Business Briefs – March 7, 2016

Fed Vice Chair Sees Hints Of Too-Low Inflation Moving Up

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said Monday that inflation in the U.S. may be starting to tick up from too-low levels, a key condition for further interest rate hikes.

“We may well at present be seeing the first stirrings of an increase in the inflation rate — something that we would like to happen,” he said. Another Fed official, Lael Brainard, expressed uncertainty about whether an improving job market would be enough to bolster inflation.

U.S. Consumer Borrowing Slows in January

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumers bumped up borrowing in January at the slowest rate in nearly three years, as outstanding revolving debt slipped from December. The Federal Reserve said Monday that borrowing rose $10.5 billion in January, an annual increase of just 3.58 percent. That marks the smallest annual percentage gain since February 2013. Total borrowing was $3.54 trillion.

Borrowing in the revolving category that covers credit cards slipped $1.1 billion. Borrowing in the category that covers auto and student loans increased $11.6 billion last month.

JetBlue’s Trial Approach: Will Train Novices to Be Pilots

DALLAS (AP) — JetBlue Airways is taking applications for 24 slots in a new program to train novice pilots to fly a passenger jet.

The airline said Monday that the program — the first of its kind at a large U.S. airline — will cost about $125,000 and take four years to complete. Graduates could wind up flying 100-seat passenger jets.

Warren Christie, JetBlue’s senior vice president of safety and training, say the program won’t replace the airline’s traditional pipelines for pilots, many of whom come from smaller airlines.

US Appeals Ruling On Accessing Data In New York iPhone Case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is appealing a New York judge’s ruling that Apple cannot be forced to provide the government with access to locked iPhone data.

The filing in Brooklyn federal court on Monday came a week after U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein issued his decision in a routine drug case.

The New York case tackles the same legal ground as the California case in which a judge ordered Apple to create software to help the U.S. break into an encrypted iPhone used by the shooter who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, on Dec. 2.

Verizon To Pay $1.4M In ‘Supercookie’ FCC Settlement

NEW YORK (AP) — Verizon will pay a $1.35 million fine over its “supercookie” that the government said followed phone customers on the internet without their permission.

The supercookies landed their name because they were hard, or near-impossible, to block. Verizon uses them to deliver targeted ads to cellphone customers. The company wants to expand its advertising and media business and bought AOL for its digital ad technology in 2015.

The FCC said Monday that it found Verizon began using supercookies with consumers in December 2012, but didn’t disclose the program until October 2014.

Activist Investor Pushes Shutterfly To Pursue A Sale

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Activist investor Ancora Advisors is stepping up the pressure on photo sharing service Shutterfly to negotiate a sale of the company or reshuffle its board of directors if a deal can’t be quickly worked out.

The Cleveland investment fund wants Shutterfly Inc. to reach out to potential bidders following the company’s disclosure last month that it had received an unsolicited offer from an unnamed private equity firm.

Ancora’s letter identified the suitor as Thomas H. Lee Partners, a private equity firm in Boston.