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Stocks edge higher...Jobless rate hits 3.9 percent...China targets more US goods for tariff retaliation

August 3, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are edging higher in early Wall Street trading following a solid jobs report. Retailers and technology companies are rising. Investors are also looking at the latest corporate earnings, while China is threatening retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods if the Trump administration goes through with its latest tariff proposal.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government says U.S. employers added 157,000 jobs in July, a solid gain but below the pace of the first half of this year. The Labor Department says the unemployment rate ticked down to 3.9 percent, near the 18-year low of 3.8 percent reached in May. Average hourly pay gains remained modest, increasing 2.7 percent from a year earlier, the same as the previous two months.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. services companies grew at a slower pace in July as business activity and new orders slipped. The Institute for Supply Management says that its services index fell to 55.7 last month compared to 59.1 in June. Readings greater than 50 signal an expanding economy. The services sector, where most Americans are employed, has now grown for 102 straight months, or more than eight years.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit widened in June for the first time in four months as exports fell and imports grew. Politically sensitive trade gaps with China, Mexico and Canada all increased. The Commerce Department says the deficit in goods and services — the gap between what the US sells and what it buys in foreign markets — rose 7.3 percent to $46.3 billion in June from $43.2 billion in May. U.S. exports slid 0.7 percent to $213.8 billion; imports rose 0.6 percent to $260.2 billion.

BEIJING (AP) — China has announced a $60 billion list of U.S. goods it will target for retaliation if Washington goes ahead with its plan to tax $200 billion in Chinese imports. The Finance Ministry says retaliatory duties of 25 percent, 20 percent, 10 percent or 5 percent would be imposed on more than 5,000 products. The highest penalties would hit honey, vegetables, mushrooms and other farm goods.

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