Business briefing

The daily business briefing: September 12, 2017

Equifax shares plunge as lawsuits pile up, Apple expected to unveil high-end iPhone X, and more

1

Equifax shares plunge as class-action suits filed over massive breach

Equifax shares plummeted by 8 percent on Monday, adding to a 13 percent plunge on Friday after the credit reporting company disclosed a data breach affecting 143 million people. Capital One CEO Richard Fairbank said the breach probably affects many of the bank's customers, "and it's going to be costly to them and to us." Equifax already faces at least 23 proposed class-action lawsuits over the compromised personal data. The lawsuits were filed through the weekend after Equifax announced that criminal hackers had accessed personal information, including Social Security numbers, on nearly 44 percent of the U.S. population, potentially exposing millions to the threat of identity theft.

2

Apple to unveil high-end iPhone X in big anniversary event

Apple is set to unveil a special high-end iPhone on Tuesday to mark the 10-year anniversary of the release of the first version of its iconic smartphone by its then-CEO, the late Steve Jobs. Apple has sold 1.2 billion iPhones over 10 years, but many consumers rejected the iPhone 7 last year, finding it too similar to the iPhone 6. The new, high-end "iPhone X" is expected to offer features aiming to win over critics craving innovation. It is believed to have an edge-to-edge display, and facial recognition to unlock the phone, rather than a thumbprint reader. Analysts have predicted the phone's pricetag could fall between $899 and $1,000. Some estimates put the price even higher. Apple also is expected to be unveiling an iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus as updates to the iPhone 7 line.

3

Stocks surge in sign of relief after Irma

U.S. stocks surged on Monday as investors expressed relief as Hurricane Irma weakened to tropical storm strength and the weekend passed without a feared new missile test in North Korea. "For now, we're seeing a bit of a relief rally. It does appear that the worst-case scenario for Florida has been evaded," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped by 1.2 percent to regain the 22,000 level. The S&P 500 jumped by about 1.1 percent to a record high, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 1.1 percent, as well. Global stocks followed U.S. shares higher on Monday, hitting record highs, and U.S. futures pointed to further gains at the open.

4

Florida fuel shortages expected to continue as evacuees return

More than four in 10 Florida gas stations had run out of fuel by Monday morning after millions of people rushed to fill up during evacuations ahead of Hurricane Irma, with tanker trucks unable to deliver fresh supplies, according to fuel-tracking service GasBuddy. Shortages are only expected to worsen in many areas as people return home. "The concern is that as people start coming back as Irma clears, fuel supply in those areas could be very challenged," said GasBuddy petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan. "Don't be in a hurry to come back." Analysts said gas prices, driven sharply higher after Hurricane Harvey forced many Gulf Coast refineries to close, could fall by up to 30 cents a gallon in the next few weeks as refineries crank back up.

5

VW to make electric versions of all models by 2030

Volkswagen announced Monday that all of its 300 models will be available in electric versions by 2030. The company, the world's largest automaker, is investing nearly $23 billion in the effort. The German carmaker will also roll out 80 new electric cars across its brands, which include Audi, Bentley, and Bugatti, by 2025. Earlier Monday, Mercedes-Benz announced it would make its entire line of cars electric by 2022, joining BMW and Jaguar Land Rover in similar efforts. Volkswagen's announcement comes two years after its diesel-emissions crisis surfaced, and just after China's weekend announcement that it will eventually ban gasoline engines as it continues to battle pollution.

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