Business Highlights


Fed keeps key rate steady but notes rising inflation

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Federal Reserve is keeping its benchmark interest rate unchanged but notes that inflation is rising after years of being stuck below the Fed's target level. The Fed left its key short-term rate at 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent, the level it set in March after its sixth increase since December 2015.


Data firm at center of Facebook privacy scandal will close

NEW YORK (AP) - The data firm at the center of Facebook's privacy scandal is declaring bankruptcy and shutting down. Cambridge Analytica sought information on Facebook to build psychological profiles on a large portion of the U.S. electorate. In a statement, Cambridge Analytica says it has been "vilified" for actions it says are both legal and widely accepted as part of online advertising.


More businesses are mellowing out over hiring pot smokers

WASHINGTON (AP) - Many employers are quietly taking what once would have been a radical step: They're dropping marijuana from the drug tests they require of prospective employees. Marijuana testing - a fixture at large American employers for at least 30 years - excludes too many potential workers, experts say, at a time when filling jobs is more challenging than it's been in nearly two decades.


Black men arrested at Starbucks settle for $200K program

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Two black men arrested for sitting at a Philadelphia Starbucks without ordering anything have settled with the city for a symbolic $1 each and a promise from officials to set up a $200,000 program for young entrepreneurs. The men's lawyer and Mayor Jim Kenney outlined the agreement on Wednesday. The arrest of Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson on April 12 touched off a furor around the U.S. over racial profiling.


Memo: Pruitt landlord's husband sought EPA work for client

WASHINGTON (AP) - A newly released memo shows the husband of Scott Pruitt's Washington landlord sought EPA appointments on behalf of a client last year. The memo, from last August, shows lobbyist Steven Hart suggested EPA committee appointments on behalf of a client that Hart represented.


Passengers heard window popping on Southwest plane

CLEVELAND (AP) - Passengers say they heard popping and quickly moved away from a cracked window on a Southwest Airlines plane forced to land in Cleveland. There were no reports of injuries after Flight 957 going from Chicago to New Jersey landed safely on Wednesday morning. The emergency landing comes two weeks after a Southwest Airlines plane made an emergency landing in Philadelphia after an engine explosion and a blown out window.


Tesla posts record 1Q loss as cash burn accelerates

DETROIT (AP) - Tesla posted a record $709.6 million net loss in the first quarter and burned through $745.3 million in cash while struggling to crank out large numbers of its Model 3 mass-market electric car. The loss and cash burn announced Wednesday raised questions about the company's future and whether it will be able to pay all of its bills by early next year without more borrowing or another round of stock sales.


Co-author of Dodd-Frank says bill's foundation will survive

WASHINGTON (AP) - Congress is trying to pass a hefty rewrite of a banking law that bears Barney Frank's name, but the former Massachusetts congressman isn't worried. Frank says he's confident Dodd-Frank will survive Republican efforts to dismantle it. He crafted the bill with a fellow Democrat, former Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd, after the 2008 financial crisis. The GOP-controlled House has passed legislation to dramatically scale back the government's oversight role, but the Senate bill is more modest.


Nacho Fries a hit at Taco Bell, but KFC drags Yum Brands

NEW YORK (AP) - Taco Bell's new Nacho Fries were a hit with diners, with a quarter of all orders including the $1 spicy fries. Still, sales growth at parent company Yum Brands was weaker than expected. Sales were hurt by a chicken shortage at its KFC chain restaurants in the U.K. and Ireland.


Late skid leaves US stocks mostly lower; Apple climbs

NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. stocks finish mostly lower thanks to an afternoon slump, with health care companies and food and drink makers taking some of the worst losses. Apple rises after strong quarterly results and a positive forecast, along with a $100 billion stock repurchase. The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged at its latest meeting, as investors had expected.


The S&P 500 index fell 19.13 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,635.67. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 174.07 points, or 0.7 percent, to 23,924.98. The Nasdaq composite slid 29.81 points, or 0.4 percent, to 7,100.90. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 4.57 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,554.92.

Benchmark U.S. crude jumped 1 percent to $67.93 a barrel in New York, while Brent crude, the international standard, rose 0.3 percent to $73.36 per barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline lost 0.4 percent to $2.08 a gallon. Heating oil rose 1 percent to $2.12 a gallon. Natural gas fell 1.7 percent to $2.75 per 1,000 cubic feet.