Business Briefs – July 13, 2017

Yellen Calls Risks of Inflation ‘Two-Sided’

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Thursday said she believed the risks concerning inflation are “two-sided,” stressing that price gains could both accelerate or slow down.

Testifying for the second day before Congress, Yellen sought to expand on remarks she had made Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee in an apparent effort to adjust views in financial markets.

In her House comments, Yellen discussed the possibility that a recent slowdown in inflation could persist longer than the Fed expects. Investors saw the remarks as a signal that the Fed, which has raised interest rates three times since December, might slow the pace of future interest rate increases.

But on Thursday, Yellen said that she believed it would be “premature” to conclude that a recent slowdown in price gains meant that the Fed would not be able to achieve its goal of 2 percent annual inflation.

Panel Calls on FDA to Review Safety of Opioid Painkillers

An expert panel of scientists says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should review the safety and effectiveness of all opioids. The group says the FDA should also consider the real-world impacts the powerful painkillers have, not only on patients, but also on families and crime. A sweeping report Thursday pushes the FDA to bolster a public health approach that already has resulted in one opioid painkiller being pulled from the market.

Investors: ‘Pharma Bro’ Shkreli Was Shady — and Profitable

NEW YORK (AP) – A parade of government witnesses who say they were burned by “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli have also had to admit they made hefty profits. Prosecutors at a federal securities fraud trial that resumes Thursday say that doesn’t matter because Shkreli lied repeatedly about what he was doing with their money. They say he drove his hedge fund into the ground before digging himself out by starting a drug company that he raided to pay back investors.

Group Led by Ex-Alderman, Unions Acquires Chicago Sun-Times

CHICAGO (AP) – An investment group led by a former Chicago alderman and labor unions are the new owners of the Chicago Sun-Times. Former City Council member Edwin Eisendrath submitted a bid last month after Sun-Times owner Wrapports announced it would enter into discussions with Tronc, which owns the rival Chicago Tribune, to acquire the paper. Experts called the resulting deal rare, particularly with labor union involvement. Sun-Times Publisher and Editor in Chief Jim Kirk says the newspaper will remain committed to “editorial independence” and “unbiased coverage.”

U.S. Approves Alaska Offshore Drilling From Gravel Island

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – Petroleum exploration has largely ceased in federal waters off Alaska but an Italian multinational oil and gas company has received permission to move ahead with modest drilling plans on leases sold in 2005.

The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced conditional approval of an exploratory drilling plan submitted by Eni US Operating Co. Inc., part of Eni S.p.A.

The company plans to drill four exploration wells from the Spy Island drill site, an 11-acre (.04-square kilometer) artificial gravel island constructed in state of Alaska waters 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to2.4 meters) deep. It’s one of four artificial islands in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska’s north coast that support oil production.

Tiffany Hires Diesel Exec In Bid to Regain Luster

NEW YORK (AP) – Tiffany is taking another shot at reviving its luster, naming a long-time Bulgari executive and Diesel CEO as its top executive.

The company had also hired Frederic Cumenal to revitalize the brand, but ran out of patience in February after only two years.

Alessandro Bogliolo, 52, spent 16 years at the luxury jewelry and watch company Bulgari and had most recently been CEO of Italian clothing company Diesel.

Bogliolo is expected to take over the CEO post at Tiffany by Oct. 2. He will also become a board member.