Business Highlights

Posted September 14


Google hit with class action lawsuit over gender pay

Google faces a new lawsuit accusing it of gender-based pay discrimination. A lawyer representing three women who formerly worked at Google is seeking class action status for the suit. It follows a federal labor investigation that made preliminary findings of systemic pay discrimination among the 21,000 employees at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California. The initial stages of the review found women earned less than men in nearly every job classification.


Federal Trade Commission investigating Equifax breach

The Federal Trade Commission has become the latest entity to announce an investigation into the security breach at Equifax. The FTC said Thursday that it was opening an investigation into how Equifax got hacked and 143 million Americans' personal information was either accessed or stolen. Typically the FTC does not disclose who it is investigating, but the agency said the high amount of attention in this case made it necessary.


Industry panel recommends roll back of aviation safety rules

An influential industry committee is recommending that the Federal Aviation Administration eliminate or scale back dozens of safety rules, including one on airline pilot qualifications. The FAA's Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee says the recommendations are a response to an effort by the agency to comply with President Donald Trump's directives to cut government regulations.


Sports in virtual reality sounds cool, but can feel distant

Just as early television was mostly radio with pictures, watching sports in virtual reality is an odd and distancing experience. While it holds the promise of putting fans right in the middle of the sporting action, it can't quite pull it off yet. For now, TV cameras, with zoom lenses, are better at showing a pitcher's intensity or a free-throw shooter's concentration.


Confusion hits consumer market over US ban of Kaspersky

Best Buy says it will no longer sell antivirus software by Kaspersky Labs, a Russian company that the US says may have ties to foreign intelligence services. Kaspersky software is widely used by consumers in both paid and free versions. Security experts differ on whether consumers should follow the lead of the US government, which just banned the federal use of Kaspersky products.


Wisconsin Legislature approves $3B incentive for Foxconn

The Wisconsin Assembly sent a $3 billion incentive package for Taiwan-based Foxconn to Gov. Scott Walker, signing off on a deal to lure the electronics giant to the state with the biggest subsidy to a foreign company in U.S. history. The bill approved Thursday would make $2.85 billion available to Foxconn Technology Group in cash payments if it invests $10 billion and hires 13,000 workers. The measure will become law with Walker's signature.


South Dakota court rejects law aimed at online sales taxes

South Dakota's Supreme Court has struck down a law that would require out-of-state retailers to collect sales taxes on in-state purchases. The state expected and welcomed Wednesday's defeat in a case that eventually could have national implications for e-commerce. Attorney General Marty Jackley hopes to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider rulings it has issued that exempt retailers from having to collect sales taxes in states where they have no physical presence.


Higher gas, housing costs lift US consumer prices 0.4 pct.

Higher gas and housing costs boosted U.S. consumer prices 0.4 percent in August, the most in seven months. The increase suggests inflation could be picking up, but the figures may have been distorted by Hurricane Harvey.


Treasury: Mnuchin requested plane for secure communications

The Treasury Department says that concerns about secure communications with government agencies is what prompted Secretary Steven Mnuchin to inquire about using a government plane for his European honeymoon in August. In a statement, the department says the request for a government plane was withdrawn because a "secure communications option was identified" without the use of a government plane.


The Standard & Poor's 500 index slid 2.75 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,495.62. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 45.30 points, or 0.2 percent, to 22,203.48. It was the Dow's third straight record high close. The Nasdaq composite slumped 31.10 points, or 0.5 percent, to 6,429.08 as big names like Facebook and Alphabet, Google's parent company, lost ground. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 1.87 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,425.02.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 59 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $49.89 a barrel. That was its highest closing price since the end of July. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 31 cents to $55.47 barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $1.63 a gallon. Heating oil added 1 cent to $1.78 a gallon. Natural gas rose 1 cent to $3.07 per 1,000 cubic feet.


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