Business Highlights

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO


Regulators: 5 big banks get failing grades for crisis plans

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators say five of the biggest banks in the U.S. failed to develop adequate plans for how they might reshape themselves in case of bankruptcy, which could leave them unable to survive without another taxpayer bailout.

The Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. cited the banks Wednesday for gaps in their bankruptcy plans known as "living wills" that they were required to submit. The five banks — with a total of about $5.6 trillion in assets — were among eight Wall Street behemoths whose plans were evaluated.


Air bag danger: US counts 85M unrecalled Takata inflators

DETROIT (AP) — About 85 million Takata air bag inflators that haven't been recalled are inside cars and trucks now being driven in the U.S. and would have to be replaced if the company can't prove they are safe, the government said Wednesday.

The number would be in addition to the 28.8 million inflators already slated for replacement in what has become the largest automotive recall in the nation's history. If all the inflators are recalled, they would total almost 114 million. A recall that massive would take years to complete and cost Takata billions of dollars.


Women-only car services fill a niche, but are they legal?

BOSTON (AP) — Ride-hailing companies catering exclusively to women are cropping up and raising thorny legal questions, namely: Are they discriminatory?

Michael Pelletz, a former Uber driver, said he started such a company with his wife, Kelly, in response to instances of drivers for ride-hailing services charged with assaulting female passengers.

He believes their business plan is legal, and he's prepared to make his case in court, if it comes to that. The couple has pushed back the launch of its business in Massachusetts to make sure their app can handle demand they say has exceeded expectations.


Amazon's latest Kindle mostly wants to disappear

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon's latest Kindle is its smallest and lightest yet. But it's also the most expensive, at $290 — almost a hundred bucks more than the current champ, the $200 Kindle Voyage. Now the company is betting that its sleek frame and a cover that doubles as a rechargeable battery will attract dedicated e-book users to its eighth generation device, called the Kindle Oasis.

Amazon says the new Kindle is 30 percent thinner and 20 percent lighter than previous Kindles. It's also asymmetrical, with a grip on one side for one-handed reading. (Lefties can just flip the device over.)


Sanders cheers strikers as 39K Verizon workers walk out

NEW YORK (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders cheered on striking Verizon workers Wednesday after 39,000 landline and cable employees walked off the job.

The workers have not had a contract since August because of failure to reach agreement with Verizon.

"I know your families are going to pay a price," Sanders shouted at a picket line in Brooklyn. "On behalf of every worker in America who is facing the same kind of pressure, thank you for what you're doing. We're going to win this thing!"

Sanders' rival, Hillary Clinton, said in a statement that she was "disappointed" that negotiations had broken down between Verizon and its unions.


JPMorgan profit falls 8 percent, fails key regulatory test

JPMorgan Chase said its first-quarter profit fell more than 8 percent and the bank tried to soothe investor concerns after it failed a key regulatory test designed to prevent another financial crisis.

First-quarter profit at JPMorgan, the nation's largest bank by assets, was hurt by weak results at its investment-banking division and by loans to oil and gas companies that are now struggling to make payments because of low energy prices.

The results were released Wednesday as regulators announced that JPMorgan, as well as four other banks, failed to meet a regulatory requirement put in place after the financial crisis.


Napster co-founder bankrolls project to speed cancer work

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A project to speed development of cancer-fighting drugs that harness the immune system has academic and drug industry researchers collaborating and sharing their findings like never before.

The newly created Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy is being funded by a $250 million grant from Sean Parker, the co-founder of the file-sharing site Napster and Facebook's first president. It brings together partners at six top academic cancer centers, dozens of drugmakers and other groups.


Valeant CEO agrees to be deposed in Senate drug price probe

The chief executive of embattled Valeant Pharmaceuticals, J. Michael Pearson, has agreed to be deposed by a Senate committee investigating the causes of soaring prescription medicine prices.

Meanwhile, the Canadian drugmaker has received a notice of default from some bond holders because it hasn't filed a financial report due in March. That's been delayed by a review of company accounting practices, which found Valeant prematurely reported $58 million in sales in 2014 to its former partner, mail-order pharmacy Philidor. Valeant now is revising earlier financial statements related to that.


Peabody, largest US coal miner, seeks bankruptcy protection

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Peabody Energy, the nation's largest coal miner, filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday as a crosscurrent of environmental, technological and economic changes wreak havoc across the industry.

Mines and offices at Peabody will continue to operate as it moves through the bankruptcy process.

The bankruptcy filing comes less than three months after another from Arch Coal, the country's second-largest miner, which followed bankruptcy filings from Alpha Natural Resources, Patriot Coal and Walter Energy.


Volkswagen to cut managers' bonuses following diesel scandal

BERLIN (AP) — Volkswagen said Wednesday that its top managers' bonuses will be cut significantly, citing the need to send a "signal" on executives' pay following the automaker's diesel emissions scandal.

The company, which has yet to release 2015 earnings figures, said in a statement that different models are being discussed.

The cut to the 2015 bonuses would apply to the management board, a group of executives that helps run the company day to day and includes the CEO.


The Dow Jones industrial average rose 187.03 points, or 1.1 percent, to 17,908.28. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 20.70 points, or 1 percent, to 2,082.42. The Nasdaq composite index surged 75.33 points, or 1.6 percent, to 4,947.42.

U.S. crude slipped 41 cents, or 1 percent, to $41.76 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil pricing, fell 51 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $44.18 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.53 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1 cent to $1.27 a gallon. Natural gas rose 3 cents to $2.04 per 1,000 cubic feet.