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FedEx to hike rates on Jan. 7

FedEx Corp. says it is raising its shipping rates for ground and home delivery services in January by an average of 4.9 percent.

The shipping company said Friday the new rates will take effect Jan. 7. Its SmartPost rates also will go up.

FedEx, based in Memphis, Tenn., announced this year that it would increase its shipping rates for FedEx Express by an average of 3.9 percent for U.S. domestic, export and import services.

Those increases also take effect Jan. 7.

FedEx Freight raised its rates 6.9 percent in July.

Ford recalls Fusions, Escapes for fire risk

Ford Motor Co. said Friday it is recalling more than 89,000 new Escape SUVs and Fusion sedans because the engines can overheat and cause fires.

The recall affects vehicles from the 2013 model year with 1.6-liter engines that were sold in the U.S. and Canada, the company said in a statement.

Ford says it’s working on a fix and is asking owners to contact dealers, who will arrange for loaner cars at no charge until the repairs are made. The company says the engines can catch fire when they overheat and fluids leak onto hot parts. It was unclear exactly what caused the engines to overheat.

Ford said the recall comes after the company received reports of 12 fires in Escapes and one in a Fusion. No injuries have been reported. The recall affects Fusions and Escapes with SE and SEL packages. Models with different engines are not involved in the recall.

About 73,000 Escapes and 16,000 Fusions are affected.

Apple to sell iPads, iPhone 5 in China

Apple Inc. on Friday said its latest iPad models will go on sale in China on Dec. 7, followed by the iPhone 5 a week later.

China is one of Apple’s largest and fastest-growing markets. Analyst Brian White at Topeka Capital Markets said the iPhone 5 is launching roughly when he expected it, but he hadn’t expected the iPad Mini and the fourth-generation, full-size iPad to go on sale in China this year.

“Our conversations during our meetings and casual consumer interactions during our China trips tell us that the iPad Mini will take off like wildfire in China,” White said Friday.

“The smaller form factor and lower price point, we believe Apple will be able to sell the iPad Mini in meaningful volumes,” White added.

White said uptake of the iPhone 4S was relatively slow in China, because the signature new feature, voice-recognition-powered virtual assistant Siri did not understand Mandarin Chinese.

With this year’s software update, Siri now does understand the language, which is expected to encourage upgrades, White said.

J&J board picks CEO to replace chairman

Johnson & Johnson Chairman Bill Weldon will step down from that post in late December and the world’s biggest maker of health products has picked new CEO Alex Gorsky to replace him.

The New Brunswick, N.J., company had named Gorsky, 52, as CEO this year, replacing Weldon.

J&J said Friday that Weldon, 64, will step down Dec. 28 as chairman and then retire in early next year.

Gorsky had been responsible for J&J’s medical devices business since 2009 before becoming CEO.

The company owns Warsaw-based DePuy Synthes Co.

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