Tech firms lead stocks higher
NEW YORK — Stocks closed higher on Wall Street Wednesday as solid gains by technology companies helped the market recoup some of its losses from a day earlier.
Small-company stocks also stood out, beating the rest of the market. Banks, retailers and home builders also notched gains. Utilities were the biggest laggard.
The rally was a reversal for the market following a slide on Tuesday that ended an eight-day winning streak as investors turned their attention to the next wave of corporate earnings.
"It was just a little bit of an overreaction yesterday," said Karyn Cavanaugh, senior markets strategist at Voya Investment Management. "This is a little bit of an uneasy period because we're waiting for earnings to start.".
Yahoo breach deal pegged at $117.5M
SAN FRANCISCO — Nearly 200 million people who had sensitive information snatched from their Yahoo accounts will receive two years of free credit-monitoring services and other potential restitution in a legal settlement valued at $117.5 million.
The deal disclosed in documents filed Tuesday revises an earlier agreement that was rejected by U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh. The value of that settlement had been pegged at $50 million, but Koh questioned the calculations.
A more detailed breakdown used in the revised settlement drove up the estimated cost. The money will be paid by Yahoo's current owner, Verizon, and Altaba, a holdover from Yahoo's past.
If approved, the settlement will become part of the financial fallout from digital burglaries that stole personal information from about 3 billion Yahoo accounts in 2013 and 2014.
Most on Fed see rates holding
WASHINGTON — A majority of Federal Reserve officials last month believed that economic conditions would likely warrant keeping the Fed's benchmark policy unchanged for the rest of this year.
Several officials said their view could shift in either direction based on incoming data, according to minutes of the meeting.
A shift to a view of weaker growth and lower inflation could prompt the Fed to cut rates, while a shift to a view of faster growth and rising inflation could prompt the Fed to resume raising rates.
The Fed at its March 19-20 meeting left its key policy rate unchanged and trimmed its expectations of rate hikes this year from two to none.
Some economists believe the Fed could actually start cutting rates later this year if the economy slows more.
Consumer prices up in March
WASHINGTON — U.S. consumer prices climbed 0.4% in March, an increase caused mostly by higher costs for gasoline, electricity and shelter.
The Labor Department said Wednesday that the consumer price index rose a healthy 1.9% last month from a year ago, a sharp jump from the annual pace of 1.5% in February.
Inflation has been relatively modest even as the job market has strengthened and wage gains have accelerated over the past several years. The Trump administration has been highlighting the meager inflation as the president calls on the Federal Reserve to cut a key short-term interest rate.
But prices in March suggest the Fed can remain patient, as the figures were essentially near its 2% target.
Delta profit surges, outlook improves
ATLANTA — Delta Air Lines Inc. reported a 30% profit surge during the first quarter and its outlook for the current quarter pushed company shares higher.
The Atlanta-based carrier earned $730 million for the January-March period, while revenue was $10.47 billion, topping the $10.39 billion that Wall Street expected.
Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains, came to 96 cents per share, or 6 cents better than what analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research were calling for. The profit got a boost from an early renewal of an agreement with American Express.
For the second quarter, Delta anticipates earnings in a range of $2.05 to $2.35 per share. Industry analyst have been projecting per-share earnings of $2.14, leaving room to the upside. The carrier said revenue should be up 6% to 8% this quarter.
Delta is the largest airline serving Charleston International based on passenger traffic.
Ex-publisher of Ebony to liquidate
CHICAGO — Johnson Publishing Co., former owner of the iconic Ebony and Jet magazines that helped changed the negative image of black people portrayed by U.S. media, filed for bankruptcy liquidation this week.
The company said it was "caught in a tidal wave of marketplace changes and business issues which, despite exhaustive efforts, could not be overcome." The issues included the bankruptcy of a major retailer that carried its cosmetics line, a "costly recall" of products and increasing competition from digital rivals.
John H. Johnson founded the company in 1942 when he launched Negro Digest, which summarized newspaper articles about black life. The key to the company's growth was Ebony, founded in 1945 and patterned after Life magazine. The average monthly circulation of Ebony was around 2 million for a time in the 1990s, making it the largest magazine catering to blacks.
Norwegian Air delays Airbus jets
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttles says it is postponing the delivery of Airbus aircraft to reduce its capital expenditure by approximately $570 million in 2019 and 2020.
The airline says in a statement that it has reached an agreement with Airbus for the rescheduling of part of the order book, including both A320neos and A321LRs.
Norwegian said Wednesday it was "a result of a dialogue" with the European plane manufacturer and was in line with its strategy of shifting its focus from expanding capacity to increasing profitability.
The carrier, which has struggled to make profits, recently started offering "premium" budget fares to capture some of the lucrative market for transatlantic business travel.
Amazon changes no-cash policy
NEW YORK — Amazon, facing backlash from critics who say cashless stores discriminate against the poor, will soon accept cash at all its stores.
The online shopping giant has more than 30 stores that don't accept cash, including its book shops and Amazon Go convenience stores. Amazon confirmed it is working to accept cash, but wouldn't say when that would happen.
Critics say cashless stores discriminate against those that don't have credit cards or bank accounts. Philadelphia became the first city to ban cashless stores earlier this year; New Jersey passed a statewide ban; and New York, San Francisco and other cities are considering similar laws.
The news was first reported by business news website CNBC.
Tenn. VW workers seek to unionize
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Some workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga have filed their third petition in five years to join the United Auto Workers.
UAW Local 42 president Steven Cochran told the Chattanooga Times Free Press the election petition was filed Tuesday with the National Labor Relations Board due to "pressure from the workers."
The petition said that at least 30 percent of 1,709 employees that make up the proposed election unit have turned over cards seeking representation. It asks for an election on April 29 and 30.
Volkswagen factory officials say they "remain neutral on this topic." Plant spokeswoman Amanda Plecas said the petition is being reviewed, and that it's too soon to comment further.