Consumer prices rose slightly in August

Consumer prices slowed in August, rising by a slight 0.1 percent, reflecting a big drop in the cost of gasoline and other energy products.

The tiny increase in the consumer price index followed a much bigger 0.3 percent rise in July, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

With energy costs falling in August for a third month out of the past four, the overall price increase slowed, leaving consumer prices rising a modest 1.7 percent over the past year.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, rose 0.3 percent last month and 2.4 percent over the past year.

Food costs were unchanged for the third straight month and up 1.7 percent from a year ago.

— Associated Press


Deficit tops $1 trillion in first 11 months

The U.S. budget deficit surpassed $1 trillion in the first 11 months of the fiscal year through August, according to data from the Treasury Department. It is likely the year-end deficit could narrow from a tax revenue bump.

September, the final month of the fiscal year, typically produces a surplus because quarterly tax payments are due. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the 2019 budget deficit will be $960 billion.

Since Oct. 1, the budget gap rose by about 19 percent to $1.07 trillion, according to the Treasury Department’s monthly budget report. The comparable deficit a year earlier was $898.1 billion.

The budget got a nudge from customs duties, which surged to $64 billion in the fiscal year to date from $36.7 billion a year earlier, reflecting the Trump administration’s tariffs on Chinese imports.

— Bloomberg News


U.S. opens probe on Nissan Rogue brakes

The U.S. government’s road safety agency is investigating complaints that the automatic emergency braking on the Nissan Rogue can turn on for no apparent reason.

The probe covers about 554,000 Rogue small SUVs from the 2017 and 2018 model years.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 843 owners have complained to the agency and to Nissan about the problem. Owners reported 14 crashes and five injuries.

The agency says Nissan has issued a technical service bulletin and two customer service actions related to the problem. It will try to find a cause and determine how often the false braking happens and could seek a recall.

The investigation was opened in response to a March 21 petition from the Center for Auto Safety, a nonprofit group that represents consumers.

— Associated Press

Also in Business

The fewest Americans in almost five months filed for unemployment benefits last week, signaling the broad labor market remains healthy despite cooling in some parts of the economy. Jobless claims dropped by 15,000 to 204,000 in the week ended Sept. 7, according to Labor Department figures. The four-week average, a less-volatile measure, decreased to 212,500, the lowest since late July.

Google agreed to pay 465 million euros in additional taxes to French authorities, boosting the total settlement to end a fiscal fraud probe in the country to nearly 1 billion euros, the company said. France’s financial prosecutor office earlier said Google had agreed to pay half a billion euros in fines to settle the four-year-old investigation.

Kroger's quarterly same-store sales growth beat analysts' estimates, helped by the supermarket chain's delivery services and online business. Sales at supermarkets open for more than a year, excluding the impact of fuel prices, rose 2.2 percent in the second quarter ended Aug. 17. Analysts were expecting 1.91 percent increase, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

— From news reports

Coming today

8:30 a.m.: Commerce Department releases retail sales data for August.

10 a.m.: Commerce Department releases business inventories for July.