Business Highlights

August 23, 2018


Google takes on alleged Iranian influence campaign

Google announced Thursday it had disabled dozens of YouTube channels and other accounts linked to a state-run Iranian broadcaster for a political influence campaign. Tech companies have become much more proactive since last year, when they acknowledged Russian propaganda efforts on their networks during the 2016 presidential campaign. Some are offering direct help to protect U.S. candidates in the 2018 midterms, although such assistance may raise campaign-contribution questions.


Govt acts to stop high-tax states from skirting $10K cap

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has laid down rules aimed at preventing residents in high-tax states from avoiding a new cap on widely popular state and local tax deductions. The action over the new Republican tax law pits the government against high-tax, heavily Democratic states in an election-year showdown.


US, China raise tariffs in new round of trade dispute

BEIJING (AP) — The United States and China have increased tariffs on billions of dollars of each other’s goods in a new escalation of their battle over Beijing’s technology policy. The 25 percent penalties apply to $16 billion of imports from each side. The Chinese government called the U.S. duties a violation of World Trade Organization rules and announced it would file a legal challenge.


Senate panel approves Trump’s nominee for consumer watchdog

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate Banking Committee has approved President Trump’s nominee to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau along a party-line vote. The approval of Kathy Kraninger comes despite protests from Senate Democrats who say she is unqualified to run the consumer watchdog. Kraninger’s nomination will now go to a vote in the full Senate.


Russian ruble tremors continue on sanctions fears

MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian ruble endured another day of turbulence Thursday amid the threat of further U.S. sanctions, but made gains after the Central Bank said it would stop foreign currency purchases. The ruble dropped by more than 1 percent in Moscow trading to almost 69 against the dollar, the lowest since April 2016, but recouped those losses to trade slightly up on the day at 67.8 as of late afternoon.


Fed official: Trump’s complaints won’t affect rate decisions

WASHINGTON (AP) — A top Federal Reserve official says she favors two more interest rate increases this year despite complaints from President Donald Trump that the Fed’s continuing rate hikes risk slowing the U.S. economy. Esther George, president of the Fed’s Kansas City regional bank, says she thinks two more rate hikes this year “could be appropriate” and says Trump’s comments won’t affect her policy stance.


AP Interview: Japan official says Trump misunderstands trade

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s trade minister has told The Associated Press that President Donald Trump’s tariff policies reflect a serious misunderstanding of the importance of free trade and Japanese companies’ contributions to the U.S. economy. In an exclusive interview with The AP, Hiroshige Seko warned Tokyo might take “action” if the U.S. goes ahead with its threat to levy a 25 percent tariff on Japanese auto imports. He didn’t rule out retaliatory tariffs.


Kroger to phase out plastic bags at all stores

CINCINNATI (AP) — The nation’s largest grocery chain has begun to phase out the use of plastic bags as more Americans grow uncomfortable with their environmental impact. Kroger Co. will start Thursday at a chain its QFC stores in and around Seattle, with the goal of using no plastic bags at those stores next year. The company said it will be plastic-bag free at all of its nearly 2,800 stores, in 35 states and the District of Columbia, by 2025.


American Airlines and Hawaiian cutting flights to China

American Airlines will end Chicago-Shanghai service and Hawaiian Airlines will suspend its only route to China in October. An executive at American says the flights were losing money. American will keep flying other routes between the US and China. Hawaiian Airlines cites low demand for flights between Honolulu and Beijing.


World’s biggest shipping firm to test Russian Arctic route

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Danish shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk says it will send a cargo vessel through the Russian Arctic for the first time as a result of melting sea ice. Janina von Spalding, spokeswoman for the world’s biggest shipping company, said Thursday the new ice class container vessel would embark on “a one-off trial designed to explore an unknown route for container shipping.”


Slide in banks, energy firms weighs on US stock indexes

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks capped another day of listless trading with a slight loss Thursday as a slide in banks and industrial companies offset solid gains for the technology sector.


The S&P 500 fell 4.84 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,856.98. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 76.62 points, or 0.3 percent, to 25,656.98. The Nasdaq composite lost 10.64 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,878.46. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 5.49 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,717.05.

Benchmark U.S. crude settled essentially flat at $67.83 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dipped 0.1 percent to $74.73 per barrel in London. Heating oil rose 0.3 percent to $2.18 a gallon. Wholesale gasoline fell 0.4 percent to $2.06 a gallon. Natural gas gained 0.3 percent to $2.96 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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