Business Highlights

Posted September 8


Equifax breach: Criticism from lawmakers, what people can do

After 143 million Americans had their information exposed by credit reporting company Equifax, what should they do? Experts say diligent vigilance is just one option - there are fraud alerts, or even a credit freeze. Washington regulators and politicians swiftly criticized Equifax, and Jeb Hensarling, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said he will call for Congressional hearings.


Investors punish Equifax for massive data breach

Investors were bailing out on Equifax after the credit monitoring company said a data breach exposed the Social Security numbers and other personal data of 143 million Americans. Equifax shares fell about 13 percent to $123.75 in heavy trading. The decline equates to about $2.28 billion in lost market value.


Tourism, agriculture businesses brace for Irma's impact

After knocking down parts of the vital tourism industry in the Caribbean, Hurricane Irma is spinning toward Florida, another vacation haven. Tourism accounts for 1.4 million jobs in the Sunshine State, where more than 112 million people visited last year and spent $109 billion. In the Caribbean, at least 22 people were killed and heavy damage was reported on St. Martin, St. Barts and other famous beach destinations. Irma is also expected to affect key sectors like agriculture and insurance.


Apple embarks on Emmy quest with big bet on video streaming

Television is one of the few machines with a screen that has Apple hasn't conquered, but that may soon change as the world's richest company sets out to produce Emmy-worthy programming along the lines of HBO's "Game of Thrones" and Netflix's "Stranger Things." Apple recently lured away two longtime TV executives and has given them $1 billion to spend on original shows during the next year. The programming probably will only be available on Apple Music.


Residents cough, rub eyes in Harvey pollution spike

People living near the nation's highest concentration of petrochemical plants near Houston say the air is bad enough on normal days. It got worse as Harvey crashed in and nation's fourth-largest city recorded the highest ozone pollution of the year in Texas. Companies reported five times more emissions than a year ago during a span of eight days beginning just before Harvey hit.


Trump signs $15.3 billion Harvey aid package

President Donald Trump on Friday signed a $15.3 billion disaster aid package in the aftermath of Harvey. The bill also extends America's borrowing authority and funds the government through December 8. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted Friday that the president had signed the bill. She says it will provide "much needed support for storm survivors. Our thoughts and prayers are with all impacted."


AP Sources: Feds probe Uber's tracking of Lyft drivers

The Justice Department in Manhattan is investigating whether Uber illegally used software to track drivers for Lyft, its main ride-hailing competitor, to gain an advantage in attracting and recruiting drivers, according to two people familiar with the probe. The FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York's Southern District want to know if use of the software broke any federal laws, said the people, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case publicly.


US consumer borrowing increased in July

American consumers borrowed more heavily in July, increasing their debt primarily in a category that includes auto and student loans. The Federal Reserve says that overall consumer credit rose $18.5 billion in July, up from the $11.9 billion increase in June. Economists and financial markets watch the credit report closely for clues about the direction of consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity.


UK universities face EU student exodus due to Brexit

Brexit is making international students concerned about whether they should pursue university degrees or advanced studies in Britain. When Britain leaves the EU in 2019, there's no promise that the current financial and immigration perks for European students will remain. Some students are heading to schools on the continent or in the U.S., just because they'll have more clarity on tuition costs and visa requirements in the coming years.


China's exports cool in August while imports accelerate

China's export growth weakened in August in a sign of softer global demand while imports showed unexpected strength despite forecasts of a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.


US stocks waver again as energy companies fall

US stocks finish little changed Friday as technology and energy companies lose ground but banks and insurers regain a chunk of their recent losses. Credit monitoring company Equifax tumbles after it said a data breach exposed the personal information of 143 million Americans, and weak results from Kroger are hurting grocery stores.


The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 3.67 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,461.43. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 13.01 points, or 0.1 percent, to 21,797.79. The Nasdaq composite dropped 37.68 points, or 0.6 percent, to 6,360.19. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 0.76 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,399.43.

Benchmark U.S. crude skidded $1.61, or 3.3 percent, to $47.48 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 71 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $53.78 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline declined 1 cent to $1.65 a gallon. Heating oil fell 2 cents to $1.77 a gallon. Natural gas sank 9 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $2.89 per 1,000 cubic feet.


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