Update on the latest in business:


US stocks fall again, joining worldwide sell-off

NEW YORK (AP) _ A worldwide sell-off in financial markets has come back around to the United States, and stock indexes fell from the get-go as traders continue to take cover following President Donald Trump’s latest escalation in his trade war with China. The S&P 500’s drop was more modest than for indexes in Europe and Asia, many of which lost more than 2%. But it adds to steeper losses from the day before, when Trump announced additional tariffs on Chinese imports.

The re-escalation in tensions between the world’s largest economies is raising worries about a global recession. So investors are playing defense by selling stocks and buying gold. They’re also raising their expectations that the Federal Reserve will be forced to cut interest rates several times to cushion the trade war’s blow.


The S&P 500 was down 1%, as of noon Eastern time, which would be its fifth straight loss.


US trade deficit falls 0.3% in June

WASHINGTON (AP) — The trade deficit shrank slightly in June, as did the politically sensitive trade deficit with China, the principal target of President Donald Trump’s tariffs.

The gap between the goods and services the U.S. buys and what it sells abroad fell 0.3% to $55.2 billion in June from May. Exports declined 2.1% to $206.3 billion on declines in shipments of autos, computers, crude oil and consumer products. Imports also fell, 1.7% to $261.5 billion, on declines in crude oil and petroleum products.

On Thursday, Trump escalated trade hostilities again, announcing the U.S. will apply a new tariff of 10% on about $300 billion worth of products from China beginning Sept. 1. China is now threatening retaliation if those tariffs are enacted.


US to sell more of its ‘great beef’ to EU

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The White House’s top economic adviser says the U.S. will be selling more beef to the European Union. Larry Kudlow told reporters that “America has great beef” and “we get to sell more.”

The European Commission announced in June that it had reached an agreement with the U.S. to allow more hormone-free U.S. beef onto the European market. The agreement could end a long-running dispute over EU beef import restrictions.

President Donald Trump is set to make the announcement at 1:45 p.m. Eastern time at the White House


July US jobs report shows solid gains amid trade frictions

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Employers slowed their hiring in July, but added a still-healthy 164,000 jobs to an economy that appears poised to extend its decade-plus expansion. The Labor Department says the unemployment rate stayed at 3.7% for a second straight month. Average hourly earnings increased 3.2% from a year ago, up from annual gains of 3% in June.

Though the pace of hiring has slowed this year, one reason is that a growing share of Americans already have jobs. Unemployment is near a half-century low. The overall U.S. economy remains on firm footing, and last month the expansion became the longest on record.

Still, the economy has faced some tumult amid the trade conflict with China. U.S. consumers will likely feel the pain from the latest move announced by President Donald Trump. Earlier tariffs had been designed to minimize the impact on ordinary Americans by focusing on industrial goods. But the new tariffs will hit a vast range of consumer products.


Trump signs bipartisan budget and debt deal into law

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The White House says President Donald Trump has signed a bipartisan budget and debt deal.

Trump signed the bill Friday at the White House.

The deal permits the government to resume borrowing to pay its bills and sets an overall $1.37 trillion limit on agency budgets approved by Congress annually. It also ends automatic spending cuts and eliminates the prospect of an October government shutdown.

The Senate voted 67-28 on Thursday to send the legislation to Trump. The House had already passed the bill.

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky criticized the addition of hundreds of billions of dollars to the nation’s debt.


Exxon profits slide with natural gas prices weak

NEW YORK (AP) _ Exxon Mobil brought in $69 billion in revenue in the second quarter. Some of the benefits of rising crude prices, up 22% this year, were offset be natural gas prices, which have fallen almost 24% in the same time frame.

The nation’s largest oil company says its profit fell 21 percent to $3.1 billion, or 73 cents per share, down from last year’s $4 billion. But that still beats analysts’ expectations of only 66 cents.

Oil production was 3.9 million barrels per day, up 7 percent from the same time last year. Exxon made key investments in the Permian Basin, spending $8.1 billion on capital and exploration overall, which was up 22 percent from last year. Permian production was up nearly 90 percent from the second quarter of last year.

Meanwhile, the company said that Margins in the refining business improved, but remained near five-year lows.


Ohio governor: ‘No doubt’ drugmakers caused opioid crisis

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ Ohio Governor Mike DeWine says evidence made public over the past two weeks makes clear that drugmakers were responsible for the U.S. opioid crisis and that the companies should move quickly to settle pending lawsuits.

The Republican spoke Friday at a joint appearance with U.S. drug czar Jim Carroll, President Donald Trump’s chief drug policy adviser. The governor said troves of new documents made public in the massive series of lawsuits in Ohio seeking to hold the pharmaceutical industry accountable “leave no doubt in anyone’s mind” that drugmakers were to blame.

Drugmakers argue that it was the doctors, regulators and illegal drug sales that played a major role.


Amazon: New renewable energy project in Virginia, Ireland

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) _ Amazon has announced two new renewable energy projects, including a solar farm in a Virginia county and a new wind farm planned in Ireland. According to the company’s website, the solar farm proposed for Pittsylvania County is projected to begin producing energy sometime in 2020.

Amazon says it will produce 45 megawatts of renewable energy. Energy the online shopping giant says will be used to power the company’s Web Services datacenters.

Amazon says it now has 66 renewable energy projects.


FedEx to invest additional $450 million to modernize hub

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — FedEx FedEx Corp. is investing an additional $450 million to improve operations at its busy hub in Memphis, Tennessee.

The shipping giant’s announcement Friday at Memphis International Airport increases its investment toward modernizing its Memphis hub to about $1.5 billion.

The company announced in March 2018 a $1.1 billion plan to build a sorting facility, install new systems and construct a new bulk truckload building to support internet commerce needs. FedEx has said the investment will help improve its efficiency and reliability as it delivers packages throughout the world.

Officials say the modernization is expected to be completed by 2025. The Memphis hub currently has 11,000 employees, and more jobs are expected to be added.


GM says VP Pence was mistaken about funds for buying idled Lordstown plant

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — General Motors says U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was incorrect in saying that a fledgling electric vehicle maker and a new affiliated company had secured funding to buy GM’s shuttered Lordstown plant in Ohio.

Pence made the comments Tuesday while visiting Lancaster, Ohio.

A GM spokesman told a Youngstown newspaper that $25 million obtained by Workhorse Group Inc. from private investors is not directly related to a sale of the Lordstown plant.

GM says discussions about the details and conditions of a potential purchase are ongoing between GM, Workhorse and its new affiliated company and that the buyer would be that affiliate, not Workhorse.

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