Business Highlights


In Yahoo breach, hackers may seek intelligence, not riches

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) " If a foreign government is behind the attack that compromised a half billion user accounts at Yahoo, as the company says, the breach could be part of a long-term strategy aimed at gathering intelligence rather than getting rich.

Yahoo says the breach involved users' email addresses, passwords and other information " including birthdates " but not payment card or bank account numbers. The stolen data could still be used in financial crimes, such as identity theft, but experts say a foreign intelligence agency might combine the Yahoo files with information from other sources to build extensive dossiers on U.S. government or corporate officials.


Marriott buys Starwood, becoming world's largest hotel chain

NEW YORK (AP) " Marriott International closed Friday morning on its $13 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, in a deal that creates the largest hotel chain in the world

In total, 30 hotel brands now fall under the Marriott umbrella including its own Marriott, Courtyard and Ritz Carlton brands with Starwood's Sheraton, Westin, W and St.

Regis properties.

The company now has more than 5,700 properties in more than 110 countries, or more than 1 out of every 15 hotel rooms around the globe.


Fed wants to put new limits on banks' commodities activities

WASHINGTON (AP) " The Federal Reserve wants to put new limits on big banks' activities in physical commodities businesses, with an eye to reducing financial risks from volatile trading and transport of sensitive materials.

The Fed's governors are proposing restrictions for banks' holding, transporting and trading of commodities like oil, aluminum and coal. Banks would be required to beef up the capital they hold against potential losses in commodities and would face limits on the amount of their commodities trading.

The Fed is opening the proposal to public comment for 90 days.


UPS testing drones for use in its package delivery system

MARBLEHEAD, Mass. (AP) " UPS has partnered with robot maker CyPhy Works to test the use of drones to make commercial deliveries to remote or difficult-to-access locations.

The companies began testing the drones on Thursday, when they launched one from the seaside town of Marblehead. The drone flew on a programmed route for 3 miles over the Atlantic Ocean to deliver an inhaler at Children's Island.

The successful landing was greeted by jubilant shouts from CyPhy Works and UPS employees on the island to witness the test.


McDonald's testing Happy Meals for breakfast

NEW YORK (AP) " McDonald's is considering another addition to its all-day breakfast menu: Happy Meals.

The fast-food chain says it will soon begin testing breakfast Happy Meals in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Happy Meals come with either two McGriddles cakes or an egg and cheese McMuffin.

McDonald's Corp. has been trying to win back customers after failing to keep up with changing tastes.


IMF paints dark outlook for Greek jobseekers

ATHENS, Greece (AP) " The International Monetary Fund on Friday painted a bleak outlook for bailout-dependent Greece, where it said it expects unemployment to stay in the double digits for more than three decades.

In an annual report, the IMF also called for further debt relief from the country's European creditors going "well beyond" extant proposals if the country's debt mountain is to become sustainable.

Greece's economy is under constant scrutiny from its bailout creditors, the IMF and European governments and institutions.


Facebook apologizes to advertisers for counting error

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) " Facebook is apologizing to advertisers for what it calls an error that overstated the average length of time users watched videos on the site.

The measurement didn't affect how much Facebook charges to run video spots, but analysts say ad agencies may have used the Facebook estimates as a key metric when they plan campaigns and decide how much advertising to place on Facebook or competing sites.

Facebook said it recently discovered its method of calculating the average viewing time didn't include times when people watched a video for less than three seconds. That had the effect of making average times seem longer.


Trump hotels settle with attorney general over data breach

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) " The Trump Hotel Collection company has agreed to pay $50,000 and shore up data security after breaches exposed more than 70,000 credit card numbers and other personal data, the state's attorney general said on Friday in announcing a settlement.

In 2015, multiple banks analyzed hundreds of fraudulent credit card transactions and determined the hotel group was the last merchant with legitimate transactions.

Authorities said the company knew several hotels had been compromised but didn't notify customers for four months, a violation of New York business law requiring prompt notification.


Cheers erupt as Puerto Rico slowly emerges from blackout

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) " Power slowly returned to Puerto Rico Friday following an island-wide blackout caused by a fire that shut down an aging utility grid.

The blackout affected the entire island of 3.5 million people and angered many Puerto Ricans already struggling through a decade-long economic crisis. About 75 percent of 1.5 million homes and businesses served by the island's power company had electricity restored, and the majority of Puerto Ricans will likely have power by Saturday, Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said.


Court slashes damages owed by French rogue trader

VERSAILLES, France (AP) " Former French rogue trader Jerome Kerviel will not have to pay 4.9 billion euros ($5.5 billion) in damages to the bank that used to employ him, but a more modest 1 million euros ($1.1 million), a court ruled Friday.

The court said Kerviel was "partly responsible" for huge losses suffered in 2008 by Societe Generale through his reckless financial trades.

But it also ruled that the bank's "deficiencies" in its management, controls and security systems contributed to the losses, which Kerviel would have had no realistic way of reimbursing.


The Dow Jones industrial average lost 131.01 points, or 0.7 percent, to 18,261.45. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 12.49 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,164.69. The Nasdaq composite lost 33.78 points, or 0.6 percent, to 5,305.75.

U.S. benchmark crude oil futures closed down $1.84 to $44.48 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell $1.76 to $45.89 a barrel. In other energy trading, heating oil fell 5 cents to $1.41 per gallon, wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $1.38 a gallon and natural gas fell 3.5 cents to $2.955 per thousand cubic feet.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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