Business Briefs – August 26, 2018

FireEye: Tech Firms’ Secret Weapon Against Disinformation

NEW YORK (AP) – This week has seen major social media sites step up their policing of online disinformation campaigns. Google, Facebook and Twitter have taken action to disable accounts and remove suspicious content. What did they have in common? The security firm FireEye. Best known for its work on high-profile cyberattacks against companies like Target and Sony Pictures, FireEye is emerging as a key player in the fight against election interference and propaganda campaigns.

AP-NORC Poll: Americans Not Enthused With Trump Trade Policy

WASHINGTON (AP) – Fewer than half of Americans believe President Donald Trump’s tariffs will do much to help the U.S. economy. That’s according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Majorities also doubt the recently announced taxes on imports will increase jobs or wages at home. The survey found that 35 percent of Americans think the tariffs will leave them worse-off financially, while only 19 percent expect improvement.

For-Profit Colleges Have Allies Now, But Complaints Persist

WASHINGTON (AP) — As Education Secretary Betsy DeVos crafts a shift in the regulatory landscape that stands to benefit for-profit colleges, lawsuits and complaints against the multibillion-dollar industry are unfolding. It’s a complete turn-around from the Obama administration, which pushed to police for-profit schools more aggressively and to forgive student debt for those who were charged top dollar for degrees that turned out to be worthless pieces of paper.

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Fell 1.7 Percent in July

WASHINGTON (AP) – Orders for long-lasting U.S. factory goods fell 1.7 percent in July, the third decrease in the past four months. The Commerce Department says that durable goods orders — items meant to last at least three years such as autos and appliances — totaled $246.9 billion last month. Much of that decline came from a steep 35.4 percent drop in orders for nondefense aircraft, a volatile category on a monthly basis.

Utilities Pivot From Power Plants To Grid Work for Profits

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Electric utilities are pouring billions of dollars into a race to prevent terrorists or enemy governments from shutting down the power grid while also making the delivery system ready for a world with much more renewable energy. Utilities have long based their business on building power plants and selling the juice to customers to pay for it all. With energy conservation making big new plants less necessary, utilities are banking on future profits from updating the power grid.

Govt Acts to Stop High-Tax States From Skirting $10k Cap

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Trump administration has laid down rules aimed at preventing residents in high-tax states from avoiding a new cap on widely popular state and local tax deductions. The action over the new Republican tax law pits the government against high-tax, heavily Democratic states in an election-year showdown. But charitable programs in Republican and lower-tax states could also be hit.