Business Highlights

US inflation pressures raising expectations for rate hikes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation pressures appear to be building in the U.S. economy, a prospect that is heightening anxiety about potentially higher borrowing rates that could slow economic growth. The latest source of concern was a report that showed a key measure of inflation rising in January by the sharpest rate in a year. Some economists cautioned, though, that some of those price increases are tied to temporary factors and might not signify sustained inflation.

Critics wary as Google’s Chrome begins an ad crackdown

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Starting Thursday, Google will start using its Chrome browser to reshape the web in its image. It will flag sites that use annoying ad formats, such as auto-playing video ads with sound, and will shut off all ads to the offending sites if they don’t reform themselves. While the move could clean up an increasingly cluttered web, critics say it leaves untouched similar ad formats that Google profits from and is a sign of its overwhelming power over the internet.

China appeals to Trump to avoid disrupting trade

BEIJING (AP) — China has appealed to President Donald Trump to settle trade disputes over steel and aluminum through negotiation after Trump said he would soon decide whether to impose tariffs or quotas. The Chinese foreign ministry asked Trump to avoid possible disruption to trade and the global economic recovery.

Sam’s Club to offer free shipping for premium members

NEW YORK (AP) — Sam’s Club is offering free shipping for premium members and simplifying its membership tiers. The Walmart-owned warehouse club will give free shipping on online orders for Plus members on 95 percent of the items it sells. Free shipping and faster delivery have been key areas as retailers try to adapt to shoppers’ shift online. The company is also converting its three membership plans into two types.

Producer Ryan Murphysigns exclusive Netflix deal

LOS ANGELES (AP) — TV and movie producer Ryan Murphy is expanding his empire to Netflix. The streaming service says Murphy signed a deal to produce new series and films exclusively for it starting in July. Details of the multiyear deal were not disclosed.

Fannie Mae loses $6.5 billion in 4Q on tax change

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sweeping changes to U.S. tax law led to a $6.5 billion loss at Fannie Mae last quarter, putting the government-controlled mortgage company in the position of seeking cash assistance from taxpayers for the first time since it emerged from the housing crisis six years ago. Fannie Mae says its net worth sank to a negative $3.7 billion after it had to “remeasure” its deferred tax assets to the tune of $9.9 billion as required by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.