Business Briefs – July 2, 2017

Nearly Everyone’s a Winner: Funds Rose Again Last Quarter

NEW YORK (AP) – Nearly every type of fund rose last quarter, whether they focus on stocks or bonds, U.S. or foreign. Gains were so widespread that 93 percent of the roughly 7,600 funds that Morningstar tracks made money over the last three months. The nearly universal climb for funds means many retirement accounts and other portfolios are the largest they’ve ever been. The average 401(k) balance had already come into the second quarter at a record level, according to Fidelity.

Illinois Misses Deadline to Pass Budget, Consequences Hover

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – A $36.5 billion plan to rebuild Illinois’ crumbling finances has passed a critical test, but not in time to prevent the state from starting its third consecutive fiscal year without a budget. The House approved the plan on a preliminary vote on Friday, but a final vote won’t come before the fiscal year starts Saturday. Without a budget, the state enters dangerous territory, including a promised credit downgrade to “junk” status.

Germany Passes Law Against Online Hate Speech

BERLIN (AP) – German lawmakers approved a bill on Friday aimed at cracking down on hate speech on social networks, which critics say could have drastic consequences for free speech online. The measure approved is designed to enforce the country’s existing limits on speech, including the long-standing ban on Holocaust denial. It would fine social networking sites up to 50 million euros ($56 million) if they persistently fail to remove illegal content within a week, including defamatory “fake news.”

Commission Vacancies Threaten Trump’s Energy ‘Dominance’

WASHINGTON (AP) – The five-member commission that oversees natural gas pipelines and other energy projects is down to a single commissioner as one of the panel’s two remaining members steps down. The departure of Democrat Colette Honorable from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission hobbles the panel’s ability to make decisions on projects worth billions of dollars and threatens to undermine President Donald Trump’s promise of U.S. “energy dominance” in the global market.