Business Highlights

Posted August 7


Another milestone for stocks: Most boring market in decades

This year's run to a record for the stock market has been one of the least eventful in decades. The last time stocks sailed through such an easy first seven months was in 1972. But don't get too comfortable: Many professional investors expect a bumpier ride ahead.


Google exec denounces employee's views on female workers

Silicon Valley's efforts to promote workforce diversity haven't yielded many results - unless you count a backlash at Google, where a male engineer blamed biological differences for the paucity of female programmers. Google's just-hired head of diversity, Danielle Brown, responded with her own memo, saying that Google is "unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success."


US consumer credit rose at slower pace in June

American consumers increased their borrowing at a slower pace in June as the category that includes auto and student loans posted the smallest gain in a year. The Federal Reserve says overall consumer credit rose by $12.4 billion in June, down from May's $18.3 billion increase.


NYC mayor promote millionaires' tax to help fix transit woes

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has officially rolled out a proposal for a millionaires' tax to help fix the subways and aid low-income commuters. The proposal faces significant challenges. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Republicans who control the state Senate have strongly resisted efforts to raise taxes on the wealthy in recent years.


Iran signs its biggest-ever car deal with France's Renault

Iran has signed the country's biggest-ever car deal to build tens of thousands of cars annually under a joint venture with French automobile manufacturer Groupe Renault, buoying its manufacturing industry in defiance of the Trump administration's moves to isolate the country. The deal follows the lifting of sanctions after Iran's 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers. It's expected to create about 3,000 jobs. Renault has a 60 percent partnership in the deal.


Poached eels: US strikes at illegal harvests as value grows

Changes in the worldwide fisheries industry have turned live baby American eels into a commodity that can fetch more than $2,000 a pound at the dock. But the big demand and big prices have spawned a black market wildlife officials say is jeopardizing the species. Authorities have launched a crackdown on unlicensed eel fishermen and illicit sales along the East Coast. Baby eels are often sold to Asian aquaculture companies to be raised to maturity and sold to restaurants.


Judge: IBM owes Indiana $78M for failed welfare automation

A judge has ruled that IBM owes Indiana $78 million in damages stemming from the company's failed effort to automate much of the state's welfare services. Indiana and IBM Corp. sued each other in 2010 after then-Gov. Mitch Daniels cancelled the company's $1.3 billion contract to privatize and automate the processing of Indiana's welfare applications following numerous complaints. New York-based IBM says it will appeal the judge's decision.


Teen named 1st American world champion at Excel spreadsheets

John Dumoulin has never really set foot in an office. He works part time at Chick-fil-a. But the 17-year-old is the undisputed king of that bane to office workers everywhere — the spreadsheet. Dumoulin, a rising senior at Forest Park High School in Woodbridge, won an international competition on Microsoft Excel 16 proficiency, earning $10,000 in prize money along the way.


UK plans to strengthen online 'right to be forgotten'

Britain plans to strengthen the online "right to be forgotten" with a law making social media companies delete personal information on request. The government has published details of a Data Protection Bill, including a provision allowing people to ask for personal data held by companies to be erased.


MSNBC surges as home for Trump opponents

Ratings milestones illustrate MSNBC's surge as a go-to network for President Donald Trump's opponents. Behind Rachel Maddow, MSNBC has turned politics into prime-time entertainment for people worried about the state of the new presidency


The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 4.08 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,480.91. The Dow gained 25.61 points, or 0.1 percent, to 22,118.42. The Nasdaq composite added 32.21 points, or 0.5 percent, to 6,383.77.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 19 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $49.39 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 5 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $52.37 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline dipped 2 cents to $1.63 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1 cent to $1.64 a gallon. Natural gas gained 3 cents to $2.80 per 1,000 cubic feet.


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