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Update on the latest in business:

August 1, 2018

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asia shares mixed on US plans for higher tariffs, weak data

SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian shares are mixed as U.S. plans to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports and weaker-than-expected manufacturing data has weighed on sentiment.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.9 percent today and South Korea’s Kospi added 0.5 percent. The Shanghai Composite index tumbled 1.5 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropped 0.2 percent. Shares were higher in Taiwan, Indonesia and Singapore.

WALL STREET: U.S. stocks rose Tuesday on strong results from industrial and health care companies and on the anonymously sourced reports that the U.S. and China are trying to restart trade talks. The S&P 500 added 0.5 percent to 2,816.29. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4 percent to 25,415.19 and the Nasdaq composite was 0.5 percent higher at 7,671.79. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks jumped 1.1 percent to 1,670.80.

U.S. stocks rose Tuesday following strong results from industrial and health care companies as well as a report that the U.S. and China are trying to restart trade talks. Small companies rallied. Bloomberg News reported that representatives of the U.S. and China are looking for ways to open new talks to end their trade war.

The Dow gained 108 points The S&P rose 14 points and the Nasdaq composite added 42 points.

EARNS-APPLE

Apple shares rise on 3Q jump in average price of iPhones

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple made more money from higher priced iPhones in the latest quarter, even as unit sales were relatively unchanged.

Shares of Apple rose nearly 3 percent Tuesday after it reported fiscal third-quarter results that beat Wall Street expectations. Unit volume rose just 1 percent from a year ago to 41.3 million, which was expected, but the average selling price grew 20 percent to $724 per iPhone, up from $606 a year ago. That suggests that more consumers were buying its premium iPhone X, which starts at $999. The base models, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, also had $50 and $30 price increases compared with their predecessors.

Cupertino, California-based Apple said net income rose 32 percent to $11.52 billion, or $2.34 per share.

FACEBOOK-ELECTIONS DISRUPTIONS

Facebook finds ‘sophisticated’ efforts to disrupt elections

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook elevated concerns about election interference Tuesday, announcing that it had uncovered “sophisticated” efforts, possibly linked to Russia, to manipulate U.S. politics and by extension the upcoming midterm elections.

The company was careful to hedge its announcement; it didn’t link the effort directly to Russia or to the midterms, now less than a hundred days away. And its findings were limited to 32 apparently fake accounts on Facebook and Instagram, which the company removed because they were involved in “coordinated” and “inauthentic” political behavior.

But official Washington connected those dots anyway, not least because the reported activity so closely mirrored Russian influence campaigns during the 2016 presidential election. Nearly 300,000 people followed at least one of the newly banned accounts and thousands expressed interest in events they promoted.

FEDERAL RESERVE

Fed expected to keep interest rates unchanged

WASHINGTON (AP) — When the Federal Reserve wraps up its latest meeting today, it will likely point to strong economic growth, low unemployment and rising inflation as reasons to stay on a path of gradually lifting interest rates. It is unlikely, however, to make any interest rate moves.

The Fed’s statement may also discuss potential risks from rising trade tensions. But it is almost certain the statement will not acknowledge the recent criticism lodged at the central bank from President Donald Trump.

The Fed has already raised rates two times this year in March and June. It signaled at the June meeting that it expected to raise two more times in 2018. Many analysts believe those hikes will occur in September and December.

TRUMP-MILEAGE STANDARDS

Trump administration links gas mileage to risk for drivers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration says people would drive more and be exposed to increased risk if their cars got better gas mileage, an argument intended to justify freezing Obama-era toughening of fuel standards.

Transportation experts dispute the arguments, contained in a draft of the administration’s proposals prepared this summer. Excerpts were obtained by The Associated Press.

They also show the administration plans to challenge California’s long-standing authority to enact its own, tougher pollution and fuel standards.

Revisions to the mileage requirements for 2021 through 2026 are still being worked on, the administration says, and changes could be made before the proposal is released as soon as this week.

AMNESTY-ISRAELI-SPYWARE

Human rights group: Employee targeted with Israeli spyware

LONDON (AP) — An Amnesty International employee has been targeted with Israeli-made surveillance software,

The human rights group says the incident is part of a growing number of examples of Israeli technology being used to spy on human rights workers and opposition figures in the Middle East and beyond.

In a 20-page report, Amnesty outlined how it thinks a hacker tried to break into an unidentified staff member’s smartphone in early June by baiting the employee with a WhatsApp message about a protest in front of the Saudi Embassy in Washington.

The London-based human rights organization said it traced the malicious link in the message to a network of sites tied to the NSO Group, an Israeli surveillance company implicated in a series of digital break-in attempts.

TRUMP-3D GUNS

Judge blocks release of 3D-printed gun plans

SEATTLE (AP) — A federal judge in Seattle has issued a temporary restraining order to stop the release of blueprints to make untraceable and undetectable 3D-printed plastic guns.

Eight Democratic attorneys general filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the federal government’s settlement with the company that makes the plans available online. They also sought a restraining order, arguing the 3D guns would be a safety risk.

U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik issued the order Tuesday afternoon.

The company behind the plans, Austin, Texas-based Defense Distributed, had reached a settlement with the federal government in June that allows it to make the plans for the guns available for download on Wednesday. The restraining order puts that plan on hold for now.

In the meantime, Congressional Democrats have urged President Trump to reverse the decision to let Defense Distributed publish the plans. Trump said Tuesday that he’s “looking into” the idea, saying making 3D plastic guns available to the public “doesn’t seem to make much sense!”

CHIPOTLE-STORE CLOSURE

Chipotle reopens in Ohio after reports of illnesses

NEW YORK (AP) — A Chipotle restaurant in Ohio has reopened as officials investigate reports of illnesses linked to the location.

The Delaware General Health District says it can’t confirm anything until lab tests are back. But Traci Whittaker, a spokeswoman for the health district says it has received dozens of calls from people reporting illnesses since Sunday, with many mentioning they ate at the Chipotle in Powell, Ohio.

In a statement, Chipotle says it closed the store Monday “out of an abundance of caution” and that it’s cooperating with local health authorities. It said it implemented its food-safety-response protocols, which include replacing the food and a cleaning of the restaurant.

The closure comes as Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. works to recover from a series of food scares that sent sales plunging.

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