Update on the latest business
Tech leads stocks broadly higher
NEW YORK (AP) — Technology companies are leading stocks higher in midday trading on Wall Street, shaking off a recent bout of weakness.
Apple jumped 2.7 percent, a day after putting out its new lineup of iPhones, and chipmaker Qualcomm rose 4 percent after announcing a big stock buyback program.
Kroger plunged 10 percent after the supermarket chain reported disappointing quarterly results.
US consumer prices rose an annual 2.7 percent in August
WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumer prices rose 2.7 percent in August from a year earlier, with higher housing and gasoline costs driving most of the increase.
The Labor Department said Thursday that the consumer price index advanced 0.2 percent on a monthly basis. Despite the monthly gain, annual inflation softened from the 2.9 percent pace set during the 12 months ended in July. The more modest inflation rate should help to boost the spending power of Americans whose wage gains had been eaten up by higher prices.
Core prices, which exclude the volatile food and energy categories, increased 0.1 percent in August and 2.2 percent from a year ago.
Gas prices jumped 3 percent last month and 20.3 percent on the year, while shelter expenses have climbed 3.4 percent annually.
China says Washington asks to resume talks on tariff fight
BEIJING (AP) — The Chinese foreign ministry says Washington has invited Beijing to hold new talks on their escalating tariff dispute ahead of a decision by President Donald Trump on whether to raise duties on $200 billion of Chinese imports.
The announcement followed reports by American and European chambers of commerce that foreign companies in China have been hurt by earlier tariff hikes by both sides in the fight over Beijing’s technology policy.
Beijing has rejected pressure from the United States to roll back plans for state-led development of Chinese global champions in robotics, artificial intelligence and other fields. Washington, Europe and other trading partners say those plans violate China’s market-opening commitments. American officials also worry they might erode U.S. industrial leadership.
The two governments have imposed 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of each other’s goods.
Envoys from the two countries last met Aug. 22 in Washington but reported no progress.
UNITED STATES-NORTH KOREA
US blacklists NKorean-controlled IT firms in China, Russia
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is imposing sanctions on two North Korean-controlled information technology companies based in China and Russia.
The Treasury Department announced Thursday it is designating China Silver Star, its North Korean CEO Jong Song Hwa, and its Russia-based sister company.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (mih-NOO’-shin) says in a statement that the sanctions are intended to stop the flow of illicit revenue to North Korea from overseas IT workers hiding behind front companies and aliases.
The Trump administration has kept up sanctions pressure on the North, even as the U.S. seeks to negotiate on denuclearization.
Treasury says that China Silver Star is associated with the Munitions Industry Department of North Korea’s ruling party which oversees the nation’s ballistic missile programs.
GM recalls over 1M pickups, SUVs for power steering problem
DETROIT (AP) — General Motors is recalling more than a million big pickup trucks and SUVs in the U.S. because the power-assisted steering can briefly shut down.
The recall covers certain 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups as well as Chevy Tahoe and Suburban SUVs. Also affected are 2015 Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon SUVs.
GM says the power steering can fail momentarily during a voltage drop and suddenly return, mainly during low-speed turns. A failure would increase the risk of a crash. The company didn’t mention any crashes in documents filed with the government.
Dealers will update the power steering software at no cost to owners. No date has been set for the recall to begin.
GM recalled 2014 model year trucks last year for the same problem.
Forecaster predicts $50B-$60B in economic damage
UNDATED (AP) — A private weather-forecasting firm is estimating that Hurricane Florence will cause $50 billion to $60 billion in economic damage.
Accuweather founder and President Joel Myers said in a news release Thursday that much of that will stem from flooding, with coastal damage as the second-biggest factors. Winds come in third.
Florence’s winds dropped from a peak of 140 mph to 105 mph by midmorning Thursday, reducing the hurricane from a Category 4 to a Category 2. But forecasters warned that the storm is growing in size and moving slowly, which will bring seawater surging onto land and torrential downpours.
Flight cancellations mount
UNDATED (AP) — A flight-tracking service says about 1,200 U.S. airline flights scheduled for Thursday or Friday have been canceled, with some airports in the Carolinas essentially shut down.
FlightAware said in its midday report Thursday that the number of canceled flights is relatively small and could increase.
However, the hurricane’s effect on the nationwide air-travel system will be less than feared if, as now forecast, Florence veers away from the American Airlines hub airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, and doesn’t score a direct hit on Delta Air Lines’ massive hub in Atlanta.
Target to boost holiday hiring by 20 percent to 120,000
NEW YORK (AP) — Target plans to hire more than 120,000 people for the busy holiday shopping season, a 20 percent increase from last year.
