Business Briefs – March 5, 2017

Yellen Signals The Fed Will Likely Raise Rates This Month

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is signaling that the Fed will likely resume raising interest rates later this month to reflect a strengthening job market and inflation edging toward the central bank’s 2 percent target rate. Yellen also said in a speech in Chicago that the Fed expects steady economic improvement to justify additional rate increases. While not specifying how many rate hikes could occur this year, Yellen noted that Fed officials in December had estimated that there would be three in 2017.

EPA Withdraws Obama-Era Request For Data on Oil, Natural Gas

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Environmental Protection Agency says it’s withdrawing an Obama-era request that oil and natural gas companies provide information on methane emissions at oil and gas operations. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt says the withdrawal is effective immediately, and that he wants to assess the need for the information the agency has been collecting under a directive issued in November.

Deutsche Bank to Raise $8.5 Billion to Help Restructure Firm

NEW YORK (AP) – European banking giant Deutsche Bank announced plans to raise at least $8.5 billion in capital and sell off a stake in its asset management business, in a move to help shore up the troubled German firm.

Deutsche Bank will issue 687.5 million new shares later this month, the bank said Sunday, in an effort to take advantage of the recent run-up in the bank’s stock price.

As part of the restructuring, Deutsche said it will take a part of its asset management business public. The bank will also abandon its plans to sell Postbank, and will integrate Postbank into the rest of its retail banking business.

Deutsche Bank, one of the Europe’s largest financial firms, has struggled to maintain profitability in the last two years. The bank has faced billions of dollars in fines for its role in the financial crisis from both U.S. and European authorities, low interest rates both in the U.S. and Europe, and a struggling European economy. The firm reported a $1.51 billion loss in 2016 and massive $7.38 billion loss for 2015.

Silicon Valley High School Makes $24 Million From Snap IPO

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – It’s an only in Silicon Valley kind of story. A well-to-do private Catholic high school makes a $15,000 investment four years ago in the company developing the Snapchat app, holds onto it for years and ends up with a windfall of $24 million. Well-connected parent Barry Eggers made it happen for the Catholic St. Francis High School by convincing the school’s board to take a risk on Snap Inc. The parent company of Snapchat had a blockbuster initial public stock offering Thursday.

Mercedes Recalls 1m Vehicles Worldwide Due To Fire Risk

DETROIT (AP) – Mercedes is recalling about 1 million cars and SUVs worldwide because a starter part can overheat and cause fires.

The recall covers certain C-Class, E-Class and CLA cars and GLA and GLC SUVs, all from 2015 through 2017, including nearly 308,000 in the U.S.

Uber Deploys Secret Weapon Against Undercover Regulators

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Uber has been wielding a secret weapon to thwart authorities who have been trying to curtail or shut down its ride-hailing service in cities worldwide. The program included a feature nicknamed “Greyball” internally that identified regulators who were posing as riders while trying to collect evidence that Uber’s service was breaking local laws governing taxis. To stymie those efforts, Uber served up a fake version of its app to make it appear the undercover regulators were summoning a car only to have the ride canceled.

U.S. Services Firms Expand at Fastest Pace Since October 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. services companies expanded in February at the fastest pace since October 2015. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group for purchasing managers, says its services index rose to 57.6 last month from 56.5 in January.