Opening Bell: US Fed predicts busy 2017, Ireland risks new building boom, Yahoo cyber attack

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The US Federal Reserve has raised its benchmark interest rate for only the second time in decade, and predicted three further increases in 2017.

Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen announced the expected 0.25% hike to 0.50-0.75%, noting that "growth is a touch stronger, unemployment is a shade lower".

It is the first time rates have been raised since December 2015 and signals an improving US economy.

In the wake of the announcement, market attention focused on the Fed's expectations for next year, with inflation and interest rates now seen to be firmly on the rise.

The most pronounced effect was seen in currencies, with the dollar climbing to $1.056 against the euro. 

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Ireland risks another building boom next year, according to the latest ESRI warning.

The think tank says we're on target to build 18,000 homes in 2017.

While that's still well below the 30,000 units needed, it's significantly more than forecast and could push the economy close to capacity.

The Irish Times reports that the surge in building could drive up wages and prices, causing a loss in competitiveness.

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Management and unions at Bausch & Lomb in Waterford have reached a deal at the workplace relations commission.

It's after SIPTU issued notice of industrial action –  the union is looking for the full restoration of pay-cuts implemented two years ago –  and have rejected a Labour Court proposal on the issue.

Talks concluded last night and the company says the set of proposals will be put to the workforce in the coming days.

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Yahoo says more than one billion users may have had data stolen in a cyber attack in 2013.

It made the latest discovery while investigating a hack from two years ago which affected 500 million users.

Stolen information may have included names, email addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, "hashed" passwords and, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers.

The company says payment card data, bank account information and passwords in clear text were not affected.

Verizon - which is in the process of buying Yahoo for $4.8bn – said it would review the impact before reaching any final conclusions.