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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, January 13, 2018 1:00 am


Prices rise just 0.1% in December

News services

WASHINGTON – Overall U.S. consumer prices rose a scant 0.1 percent in December, slowed by falling energy prices. But a closely watched gauge called core inflation – which excludes the volatile categories of food and energy – surged 0.3 percent, the most in 11 months.

The rise in core inflation grabbed attention in financial markets, where investors have been sending bond yields up in recent days out of concern that rising inflation may prompt the Federal Reserve to accelerate the pace of its interest rate hikes. The yield on the two-year Treasury note surpassed 2 percent for the first time since the peak of the financial crisis in late 2008 after the inflation report was released Friday by the Labor Department.

The 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted jump in core inflation was the biggest since an identical increase in January 2017. Over the past six months, core inflation has recorded more benign monthly readings of 0.1 percent or 0.2 percent.

GM cars to go with no pedals, steering

General Motors says it is making the first mass-production autonomous car without a steering wheel or pedals.

The company says it has filed a petition with the federal government seeking permission to put the vehicles on the road sometime next year with no human backup drivers.

GM's Cruise Automation unit has announced plans to carry passengers in self-driving cars that won't have a backup driver in 2019. The location of the service has not been revealed.

GM spokesman Kevin Kelly says the first of the autonomous Chevrolet Bolts is being tested. He says the company isn't announcing how many will be made.

Goldman Sachs to offer new loans

Wall Street's best known investment bank is looking to help you renovate your bathroom.

Goldman Sachs will start offering home improvement loans to borrowers this month, its latest push into the world of consumer lending – a business the bank has avoided for much of its nearly 150-year history. The bank has offered debt consolidation loans since late 2016, and for a couple years it's had an online savings account, both under the brand name Marcus.

No more foam at McDonald's after '18

McDonald's will stop using plastic foam cups, which keep drinks icy cold but make environmentalists red hot, by the end of this year.

The world's largest restaurant operator quietly disclosed the decision on its website, along with its plan to use recycled and certified sources for all of its fiber-based packaging by 2020.

“We also plan to eliminate foam packaging from our global system by the end of 2018,” the company states on its website.

Fiat investing big in Michigan factory

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is investing $1 billion in a Michigan truck factory and paying worker bonuses in the wake of a U.S. tax cut, gestures that could come in handy amid major policy matters being sorted out in Washington. The Italian-American automaker will share the spoils of a lower corporate tax rate by sending $2,000 checks to about 60,000 U.S. workers.

Fiat Chrysler also will spend more than $1 billion and add 2,500 jobs at a factory near Detroit to produce heavy-duty Ram pickups that the company has been making in Mexico.