Business Briefs – February 28, 2017

U.S. Banks in Strong Shape As 4th Quarter Profit Jumps

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. banks’ earnings in the final quarter of 2016 rose 7.7 percent from a year earlier as lending continued to grow and banks set aside less for losses on loans for the first time since late 2015. The data issued Tuesday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. showed strength in the industry more than eight years after the financial crisis struck. However, banks continued to post bigger losses on loans, especially for credit cards and commercial and industrial loans.

Investing Costs Fall Again: Fidelity, Schwab Cut Commissions

NEW YORK (AP) — Fidelity becomes the latest brokerage to cut trading fees in an ongoing industry battle that’s helped mom-and-pop investors keep more of their own dollars. A rival matched the price cut in a matter of hours. Fidelity said it will cut its commission for retail brokerage investors trading U.S. stocks and exchange-traded funds online by more than a third to $4.95 from $7.95. It will also reduce other investment costs.

European Parliament Panel Urges Improved Diesel Oversight

BRUSSELS (AP) — A European Parliament panel chastised European authorities and automakers on Tuesday for failing to ensure that laws on diesel emissions were upheld, and called for much-improved oversight in the future. The investigating committee was set up after it emerged in late 2015 that Germany’s Volkswagen had installed software that allowed cars to cheat on emissions tests — something that turned out to not have been isolated to the U.S., where the cheating was first detected.