Business Briefs – September 17, 2017

U.S. Retail Sales Dipped 0.2 Pct. In August as Auto Sales Fell

WASHINGTON& (AP) – Consumers cut back on their shopping in August by the largest amount in six months, as declining auto sales offset gains in other areas.

Retail sales fell 0.2 percent last month after a 0.3 percent gain in July, the Commerce Department said Friday. It was the biggest one-month drop since an identical decline in February. Auto sales sank 1.6 percent, the most in seven months.

Excluding autos and gas, which tend to be volatile from month to month, sales dipped 0.1 percent in August after having risen 0.5 percent in July.

Environmentalists Get Win in US Coal-Climate Change Lawsuit

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) – A court has cast doubt on a longstanding government argument that blocking federal coal leasing won’t affect climate change because the coal could simply be mined elsewhere. Friday’s ruling by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver is the biggest win yet for environmentalists trying to block coal mining on climate-change grounds. The appeals court ruling tells a lower court to seek more analysis from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Equifax: Lesser Impact From Breach to UK Residents

NEW YORK (AP) – Equifax says the potential impact of its massive data breach on U.K. residents is less severe than in the U.S., where 143 million Americans had their data exposed. The credit company said its U.K. systems were not affected by the breach. However, there was a batch of fewer than 400,000 British consumers who had some information compromised. But the company said that information was more limited than what the hackers found for American consumers, and was unlikely to lead to identity theft.

Equifax fell $3.68, or 3.8 percent, to a two-year low of $92.98. The stock began plunging last Friday after the company disclosed the breach, and this week it took its biggest weekly loss since 1998.

4 Years Later, Cleanup Nears End For Big North Dakota Spill

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – Four years later, cleanup completion is in sight for a 20,000-barrel oil spill in a North Dakota farmer’s field. Excavation of the affected site is scheduled for completion by the end of the month, with the land ready for replanting next spring. The spill from a Tesoro pipeline was discovered by a Tioga farmer in September 2013. It has been called one of the largest onshore spills in U.S. history.

Trump to Work on Building U.S. Business Ties at U.N. Assembly

WASHINGTON (AP) – A top U.S. national security official says President Donald Trump will work to build business ties between the U.S. and other nations during the United Nations General Assembly next week. National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster tells reporters the president will stress his “ironclad commitment to free, fair and reciprocal trade” as the “bedrock” of his economic talks.