Last Update on October 07, 2015 07:31 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The lone government economic report expected today comes from the Federal Reserve, which will release consumer credit data for August this afternoon.
U.S. consumer borrowing climbed to a fresh record of $3.45 trillion in July. Economists described that as evidence that the U.S. economy should grow at a healthy pace in the second half of this year, with consumer spending accounting for nearly 70 percent of economic activity.
On the corporate earnings front, Monsanto reports quarterly financial results before the market opens.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate Finance Committee has opened an investigation into Volkswagen's use of a federal tax credit intended for fuel-efficient cars as the company's emissions-rigging scandal widens.
Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Ron Wyden of Oregon say in a letter to Volkswagen on Tuesday that more than $50 million in tax subsidies may have gone to VW owners under false pretenses. Hatch, a Republican, chairs the Finance Committee. Wyden is its senior Democrat.
They said in the letter that the automaker's use of "defeat devices" in diesel passenger cars raises questions of whether officials lied to the U.S. government in certifying that the VW Jetta and other models met emissions standards needed for owners to claim the $1,300-per-vehicle tax credit.
The letter asks for a response by Oct. 30.
BERLIN (AP) -- Volkswagen's new chief executive says that a recall of cars with software at the center of the emissions-rigging scandal should start in January and the automaker aims to fix them all by the end of next year.
Volkswagen has said up to 11 million vehicles worldwide across several of its brands contain the diesel engine with the software used to cheat on U.S. emissions tests. CEO Matthias Mueller told the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: "It will hopefully be fewer, but in any case still far too many."
Mueller said in an interview published Wednesday that in most cases a software update will suffice to fix the problem but some vehicles could need new injectors and catalyzers.
He said: "If everything goes as planned, we can start the recall in January."
DETROIT (AP) -- Resale values are falling for Volkswagen diesels.
Kelley Blue Book says the average resale value of Volkswagens with two-liter diesel engines is down 13 percent since mid-September, when VW admitted it cheated on U.S. emissions tests using software installed on 11 million diesels worldwide.
Used car values often drop in the fall, since demand for them is stronger in the summer. But VW's diesel decline is unusually large. The price of gas-powered Volkswagens dropped 2 percent in the same period.
Kelley Blue Book calculated the average sale price of 2009-2015 VW diesels at dealer auctions between Sept. 1 and Oct. 1.
KBB residual value consultant Eric Ibara says past recalls indicate VW's residual values could return to normal by next year if VW fixes the problem and customers are satisfied.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Female workers in California are getting new tools to challenge gender-based wage gaps under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The Democrat has signed legislation that supporters say enacts the strongest equal-pay protection in the nation.
The legislation by Democratic Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara lets female employees allege pay discrimination based on the wages a company pays to male employees who do substantially similar work.
The legislation also puts the burden on employers to prove a man's higher pay is based on factors other than gender. And it protects workers from discrimination and retaliation if they ask questions about how much other people earn.
Brown also is considering legislation that bars employers from using previous salary information as justification for paying women less than their male co-workers.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A new study plays down the fracking potential of California's vast Monterey Shale oil deposits.
Federal energy experts in 2011 estimated the Monterey Shale formation overall to hold a staggering 14 billion barrels of recoverable oil.
A study out Tuesday by the U.S. Geological Survey is the latest to deflate those boom estimates. The new study says that the most productive part of the giant Monterey formation has just 21 million barrels of oil recoverable by fracking. That's in addition to 393 million barrels recoverable by conventional drilling.
The Monterey Shale not long ago was regarded as a game-changer in California, where Gov. Jerry Brown has resisted calls from environmentalists to ban fracking.
UNDATED (AP) -- The nation's biggest pharmacy benefits manager is covering two new drugs that lower artery-clogging cholesterol but raise concern over prices that top $14,000 a year.
Express Scripts says it will pay for prescriptions of Amgen Inc.'s Repatha as well as Praluent from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals under a few conditions. It negotiated a discount, and it says prescriptions will require prior approval from one of its pharmacists before they are filled.
Express Scripts Holding Co. also is requiring the drugmakers to provide rebates if their prices rise more than a set amount each year.
The pharmacy benefits manager's decision comes as soaring drug prices draw criticism from patients, politicians and insurers and employers that generally pay most of the prescription bill.
U.S. regulators approved Repatha and Praluent earlier this summer.
NEW YORK (AP) -- New York's attorney general has sent letters to daily fantasy sports websites DraftKings and FanDuel demanding they turn over details of any investigations into their employees.
The letters were prompted by media reports that a DraftKings employee may have had access to valuable company data before winning second place in a FanDuel contest. The incident is being likened to insider trading.
The companies say there's no evidence anyone misused internal company data.
Fantasy sports participants put together virtual teams based on real players and compete based on the players' statistics.
Meanwhile, ESPN is cutting sponsored DraftKings content from within shows but continues broadcasting commercials from the daily fantasy sports site. That's according to ESPN Outside the Lines host Bob Ley, who revealed the shift during his show Tuesday.
The industry considers daily fantasy a skilled game, not gambling. It is legal to play in all but five U.S. states.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Shares of Yum Brands plunged in after-hours trading after the owner of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell cut its profit outlook for the year.
Citing a slower-than-expected comeback for its key China division, the company said it now expects full-year earnings per share to rise in the low-single-digit percentages, not the 10 percent it previously forecast. Its stores in China have been hurt by scares over food quality.
In the latest quarter, the company says sales in China rose just 2 percent at established locations. For the full year, the company said it expects China's overall sales at established locations to be negative.
In the U.S., Yum Brands says Taco Bell and KFC saw positive sales gains, while Pizza Hut remained relatively flat.
Not including one-time items, it earned $1 per share. Analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research had been expecting $1.07 per share.
Total revenue was $3.43 billion in the period, also missing Street forecasts.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Samsung Electronics says its third-quarter operating profit was up 80 percent from over a year earlier, a forecast-beating result likely stemming from strong sales of electronics components and a weakness in the local currency.
The South Korean smartphone maker says its operating profit for the July-September quarter was 7.3 trillion won ($6.3 billion).
The result shows that Samsung is on track for a recovery. Its operating profit has gained quarter to quarter for the past year since falling to 4.1 trillion won one year ago.
Sales rose 7 percent to 51 trillion won ($43.9 billion) for the quarter.
Samsung will announce its net profit and earnings breakdowns for each of its business divisions later this month.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Power companies Exelon and Pepco have negotiated a settlement with District of Columbia officials on a proposed merger.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the settlement Tuesday. Bowser says that in addition to other terms, Exelon will invest $78 million in the city, up from a proposed $14 million. The city had previously rejected the companies' proposed $6.8 billion merger.
The companies had argued that the merger would stabilize electricity rates and enhance the reliability of electric and gas service. Opponents had argued the merger wouldn't benefit ratepayers.
The city was the only jurisdiction to reject the proposed merger between Chicago-based Exelon and Washington-based Pepco. Maryland and Delaware regulators approved the deal.
The settlement still has to be reviewed by District of Columbia regulators.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Protein and health bars at Wal-Mart are getting ready for prime time.
The world's largest retailer plans to expand its offering of bars like Special K and Clif beyond the over-the counter section to the more visible main grocery aisles of some of its stores, starting in January.
Wal-Mart is also considering eventually placing these nutritional bars near the cash registers.
Target Corp. announced last month that it's pushing granola bars and healthy grab-and-go snacks over candy at the checkout aisles in 30 of its stores.
And CVS Health is also adding more fresh foods and healthier snacks at many of its locations while moving bagged candy out of prime store space in the first aisle.
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