Business Highlights: Fed’s hopes, new CEO at Starbucks

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Fed is hoping August hiring report will show slowdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — Raging inflation has so scrambled the economy that it’s come to this: If Friday’s jobs report for August were to show a significant hiring slowdown, the Federal Reserve — and even the White House — would likely welcome it. The government is expected to report that employers added 300,000 jobs last month, according to a survey of economists by the data provider...

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Fed is hoping August hiring report will show slowdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — Raging inflation has so scrambled the economy that it’s come to this: If Friday’s jobs report for August were to show a significant hiring slowdown, the Federal Reserve — and even the White House — would likely welcome it. The government is expected to report that employers added 300,000 jobs last month, according to a survey of economists by the data provider FactSet. That would be down sharply from a blockbuster gain of 528,000 in July and an average of about 440,000 over the past three months. A weaker pace of hiring should help moderate wage increases and lift hopes that inflation pressures are starting to ease.

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Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal gets global scrutiny

WASHINGTON (AP) — Microsoft’s plan to buy video game giant Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion could have major effects on the gaming industry, transforming the Xbox maker into something like a Netflix for video games by giving it control of many more popular titles. But to get to the next level, Microsoft must first survive a barrage of government inquiries from New Zealand to Brazil, and from U.S. regulators emboldened by President Joe Biden to strengthen their enforcement of antitrust laws. In the United Kingdom, regulators on Thursday threatened to escalate their investigation unless both companies come up with proposals soon to ease competition concerns.

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China demands US drop tech export curbs after Nvidia warning

BEIJING (AP) — The Chinese government is calling on Washington to repeal technology export curbs after California-based chip designer Nvidia said a new product might be delayed and some work might be moved out of China. The latest controls add to mounting U.S.-Chinese tension over technology and security. American officials say they need to limit the spread of technology that can be used to make weapons. Nvidia said buyers of its A100 graphics processing chips and development of the newer H100 might be affected. China’s Commerce Ministry accused Washington of abusing export controls to limit semiconductor sales to China. It said trade curbs would disrupt supply chains and global economic recovery.

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EU: US electric vehicle tax credit reduces buyers’ choices

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union trade chief says a new U.S. tax credit aimed at encouraging Americans to buy electric vehicles could eventually backfire and limit choices for American consumers. Valdis Dombrovskis held a virtual meeting Thursday with his American counterpart Katherine Tai to address a wide range of trade issues, including the tax credit provision. The European Commission said it is concerned by the “potential discriminatory nature of electric vehicle tax credit provision.” Dombrovskis recalled during the call that “that discriminating against EU manufacturers makes it much more difficult for them to contribute to the electrification of vehicles in the US, reduces the choice of US consumers when they wish to buy electric vehicles.”

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Starbucks names former PepsiCo executive as new CEO

SEATTLE (AP) — Starbucks has named a longtime PepsiCo executive as its new CEO. The coffee giant said Thursday that Laxman Narasimhan will join Starbucks on Oct. 1 after relocating from London to Seattle, where Starbucks is based. He will work closely with Starbucks’ interim CEO, Howard Schultz, through April 1, when he will assume the CEO role and join the company’s board. Narasimhan was most recently CEO of Reckitt, a U.K.-based consumer health and nutrition company that makes Lysol cleaner and Enfamil infant formula, among other products. Reckitt had announced Narasimhan’s surprise departure earlier Thursday.

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Stocks end mixed on Wall Street, S&P 500 ekes out a gain

NEW YORK (AP) — A late burst of buying erased some of the stock market’s losses, leaving indexes mixed on Wall Street at the closing bell. The S&P 500 index of large companies managed to eke out a gain of just over a quarter of one percent, all of it coming in the last 10 minutes of trading. The narrow gain ended a four-day losing streak for the benchmark index. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also ended about half a percent higher. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite ended lower, as did several measures of small and mid-size companies. Treasury yields rose and crude oil prices fell.

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Judge declines to overturn Elizabeth Holmes guilty verdict

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday tentatively declined to overturn the jury conviction of disgraced Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes on four felony counts of fraud and conspiracy. That leaves the former Silicon Valley star a step closer to serving prison time. U.S. District Judge Edward Davila won’t make that decision final until Oct. 17, when he is scheduled to sentence Holmes for duping investors in her much-hyped blood-testing startup. Holmes, 38, faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, plus restitution, for lying to investors about a Theranos technology she hailed as a revolution in healthcare but which in practice produced dangerously inaccurate results.

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Mortgage rates rise to 5.66%, weighing on housing market

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose to their highest level in two months this week, providing no relief for a slumping housing market. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the 30-year rate rose to 5.66% from 5.55% last week. One year ago, the rate stood at 2.87%. The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, popular among homeowners looking to refinance, jumped to 4.98% from 4.85% last week. A once red-hot housing sector has cooled considerably, with many potential home buyers getting pushed out of the market as higher interest rates have added hundreds of dollars to monthly mortgage payments.

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Fewer Americans file for jobless benefits last week

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week as the labor market continues to shine despite weakening elements of the U.S. economy. Applications for jobless aid for the week ending Aug. 27 fell by 5,000 to 232,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The four-week average for claims, which evens out some of the week-to-week volatility, decreased by 4,000 to 241,500. First-time applications generally reflect layoffs and are often seen as an early indicator of where the job market is headed. Hiring in the U.S. in 2022 has been remarkably strong even as the country faces rising interest rates and weak economic growth.

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The S&P 500 gained 11.85 points, or 0.3%, to 3,966.85. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 145.99 points, or 0.5%, to 31,656.42. The Nasdaq dipped 31.08 points, or 0.3%, to 11,785.13. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 21.30 points, or 1.2%, to 1,822.82.

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