Business Briefs – June 28, 2016

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.

With the Supply of Homes Slight, U.S. 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.

U.S. 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.

U.S. 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.

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.