Business Highlights


Global extortion cyberattack hits dozens of nations

LONDON | A huge extortion cyberattack spread across the world Friday, holding computer data for ransom at hospitals, telecommunications firms and other companies in dozens of countries. The attack appeared to exploit a vulnerability purportedly identified for use by the U.S. National Security Agency and later leaked to the internet. The attack hit Britain’s health service, forcing affected hospitals to close wards and emergency rooms. Related attacks were reported in Spain, Portugal and Russia.

Lawyers: Wells Fargo created about 3.5 million fake accounts

SAN FRANCISCO | Lawyers suing Wells Fargo say the bank may have opened about 3.5 million unauthorized accounts. That’s far more than the about 2 million possibly unauthorized accounts than the bank and regulators disclosed last year. A bank spokesman said the lawyers’ new estimation was unverified and based on a hypothetical scenario.

China and US reach agreement on beef, poultry, natural gas

WASHINGTON | China will finally open its borders to U.S. beef while cooked Chinese poultry is closer to hitting American supermarket shelves as part of a trade agreement. U.S. companies would also be allowed to ship liquefied natural gas to China as part of the agreement.

AP FACT CHECK: Overblown claim on new China trade deal

WASHINGTON | Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is hailing a new trade deal with China as the most significant step ever on the trading front with Beijing. An AP Fact Check finds that’s a stretch. The deal lowers barriers on U.S. beef and liquefied natural gas exports to China as well as on some other goods and services. But it’s limited, and pales in comparison with the effects of China’s entry into the World Trade Organization and Richard Nixon’s opening to China in 1972.

What happens to corporate crime cases with the FBI in flux?

WASHINGTON | President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey has added a new layer of uncertainty to the government’s corporate criminal investigations. What might an FBI without a permanent leader, even for a short time, mean for ongoing cases of corporate misconduct?

US prepares to ban laptops on flights from Europe

BRUSSELS | The U.S. is expected to broaden its ban on in-flight laptops and tablets to include planes from the European Union, a move that would create logistical chaos on the world’s busiest corridor of air travel. Alarmed at the proposal, which airline officials say is merely a matter of timing, European governments held urgent talks Friday with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Anthem gives up Cigna bid, vows to fight on over damages

INDIANAPOLIS | Anthem is finally ending its soured, $48 billion bid to buy rival Cigna, but the nation’s second-largest health insurer isn’t giving up a fight over whether Cigna deserves a termination fee for the scrapped deal. Anthem says Cigna sabotaged the merger agreement and caused “massive damages” for Anthem, which provides Blue Cross-Blue Shield coverage in several states.

US Treasury chief to brief key allies on Trump policies

BARI, Italy | Top finance officials from seven advanced economies have gathered to hear more about U.S. President Donald Trump’s economic policies on taxation and trade as well as to look for ways to promote growth, combat terrorist financing and stop tax avoidance by major corporations. The meeting of the Group of 7 finance ministers in the southern Italian seaside town of Bari kicked off Friday with a discussion with economists on how to make growth benefit more people. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was due to explain Trump’s plans to cut business taxes and regulation, as well as the president’s push for what he considers more balanced trading relationships.

S&P 500 index slips, posts its first down week in a month

NEW YORK | Shares of department stores sank again Friday, hurt by more evidence that shoppers are turning away from them. A drop in Treasury yields also put pressure on bank stocks, and the weakness helped pull the Standard & Poor’s 500 index down modestly. The S&P 500 had its first down week in the last four, though it remains close to its record.

Apple to invest $200 million in scratch-resistant glass

HARRODSBURG, Ky. | Apple says it will invest $200 million in a rural Kentucky facility that it credits with rescuing the company’s signature smartphone from a design flaw that would have led to scratched screens.

The California-based company announced Friday it would give the money to Corning Inc. to use at its facility in Harrodsburg, Kentucky.

Elon Musk posts video of ‘electric sled’ for tunnel travel

LOS ANGELES |Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk on Friday posted video on social media of what he describes as an electric sled speeding through a tunnel, a test of a system he envisions for 3-D networks of underground passages for speeding traffic under Los Angeles’ congested roads. He posted on Twitter and Instagram that such sleds could transport cars at 125 mph (200 kmh), with automatic switching from one tunnel to the next.

The S&P 500 dipped 3.54 points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 2,390.90, part of a 0.3 percent loss for the week. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 22.81 points, or 0.1 percent, to 20,896.61, and the Nasdaq composite rose 5.27 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,121.23.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose a penny to settle at $47.84 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 7 cents to $50.84 a barrel. Natural gas rose 5 cents to $3.42 per 1,000 cubic feet, heating oil was close to flat at $1.49 per gallon and wholesale gasoline rose a penny to $1.58 per gallon.