Business briefing

The daily business briefing: September 8, 2017

Amazon looks for second home, Equifax reports data breach affecting 143 million people, and more

1

Amazon seeks second home to meet demands of fast growth

Amazon said Thursday that it would build a second headquarters in North America to house up to 50,000 employees. The online retail giant said it would spend more than $5 billion on its second home, which CEO and founder Jeff Bezos said would be "a full equal" to its sprawling current base in Seattle. The announcement underscored Amazon's rapid growth and the challenges it presents as the company tries to find qualified recruits, and put them to work. Leaders in Chicago, Philadelphia, Toronto, and other cities said they planned to propose Amazon set up shop in their communities. Interested towns have just over a month to register on a special website. Amazon plans to make its decision in 2018.

2

Equifax reports breach affecting 143 million U.S. consumers

Criminal hackers broke into an Equifax web app and accessed Social Security numbers, birth dates, home addresses, and other sensitive personal data of 143 million Americans, nearly half the U.S. population, the credit reporting agency said Thursday. The breach began in May, and the company discovered it in July. Equifax said its "core database" was not compromised, but hackers can commit identity fraud with the data that was breached. "In addition to the number [of victims] being really large, the type of information that has been exposed is really sensitive," said Beth Givens, executive director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a consumer advocacy group based in San Diego.

3

U.S. stock futures lose ground ahead of a tense weekend

U.S. stocks headed for a lower open on Friday as investors expressed caution ahead of a weekend when Hurricane Irma is expected to hit Florida, and North Korea is rumored to be planning its next missile test. Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and Nasdaq-100 futures were all down by 0.3 percent. The caution came after a mixed day on Wall Street on Thursday, as markets digested comments by a Federal Reserve official, who said the U.S. central bank was contemplating a delay in raising interest rates until the Fed is confident that low inflation will rebound. The euro jumped to a nine-day high on Thursday after the European Central Bank signaled that it was preparing to scale back its economy-stimulating bond-buying program.

4

Hurricane Irma disrupts cruises for 100,000 tourists

The three major Florida-based cruise lines — Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, and Norwegian Cruise Line — canceled or adjusted more than two dozen voyages as of Thursday to keep their ships out of Hurricane Irma's path, affecting more than 100,000 passengers. Last month, four cruise ships were stranded in the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane Harvey after the Port of Galveston was closed, affecting 15,000 passengers, about half of whom returned to Galveston a week late. Royal Caribbean International has delayed the return of three ships, Oasis, Harmony and Allure of the Seas, from Atlantic voyages until Irma passes.

5

Graydon Carter stepping down after 25 years as Vanity Fair editor

Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter told The New York Times that he will be leaving the esteemed magazine after 25 years as its leader. "I want to leave while the magazine is on top," Carter, 68, told the Times. Carter added that he would be spending the next six months on "garden leave," and that he had "the rough architecture" of a future project sketched out, although he did not share details. Under Carter, Vanity Fair scooped the identity of Watergate's Deep Throat and made space for the work of Annie Leibovitz, Fran Lebowitz, James Wolcott, and Dominick Dunne. It isn't clear who will succeed Carter, although he said he has suggestions. "I care about this magazine," Carter said. "I don't want it to go anywhere other than up."

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