Update on the latest in business:

Posted August 30


Stocks rising

Stocks are rising as banks bounce back from their recent losses and technology companies gain ground.

Bank of America rose 1.6 percent and Citigroup picked up 1.1 percent today. Technology companies rose for the third consecutive day. Chipmaker Analog Devices rose 3.7 percent after a strong third-quarter report.

Tax preparer H&R Block gave up 8.2 percent after it said it's not planning any big cost cuts this year.

At 12:52 p.m. Eastern Time, the S&P 500 index rose 8 points, to 2,454.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 12 points, to 21,878. And the Nasdaq composite climbed 49 points, to 6,351.


Flood policies plunge in Houston in 5 years before Harvey

An Associated Press investigation shows that 9 percent fewer homes and other properties in the Houston area had flood insurance when Harvey hit the city compared to five years ago.

The sharp fall in coverage came despite a growing population. The drop means many residents fleeing Harvey's floodwaters have no financial backup to fix up their homes and will have to draw on savings or borrow — or perhaps be forced to sell.

The AP's review of Federal Emergency Management Agency data shows that Houston's Harris County had 25,000 fewer flood-insured properties in June than it did in 2012.

A former head of the flood insurance program called the drop "unbelievable." Robert Hunter says FEMA, the agency overseeing the program, should have taken action years ago.


Venezuela offers oil aid to Americans hit by Harvey

Venezuela says it will offer aid to victims of Harvey through the U.S. subsidiary of its state oil company.

Venezuela's foreign minister says that President Nicolas Maduro has ordered Venezuelan officials to develop a plan to help those affected by the storm.

He says that Citgo will provide up to $5 million in heating products to people in Houston and that when someone fills up their tank at a Citgo, station "they will be supporting the recovery."

Harvey hit Southeast Texas last week as a Category 4 hurricane and has since downgraded to a tropical storm.

The gesture follows the imposition of U.S. sanctions on Venezuela's government that prohibit banks from providing it with new financing. Citgo is also restricted from sending dividends back to Venezuela. The sanctions were imposed because of the country's creation of a government-loaded constitutional assembly that overrides the opposition-dominated congress.


Dems say Trump shouldn't cut taxes for wealthy

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says President Donald Trump's tax plan should not include tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans.

Schumer tells reporters that the tax overhaul plan should not increase budget deficits and should be written by both parties, not just the president's fellow Republicans.

The New York senator was outlining Democrats' approach to the tax overhaul ahead of the president's tax event in Missouri later in the day. Schumer says if Trump wants to use populism to sell the plan, "he ought to consider actually putting his money where his mouth is" and cut taxes for the middle class.

Schumer says Republicans shouldn't use "fuzzy math or brazenly partisan estimates" to claim their tax plan wouldn't add to deficits.


US economy grew at 3 percent rate in Q2, best since 2015

The U.S. economy rebounded sharply in the spring, growing at the fastest pace in more than two years amid brisk consumer spending on autos and other goods.

The Commerce Department says the gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic health, grew at an annual rate of 3 percent in the April-June quarter. It was the best showing since a 3.2 percent gain in the first quarter of 2015.

The result is a healthy upward revision from the government's initial estimate of 2.6 percent growth in the second quarter. The growth rate in the January-March quarter was a lackluster 1.2 percent.

Improvements in consumer spending, particularly on autos, and business investment powered second-quarter growth. Those revisions offset a bigger drag from spending by state and local governments.


Survey: US companies added a strong 237,000 jobs in August

A private survey says U.S. businesses added a healthy 237,000 jobs in August with broad gains across several industries including construction, manufacturing and leisure and hospitality.

Payroll processor ADP says the hiring was spread among large companies with more than 1,000 employees and medium and small firms with fewer than 500 workers. Manufacturers added 16,000 jobs and builders hired 18,000. The leisure and hospitality sector — which includes restaurants — added 51,000 workers.

The figures indicate that employers still expect the economy to expand, so they're bolstering their staffs.

Analysts predict the government's jobs report, to be released Friday, will show a decent 180,000 jobs were added, according to data provider FactSet.


Billionaire Warren Buffett says hurricane damage will linger

Billionaire Warren Buffett says the storm damage in Texas is staggering, but he isn't sure yet how much insurance companies will have to pay in claims.

Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate owns Geico and several other insurers, so his company will be helping people rebuild. Buffett appeared on CNBC today before dining with the person who paid nearly $2.7 million in a charity auction for lunch with Buffett.

