Business Highlights

August 24, 2018


S&P 500, Nasdaq and Russell 2000 close at record highs

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street ended a week of milestones with a few more Friday. The benchmark S&P 500 index closed at an all-time high, just two days after the current bull market in stocks became the longest in history. The Nasdaq composite and the Russell 2000 indexes also ended the day at all-time highs. Technology companies, the best-performing sector in the market this year, accounted for much of the gains. The price of oil broke a seven-week losing streak, finishing this week about 5 percent higher.


Powell signals more hikes ahead if US economy stays strong

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has signaled that he expects the Fed to continue gradually raising interest rates if the U.S. economic expansion remains strong. Powell adds that while annual inflation has risen to near the Fed’s 2 percent target rate, it doesn’t seem likely to accelerate above that point. That suggests that he doesn’t foresee a need for the Fed to step up its rate hikes.


FireEye: Tech firms’ secret weapon against disinformation

NEW YORK (AP) — This week has seen major social media sites step up their policing of online disinformation campaigns. Google, Facebook and Twitter have taken action to disable accounts and remove suspicious content. What did they have in common? The security firm FireEye. Best known for its work on high-profile cyberattacks against companies like Target and Sony Pictures, FireEye is emerging as a key player in the fight against election interference and propaganda campaigns.


AP-NORC Poll: Americans not enthused with Trump trade policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer than half of Americans believe President Donald Trump’s tariffs will do much to help the U.S. economy. That’s according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Majorities also doubt the recently announced taxes on imports will increase jobs or wages at home. The survey found that 35 percent of Americans think the tariffs will leave them worse-off financially, while only 19 percent expect improvement.


For-profit colleges have allies now, but complaints persist

WASHINGTON (AP) — As Education Secretary Betsy DeVos crafts a shift in the regulatory landscape that stands to benefit for-profit colleges, lawsuits and complaints against the multibillion-dollar industry are unfolding. It’s a complete turn-around from the Obama administration, which pushed to police for-profit schools more aggressively and to forgive student debt for those who were charged top dollar for degrees that turned out to be worthless pieces of paper.


US durable goods orders fell 1.7 percent in July

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders for long-lasting U.S. factory goods fell 1.7 percent in July, the third decrease in the past four months. The Commerce Department says that durable goods orders — items meant to last at least three years such as autos and appliances — totaled $246.9 billion last month. Much of that decline came from a steep 35.4 percent drop in orders for nondefense aircraft, a volatile category on a monthly basis.


Utilities pivot from power plants to grid work for profits

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Electric utilities are pouring billions of dollars into a race to prevent terrorists or enemy governments from shutting down the power grid while also making the delivery system ready for a world with much more renewable energy. Utilities have long based their business on building power plants and selling the juice to customers to pay for it all. With energy conservation making big new plants less necessary, utilities are banking on future profits from updating the power grid.


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. But charitable programs in Republican and lower-tax states could also be hit.


Verizon makes changes as lawmakers decry firefighters’ woes

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A nationwide telecommunications company that slowed internet service to firefighters as they battled the largest wildfire in California history says it has removed all speed cap restrictions for first responders on the West Coast. The company said at a California legislative hearing Friday that the service restrictions were removed as of Thursday and include Hawaii, where emergency crews have been rescuing people from areas flooded by Hurricane Lane.


The S&P 500 index gained 17.71 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,874.69. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 133.37 points, or 0.5 percent, to 25,790.35. The Nasdaq added 67.52 points, or 0.9 percent, to 7,945.98. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 8.62 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,725.67.

Benchmark U.S. crude gained 1.3 percent to settle at $68.72 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 1.5 percent to close at $75.82 per barrel. Heating oil rose 1.2 percent to $2.20 a gallon. Wholesale gasoline gained 0.9 percent to $2.08 a gallon. Natural fell 1.6 percent to $2.92 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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