The retailer says the temporary hires will stock store shelves and check people out at the register. In addition, it plans to hire 7,500 people to pack online orders at its warehouses. Target says it will pay workers $12 an hour, a dollar more an hour than last year.
With a strong job market, retailers will likely face a harder time attracting workers for the holidays since workers can be pickier about where they work. Target says it will hold hiring events at stores next month.
Minneapolis-based Target Corp. has more than 1,800 stores around the country.
Walmart’s Jet.com to sell Nike sneakers ahead of holidays
NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart-owned Jet.com will soon sell Nike products on its site as it seeks to catch up with Amazon ahead of the holiday shopping season.
Jet says Nike sneaker, clothing and other gear will be available in October. The deal comes a year after Nike, which has made a push to sell more swoosh-branded products online, started selling some products on Amazon.com. Nike says the deal is exclusive to Jet and doesn’t include Walmart.
Jet, which Walmart bought in 2016, has been positioning itself as a shopping site for young city-dwellers. This fall, customers in New York will be able to pick three-hour windows for same-day or next day delivery for groceries, detergents and some gifts. Jet says it plans to expand that to other cities around the country.
ENERGY ROYALTIES-PUBLIC LAND
US panel weighs change on royalties for gas from public land
LAKEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — A Trump administration committee is meeting in Colorado to consider a change in the way energy companies calculate how much money they owe for extracting and selling publicly owned natural gas.
The U.S. Interior Department’s Royalty Policy Committee will meet in suburban Denver Thursday.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke formed the panel to recommend ways to remove barriers to getting coal, oil and gas from public land while ensuring taxpayers get fair prices.
Supporters say changing royalty payments calculations would standardize and simplify the process.
Opponents say a loophole in the proposal could let energy companies decide how much to pay, and the public could get short-changed.
The committee will also consider a proposal to speed up the process drill permits on public land.
Leaked video: Google execs bemoan Trump election in 2016
UNDATED (AP) — A recently leaked video from 2016 shows Google executives lamenting the election of Donald Trump, who has accused the company of doctoring search results for his name.
The video , posted on the Breitbart website, shows Google co-founder Sergey Brin saying that the elevation of Trump was not consistent with what the company stands for. During what was clearly an emotional meeting, Google executives also extolled democratic values.
Breitbart says the video was provided by an anonymous source.
Last month Trump accused Google Inc. and other U.S. tech companies of rigging search results about him “so that almost all stories & news is BAD.”
Google has denied any political bias or consideration in developing the algorithms it uses for internet searches.
Trump scoffs at ‘nervous mess’ Dimon, says he’s not smart
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is scoffing at a claim by Jamie Dimon, the JPMorgan Chase CEO, that he could beat Trump in an election. Trump tweeted Thursday that Dimon is a “nervous mess.”
Trump says the powerful Wall Street banker “doesn’t have the aptitude or “smarts” & is a poor public speaker & nervous mess - otherwise he is wonderful.”
Dimon caused a stir Wednesday when he said he’d be able to beat Trump. Dimon quickly walked backed those comments and said he isn’t running for president. He said his comments were prompted by frustration over Washington gridlock.
Dimon also said he is just as tough as Trump and smarter.
Trump tweeted, “I’ve made a lot of bankers, and others, look much smarter than they are with my great economic policy!”
TRUMP INTERNATIONAL-LIQUOR LICENSE
Hotel liquor license kept over protest of Trump’s character
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has declined to see a case by residents who argue the city’s Trump International Hotel should lose its liquor license over its owner’s character.
The complaint by the residents — three ministers, two retired judges and two rabbis — says President Donald Trump is violating city law that says license applicants must be of “good character.” The complaint cites accusations of sexual misconduct and patterns of deception.
The Washington Post reports the board ruled Wednesday, saying liquor license owner character is only reviewed when licenses are issued, transferred or renewed. Chair Donovan Anderson says it’s important to note Washington hotel liquor license owners are required to apply to review their licenses by March 31.
The residents’ attorney, Joshua Levy, says they’ll ask for reconsideration.
JEFF BEZOS-CHARITABLE FUND
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to start $2 billion charitable fund
NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos says he will start a $2 billion charitable fund to help homeless families and open new preschools in low-income neighborhoods.
Bezos, whose stake in Amazon is worth about $160 billion, says the he’ll call it the Bezos Day One Fund. An Amazon.com Inc. spokeswoman said the $2 billion will all come from Bezos.
Bezos made the announcement Thursday in a tweet and a post on his Instagram account.