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Business Highlights

July 29, 2019

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Fed set to cut rates for first time in decade. Is it a risk?

WASHINGTON (AP) — There’s little dispute that the Federal Reserve this week will do something it hasn’t done since 2008, when the U.S. economy was gripped by the Great Recession: Cut its benchmark interest rate. This time, the economy is solid by most measures. Yet the Fed has signaled that rising pressures — notably from President Donald Trump’s trade wars and from a global slowdown — have become cause for concern. So has an inflation rate that remains chronically below the Fed’s target level.

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US, China revive trade talks with low hopes for progress

BEIJING (AP) — Negotiations aimed at ending a tariff war between the U.S. and China are due to begin Tuesday in Shanghai. Both sides are trying to temper hopes for a breakthrough in the talks, which were last held in May. Positions seem to have hardened despite the agreement in June by Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping to restart efforts at ending the costly fight over technology and trade. Tensions worsened after Washington imposed curbs on technology sales to Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei.

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Pfizer, Mylan strengthen ties, create new company

Pfizer, the country’s largest drugmaker, is creating a hybrid new drug company by combining its off-patent branded drug business, Upjohn, with generic pharmaceutical company Mylan. The two companies said Monday that they’ll ultimately spin off the combination of Mylan, a $10 billion company, with Upjohn, which sells household names from Viagra to cholesterol fighter Lipitor that have lost patent protection.

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Lawsuits stemming from gas explosions settled for $143M

LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) — The utility blamed for a series of gas explosions in Massachusetts has settled all class action lawsuits resulting from the disaster for $143 million. Columbia Gas of Massachusetts and its parent, NiSource Inc., announced the settlement Monday. The agreement is subject to court approval. The series of explosions last Sept. 13 in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover killed one, injured two dozen and left thousands of homes and businesses without natural gas service for weeks.

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Beyond Meat raises outlook for 2019

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Beyond Meat is in for a bumpy ride. The plant-based meat maker reported some good news Monday, raising its full-year revenue guidance after better-than-expected second quarter sales. But its shares slumped as it turned in a bigger loss than Wall Street forecast and announced a stock sale.

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Pfizer posts big 2Q profit jump, announces deal with Mylan

Pfizer reported a 30% jump in second-quarter net income, despite slightly lower sales. The biggest U.S.-based drugmaker also said it’s spinning off a big chunk of the company, culminating a rare tear of major deals aimed at reshaping Pfizer into a slimmed-down version with faster, more-sustainable growth. The latest of four deals under its new CEO will combine its off-patent branded drug business with generic drug and EpiPen maker Mylan.

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Treasury projects $433 billion borrowing need this quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department says it expects to borrow $433 billion in the current July-September quarter. That would be the largest quarterly borrowing total since early 2018, as the government replenishes its cash reserves following an early resolution over dealing with the debt limit.

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Japan-Korea trade spat to intensify with new export limits

TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese decision to expand restrictions on exports of sensitive materials to South Korea is likely to ripple across high-tech industries and deepen antagonisms between the East Asian neighbors. As of July 4, Japanese companies need case-by-case approvals to export to South Korea three materials used to make semiconductors and displays used in smartphones and other high-tech devices. The rules will apply to many more when South Korea loses its “white list” status in a few weeks’ time.

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Money problems? Perhaps financial therapy is for you

Money is about more than numbers: emotions are often at play too. Just as you can seek professional help for unhealthy issues in life, financial therapists can help you deal with problems related to money.

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Harris health plan stops short of overhaul Sanders envisions

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kamala Harris insists she still backs “Medicare for All,” but her new health care proposal stops short of the full-scale health care system overhaul that her more liberal 2020 Democratic presidential rivals are advocating. The California senator said Monday she envisions a role for private insurers as long as they follow the government’s rules. That’s a split with Bernie Sanders, Medicare for All’s chief architect and a fellow 2020 White House hopeful.

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The S&P 500 index slipped 4.89 points, or 0.2%, to 3,020.97. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 28.90 points, or 0.1%, to 27,221.35. The Nasdaq composite fell 36.88 points, or 0.4%, to 8,293.33. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies slid 9.94, or 0.6%, to 1,569.02.

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