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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, July 15, 2017 1:00 am

Briefs

Fiat Chrysler issues recall of 1.3 million cars

News services

Fiat Chrysler is recalling over 1.3 million vehicles worldwide to fix malfunctioning alternators that can cause engines to stall or a wiring problem that can make air bags deploy unexpectedly.

The wiring recall covers almost 771,000 Dodge Journey and Fiat Freemont SUVs from 2011 through 2015. The company says wires can chafe against steering wheel trim, causing electrical short-circuits. That can set off the driver's front air bags, cause wipers to come on unexpectedly, cause switches to fail or illuminate the air bag warning lights.

Customers who see any of the issues should contact a dealer. Dealers will install a covering on the wires or replace them if needed. FCA says it knows of five minor injuries related to the problem but no crashes.

The alternator recall affects nearly 566,000 Chrysler 300s, Dodge Challengers and Chargers and Durango SUVs from 2011 through 2014. Also covered are certain 2012 to 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokees.

Business inventories grow

U.S. businesses increased their stockpiles in May, while sales fell by the largest amount in 10 months.

The Commerce Department says business inventories rose 0.3 percent, rebounding from a 0.2 percent decline in April. Total business sales fell 0.2 percent, the largest decline since a 0.3 percent drop last July. Sales have been weak for the past three months.

When businesses increase stockpiles, it is generally seen as a sign of their confidence that sales will increase in the coming months. A decrease in inventories can be a sign of pessimism about future sales.

Economic growth slowed in the January-March quarter, in part because inventories subtracted from overall economic activity, but economists are looking for a rebound in the second quarter.

June consumer prices flat

Lower costs for gas, airline tickets, new and used cars and wireless mobile phone plans kept U.S. consumer prices flat in June, evidence that inflation remains muted.

The unchanged reading followed a drop of 0.1 percent in May, the Labor Department said Friday. Inflation has climbed just 1.6 percent from a year ago. That's down sharply from February, when prices rose 2.7 percent from a year earlier.

Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, prices rose 0.1 percent in June and 1.7 percent from a year earlier.

As inflation has slowed, the Federal Reserve's plans to raise interest rates once more this year and three times next year have come under greater scrutiny. The Fed typically hikes rates to ward off rising inflation, yet price gains have declined this year.

Fed policymakers have lifted their benchmark short-term rate four times in the past 18 months.

PNC profit up 11%

PNC Financial Services Group Inc. on Friday reported second-quarter earnings of $1.10 billion, or $2.10 per diluted common share, an 11 percent increase over the $989 million, or $1.82 a share, posted for the same three months of last year.

William Demchak, chairman, president and CEO, noted in a written statement that PNC recently increased its common stock dividend by 36 percent to an all-time high.