AP Business SummaryBrief at 7:45 p.m. EDT

US begins court battle against publishing giants’ merger

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government and publishing titan Penguin Random House have exchanged opening salvos in a federal antitrust trial. The government wants to block the biggest U.S. book publisher from absorbing rival Simon & Schuster. The trial that began Monday in Washington is a key test of the Biden administration’s antitrust policy. The Justice Department has sued to block the $2.2 billion merger, which would...

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US begins court battle against publishing giants’ merger

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government and publishing titan Penguin Random House have exchanged opening salvos in a federal antitrust trial. The government wants to block the biggest U.S. book publisher from absorbing rival Simon & Schuster. The trial that began Monday in Washington is a key test of the Biden administration’s antitrust policy. The Justice Department has sued to block the $2.2 billion merger, which would reduce the Big Five U.S. publishers to four. The government’s star witness, author Stephen King, whose works are published by Simon & Schuster, is expected to testify at Tuesday’s session of the weekslong trial.

Bumps, bipartisanship in long fight for semiconductor bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will soon be signing into law a major bill to revive the U.S. computer chip sector. The back story of how the legislation is reaching his desk after more than 18 months reveals the complexities of bipartisanship, even when all sides agree on the need to act. As administration officials see it, the bill cleared Congress last week because of a deep coalition and persistence. But many Republicans believe they provided crucial support only to be double crossed. Proponents say the billions for computer chips and scientific research could help to cut inflation, create factory jobs, defend the U.S. and allies and preserve an edge against an ambitious China.

Democrat Sinema’s views on economic bill remain shrouded

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s views remained a mystery as party leaders eye votes later this week on their emerging economic legislation. Both parties are pointing to dueling studies that in turn laud or belittle the measure’s impact. Democrats will need all of their 50 votes for the energy and health care measure to move through the Senate. A Sinema spokesperson suggests the Arizona lawmaker would take her time revealing her decision. Hannah Hurley said Sinema wants to see what the Senate parliamentarian rules, a process that could take days and result in changes in the legislation.

Treasury says borrowing needs increased by $262 billion

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department is seeking to borrow $444 billion in the current quarter through September as the Federal Reserve tightens its portfolio. Figures released Monday by the department show that to be a $262 billion increase compared to estimates announced in May, a sign that the federal government will need to be more reliant on debt. A Treasury official told reporters on the condition of anonymity that the department was now expecting to collect less in taxes than initially forecast. The additional debt during the July to September quarter is also due in part to the Fed’s decision in May to scale back its holdings of Treasury notes, which caused the government to rely on private and foreign investors.

EXPLAINER: Bid to block book merger sets competition fight

WASHINGTON (AP) — The biggest U.S. book publisher’s plan to buy the fourth-largest for $2.2 billion represents a key test for the Biden administration’s antitrust policy. So much so that the Justice Department is calling an out-of-the-ordinary witness to The Stand: author extraordinaire Stephen King. Penguin Random House’s proposed acquisition of rival Simon & Schuster would reduce the “Big Five” U.S. publishers to four. The Justice Department has sued to block the merger, contending it would thwart competition, and hurt authors and readers. The publishers are fighting the lawsuit. The trial is set to open Monday in federal court in Washington, D.C.

Stocks slide to start August after best month since 2020

Stocks are closing slightly lower on Wall Street Monday as investors began another busy week of earnings and economic reports. The S&P 500 fell 0.3%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq also closed lower. U.S. crude oil prices dropped, weighing heavily on energy companies. Retailers and consumer product makers made solid gains. Boeing jumped after it cleared a key hurdle with federal regulators to resume deliveries of its large 787 airliner. August’s subdued opening follows a solid rally for stocks in July that marked the best month for the the benchmark S&P 500 since November 2020.

USDA getting tougher on salmonella in chicken products

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing new regulations that would force food processors to reduce the amount of salmonella bacteria found in some raw chicken products or risk shutdowns. The proposed USDA rules announced Monday would declare salmonella an adulterant — a contaminant that can cause food-borne illness — in breaded and stuffed raw chicken products. That includes many frozen foods found in grocery stores that appear to be cooked through but are only heat-treated to set the batter or breading. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the salmonella bacteria sickens 1.3 million Americans each year, puts 26,000 in hospitals and causes 420 deaths.

FAA clears Boeing to resume delivery of 787 Dreamliners

Federal regulators are giving Boeing the green light to soon resume deliveries of its big 787 airliner. That’s according to a person familiar with the situation who talked to The Associated Press on Saturday. Boeing has been forced to stop deliveries of the 787, which it calls the Dreamliner, for most of the last two years because of production problems. But the Federal Aviation Administration is telling Boeing it will approve the company’s process for validating retrofits to each plane so they can be delivered to airline customers. That will create a valuable source of cash for Boeing. The planes are built in Washington state and South Carolina.

Germany argues over nuclear shutdown amid gas supply worries

BERLIN (AP) — Rising concern over the impact of a potential Russian gas cutoff is fueling the debate in Germany over whether the country should switch off its last three nuclear power plants as planned at the end of this year. The door to some kind of extension appeared to open a crack after the Economy Ministry in mid-July announced a new “stress test” on the security of electricity supplies. It’s supposed to take into account a tougher scenario than a previous test, concluded in May, that found supplies were assured. Since then, Russia has reduced natural gas supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany to 20% of capacity amid tensions over the war in Ukraine.

NLRB dismisses Starbucks charge against union organizers

The National Labor Relations Board has dismissed a charge Starbucks filed against union organizers in Phoenix. The labor board says there was not enough evidence that pro-union workers blocked store entrances or intimidated customers during a spring protest. Seattle-based Starbucks filed the charge with the NLRB in April. The company contended that pro-union workers violated U.S. labor law by threatening workers and customers during a union rally at the store in Phoenix. But the regional director of the NLRB in Phoenix dismissed the charge late last week, saying there was not enough evidence. Starbucks says it will appeal.

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