National business briefs

  • Updated: September 4, 2013 - 10:45 PM

U.S. trade deficit increased in July

The trade deficit in the United States widened in July from an almost four-year low as Americans imported more fuel and automobiles, showing the world’s largest economy is picking up. The gap increased 13.3 percent to $39.1 billion from $34.5 billion in June that was the smallest since October 2009, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday in Washington. Purchases from abroad climbed 1.6 percent, while sales of American goods to foreign buyers cooled to the second-highest on record. Imports will probably keep rising, reflecting improving demand and a jump in crude-oil prices as tensions mount in the Middle East. At the same time, a strengthening U.S. expansion is helping companies in the European Union and China boost sales, which will stabilize global growth and, in turn, improve prospects for American exports.

FTC cracks down on child monitor maker

The Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday ordered the manufacturer of a child monitoring device to improve its security after a hacker gained access to hundreds of video feeds of private homes and posted them online. According to the FTC, the feeds “displayed private areas of users’ homes and allowed the unauthorized surveillance of infants sleeping in their cribs, young children playing and adults engaging in typical daily activities.” The enforcement action represented the agency’s first crackdown on Internet-connected consumer devices.

SAC forfeiture case delayed until January

The exchange of evidence in the government’s forfeiture lawsuit against SAC Capital Advisors was delayed by a judge until Jan. 6 while the government pursues insider trading prosecutions tied to the hedge fund. A postponement of the case is warranted until insider trading prosecutions of the company, as well as SAC fund manager Michael Steinberg and former SAC portfolio manager Mathew Martoma, are concluded, Assistant U.S. Attorney Micah Smith told U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan.

Google to expand same-day delivery

Five months after Google Inc. unveiled an experiment delivering everything from Target bed sheets to American Eagle bluejeans to parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, the company is preparing to expand same-day delivery to more shoppers across the region. Google Shopping Express will add pressure to companies like eBay Inc. that are expanding their own same-day delivery programs in what has become a fierce race between tech giants.

Developer gives University of Michigan $200M

Real estate developer Stephen M. Ross is giving the University of Michigan $200 million, the single largest gift in the university’s history. Ross is the founder and chairman of the Related Cos., which is based in New York and is developing the Hudson Yards project on the West Side of Manhattan. He has now donated a total of $313 million to the university. A chunk of the new gift will go toward the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, which was named after Ross in 2004 after he gave $100 million to construct a new business school building. Ross earned an undergraduate degree in business from the university in 1962.

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