SPORTING GOODS

125 Dick's stores to end

hunting rifle, ammo sales

Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. said on Tuesday that it will stop selling hunting rifles and ammunition at 125 of its stores, replacing the gear with merchandise it believes will sell better at those locations.

CEO Edward Stack said the move comes after the sporting goods retailer replaced hunting merchandise in 10 of its stores in last year's third quarter. Those stores posted strong sales and profit margin numbers in the fourth quarter, he said.

The hunting gear will be removed this year from 125 additional stores where it does not sell well, he said. It will be replaced with "merchandise categories that can drive growth, each based on the needs of that particular market," he said in a conference call with analysts. Locations affected were not immediately specified.

HEALTH CARE

Nation's largest insurer

expands rebate program

The nation's largest health insurer is expanding a program that passes rebates from drugmakers directly to the people that use their medications.

Beginning next year, all new employer-sponsored health plan customers that use UnitedHealthcare must give the discounts they get to consumers at the point of sale, the insurer said Tuesday.

UnitedHealthcare said Tuesday that its expanded requirement does not apply to existing employer customers that do not already give rebates directly to the consumer.

ENTERTAINMENT

Disney set to complete

21st Century Fox purchase

Walt Disney Co. expects to wrap up its $71.3 billion acquisition of much of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox by March 20.

Disney’s purchase of the Fox assets — first unveiled in December 2017 — will likely transform the Burbank company into an entertainment Goliath, towering over its traditional competitors. Disney’s goal is to expand its programming pipeline to better compete against Netflix, Amazon.com and Apple Inc.

Disney on Tuesday announced a timetable for staging various components of the complicated deal, including financing and exchange offers. Last summer, U.S. antitrust regulators approved the deal but stipulated that Disney must sell Fox’s 22 regional sports networks, including Prime Ticket and Fox Sports West in Los Angeles.

Murdoch's company plans to keep the Fox broadcast network, Fox News Channel and the two national sports channels.

ECONOMY

U.S. consumer prices rise

slightly during February

U.S. consumer prices rose 0.2 percent in February, pushed up slightly by higher gasoline and housing costs even as the prices for autos and clothing slumped.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that the consumer price index rose a modest 1.5 percent last month from a year ago.

Average hourly earnings — after being adjusted for consumer prices — have climbed 1.9 percent in the past year.