Business Highlights

Posted August 25


Gas prices rise, flights stall as Hurricane Harvey nears

Refinery operators along the Texas Gulf Coast are hunkering down for Hurricane Harvey, while motorists far from the storm's path are also feeling the effects as gasoline prices rise. Nearly one-third of the nation's refining capacity sits in low-lying areas along the coast from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Lake Charles, Louisiana.


Yellen defends bank regulations passed after 2008 crisis

Fed Chair Janet Yellen emphatically defended the web of regulations the Fed helped enact after the 2008 financial crisis, saying it helped restore the banking system's health and disputing criticism that the rules have hurt lending.


Economic adviser knocks Trump's response to Charlottesville

A top economic adviser to President Donald Trump said he's come under "enormous pressure" both to quit and to remain at the White House following the administration's widely criticized response to violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. White House economic adviser Gary Cohn said in an interview with the Financial Times: "As a Jewish American, I will not allow neo-Nazis ranting 'Jews will not replace us' to cause this Jew to leave his job."


Stocks climb; S&P 500 breaks two-week losing streak

Stocks rose on Friday, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index cruised to its first winning week in the last three. It was a relatively quiet week, with fewer shares trading hands than usual. The S&P 500 barely budged off course after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen gave her highly anticipated speech in the morning. The day's other headline event, a speech by European Central Bank head Mario Draghi, likewise did little to alter the course for stocks.


VW engineer gets prison, $200,000 fine in diesel scandal

A Volkswagen engineer who had a key role in the company's diesel emissions scandal has been sentenced to more than three years in prison and fined $200,000. The sentence was steeper than prosecutors requested for James Robert Liang. The judge who sentenced him Friday says Liang knew the German automaker was cheating and worked to cover it up.


Draghi urges cooperation to combat anti-globalization

Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, says the global economy is strengthening but warns that countries must work together to resist a growing backlash against open trade.


Foxconn's Wisconsin plant raises environmental worries

Foxconn Technology Group is being enticed to come to Wisconsin with numerous regulatory waivers, raising concerns from environmentalists who are wary of the company's reputation in China, where it has been accused of polluting rivers. The Taiwan-based company best known for manufacturing Apple products insists that its new plant won't damage the environment. Regulators say they're simply streamlining the process for the company to set up shop, while still policing its activities.


Row escalates between France, Poland over EU labor reforms

A bitter exchange of words erupted between France and Poland Friday after French President Emmanuel Macron sharply criticized Poland's over its opposition to his plans to change European Union rules on "posted workers," cheap labor from eastern countries posted temporarily to more prosperous European countries. Macron said Friday in Bulgaria that the Polish reluctance to reform the bloc's labor rules is "an illustration of the mistakes made by this government."


Duke Energy scraps SC nuke plant, seeks higher power rates

Duke Energy is asking regulators to let its western North Carolina subsidiary raise household electricity bills by nearly 17 percent and charge consumers billions of dollars for a nuclear plant it will not build and the cleanup of coal ash deposited in unlined pits. The Charlotte-based utility made the requests Friday to the North Carolina Utilities Commission.


Trump administration imposes sweeping sanctions on Venezuela

The Trump administration is imposing sweeping financial sanctions on Venezuela, barring banks from any new financial deals with the government or state-run oil giant. The sanctions, which Trump signed by executive order, are bound to dramatically escalate tensions between Venezuela and the U.S. and exacerbate the country's economic crisis.


The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 4.08 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,443.05. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 30.27 points, or 0.1 percent, to 21,813.67, the Nasdaq composite dipped 5.68, or 0.1 percent, to 6,265.64. Benchmark U.S. crude added 44 cents to settle at $47.87 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 37 cents to $52.41 per barrel. Wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.67 per gallon, heating oil was virtually unchanged at $1.62 per gallon and natural gas fell 6 cents to $2.89 per 1,000 cubic feet.


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