Business briefing

The daily business briefing: August 8, 2017

Global stocks rise after Dow's 9th straight record, Google fires engineer behind controversial gender memo, and more

1

Global stocks climb after Dow hits 9th straight record

Global stocks hit fresh all-time highs despite weaker-than-expected China trade data on Tuesday, after the Dow Jones Industrial Average made minor gains on Monday to close at a record high for the ninth straight day. Monday was the blue-chip stock index's 10th consecutive day of gains. Stocks in the U.S. and overseas got a boost from Friday's unexpectedly strong U.S. jobs report, and from a string of stronger-than-expected corporate earnings reports. Trading volume was light, however, and the gains modest, with the S&P 500 also inching up. "There's a lack of conviction either way," said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth. "There's no reason to be a seller yet and there's no reason to be a buyer."

2

Google fires engineer who wrote controversial gender memo

Google on Monday fired the software engineer who wrote a controversial memo criticizing the company's diversity program and claiming that women were underrepresented in the technology industry for biological reasons, not discrimination. Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a company-wide email that he supported workers' rights to express themselves but that portions of the memo, which was titled "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber," had violated the company's code of conduct "by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace." Critics within the company had demanded action.

3

Anthem to stop offering ObamaCare plans in Nevada, citing political uncertainty

Anthem will stop offering Affordable Care Act health insurance plans in Nevada's state exchange, the state's insurance commissioner said Monday. The insurer partly blamed the move on uncertainty over whether the Trump administration would continue to provide subsidies to keep down costs for coverage of low-income Americans. Senate Republicans last month failed to pass a GOP plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare, leaving in place questions about the future of ObamaCare as lawmakers remain split over whether to continue to fight for repeal or begin trying to fix problems they see in the existing law. Nevada has said 14 of its 17 counties will be without qualifying health plans on the ObamaCare exchange next year, and Anthem's decision won't change that.

4

Hackers post stolen HBO scripts, demand ransom

Hackers on Monday posted stolen HBO files online in the second data dump since a massive cyberattack on the cable entertainment company last week. The files included five scripts from the popular fantasy drama Game of Thrones, as well as emails from the company's vice president for film programming, Leslie Cohen. The hacker or hackers, going by the name Mr. Smith, threatened to release more material unless HBO pays a ransom estimated at $6 million or more in bitcoin.

5

De Blasio unveils millionaire tax plan to fix subways

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday unveiled a proposal to impose a tax on millionaires to pay for fixing subways and helping low-income commuters. De Blasio said that it was time to stop rising subway delays from causing people to get in trouble at work, miss doctor appointments, or pick up their kids late from school. "People do not want to see this madness continue," de Blasio said. The city's subway delays have tripled in five years to 70,000 per month. The tax would generate $800 million per year but only affect an estimated 30,000 to 35,000 wealthy New Yorkers making $1 million per couple or $500,000 per individual.

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