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Posted August 29

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Most Harvey flood victims on hook to pay for home repairs

Insurance experts say only a small percentage of homeowners in Harvey's path of destruction have flood insurance. That means families with damage caused by flooding will have to come up with their own recovery costs. Harvey made landfall in Texas late Friday as a Category 4 hurricane and has lingered off the coast, dropping heavy rain as a tropical storm. Robert Hunter, director of insurance at the Consumer Federation of America, expects flood damage alone to cost at least $35 billion.

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US home prices surge in June, led by Seattle

U.S. home prices climbed higher in June with gains that are eclipsing income growth. This creates affordability pressures for would-be buyers. The Standard & Poor's CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 5.7 percent in June. The separate national average rose as well, putting it 4.3 points above its housing bubble-era peak in July 2006.

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Nation's largest refinery scales back output as Harvey rages

The largest refinery in the country has cut output by nearly half as it deals with Tropical Storm Harvey, which continues to pummel the Texas Gulf Coast. A major pipeline carrying fuel to the East Coast is also running at a reduced rate, partly because of refinery shutdowns in Houston, compounding pressure on the nation's energy system. Gasoline futures rose 6 cents, or about 4 percent, in trading Tuesday.

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Judge rejects Sarah Palin lawsuit against The New York Times

A federal judge has thrown out a defamation lawsuit that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin brought against The New York Times over an editorial. Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan said Tuesday there were a few factual inaccuracies somewhat pertaining to Palin that were rapidly corrected. He says it may have been negligent but was plainly not defamation of a public figure.

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US consumer confidence improves again in August

American consumers are giving today's economy the highest grade in more than 16 years. The Conference Board says consumers' assessment of current economic conditions hit the highest level this month since July 2001.

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New drug reduces heart attacks, but is that enough?

A large, long-term study of a new cholesterol drug developed by Merck showed that it prevents heart attacks and reduces the need for heart procedures where three similar drugs developed by rivals failed. But a study released Tuesday showed the drug only reduced those complications by 9 percent, leaving Merck to weigh whether to seek approval from regulators and convince people to buy it in a market full of cholesterol drugs.

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Tech and industrial companies lead stocks back from losses

After early losses, US stocks are on track to finish higher as the weakening dollar gives technology and industrial companies a lift. Bond prices are climbing after North Korea fired a missile that passed over northern Japan and fell into the Pacific Ocean. Banks are down with bond yields and interest rates.

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Are consumers ready to give augmented reality a try?

"Augmented reality," the blending of the virtual and physical worlds, is getting a boost this fall as Apple enables it on hundreds of millions of devices. While software programmers are excited about the prospects, it's not yet clear whether people will be ready to give it a try. As with mobile payments, expect AR to take time to take off.

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Medicare to foot the bill for treadmill therapy for leg pain

Older Americans hobbled by leg pain caused by clogged blood vessels will have a new option when the government starts paying for them to exercise on treadmills at medical clinics. Beginning in January, Medicare will cover supervised exercise therapy for people with peripheral artery disease, or PAD. About 8 million Americans are affected by this condition.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook reaps $89.6M windfall from long-term deal

Apple CEO Tim Cook has collected $89.6 million as part of a lucrative 10-year deal that he signed as an incentive to keep the iPhone maker at the forefront of the technology industry after he took over the reins in 2011 from company co-founder Steve Jobs. The windfall detailed in a Monday regulatory flowed from 560,000 Apple shares sold during the past week.

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Volkswagen recalls 281K cars because engines can stall

Volkswagen is recalling almost 281,000 CC and Passat sedans and wagons in the U.S. because the fuel pumps can fail and cause the cars to suddenly stall. The recall covers the CC from the 2009 through 2016 model years, as well as the Passat sedan and wagon from 2006 through 2010.

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The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 2.06 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,446.30. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 56.97 points, or 0.3 percent, 21,865.37. The Nasdaq composite added 18.87 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,301.89. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 1.45 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,383.68.

Benchmark U.S. crude gave up 13 cents to $46.44 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, picked up 11 cents to $52 a barrel in London. The price of wholesale gasoline jumped another 6 cents, or 4.1 percent, to a two-year high of $1.78 a gallon. Heating oil rose 3 cents to $1.67 a gallon. Natural gas added 4 cents to $2.96 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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