Update on the latest in business:
Stocks turn higher, led by technology
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are rising broadly on Wall Street in midday trading, reversing course from a drop a day before that ended an eight-day winning streak.
Technology and health care companies led the gains Wednesday. Micron Technology, Advanced Micro Devices and Gilead Sciences rose.
Airlines were broadly higher after Delta Air Lines reported strong quarterly results.
Levi’s jumped after swinging to a quarterly profit in its first period as a publicly traded company.
The Dow slipped a bit, due entirely to drops in Boeing and Home Depot.
US consumer prices rose 0.4% in March on higher gas costs
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer prices climbed 0.4% in March, an increase caused mostly by higher costs for gasoline, electricity and shelter.
The Labor Department says 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 over the past several years. But the increase in energy prices in March — which accounted for 60% last month’s increase — ate into recent wage growth. Average hourly wages have increased 1.3% in the past year, down from a gain of 1.9% in February.
Excluding the volatile energy and food categories, core prices increased 0.1% in March and 2% from a year ago.
Ford recalls 327K pickups again to fix engine heater cables
DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford is recalling 327,000 F-Series pickup trucks in North America for a second time to fix problems with engine block heater cables that can cause fires.
In December the company recalled 874,000 trucks because water and contaminants can get into the cables and cause corrosion. That can cause electrical shorts and fires.
About 327,000 owners took trucks to dealers for the fix, but the inspection may have inadvertently damaged the cables. Now dealers will disable the cables for all recalled trucks and replace them when parts are available.
The recall covers F-150s from 2015 through 2019, as well as Super Duty trucks from 2017 through 2019.
Ford says it knows of one fire in the U.S. and two in Canada that could be related to the problem.
BANK CEO’S-CAPITOL HILL
CEOs of big banks face off with House Democrats
UNDATED (AP) — The heads of seven of the largest banks in the U.S. fielded sometimes contentious questions from a House committee Wednesday, some dealing with current risks to the financial system and other focused on more politically-charged topics.
The appearance by the chief executives of JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs and five other banks represented the largest gathering of leaders of the banking industry before Congress since the financial crisis.
The CEOs told members of the House Financial Services Committee they’ve taken steps to improve the stability of their institutions since the financial system nearly seized up in 2008. They said the banks have raised capital, are more diverse, and are more resilient than they were before the financial crisis.
The backdrop of the hearing is the 10th anniversary of the 2008-2009 financial crisis. The banking system required extraordinary efforts by regulators — and a bailout by U.S. taxpayers — in order to survive. All seven banks appearing in front of Congress received funds under the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, and all paid billions of dollars in penalties and fines for their behavior heading into the housing bubble.
EU leaders consider granting Brexit delay
BRUSSELS (AP) — Just two days away from a potentially calamitous no-deal Brexit, European Union leaders opened talks Wednesday to discuss granting the United Kingdom a new delay to its departure from the bloc.
It’s likely to be a rough day for British Prime Minister Theresa May as she pleads for a second extension until June 30, to prevent Britain’s scheduled departure from the EU this Friday.
European Council President Donald Tusk has suggested an even longer delay of up to a year.
Europe hurt by US trade threats, central bank says
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The head of the European Central Bank has warned that global friction over trade — such as U.S. threats to impose more tariffs — is holding back the Eurozone economy as he underlined the bank’s readiness to deploy more stimulus if needed.
President Mario Draghi (DRAHG’-ee) said that while an improving jobs market is helping the economy, overall growth is taking a hit from global uncertainties like trade disputes and Brexit.
The bank, the chief monetary authority for the 19 European Union countries that use the euro as their currency, is facing a conundrum: sagging trade and manufacturing are slowing the economy, though an improving jobs market is propping it up.
IRS head: Average 2018 tax refund, $2,833, close to last year
WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the IRS, overseeing the most sweeping overhaul of the U.S. tax codes in three decades, says the average refund of $2,833 in this year’s tax-filing season, worked out to be close to last year’s.
Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig told Congress Wednesday that an increase is urgently needed in the agency’s budget to modernize antiquated computer systems and protect taxpayers’ data.
Rettig also confirmed that several more people are expected to be charged with violating tax laws in connection with the sweeping college admissions cheating scandal.
The IRS is working with the FBI on the investigation. Some of the wealthy parents accused of cheating to get their children into prominent schools also allegedly wrote off the bribes on their taxes.
Western banks help Saudis raise $12 billion in bonds
LONDON (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s oil company Aramco - the most profitable company in the world - has raised $12 billion in a bond issue that shows Western investors are keen to do business with the kingdom despite the scandal over the killing of a dissident journalist last year.
Bonds from Saudi Aramco began trading in London on Wednesday after strong interest from investors, with bids reportedly reaching as much as $100 billion. The Saudis had initially wanted to raise $10 billion but issued $12 billion in the end, according to financial information provider FactSet.
Saudi Arabia faced international condemnation after the assassination in October of Jamal Khashoggi (jah-MAHL’ khahr-SHOHK’-jee) by Saudi agents in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. But the bond sale, which was run by JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, and others, shows continued interest from Western companies.
Workers at Tennessee Volkswagen plant petition to join union
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Some workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, 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 says 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.
Houston company recalls some meat, poultry, salad items
HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas company is recalling more than 3,300 pounds of ready-to-eat meat, poultry and salad products amid concerns about possible listeria contamination.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says possible listeria involving Great American Marketing Inc. of Houston was discovered during routine testing at the business.
The items were produced March 27 through Monday and shipped to retailers across Texas. The recalled food has “EST. 31680” or “P-31680″ inside the USDA mark.
Officials have no reports of anyone getting sick. The items should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.
The recalled items include:
— 9.25 ounce plastic-sealed cartons of Corner Store Market Caesar Salad With Grilled Chicken & Caesar Dressing
— 10.25 ounce plastic-sealed cartons of Corner Store Market Chef Salad Turkey, Ham & Cheese, With Ranch Dressing
— 8.1 ounce plastic-sealed cartons of Corner Store Market Club Wrap Turkey, Ham, Roast Beef, Bacon Bits & Cheese
— 7.4 ounce plastic-sealed cartons of Corner Store Market Chicken Caesar Wrap Chicken Strips & Cheese With Caesar Dressing