The daily business briefing: September 14, 2017

Harold Maass
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
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Homeland Security bans Kaspersky Lab software over fear of Russian spying

The Homeland Security Department on Wednesday announced that it was banning the use of security software from the Russian company Kaspersky Lab on government computers due to concerns it could be used for spying. The FBI is investigating the prominent Russian cybersecurity firm for evidence of possible links to Russian security services. DHS Acting Secretary Elaine Duke directed all federal agencies to find any Kaspersky products over the next 30 days, and start getting rid of them within 90 days. Kaspersky Lab said it was disappointed with the decision, and that it has no "inappropriate ties with any government." The company's founder, Eugene V. Kaspersky, attended a high school that trained Russian spies, and wrote software for the Soviet Army before starting the company in 1997. [TechCrunch, The New York Times]


Trump blocks Lattice Semiconductor takeover by Chinese-backed investor

President Trump on Wednesday blocked a Chinese-backed investor from buying Lattice Semiconductor Corp., marking just the fourth time in 25 years that a U.S. president had stopped a foreign takeover of a U.S. firm over security concerns. The White House and the Treasury Department said Trump was following a recommendation from a multi-agency panel. The move, which came as Trump seeks China's help pressuring North Korea over its weapons programs, sent a chilling signal to other Chinese buyers seeking security clearance to take over U.S. firms, such as the proposed acquisition of MoneyGram International by Ant Financial, a financial firm controlled by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma. MoneyGram shares dropped by up to 4.4 percent after hours. Lattice shares fell by 1.7 percent. [Bloomberg]


Democrats claim to strike deal with Trump on DACA

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced late Wednesday that they agreed with President Trump to push legislation to protect hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants from deportation. Democrats said the deal includes tighter border security but not funding for Trump's promised border wall. Trump tweeted that there was no final deal, and that the wall was being built. Trump recently said he was rescinding the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program that had blocked deportation of immigrants brought into the country illegally as children. The deal would restore protections for these "DREAMers." Immigration hardliner Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said if the report is true, Trump's "base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair." [The Washington Post, The Associated Press]


World stocks take a breather, edging down from record highs

Global stocks pulled back from record highs on Thursday after China released data on factory output and retail sales that were weaker than expected. MSCI's All-Country World index edged down by 0.1 percent while stock indexes in China and Japan fell by 0.3 percent. A decision by the Bank of England, which is expected to leave interest rates steady, could move British stocks. U.S. stock futures showed little movement ahead of the start of trading on Thursday after all three major indexes edged up to their second straight days of record highs. The release of government data on inflation and weekly jobless claims being released early Thursday could affect where the market goes next. [Reuters, MarketWatch]


Shkreli jailed for offering $5,000 for Hillary Clinton's hair

Martin Shkreli, the widely despised former pharmaceutical executive known as "pharma bro," was jailed on Wednesday for offering cash for anyone who could get him a lock of Hillary Clinton's hair. Shkreli, notorious for sharply raising prices for a life-saving drug, has been convicted on fraud charges and was out on a $5 million bond awaiting sentencing, but a federal judge revoked his bail after he made two Facebook posts offering $5,000 to anyone who could "grab a hair" from Clinton during her tour promoting her new book, What Happened. Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto said Shkreli's request could be interpreted as a threat and was therefore not protected free speech. "That is a solicitation to assault in exchange for money that is not protected by the First Amendment," she said. [The New York Times]