U.S. wholesale prices up 1.1 percent
WASHINGTON — A second month of sharp gains in gasoline costs drove wholesale prices higher in September. But outside of the surge in energy, prices were well contained.
Wholesale prices rose 1.1 percent in September following a 1.7 percent gain in August which had been the largest one-month increase in more than three years, the Labor Department said Friday.
In both months, overall prices were pushed higher by gasoline, which rose 9.8 percent in September following an even larger 13.6 percent gain in August.
Core prices, which exclude food and energy, were unchanged in September, the best showing since they held steady in October 2011. In August, core prices rose 0.2 percent.
Food prices, which had jumped 0.9 percent in August, showed a smaller 0.2 percent rise in September.
Wholesale inflation has been stable over the 12 months that ended in September. In that time, overall prices have increased just 2.1 percent. Core inflation is up 2.3 percent over the 12-month period. The government’s produce price index measures cost pressures before they reach consumers.
Ecolab to acquire Champion for $2.2B
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Ecolab, the cleaning, food safety and pest-control services company, announced Friday it will buy the specialty chemical company Champion Technologies in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $2.2 billion.
St. Paul, Minn.-based Ecolab Inc. will pay approximately $1.7 billion in cash and issue about 8 million shares of its stock as part of the buyout.
Ecolab shares closed at $63.67 per share on Thursday, valuing that portion of the deal at $509 million.
Privately held Champion Technologies is based in Houston and has about 3,300 employees. Its 2011 sales were $1.2 billion.
The deal, which also includes Corsicana Technologies, is expected to close by year’s end. It is expected to add to Ecolab’s earnings in 2013.
Feds probe steering in Hyundai Santa Fe
DETROIT — U.S. safety regulators are investigating a steering problem in Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Friday a fastener can come loose, causing the steering shaft to come part and drivers to lose control of the vehicle.
The investigation covers about 70,000 Santa Fes from the 2011 model year. It will determine if the problem is bad enough for Hyundai to recall the SUVs.
No injuries or crashes have been reported.
NHTSA says one driver complained about a complete loss of steering. Hyundai also got a complaint that a loose bolt caused a similar problem.
Honda Pilot SUV brakes investigated
DETROIT — Federal safety officials are investigating brake problems in the Honda Pilot SUV.
The brakes can come on without drivers stepping on the pedal, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Friday.
The probe covers nearly 88,000 Pilots from the 2005 model year. Investigators will determine if the problem is bad enough for Honda to recall the SUVs.
No crashes or injuries have been reported. The government and Honda have received 205 complaints about the problem. Several drivers reported that the SUVs slowed to nearly a stop while they were on a freeway.
Investigators are looking at problems with a computer-controlled system that stops the vehicle as fast as possible in emergency situations.
The safety agency says it began the probe after getting a request from a consumer in April.
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