Update on the latest in business:


Asian shares fall as markets look to US Fed rate decision

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mostly lower today as investors looked cautiously ahead to a key policy update from the U.S. Federal Reserve later in the day.

Japan’s Nikkei finished 0.9% lower. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.4%. South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.5%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 1.3%, while the Shanghai Composite shed 0.6%. India’s Sensex edged 0.1% higher to 37,421.60. Shares fell in Taiwan, Singapore and Jakarta but rose in Bangkok.


On Wall Street Tuesday, a mixed batch of corporate earnings helped drag indexes slightly lower, pulling the market farther from its recent record highs for the second straight day.

The S&P 500 index fell 0.3% to 3,013.18. Despite its two-day slide, the benchmark index remains within 0.4% of its all-time high set on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.1% to 27,198.02. The Nasdaq composite slid 0.2% to 8,273.61, while the Russell 2000 index of small company shares rose 1.1% to 1,585.60.


Will the Fed cut interest rates?

TOKYO (AP) _ The Fed is widely expected to cut its benchmark interest rate for the first time in a decade, hoping that a rate cut now — and possibly one or more additional cuts to follow — could help inoculate the economy against a potential downturn.

RaboResearch says, It’s Fed day and I honestly can’t bring myself to repeat what was already said on Monday and Tuesday other than ‘Yes, the Fed will cut but it won’t be enough.”

The prolonged trade war between the U.S. and China has been cutting into U.S. corporate profit for some industries all year and has investors concerned that it will continue to crimp business investment and growth. Delegates from the U.S. and China are meeting in Shanghai this week in the latest round of negotiations, months after the trade spat escalated with more tariffs.


US, China resume trade talks with scant hopes for progress

SHANGHAI (AP) — U.S. and Chinese negotiators have resumed talks aimed at ending a tariff war over trade and technology amid scant expectations for progress.

This week’s meeting is the first since Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping agreed to resume negotiations that broke down in May.

Economists say the truce is fragile and quick breakthroughs are unlikely because the two sides still face the same disagreements, with no indication either government is ready to offer major concessions.

The dispute over U.S. complaints that Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology has battered exporters on both sides and disrupted trade in goods from soybeans to medical equipment.


Trump ‘rodent’ tweets ring true at Kushner-owned apartments

BALTIMORE (AP) — It’s not hard to find people who can relate to President Donald Trump’s tweets that Baltimore is a rodent-infested mess. Just go to a few of the thousands of apartments in the area owned by his son-in-law’s family company.

Jared Kushner’s family real estate firm has been criticized for years for the same kind of disrepair and neglect of its properties that the president has been accusing local leaders of failing to address. Residents have complained about mold, bedbugs, leaks and mice. They say management appears in no hurry to fix the problems.

Baltimore County officials say the Kushner Cos. violated housing codes more than 200 times in 10 months in 2017 and only moved to fix the problems after being threatened with fines.

A lawsuit seeking class-action status for residents alleges Westminster Management, the Kushner subsidiary that oversees rental properties in Maryland and other states, often charges tenants illegal and excessive fees that keeps them in constant fear of eviction and guessing what they owe. Westminster has said it has broken no laws and denies the charges.


Health chief says Trump working on prescription import plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says he and President Donald Trump are working on a plan to allow Americans to import lower-priced prescription drugs from Canada.

Azar made the comments Tuesday in an interview with CNBC.

As a candidate, Trump called for allowing Americans to import prescription drugs from abroad, and recently he’s backed a Florida law allowing state residents to gain access to medications from Canada.

Azar told CNBC he had just gotten off the phone with the president and they were discussing a plan that would allow Americans to safely and effectively import prescriptions from Canada.

Azar didn’t elaborate, but HHS says both are very open to the importation of prescription drugs as long as it can be done safely and can deliver results for patients.


Ex-Teamster leader pleads guilty in Chicago extortion case

CHICAGO (AP) — A 59-year-old who was one of Chicago’s most powerful labor leaders has pleaded guilty to receiving over $500,000 in illegal payments and benefits, including the use of a yacht.

Former Teamsters Union official, John Coli Sr., changed his plea to guilty Tuesday in a federal case focused on how he squeezed one Chicago company for cash. He agreed to cooperate for a lower prison term of around 20 months.

The plea deal describes Coli threatening in 2016 to bring a picket line to the company and “shut it down within an hour” if it stopped $25,000 quarterly payments to him. Court filings don’t identify the company.

Coli pleaded guilty to receiving prohibited payments as a union officer and making a false income tax return. Eleven other counts will be dismissed.


Microsoft plans to build 3 datacenter campuses in Arizona

PHOENIX (AP) — Microsoft has announced it will build three datacenter campuses in Arizona to support the growing demand for cloud and internet services across the West.

The technology giant intends to develop two datacenter campuses in Goodyear and one in El Mirage.

All three will be powered with 100% renewable energy.

Tempe-based First Solar will develop the solar project that will power the Microsoft data centers.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey says the three data centers will create 110 jobs, including mechanical and electrical engineers and data center technicians.

Ducey also says the projects will have a $20 million economic impact when up and running and create about 1,000 temporary construction jobs.


Altria shares fall on weaker outlook for cigarettes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Shares of Altria Group fell Tuesday as the nation’s largest tobacco company predicted steeper declines for cigarettes in coming years.

The Richmond, Virginia-based company reported second-quarter earnings of roughly $2 billion, or $1.07 per share. Earnings, adjusted for asset impairment costs and non-recurring costs, were $1.10 per share.

Altria, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes and Copenhagen chew, has been working to shift its business away from traditional tobacco products amid steady declines. The U.S. smoking rate has been falling for decades amid smoking bans, higher taxes and public health efforts urging smokers to quit and discouraging young people from ever starting.

Altria estimates the U.S. vaping market has grown 40% over the last year, almost exclusively driven by Juul.

Last week Juul’s co-founder James Monsees weathered tough questions about the company’s products and marketing practices during a congressional hearing on the recent explosion of underage vaping. He acknowledged the company made “missteps” but “never wanted” young people to use Juul.


Police find body of Indian coffee shop chain owner in river

BANGALORE, India (AP) — Fishermen have found the body of an Indian coffee shop chain owner in a river, two days after he disappeared.

Police say the body of Cafe Coffee Day founder V.G.Siddhartha was found today and identified. An autopsy is being conducted and the cause of death was not disclosed.

The 60-year-old Siddhartha had left Bangalore on Monday and left his car near a bridge. Police say Siddhartha told his driver to wait, saying he was going for a walk near the bridge. When he didn’t return for two hours, the driver notified police.

Siddhartha leaves behind a coffee shop chain with more than 1,500 stores across India with revenue of $630 million in 2017-18. It also has outlets in Austria, Czech Republic and Malaysia, according to the chain’s website.

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