AUTO INDUSTRY
Fiat Chrysler begins emissions recall

Fiat Chrysler is recalling almost 863,000 vehicles that violate U.S. emissions standards.

The voluntary recall of 2011 through 2016 model year Jeep, Dodge and Chryslers will be implemented in phases, the Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday. The automaker will not be fined or face allegations of wrongdoing.

The recall of gasoline-powered models was prompted by an in-use investigation by the EPA and testing done by Fiat Chrysler that is required by agency rules, the EPA said.

Fiat Chrysler will replace the catalytic converter and update the emissions-calibration software on the affected vehicles; the changes will not affect fuel economy or performance, said Mark Chernoby, the company’s chief technical compliance officer.

— Bloomberg News

BUILDING
Construction spending increased in January

Spending on U.S. construction projects in January posted the biggest gain in nine months, as strength in nonresidential construction and government projects offset continued weakness in home construction.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that construction spending increased 1.3 percent in January after two months of declines. It was the biggest gain since April. Spending on residential projects fell 0.3 percent in January, the sixth consecutive monthly decline in that category.

Spending on nonresidential construction rose 0.8 percent in January with spending on office buildings, hotels and the category that covers shopping centers all showing gains. Spending on government projects jumped 4.9 percent.

— Associated Press

ECONOMY
Wholesale prices were stable in February

U.S. wholesale prices barely increased last month after falling for three straight months, a sign there is little inflation pressure in the economy.

The producer price index — which measures price changes before they reach the consumer — rose 0.1 percent in February, the Labor Department said Wednesday. It slipped 0.1 percent in January. Excluding volatile food and energy costs, core producer prices also rose 0.1 percent. Wholesale prices rose 1.9 percent from a year earlier, and core prices rose 2.5 percent.

Last month’s increase was driven by higher prices for gas, plane tickets and hotel stays, which rose by the most in nearly a decade of record keeping.

Food costs fell, led by a 12.8 percent drop in the prices of fresh and dry vegetables, and cheaper frozen foods and chickens.

— Associated Press

Also in Business

AT&T is raising prices for its DirecTV Now streaming TV service while removing some networks from the television package. The changes come just weeks after a U.S. appeals court upheld the company's Time Warner takeover. The Justice Department fought it, arguing that it would lead to higher prices. DirecTV Now, which used to start at $40 a month, will now start at $50 for new customers. Packages will include the AT&T-owned HBO, but the service is dropping some lifestyle and entertainment networks not owned by AT&T, including HGTV, Discovery, the Food Network and MTV.

Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods edged up in January, thanks to a big increase in the volatile aircraft category. In encouraging news for future growth, a key category that tracks business investment plans posted its biggest gain in six months. Orders for durable goods rose 0.4 percent in January, led by a 15.9 percent rise in orders for commercial aircraft, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. The category that serves as a proxy for business investment rose 0.8 percent after two months of declines.

— From news reports

Coming tHURSDAY

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

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

10 a.m.: Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates.