Update on the latest in business:


Wall Street dips after worldwide slide; gold nears record

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street is slipping after tensions ramped higher between the world’s two largest economies, though the market pared its losses as the morning progressed.

The S&P 500 was 0.8% lower in early afternoon trading, which would wipe out the last of its gains for the week.. It had been down 1% shortly after trading began.


Stocks sank more sharply across Asia and Europe after China ordered the closure of the U.S. consulate in the western city of Chengdu. All the uncertainty helped gold briefly top $1,900 per ounce, close to its record high. Treasury yields were holding relatively steady, but they remain close to their lowest levels since April.

Technology stocks continued to fall. Intel sank after it delayed the release of its new 7 nanometer chip.


US new home sales jump 13.8% in June

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of new homes rose a sharp 13.8% in June, the second straight increase after two months when sales plunged as the country went into lockdown. The Commerce Department reports that the June gain pushed sales of new homes to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 776,000. The June increased followed a 19.4% jump in May sales.

Friday’s report comes two days after the National Association of Realtors said sales of previously owned homes surged 20.7% in June.

Even with the gains, new home sales remain roughly 20% below pre-pandemic levels.


Extra unemployment aid expiring as virus threatens new states

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Enhanced federal aid that helped avert financial ruin for millions of unemployed Americans is set to expire — leaving only threadbare safety nets offered by individual states to catch them.

Early in the pandemic, with the economy cratering, the federal government added $600 to weekly unemployment checks. That increase ends this week, and with Congress still haggling over next steps, most states will not be able to offer nearly as much while they wrestle with diminishing unemployment trust funds.

The loss of extra money comes as public health officials are warning that the coronavirus poses new risks to parts of the Midwest and South.


AP-NORC poll: Optimism fades jobs lost to virus will return

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly half of Americans whose families experienced a layoff during the coronavirus pandemic now believe those jobs are lost. That’s according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. That’s a sharp change from April, when 78% of those in households with a job loss thought they’d be temporary. Still, the poll shows that 72% of Americans would rather have restrictions in place in their communities to stop the spread of COVID-19 than remove them to help the economy. Just 27% want to prioritize the economy over efforts to stop the outbreak.


Schlumberger slashes 21,000 jobs amid pandemic oil rout

UNDATED (AP) — Schlumberger (SHLUM’-bur-zhay) is cutting more than 21,000 jobs, about a quarter of its workforce, as the global coronavirus pandemic quashes demand for energy and depress oil prices. The world’s largest oilfield services company will pay more than $1 billion in severance benefits.

The cuts announced Friday put the number of people employed by the company close to where it was at the start of the oil and gas fracking boom.

Chesapeake Energy, a pioneer in fracking, sought bankruptcy protection last month.


Simon-backed venture makes offer to buy Brooks Brothers

NEW YORK (AP) — A retail venture owned by licensing company Authentic Brands Group and mall owner Simon Property Group has entered into an agreement to buy the iconic Brooks Brothers for $305 million.

The offer from Sparc Group LLC has been designated as a “stalking horse” and is subject to court approval as well as any better offers. A court hearing to approve the bid has been set for Aug. 3. and competing offers are due by Aug. 5. The sale process is expected to take place Aug. 11.

The 200-year-old New York-based clothier, which has dressed nearly every U.S. president, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this month. At the time, it had over 200 stores.


FAA orders emergency engine checks of parked Boeing 737s

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration is telling airlines to inspect and if necessary fix engines on popular Boeing 737 jets after four reports of engines shutting down during flights. The order affects about 2,000 twin-engine passenger jets in the United States. The FAA says operators must inspect any 737 that has been parked for at least seven days because of reports that engine valves can become stuck in the open position. Passenger jets have two or more engines, and multiple engine failures are rare. But it has happened, including the 2009 “Miracle on the Hudson.”


Bali police arrest American wanted in investment fraud

DENPASAR, Indonesia (AP) — Authorities on the Indonesian resort island of Bali say they have arrested an American fugitive accused of investment fraud in the United States involving hundreds of thousands of dollars. Bali’s police chief says the suspect, Marcus Beam of Illinois, had been making and selling sex videos in Bali to support his living expenses there. He says Beam apparently escaped from the U.S. by using a passport with a different name and entered Bali in January. He was arrested with his American girlfriend at a villa based on a notice from Interpol. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission says Beam is accused of misappropriating about $500,000 from investors that was supposed to be placed in investment funds.


Vietnam bans wildlife imports, markets amid new health fears

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam says it is banning wildlife imports and will close wildlife markets in response to the threat from diseases that can jump from animals to humans, such as the virus that causes COVID-19. An order signed by the prime minister on Thursday bans all imports of wildlife dead or alive and includes eggs and larvae. It also merits tougher penalties for crimes involving the trade in wildlife. Vietnam has been a popular destination for wildlife products that are used in traditional medicine or in preparing exotic cuisine. The move comes amid increased scrutiny of the health risks of the wildlife trade as the world deals with the new coronavirus, which is thought to have jumped from animals to humans.


Not this year: Great British summer getaway takes a pause

LONDON (AP) — With all schools in Britain now closed, Friday would normally be the busiest departure day of the year for London’s Gatwick Airport with families heading off to the sun-soaked beaches in southern Europe. Not this year, as the coronavirus pandemic means many have opted against making their annual summer migration to countries like Spain and Greece. Gatwick would in any normal year be expecting to fly some 85,000 holidaymakers on Friday alone. It expects less than 10,000 passenger departures on Friday. While the pandemic has seriously hit international travel, domestic holiday companies are recording bumper business. So-called “staycations” have become popular.

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