Staff photo illustration by C.B. Schmelter / Dr. Chris LeSar demonstrates the usage of a Microsoft Hub at the Vascular Institute of Chattanooga to the Times Free Press on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Vascular Institute adds Dayton office

The Vascular Institute is adding a fifth location and will open its newest office on Thursday in Dayton, Tennessee at 7693 Rhea County Highway.

The office will be open every Thursday to serve patients' general vascular appointments, as well as perform diagnostic ultrasounds. Ashley Elledge will lead the Dayton office which is taking new patients at 423-602-2750.

"Access to care is critical for vascular patients," said Dr. Chris LeSar, founder of the Vascular Institute in Chattanooga. "By opening an office in the community, it will allow for patients to be triaged, seen, and diagnosed quickly."

The Vascular Institute surgeons perform procedures in the VIC Chattanooga and Cleveland Outpatient Surgical centers, as well as all area hospitals, including Parkridge, Erlanger, Tennova, and CHI Memorial.


Banks report mixed results

The parent companies of two major banks in Chattanooga reported mixed results for the fourth quarter on Tuesday compared with the previous year.

Truist Financial Corp., which was created by the merger of the former SunTrust and BB&T Banks in 2019, said Tuesday its net income in the fourth quarter rose 24% to $1.5 billion, or $1.13 per diluted common share. For the full year 2021, net income totaled $6 billion, or $4.47 per share, up from $4.2 billion, or $3.08 per share, the previous year.

"Our fourth-quarter results reflect a strong finish to an impactful year for Truist," said Chief Executive Officer Bill Rogers. "Our diverse business model and progress on the merger, combined with a better economic environment drove stronger 2021 performance compared with 2020."

Truist, which operates the second-biggest bank in Chattanooga, beat analysts' forecasts for the fourth quarter but the company's stock still closed Tuesday down 27 cents a share to $67.17 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Meanwhile, the Nashville-based FB Financial Corp., which operates FirstBank, also beat analyst projections for its fourth-quarter results, although its adjusted earnings were down from a year ago. Shares of FB Financial closed Tuesday down $1.32 per share, or over 2.8%, to close at $45.60 per share.

Adjusted net income for FB Financial was $42.6 million, or 89 cents per share, compared to $1.14 per diluted common share in the same quarter last year. But FirstBank CEO Christopher T. Holmes said he was pleased with the results, noting the adjusted loan growth of 17% for the quarter and over 10% for the year.


GM adds parts sales through online store

In its drive to add revenue from sales of software and services, General Motors is launching an online parts store that will give GM vehicle owners the ability to buy parts direct.

The automaker said Tuesday this is just one of many new digital offerings coming to car buyers in the future. Those include buying accessories, over-the-air upgrades and subscriptions digitally, as well as the option to shop, purchase and finance electric vehicles entirely online.

"We are placing software and digital services at the center of every part of our business," said GM Chief Digital Officer Edward Kummer. "The future of GM retail lies at the intersection of digital and physical e-commerce."

GM's new online parts marketplace will make 45,000 repair and maintenance parts, such as oil filters, engine and cabin air filters, batteries, brake pads, accessory belts, cooling hoses and windshield wiper blades, available to Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac owners.

A GM spokesman said the automaker is not providing a launch date for the online parts store yet.


Stock market drops as bond yields rise

Stocks tumbled on Tuesday, as Treasury yields kept climbing above prepandemic levels, and disappointing results from another major Wall Street bank dragged the financial sector lower.

The S&P 500 fell 1.8% to start the week after the markets were closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Nasdaq composite fell 2.6%. Both indexes have fallen sharply since the start of the year.

A key reason for the selling, a jump in government bond yields, reflecting expectations that the Federal Reserve will soon start to raise interest rates, continued on Tuesday. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note climbed to 1.88%, the highest level since January 2020, before the pandemic hampered the economy.

Investors have been adjusting to the likelihood that interest rates will begin to climb soon, as the Fed starts to end its pandemic-era support for the economy, with increases expected throughout the year. Higher interest rates could drive stocks lower as investors sell riskier investments. Also weighing on major indexes is the disappointing start to the earnings season, during which major companies will report their results for the last three months of 2021.

"Markets are repricing how aggressive the Fed is going to be with tightening," said Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at Oanda, a foreign currency exchange and brokerage firm. "The first look at earnings season is showing that corporate America is battling with higher expenses, which could fuel wage pressure throughout the rest of the year."

So far this year, the S&P 500 has dropped 4%, while the Nasdaq composite is down more than 7%.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner