Global Glance: Consumer watchdog structure ruled unconstitutional; Matthew damage may cost $10B

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Here are today’s top business headlines from across the nation and world:

Consumer watchdog structure ruled unconstitutional

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. consumer watchdog agency, enmeshed in partisan politics since its creation after the financial crisis, now has had its structure ruled unconstitutional because it gives too much power to a single agency director. A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the way the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is organized violates the Constitution’s separation of powers by limiting the president’s ability to remove the director who heads the agency. Read more

Closed US restaurants, damaged homes: Matthew may cost $10B

For a storm that inflicted less damage than many had feared, Hurricane Matthew nevertheless impaired or destroyed more than 1 million structures, forced businesses from Florida to North Carolina to close and put thousands temporarily out of work. In many affected areas, small-business owners were still assessing the damage. All told, the storm probably caused $10 billion in damage, according to an estimate from Goldman Sachs. Insurance companies will likely be liable for about $4 billion to $6 billion of that total, according to an estimate Saturday by CoreLogic, a real estate data provider. Read more

Justices raise doubts about $399M judgment against Samsung

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court raised serious doubts Tuesday about a $399 million judgment against smartphone maker Samsung for illegally copying parts of the patented design of Apple’s iPhone. Justices hearing arguments in the long-running dispute seemed troubled that Samsung was ordered to pay all the profits it earned from 11 phone models, even though the features at issue are just a tiny part of the devices. The outcome could have ripple effects across the high-tech industry as the court balances the need to encourage innovation against a desire to protect lucrative design patents. Read more

Amazon launches for-pay streaming music service

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is launching a paid streaming music service, the latest entry in an increasingly crowded field. Amazon Music Unlimited is being positioned to compete against existing services such as Spotify and Apple Music. It will cost $8 per month, or $80 a year, for members of Amazon’s $99-a-year Prime loyalty program. Non-Prime members will pay $10 a month, the same monthly fee charged by Spotify and Apple Music. Read more

With the fall of the pound, UK consumers are in for a shock

LONDON (AP) — Family business owners say the timing of the pound’s plunge couldn’t be worse. The British currency has dropped more than 5 percent against the dollar since Oct. 2, when Prime Minister Theresa May announced plans to start formal talks on exiting the European Union by the end of March. Her rhetoric so far suggests the government will try to restrict the flow of EU immigrants, which may mean losing tariff-free access to the single market – a big blow to many British companies. The currency market didn’t like that at all. And things got worse a few days later when French President Francois Hollande promised the EU wouldn’t make it easy on the U.K. All of this matters to British consumers because a weaker pound means importers will have to pay more for goods purchased abroad, and they are expected to pass those costs onto customers. Read more

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