The daily business briefing: January 13, 2017
The EPA accuses Fiat Chrysler of emissions test cheating, Amazon aims to add 100,000 jobs, and more
EPA accuses Fiat Chrysler of diesel emission test cheating
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday accused Fiat Chrysler of installing software on some of its diesel trucks to cheat on emissions tests. The software allegedly reduced emissions of nitrogen oxide during tests, hiding actual pollution levels exceeding amounts allowed under the Clean Air Act. The allegations involve some 2014 to 2016 Dodge Ram 1500 pickups and Jeep Grand Cherokees. Fiat Chrysler officials denied the allegations. The company's stock plummeted by as much as 18 percent Thursday morning. Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne called the accusations "unadulterated hogwash."
Amazon plans to add 100,000 U.S. jobs
Amazon announced Thursday that it plans to add more than 100,000 U.S. jobs over the next 18 months as it invests heavily to speed delivery to loyal shoppers. The hiring spree will include a wide range of positions, from software developers to warehouse workers, and increase the company's U.S. workforce by more than 50 percent to 280,000. Amazon also has at least 16 new U.S. fulfillment centers in the works as it tries to place goods closer to customers to meet the promise of two-day deliveries to members of its Prime shopping club.
Yellen sees no "serious" short-term obstacles for economy
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Thursday that she sees no short-term "serious obstacles" for the U.S. economy, although she warned of long-term threats posed by low productivity and growing inequality. "I see the economy as doing quite well," Yellen said in a town hall meeting with educators. The remarks came after the Fed last month hiked interest rates for the first time in a year. Policy makers also indicated that they would likely raise rates three more times in 2017 with expected continued economic strengthening. Despite the upbeat comments, global markets struggled Friday after China released disappointing trade data showing that exports fell by 7.7 percent last year due to weak global demand.
Nintendo announces $299 price for new Switch console
Nintendo late Thursday announced its pricing plan for the Nintendo Switch, its first new gaming console in about four years. The system, due for launch in early March, will cost $299 in the U.S., the same as Nintendo's current Wii U console. In Japan, however, it will sell for 20 percent more than its predecessor. Fumio Matsumoto, senior fund manager at Dalton Capital in Japan, said the pricing in Japan was "on the high side," although the premium is "understandable to some extent" because the Switch can be used both as a stationary console and a handheld device.
Trump makes a pitch for L.L.Bean as thanks for co-owner's support
President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday thanked Linda Bean, co-owner of outdoor retailer L.L.Bean, for her support with a tweet that concluded, "Buy L.L.Bean." The unprecedented presidential endorsement came as Linda Bean faced a backlash after a report that Bean, an L.L.Bean board member, had given $30,000 to the pro-Trump Making Maine Great Again PAC, exceeding limits on individual contributions in a single year. Liberal critics called for a boycott of L.L.Bean under the hashtag #Grabyourwallet. Linda Bean accused her critics of "bullying," and the company said her views did not reflect the views of other Bean family members or the company.