Among the stories Thursday from The Associated Press:

TOP STORIES:

FINANCIAL PICTURE-PREPARYING FOR A DOWNTURN — The economy is growing, the stock market is soaring and unemployment remains low. It's the perfect time to prepare for the worst. AP spoke to some experts about what steps to take now while things are hot to better position yourself for when they, inevitably, are not. By Sarah Skidmore Sell. UPCOMING: 750 words by 1 p.m., photos.

OF MUTUAL INTEREST-BULL HAS LEGS — A look at the reasons the current bull market, now the longest ever, could still have room to run. By Alex Veiga. With graphics.

DON'T CALL IT VEGAN — They're new foods that don't contain eggs, dairy or meat. Now, the word "vegan" is also missing. As companies look to lessen American's reliance on animals for food, the term "plant based" is replacing "vegan" and "vegetarian" — partly because of unappetizing or polarizing associations the v-words might have. By Candice Choi. 650 words. With Q&A-Impossible Foods CEO.

MARKETS & ECONOMY:

FINANCIAL MARKETS — Stocks are off to a mostly lower start on Wall Street as losses in energy and health care companies offset gains in technology. SENT: 140 words, photos. UPCOMING: Will be updated through 5 p.m.

NEW HOME SALES — The Commerce Department reports on sales of new homes in July. By Josh Boak. UPCOMING: 130 words after release of report at 10 a.m. 350 words by 10:45 a.m.

MORTGAGE RATES — Freddie Mac reports on this week's average U.S. mortgage rates. By Josh Boak. UPCOMING: 130 words after release of report at 10 a.m. 300 words by 10:45 a.m.

CONSUMER WATCHDOG-NOMINEE — The Senate Banking Committee votes on the nomination of Kathy Kraninger to be director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. By Ken Sweet. UPCOMING: Developing from morning hearing. 400 words by 2 p.m., photos.

US-CHINA TARIFFS — The United States and China went ahead with tariff hikes on billions of dollars of each other's automobiles, factory machinery and other goods Thursday in an escalation of a battle over Beijing's technology policy that companies worry will chill global economic growth. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 700 words, photos.

RUSSIA-SANCTIONS — The Russian ruble briefly fell Thursday to its lowest level against the dollar since April 2016 amid fears of new economic sanctions by the United States. SENT: 220 words.

INDUSTRY:

GUN CONTROL MARCH — Massachusetts students will march 50 miles to the headquarters of gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson to call for stricter gun control in the aftermath of U.S. school shootings.

LAS VEGAS SHOOTING-LAWSUITS — Stadiums, corporate buildings and other facilities around the U.S. have strengthen their security since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and in return, have earned liability protections under an obscure law in the event that their security fails to prevent a mass casualty incident. But hotels, including Las Vegas' world-famous casinos — long known to be of interest to terrorists — have not demonstrated the federal government that their security deserves that protection.

FIAT CHRYSLER-RECALL — Fiat Chrysler is recalling nearly 209,000 minivans and SUVs worldwide to fix a brake problem that can cause longer stopping distances. SENT: 110 words.

HEALTH OVERHAUL-SIGN-UPS — A congressional watchdog said the Trump administration needs to step up its management of sign-up seasons for former President Barack Obama's health care law after mixed results last year in the throes of a failed GOP effort to repeal it. By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar. SENT: 620 words, photos.

VOLKSWAGEN-CAR SHARING — Volkswagen says it's launching an all-electric car sharing service in Berlin using its battery powered Golf and Up! models as it seeks to build a business serving people in big cities who don't own cars. SENT: 140 words, photos.

MAERSK-NORTHERN SEA ROUTE — Danish shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk said Thursday it will send a cargo vessel through the Russian Arctic for the first time as a result of melting sea ice. By Jan M. Olsen. SENT: 340 words, photos.

BRITAIN-RYANAIR — Ryanair and one of Ireland's main unions have struck an agreement following a 22-hour negotiating session, paving the way for a ballot of pilots engaged in a long-running dispute with the airline. SENT: 130 words.

KROGER-PLASTIC BAGS — The nation's largest grocery chain will phase out the use of plastic bags in its stores by 2025. SENT: 270 words, photos.

TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:

REVIEW-SAMSUNG NOTE 9 PHONE — For $1,000, the Galaxy Note 9 is a superb phone that's the best Samsung has to offer. For a few hundred less, the S9 offers many of the features the Note 9 is now getting. By Anick Jesdanun. UPCOMING: 500 words by 2 p.m., photos.

AUSTRALIA-HUAWEI — Chinese-owned telecommunications giant Huawei has been blocked from rolling out Australia's 5G network due to security concerns. SENT: 410 words, photos.

FACEBOOK-APP BANNED — Facebook banned a quiz app from its platform for refusing an inspection and concerns that data on as many as 4 million users was misused. SENT: 210 words, photos.

FORBES-HIGHEST-PAID ACTORS — George Clooney can raise a glass even if he's not starring in any hit movies. The 57-year-old tops the 2018 Forbes' list of highest-paid actors with $239 million in pretax earnings. SENT: 150 words, photos.

TECH COMPANIES-ELECTION HELP — Tech companies want to protect U.S. political candidates from Russian hackers ahead of the midterm elections, but could that free help count as an illegal campaign contribution? SENT: 140 words.

PERSONAL FINANCE:

NERDWALLET-COLLEGE CREDIT CARD — Before paying college bills with plastic, be aware of school "convenience fees," which could cost more than the value of any rewards or bonuses you're hoping to rack up on your card. And that's not even counting the interest that could mount up if you don't get rid of your balance fast. Here's what to weigh before using one type of credit to get another. By Brianna McGurran. NerdWallet. UPCOMING: 600 words by 11 a.m. Eastern. With AP Photos.

INTERNATIONAL:

BREXIT — Britain will unilaterally accept some European Union rules and give EU financial services firms continued access to the U.K. market in order to maintain stability if the country crashes out of the bloc without a deal, the country's top negotiator said Thursday. By Jill Lawless. SENT: 640 words, photos.

With:

BRITAIN-AP EXPLAINS — The British government has published a series of documents laying out its plans for what it will do in the event it fails to secure a deal on its future relationship with the European Union following Brexit. SENT: 770 words, photos.

EUROPE-ECONOMY — European Central Bank policymakers are viewing slower than expected growth as a temporary hiccup and think that the 19-country eurozone's upswing remains solid amid strengthening wage growth. By David McHugh. SENT: 450 words.

JAPAN-TRADE MINISTER — President Donald Trump's tariff policies reflect a serious misunderstanding of the importance of free trade and Japanese companies' contributions to the U.S. economy, Japan's trade minister said Thursday. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 880 words, photos.

TURKEY TOURISM — Battered by past bombings and a 2016 attempted coup, Turkey's tourism has made a comeback since last year. It helps that the lira is shaky, giving foreigners more value for money. It's different for construction and other Turkish industries with foreign currency debts that are increasingly hard to pay back. Christopher Torchia. SENT: 920 words, photos.

SWEDEN-NORDEA — Sweden's financial supervisory authority on Thursday granted permission to the Nordic region's largest bank to move its administrative headquarters from the Swedish capital to Helsinki in Finland, which is part of the European banking union. SENT: 210 words.