The U.S. Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged on Wednesday but signaled it still expects one more increase by the end of the year despite a recent bout of low inflation.
The Fed, as expected, also said it would begin in October to reduce its approximately $4.2 trillion in holdings of U.S. Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities acquired in the years after the 2008 financial crisis.
New economic projections released after the Fed’s two-day policy meeting showed 11 of 16 officials see the “appropriate” level for the federal funds rate, the central bank’s benchmark interest rate, to be in a range between 1.25 percent and 1.50 percent by the end of 2017, or 0.25 percentage points above the current level.
U.S. bond yields rose, pushing up the U.S. dollar after the Fed’s decision, but U.S. benchmark stock indexes were little changed.
By Howard Schneider and Ann Saphir
Alphabet Inc’s (O:GOOGL) Google said it would pay $1.1 billion for the division at Taiwan’s HTC Corp (TW:2498) that develops the U.S. firm’s Pixel smartphones – its second major foray into phone hardware after an earlier costly failure.
The all-cash deal will see Google gain 2,000 HTC employees, roughly equivalent to one fifth of the Taiwanese firm’s total workforce. It will also acquire a non-exclusive license for HTC’s intellectual property and the two firms agreed to look at other areas of collaboration in the future.
timate that Pixel smartphones account for 20 percent of HTC’s smartphone shipments.
By Jess Macy Yu
The dollar climbed against other major currencies on Thursday, after the Federal Reserve signaled the possibility for an additional rate hike before the end of the year and began winding down its stimulus program.
As expected, the Fed left interest rates unchanged at the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday.
However, the central bank indicated that one more interest rate hike is likely this year, even though it reduced its outlook for inflation from 1.7% this year to 1.5%, and from 2% to 1.9% in 2018.
The Fed also said it will begin to roll off its $4.5 trillion balance sheet in October. Most assets consist of the Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities it acquired under the bank’s quantitative easing program.
Lufthansa (DE:LHAG) is interested in acquiring as many as 80 planes from rival Air Berlin (DE:AB1) with its priority on securing planes it already leases, the group’s chief executive said.
A creditor committee meets on Thursday afternoon to discuss offers for Air Berlin, which filed for insolvency in August after major shareholder Etihad pulled the plug on funding.
Lufthansa is competing with several other airlines for parts of Air Berlin, including easyJet (L:EZJ) and Thomas Cook’s (L:TCG) Condor, with bidders especially interested in its Niki short-haul business that flies from Germany and Austria to holiday hotspots in Europe.
Lufthansa’s focus is on securing the 38 crewed planes it currently leases from the insolvent carrier, plus it would like up to an additional 20 to 40 planes, Carsten Spohr said at a media event late on Wednesday.
Spohr said Lufthansa expected that was the most it could take without falling foul of anti-trust concerns and if it isn’t able to get all that it has bid for, it still plans to grow.