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Last Update on February 10, 2016 08:30 GMT

FEDERAL RESERVE

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has a busy two days on Capitol Hill where lawmakers will be looking for hints about future rate hikes amid increasing economic jitters.

Since the Fed raised rates from record lows in December, the economic landscape has become clouded by falling stock markets, global weakness and sharply lower energy prices. Against that backdrop, lawmakers will likely want to question Yellen about the probable pace of further rate hikes and the Fed's role in supporting the U.S. economy.

After testifying to the House Financial Services Committee today, Yellen will address the Senate Banking Committee tomorrow.

Last week's jobs report for January further complicated the likelihood and timetable of additional rate increases. It showed more pay for workers and rising confidence among job seekers, even though the pace of hiring slowed.

BUYBACKS-LOSING BILLIONS

NEW YORK (AP) -- If you think your stocks are doing poorly, check out the performance of some of the most sophisticated investors, the ones with more knowledge about what's going on inside businesses than anyone else: companies that buy their own shares.

The companies losing money on these bets are down a collective $126 billion over the past three years, a decline of 15 percent.

And it's not just a few big corporate losers accounting for all the pain. The group includes 229 companies in the Standard and Poor's 500 index, nearly half of the companies in the study prepared by FactSet for The Associated Press.

DAIMLER-TAKATA

DETROIT (AP) -- Daimler AG is recalling 840,000 vehicles in the U.S. because they have potentially defective driver's side air bags made by Takata Corp.

The recall affects Mercedes-Benz cars and SUVs from the 2005-2014 model years, including C-Class, E-Class, SLK and SLS sedans and M-Class, GL-Class and R-Class SUVS. It also includes 2007-2014 Sprinter and Freightliner vans.

Daimler says the recall is precautionary and no one has been injured in any of its vehicles. Daimler says the U.S. government alerted it to potential problems.

Takata air bags can inflate with too much force and spew metal fragments. More than 24 million vehicles have been recalled in the U.S. because of the problem, which is blamed for 11 deaths worldwide.

Daimler has booked a $384 million charge to pay for vehicle repairs.

GENERAL MOTORS-RECALL

DETROIT (AP) -- General Motors is recalling more than 473,000 trucks and SUVs in the U.S. and Canada because the brake pedals can come loose and fail to work properly.

The recall covers certain 2015 and 2016 Chevrolet Silverado HD, GMC Sierra HD and Chevrolet Tahoe police vehicles.

GM says a nut on the brake pedal pivot mechanism can come loose, causing the pedal to loosen and possibly become inoperative.

The company says it has no reports of crashes or injuries due to the problem.

Dealers will inspect the pivot bolts. If they weren't fixed at the factory, dealers will put adhesive on the nut and retighten it. Canadian safety regulators say the problem can cause the brake lights to stay on longer than expected.

GM says the recall should begin shortly.

CANADIAN PACIFIC-NORFOLK SOUTHERN

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Canadian Pacific plans to ask Norfolk Southern shareholders whether they want the two railroads to pursue a merger.

Canadian Pacific says that it plans to submit a shareholder resolution on a possible deal at Norfolk Southern's annual meeting this spring. But it doesn't plan to nominate its own slate of directors to press the issue.

Norfolk Southern has sternly rejected all of Canadian Pacific's takeover offers even as they approached roughly $30 billion. Norfolk Southern has said the offers have been so "grossly inadequate" that there wasn't much point in discussing a possible deal.

Canadian Pacific has said combining its railroad with Norfolk Southern would create a more efficient operation that could haul more freight. CP also predicts that it could cut roughly $1.8 billion in annual costs.

AIRPLANES-BATTERY FIRES

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Accident investigators are recommending the government require air shipments of rechargeable batteries be separated from other flammable cargo to prevent uncontrollable fires that can destroy planes.

The National Transportation Safety Board said its recommendation is based on an investigation by South Korean authorities of the destruction of an Asiana Airlines cargo plane in July 2011.

NTSB Chairman Chris Hart said in a letter to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration that a fire on board the plane developed on or near two pallets, one containing lithium-ion batteries for hybrid-electric cars and the other with flammable liquids. The source of the fire couldn't be determined.

Seventeen minutes after the pilots reported the fire, the Boeing 747 broke up over the ocean despite desperate efforts to reach a place to land.

DISNEY-ESPN

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- ESPN, the sports network that drives Disney's profit engine, has hit a soft patch. Subscribers have fallen and it's coming off a round of layoffs.

The network's troubles are a bellwether for one of TV's biggest challenges: the ever-increasing cost of sports rights and whether consumers want to keep footing the bill.

The conundrum was reflected in Disney's quarterly earnings Tuesday. Even though "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" helped Disney's earnings soar 32 percent to a record $2.9 billion, its television profits slumped by 6 percent, in part due to increases in the cost of sports-broadcast rights.

ALPHA NATURAL RESOURCES-BANKRUPTCY

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Alpha Natural Resources said it has received a $500 million offer from existing lenders for the potential sale of the bankrupt coal producer's core assets.

Bristol, Virginia-based Alpha announced the offer in a filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond, Virginia. The filing said the unspecified lenders have agreed to serve as the lead bidder. The offer would set the floor for an auction process that lets competitors make higher bids.

Alpha filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August. Since the filing, the company has announced plans to lay off hundreds of workers in central Appalachia, citing tough market conditions.

US FOODS-IPO

UNDATED (AP) -- The nation's second-largest food-service distributor has filed papers for an initial stock offering.

U.S. Foods Holding Corp., based in Rosemont, Illinois, says it plans to raise $100 million in the IPO, although the amount was listed to calculate fees and will likely be revised.

In its filing, U.S. Foods said it has about 25,000 workers and annual sales of $23 billion. It reported a net loss of $73 million last year.

The filing comes several months after a judge blocked plans by larger rival Sysco Corp. to acquire U.S. Foods for $3.5 billion.

GENERIC BIOTECH-J&J DRUG

FDA panel backs lower-cost version of J&J's top-selling drug

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal health advisers have endorsed a lower-cost version of Johnson & Johnson's blockbuster drug Remicade, a pricey biotech medicine used to treat a number of inflammatory diseases.

The non-binding recommendation could clear the way for the cheaper medication from Celltrion, which would only be the second in a new class of quasi-generic biotech drugs to reach the U.S. market. These drugs, already available in Europe, have the potential to generate billions of dollars in savings for insurers, doctors and patients in coming years.

The FDA panel of outside experts agreed that Celltrion's version of the drug was highly similar to original Remicade, the standard set by the FDA for approval. But some of the experts said they would like to see more information on the drug's performance against certain diseases.

 
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