Business Highlights

Posted September 1


AP Exclusive: Fewer Americans buy insurance in coastal areas

An Associated Press analysis of federal flood insurance data shows that the number of policies written nationally has fallen by 10 percent over the last five years. The analysis shows that about 5 million properties now have flood insurance compared with 5.5 million in 2012. The top U.S. official overseeing the National Flood Insurance Program told AP that he wants to double the number of Americans who buy flood insurance.


AP Explains: Harvey shines light on flood insurance program

The massive flooding Harvey has caused in Texas and Louisiana comes as Congress weighs renewing a federal flood insurance program that continually pays out more than it takes in through premiums, potentially leaving taxpayers on the hook for $24.6 billion and counting. The National Flood Insurance Program expires Sept. 30.


Gasoline prices head higher while motorists panic

Dry gas stations and panicked motorists are sending gasoline prices higher after Hurricane Harvey. Industry analysts say gas could soar to $2.75 a gallon over Labor Day weekend. Flooding from Harvey has knocked out refining capacity, and many stations in Texas are running out of fuel.


US job growth slowed in August but economy still looks solid

Taken as a whole, Friday's jobs report pointed to an economy that is still steadily generating jobs, though at a less brisk pace than it did earlier in the recovery from the recession. With fewer people looking for work, fewer jobs are being filled.


US auto sales down in August as Harvey hurts demand

Hurricane Harvey took a toll on U.S. auto sales in August, but the storm could boost sales this fall as people replace flooded vehicles. U.S. sales of new cars and trucks fell 2 percent last month, according to Autodata Corp. Forecasting firm LMC Automotive says Harvey hurt demand in the Houston area — the ninth-largest vehicle market in the nation — cutting U.S. sales of new cars and trucks by an estimated 20,000 vehicles.


Plant explosions, spills test industry's response to Harvey

Explosions that rocked a Texas chemical plant inundated by Harvey's floodwaters are raising questions about the adequacy of industry preparations for the monster storm and stoking fears of more accidents. The owners of the plant in Crosby, Texas, warned further explosions could come as the unstable chemicals there warm up and degrade following a power loss. Meanwhile, the scope of the storm's damage continues to expand as companies report spills and toxic air pollutant releases.


Covering water damage — flood insurance around the world

The catastrophic flooding unleashed on Texas by Harvey was unprecedented. Elsewhere in the world, flooding associated with wild weather is a challenge confronting all types of communities from coastal cities in Asia to mountain villages in Europe.


US stocks rise as investors cheer August jobs report

U.S. stocks rose for the sixth day in a row after a middling August jobs report confirmed investors' view that the Federal Reserve probably won't raise interest rates too quickly. Banks advanced as bond prices drop, which sent bond yields and interest rates upward. Automakers and energy companies also rose.


GOP ability to dismantle health law expires at month's end

Senate Republicans' ability to dismantle Barack Obama's health care law with just 51 votes expires at the end of the month. That's the word from Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a member of the Budget Committee. Sanders said Friday the Senate parliamentarian has ruled that a special filibuster-proof process for repealing the 2010 law expires Sept. 30, when the fiscal year ends.


Honda owners could get up to $500 in air bag settlement

Honda and some of the people suing the company over faulty Takata air bag inflators have agreed to a $605 million settlement. The settlement, which still must be approved by a federal judge, covers owners of 16.5 million Honda and Acura vehicles with the inflators dating back to 2001. Owners could get up to $500.


The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 4.90 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,475.55. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 39.46 points, or 0.2 percent, to 21,987.56. The Nasdaq composite added 6.67 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,435.33. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks advanced 8.29 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,413.57.

Benchmark U.S. crude added 6 cents to $47.29 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, fell 11 cents to $52.75 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline prices, which have surged this week, declined 3 cents to $1.75 a gallon. Heating oil was little changed at $1.75 a gallon. Natural gas rose 3 cents to $3.07 per 1,000 cubic feet.


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