Business Highlights

WASHINGTON

The Federal Reserve is keeping its key interest rate unchanged but signaled that it will likely raise rates before year’s end.

The Fed said in a statement Wednesday that the U.S. job market has continued to strengthen and economic activity has picked up. But it noted that business investment remains soft and inflation too low and that it wants to see further improvement in the job market.

NEW YORK

U.S. stocks climbed Wednesday as investors were relieved that the Federal Reserve once again left interest rates unchanged. That sent dividend-paying stocks higher, while energy companies jumped with the price of oil.

Stocks made a big gain after the Fed’s decision, which ended about weeks of confusion for investors. With the central bank confirming that it will raise interest rates slowly, bond yields dropped and utility and phone companies rose. The price of oil rose after the U.S. government said energy stockpiles shrank last week.

NEW YORK

Viacom says interim CEO Tom Dooley will leave Nov. 15 and the company is cutting its dividend in half.

Dooley was installed after its prior CEO Philippe Dauman was pushed out in August as part of a settlement with National Amusements, a private company that holds controlling stakes in both Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp.

Viacom, which owns the Paramount Pictures and pay TV channels such as Comedy Central and MTV, has been struggling to improve its profit as its movie studio struggled and cable viewership declines.

WASHINGTON

Outraged lawmakers grilled the head of pharmaceutical company Mylan on Wednesday about the cost increase for EpiPens and the profits for a company.

CEO Heather Bresch said that she wishes the company had "better anticipated the magnitude and acceleration" of the rising prices for some families. But maintained that her company doesn’t make much profit from each emergency allergy shot.

The price for EpiPens has grown to $608 for a two-pack, an more than 500 percent increase since 2007.

SAN FRANCISCO

An environmental group on Wednesday accused three major television manufacturers of misleading consumers and regulators about how much energy their high-definition screens devour by designing them to draw less power during government testing than in ordinary use.

The report by the Natural Resources Defense Council concluded that the TVs made by Samsung, LG Electronics and Vizio saddle households with an extra $120 million in electricity bills each year and generate tons of additional pollution.

The added expense works out to about $10 to $20 per household annually over the anticipated decade-long life of the typical widescreen TV.

FRANKFURT, Germany

A German court says it has been flooded with1,400 investor lawsuits against Volkswagen seeking damages worth $9.2 billion.

The regional court in Braunschweig said Wednesday that 750 lawsuits arrived on Monday alone from a single law office as a possible one-year deadline to file approached. The court said the Volkswagen investor lawsuits equaled about half of its normal intake for an entire year. Investors claim Volkswagen did not disclose in a timely way that it faced costly action from U.S. regulators.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a goal that’s even more ambitious than connecting the entire world to the internet: He and his wife want to help eradicate all disease by the end of this century.

Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan are committing $3 billion over the next 10 years to accelerate basic scientific research, including the creation of research tools — from software to hardware to yet-undiscovered techniques — they hope will ultimately lead to scientific breakthroughs, the way the microscope and DNA sequencing have in generations past.

Compiled from wire reports