Buffett says the effects of Hurricane Harvey will linger for some time. He expects that 50,000 of the roughly 500,000 vehicles Geico insures in the area will be total losses.

Buffett says Berkshire hasn't written much catastrophe insurance in recent years because prices were too low, so that will limit the Omaha, Nebraska-based company's exposure.


US clears first 'living drug' for tough childhood leukemia

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first treatment that genetically engineers patients' own blood cells to seek and destroy childhood leukemia. The move opens a new era in cancer care.

Today's FDA action makes Novartis Pharmaceutical's CAR-T cell treatment the first type of gene therapy to hit the U.S. market. It's one in a wave of "living drugs" being developed for blood cancers and maybe other tumors, too.

The Novartis therapy is for children and young adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, who have relapsed despite today's best treatments. It's made from scratch, an expensive process that takes about three weeks. Despite some serious side effects, a key test found a one-time infusion put about 80 percent of hard-to-treat patients into remission.


Lilly lays out faster time frame for FDA drug resubmission

Eli Lilly says it will resubmit its potential rheumatoid arthritis treatment to regulators several months faster than expected.

The drugmaker says it will give baricitinib (behr-ih-SIHT'-nihb) back to the Food and Drug Administration for review by the end of January, and the agency will not require a new clinical study.

Eli Lilly bought the drug from Incyte in 2009 and is leading the push to get it approved.


CVS customer seeks dismissal of recent drug prices lawsuit

A CVS customer wants to end a short-lived, federal lawsuit that hit the drugstore chain in a sensitive area: The prices it charges for prescriptions.

The customer accused CVS Health Corp. of conspiring with pharmacy benefits managers to charge insured patients more for some generic medicines than people who pay cash. The lawsuit filed earlier this month also said the chain wasn't telling customers about the potential savings they could gain by paying cash.

A CVS spokesman had called the accusations baseless and said his company doesn't overcharge patients.

The customer's attorney filed a short notice last week asking that the case be dismissed. It offered no explanation.

A similar lawsuit filed against CVS rival Walgreens is still pending. Walgreens also has denied the allegations and promises to fight them.


Russia poised to expand its arms sales abroad

A top Russian official says Moscow hopes to expand its share of the global arms market.

Dmitry Shugayev, head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, says that foreign orders for Russian weapons to be delivered over coming years amount to almost $50 billion.

Russia's arms sales last year totaled $15 billion, making it the world's second-largest arms exporter after the United States. Sales this year are expected to be around that level.

Shugayev cites expert estimates saying Russia currently accounts for 27 percent of the global military aircraft market, about 30 percent of land weapons and some 20 percent of air defense systems sold worldwide.

Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov says Russia's campaign in Syria has allowed the military to test new weapons systems, helping attract new customers.


Tainted eggs: Dutch court rules 2 suspects to remain jailed

A Dutch court says that two directors of a poultry farm cleaning company at the center of a Europe-wide tainted food scare must remain in custody for a further 30 days while investigations into their alleged involvement in the scandal continue.

A court in the eastern city of Zwolle says that "there are sufficient serious concerns and reasons" to extend the men's detention.

The men, whose identities have not been released, are directors of a Dutch company that allegedly illegally mixed the pesticide Fipronil into spray used to treat lice on chickens.

Millions of eggs in the Netherlands, Germany and across Europe were stripped from store shelves and destroyed after they were found to contain traces of Fipronil, which is considered a health hazard if consumed in large quantities.


Report: NY transit delays hinder city employees' work

A new report says that transit delays have cost New York City more than 17,000 hours in lost work time this year.

The Daily News ( ) asked the city's Independent Budget Office to analyze transit's effect on city workers. The analysis used a database that lists excused lateness due to transit delays.

The New York City metropolitan area has faced mounting transit problems, including derailments, breakdowns and delays.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says the lost hours are more proof that the state should back his tax plan to improve the subway system.


Former monk sues cosmetics giant over anti-aging formula

A former Roman Catholic monk has filed a federal lawsuit against cosmetics giant L'Oreal, accusing the company of stealing patented technology in an anti-aging wrinkle cream that his Massachusetts charity was selling to raise money for the poor.

Dennis Wyrzykowski of the Teresian Carmelites has been joined in the lawsuit by the University of Massachusetts Medical School, which developed the technology.

L'Oreal denies the accusation, and it's asking that the suit be dismissed.


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