Business Briefs – January 6, 2015

Apple Stock Slumps Amid iPhone Sales Worries

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple fans keep buying iPhones, but Wall Street keeps worrying the company won’t be able to match last year’s blistering sales pace.

Shares in the world’s most valuable company have fallen more than 15 percent over the last month, amid a drumbeat of news reports that some Asian parts suppliers are expecting Apple to trim orders for its signature smartphone this winter. Those fears were compounded Wednesday when the Wall Street Journal said one of Apple’s most important contractors is sending some workers home on “early holiday” before the Chinese New Year in February.

China Announces Plan to Limit Large Share Sales

BEIJING (AP) – China plans to restrict stock sales by large shareholders once a ban imposed in July to stop a slide in prices is lifted this week.

Stockholders who own more than 5 percent of a company will be required to sell shares through private transactions to “avoid shocks to the market,” the China Securities Regulatory Commission said on its microblog.

Regulators are winding down emergency measures imposed after China’s main market index plunged more than 30 percent in June.

Fed Minutes: Some Saw December Rate Hike as ‘Close Call’

WASHINGTON (AP) – Despite the Federal Reserve’s unanimous vote to raise a key interest rate last month, some policymakers viewed their decision as a “close call” because of stubbornly low inflation.

Going forward, officials believed economic conditions would likely justify “only gradual increases” in its benchmark rate, minutes of the Fed’s December meeting released Wednesday showed.

The Fed boosted the rate by a quarter point to a new range of 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent in December. It had been at a record low near zero for the past seven years.

VW Exec Sees U.S. Fixes Soon In Emissions Test Cheating

LAS VEGAS (AP) – The top executive of the Volkswagen brand worldwide says he’s optimistic that U.S. environmental regulators will approve fixes within the coming weeks or months for diesel engines that cheat on emissions tests.

Brand CEO Herbert Diess said Tuesday night at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas that the company is having constructive discussions with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board.

But the EPA didn’t sound as optimistic, issuing a statement Wednesday saying that talks with VW so far “have not produced an acceptable way forward.”

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