By Ann Saphir and Michael Flaherty SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve may be warranted later this year, with a gradual path expected to follow, although a downturn in core inflation or wage growth could force it to hold off, the central bank's chief said on Friday. Fed Chair Janet Yellen said that after the first rate increase a further, gradual tightening in monetary policy will likely be warranted. If incoming data fails to support the Fed's economic forecast, the path of policy will be adjusted, she said. "With continued improvement in economic conditions, an increase in the target range for that rate may well be warranted later this year," Yellen said in prepared remarks at a monetary policy conference at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
(Reuters) - Chipmaker Intel Corp is in talks to buy Altera Corp , the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter. Terms of the potential deal and its timing were not known, the Journal said. Shares of Altera, valued at $10.4 billion at Thursday's close, were up 24.5 percent at $43.16 per share on the Nasdaq on Friday. (Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Joyjeet Das)
By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. economic growth cooled in the fourth quarter as previously reported and after-tax corporate profits took a hit from a strong dollar, which could undermine future business spending. Corporate profits from outside the United States fell at an 8.8 percent rate, the steepest decline since the 2007-2009 recession. "Slower profit growth could mean slower investment in the coming months," said Thomas Costerg, an economist at Standard Chartered in New York. For all of 2014, after-tax corporate profits fell 8.3 percent, the largest annual drop since 2008.