Update on the latest in business:



Stocks slip as hopes dim for a rate cut

NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks are pulling higher in midday trading on Wall Street after slipping earlier in the day when the government issued a surprisingly strong jobs report for June. The strong report could complicate the Federal Reserve’s decision later this month on whether to lower interest rates. The Labor Department reported today that U.S. employers added a robust 224,000 jobs last month, more than expected.


Many investors anticipated the Fed would cut rates when it meets later this month, but with such a strong indicator on the economy that could be less likely.


Fed repeats pledge to act to sustain economic expansion

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Federal Reserve is repeating its pledge to “act as appropriate” to sustain the current economic expansion, while noting that most Fed officials have lowered their expectations for the future course of interest rates.

The Fed’s statement on interest rates came in its semi-annual monetary policy report.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will testify before Congress on the monetary report on Wednesday and Thursday next week. He will likely face questions on whether the strong jobs report Friday, showing 224,000 jobs created in June, lessens the chances for a June rate cut.


US adds solid 224,000 jobs,

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Employers sharply stepped up their hiring in June, adding a robust 224,000 jobs, an indication of the economy’s durability after more than a decade of expansion. The unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7% in June from 3.6% for the previous two months, reflecting an influx of people seeking jobs who were initially counted as unemployed. Average hourly wages rose 3.1% from a year ago.

The job gains in June were broad. The government sector was a major source of hiring, adding 33,000 jobs. Almost all those gains were at the local level. Immigrants were a key source of workers added over the past year. They accounted for roughly 37% of the job gains while native-born residents made up 63%. Construction companies and manufacturers hiring was substantially higher for June compared to hiring back in May. Hiring by transportation and warehousing companies also increased.

The strength of the jobs report could complicate a decision for the Federal Reserve late this month on whether to cut interest rates to help support the economy. Most investors anticipate a rate cut.


Trump promises order aimed at lower prescription drug prices

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Donald Trump is promising an executive order that he says is intended to enable the U.S. government to pay lower prices for prescription drugs.

Trump says his administration soon would announce a “favored-nations clause,” where the amount paid by the government for a particular drug would not exceed the lowest amount paid by other nations or companies.

Prices in other countries are often lower because governments directly negotiate with manufacturers.

Trump mentioned his proposal when speaking with reporters before departing the White House for New Jersey, but he provided no other details.


Warren pitches executive orders on race, gender pay gap

UNDATED (AP) _ Democratic 2020 presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren is announcing executive orders she would sign as president aimed at addressing the wage and employment leadership gap for women of color at the federal level. Warren’s plan includes punishing companies with historically poor records on diversity and equality.

It’s the latest in a parade of proposals that have become a trademark of Warren’s presidential bid and helped boost her in the primary polls, particularly among black women.

The Massachusetts senator detailed her latest plan in a post today on Medium, positioning her ideas as moral and economic imperatives.


Trump weighs executive order to add census citizenship query

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Donald Trump says he is considering an executive order to try to force the inclusion of a citizenship question as part of the 2020 Census. Trump told reporters as he departed the White House for a weekend in New Jersey that it’s among four or five options he’s considering as he pushes the issue. That’s despite the fact that the government has begun the process of printing the census questionnaire without it.

Trump suggested today that officials might be able to add an addendum to the questionnaire with the question after it’s already printed.


Jay-Z’s companies sue NYC licensing company for fraud

NEW YORK (AP) _ Jay-Z’s business entities have sued a New York City licensing firm, claiming it cheated the companies as part of a “colossal accounting scandal.” The lawsuit accuses Iconix Brand Group Inc. of lying about its finances when it made deals with the rapper’s Roc Nation apparel company.

The suit says that Roc Nation entered into a brand partnership with Iconix in 2013 and that at that time, Iconix fabricated financial reports to falsely inflate its earnings.

Jay-Z, whose given name is Shawn Carter, was questioned last year by the Securities and Exchange Commission about the fraud allegations. The suit seeks unspecified damages.


BMW CEO to step down after disappointing business results

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ BMW CEO Harald Krueger (KROO’-gur) is stepping down amid weakening profits at the luxury automaker and pressure to meet challenges from new technologies. Munich-based BMW is facing pressures that are affecting the car industry across the board, including high costs to develop electric vehicles to meet tighter emissions regulations in Europe and China, and investments in autonomous vehicles to compete with tech companies like Waymo and Uber.

Friday’s news comes after BMW lost money on its automotive business in the first quarter of the year after the company was hit by a $1.6 billion charge for an anti-trust case and by higher upfront costs for new technology.

A company news release quoted Krueger as saying he would like to pursue “new professional endeavors.” His contract was due to expire in 2020.


Russians with links to infamous troll farm arrested in Libya

MOSCOW (AP) _ A Russian think tank with links to an infamous troll farm says that two of its employees have been detained in Libya.

The Foundation for the Protection of Traditional Values said today that its employees, including well-known spin doctor Maxim Shugaley, have been kept in custody in Libya since May. The think-tank did not explain the nature of the charges but insisted that its employees did not interfere in elections in Libya.

The foundation is chaired by the man who has edited an English-language website which is part of a media empire run by President Vladimir Putin’s ally Yevgeny Prigozhin. Prigozhin and some of his employees were indicted by U.S. special investigator Robert Mueller last year as part of a probe into the 2016 election interference.

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