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US middle class gets richer, but wealthy do even better

Middle-class American families grew richer between 2013-16. It is their first such gains since the Great Recession upended the economy a decade ago. Yet wealthier families did even better, worsening the nation’s massive disparities in wealth and income.

Dems wield Equifax; Wells Fargo fights over arbitration

Democratic senators are highlighting scandals at Wells Fargo and Equifax in a bid to stop Republicans from overturning a federal rule that would let consumers join together to sue financial companies. Banks argue that arbitration is a more efficient way of handling small disputes.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says Wells Fargo and Equifax did “terrible wrong” and now Republicans “want to prevent consumers from having rights to sue them.”

Businesses uneasy about security after Equifax hack

The breach of Equifax’s computer systems is reminding small business owners their technology can be vulnerable to cybercriminals. Companies that provide computer security services to small businesses say they’re getting more calls from customers since Equifax revealed the breach Sept. 7.

Small businesses often lag behind in cybersecurity, not believing they might be targets. But experts say small companies are becoming targets for hackers and thieves.

Trump mulls cargo waiver for Puerto Rico

President Donald Trump says his administration is considering waiving a little-known federal law that prohibits foreign-flagged ships from shuttling goods between U.S. ports.

Republicans and Democrats have pushed Trump to waive the Jones Act, saying it could help get desperately needed supplies delivered to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico more quickly and at less cost. The law was waived earlier this month to help ease fuel shortages following hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Small companies make biggest gains as stocks rise

U.S. stocks climb, and the biggest gains go to smaller banks, industrial and technology companies after the Labor Department said business investment appeared to get stronger in August.

President Donald Trump and key Republicans proposed a new tax plan that may also help smaller companies. High-dividend stocks like utilities fell sharply as bond yields rose.

Issues remain as third round of NAFTA talks end

Contentious issues remain in NAFTA renegotiations as the U.S., Canada and Mexico conclude a third round of talks. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says some issues related to small and medium-size enterprises were resolved, but an enormous amount of work still needs to be done on other, difficult matters.

He says delegates made significant progress on competition policy, digital trade, state-owned enterprises and telecommunications. A fourth round of talks is scheduled for Oct. 11-15.

Kushner Cos. charges illegal fees to its tenants

The real estate company run by the family of Jared Kushner is being sued by two tenants in Maryland for allegedly adding excessive and illegal fees to their rent. The lawsuit says businesses owned by the Kushner Cos. have been charging late penalties of 5 percent of tenants’ rent but not just for what they claim to be late rent. The penalties were also tacked on for late “agent fees” and “court fees,” in violation of Maryland law, the lawsuit says. The company says it has done nothing illegal.