europe, which also bounced back from the steep losses triggered by Britain's "leave" vote last Thursday.

Oil and gas companies led the rally as energy prices rose. Banks and other financial companies, which took the heaviest losses in the sell-off, also surged. Health care, consumer and technology stocks also notched gains. Bond prices fell, sending yields higher.

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With the supply of homes slight, US prices surged in April

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices scaled new heights in April, with seven cities — Boston, Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland, Oregon — setting highs.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 5.4 percent in April compared with a year earlier, just below the 5.5 percent year-over-year gain posted in March.

A shrinking supply of homes for sale has intensified competition from buyers and forced up prices. Demand has been further fueled by a healthy job market and historically low mortgage rates, which have made people more comfortable about paying higher home prices.

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US consumer confidence rises to highest level since October

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence rose this month to the highest level since October.

The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its consumer confidence index rose to 98 in June, snapping a two-month losing streak. The survey measures how consumers assess current conditions as well as their outlook for the next six months.

Americans view of current conditions was the most positive since September. Their expectations for the future also grew sunnier as did their outlook for the strength of the job market.

The survey was conducted before Britain voted to leave the European Union in a move that has shaken global financial markets.

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US economy grew at slightly faster 1.1 percent in 1Q

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy grew slightly faster at the start of the year than previously estimated, even though consumer spending posted the smallest gain in two years.

The gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 1.1 percent in the first quarter, an improvement from the 0.8 percent rate released last month, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

While growth prospects for the spring look even better, the shockwaves from Britain's decision to leave the European Union could spread to the U.S. economy in the coming months.

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Feds urge consumers to act quickly on Ikea dresser recall

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ikea is recalling 29 million chests and dressers that can easily tip over and trap children underneath. Six children have been killed and three dozen others injured in the past 27 years, and federal safety officials on Tuesday urged consumers to take immediate action.

The Swedish retailer announced the recall Tuesday, saying the furniture can pose "a tip-over and entrapment hazard that can result in death or injuries to children" if it is not properly anchored to a wall.

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Nestle taps new CEO with health care industry background

GENEVA (AP) — Nestle has selected health care executive Ulf Mark Schneider as its new CEO, the first chief executive brought in from outside the company since 1922 as the food and drinks giant seeks to evolve into a nutrition, health and wellness business.

The Switzerland-based company announced late Monday that Schneider, a 50-year-old German and American dual national, will succeed current CEO Paul Bulcke starting Jan. 1. Schneider has headed health care giant Fresenius Group since 2003.

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Dow Chemical to cut about 2,500 jobs globally

NEW YORK (AP) — Dow Chemical says it will eliminate about 2,500 jobs worldwide, or about 4 percent of its workforce, which is tied to the recent restructuring of its ownership in Dow Corning.

Dow Chemical will shutter silicone manufacturing plants in Greensboro, North Carolina and Yamakita, Japan. The Midland, Michigan-based company is also looking to close some administrative, corporate and manufacturing facilities, but did not give further details on their locations.

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FDA approves first pill to treat all forms of hepatitis C

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal health officials on Tuesday approved the first pill to treat all major forms of hepatitis C, the latest in a series of drug approvals that have reshaped treatment of the liver-destroying virus.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the combination pill, Epclusa, from Gilead Sciences for patients with and without liver damage. The new drug's broad indication could make it easier to use than five other hepatitis drugs recently approved by the FDA, which are each tailored to different viral strains or stages of liver disease.

Epclusa will cost $74,760 for a 12-week course of treatment, or roughly $890 per pill.

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Google offers new way for users to manage ads, personal data

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google is trying to make it easier for you to manage the vast pool of information that it collects about your online activities across phones, computers and other devices.

Among other things, a new privacy tool will enable the more than 1 billion people who use Google's search engine and other services to block certain ads from appearing on every device that they log into, instead of having to make a special request on each machine.

Some users of Google's search engine, Gmail and Chrome browser will start receiving notices about the new option beginning Tuesday, but it will take several weeks before it's available to everyone.

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The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 269.48 points, or 1.6 percent, to 17,409.72. The Standard & Poor's 500 gained 35.55 points, or 1.8 percent, to 2,036.09. The Nasdaq composite added 97.42 points, or 2.1 percent, to 4,691.87.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.52, or 3.3 percent, to close at $47.85 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained $1.42, or 3 percent, to close at $48.58 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline rose 3 cents to $1.51 a gallon. Heating oil added 4 cents to $1.47 a gallon. Natural gas gained 20 cents, or 7.4 percent, to $2.92 per 1,000 cubic feet.