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Update on the latest in business:

September 7, 2018


Asian markets fall as US, China renew tariff threat

SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian stocks were mostly lower today as the U.S. and China move closer to imposing tariffs on billions of dollars of each other’s goods, sounding a call of caution in the markets.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 is down 0.9 percent to and the Kospi in South Korea has dropped 0.5 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is 0.5 percent lower. The trade spat is one reason the Hong Kong index has dropped 18 percent since its peak in late January. The Shanghai Composite index is 0.2 percent higher.

Thursday on Wall Street, U.S. technology companies suffered sharp losses for the second day in a row and emerging markets slid on trade fears. The S&P 500 index dropped 0.4 percent to 2,878.05. The Nasdaq composite, which has a high concentration of technology companies, dipped 0.9 percent to 7,922.73. The index has lost 2.3 percent this week. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks was 0.8 percent lower at 1,714.47. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.1 percent to 25,995.87, as industrial companies and high-dividend stocks rose.


Solid US job growth is likely to be reported for August

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers likely hired at a healthy pace in August, emboldened by brisk consumer spending and an economy that keeps growing steadily.

Economists have forecast that employers added 189,000 jobs in August and that the unemployment rate dipped from an already-low 3.9 percent to 3.8 percent, according to data provider FactSet. That would be nearly the lowest rate in 50 years.

That level of hiring would slightly exceed the pace in July, when employers added 157,000 jobs. The expected gain for August would be a solid one, though below the average increase over the previous six months of 220,000 jobs.

The Labor Department’s jobs report will be released at 8:30 Eastern time this morning.

The economy is expanding steadily, fueled by tax cuts, confident consumers, business investment and government spending.


US, Canada extend trade negotiations to Friday

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. and Canadian negotiators will extend at least through Friday their negotiations to reach a deal that would allow Canada to remain in a North American trade bloc.

Canada’s envoy — Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland — left a five-minute-long meeting with U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer Thursday night.

She told reporters that it was important to discuss a couple of issues face to face but offered no further details. She added that the two sides agreed to meet again Friday.

Freeland has been negotiating in Washington since last week. The U.S. and Canada are sparring over issues including U.S. access to Canada’s protected dairy market and American plans to protect some drug companies from generic competition.


Disney workers approve new contract raising minimum wage

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Thousands of Walt Disney World workers on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a new contract that increases the starting minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next three years while enabling Disney to use more part-time workers and require new workers to stay in their positions longer before transferring.

Union officials said the new contract would have an impact outside of Walt Disney World as other non-unionized businesses in central Florida’s low-wage service economy compete for tourism workers in a tight job market. The contract covers more than half of the 70,000 workers at Disney World, the largest single-site employer in the United States. Those workers include costumed characters, bus drivers, launderers, retail workers, monorail drivers, custodians, housekeepers, servers, cooks, florists, makeup artists and lifeguards.


Investor sues Tesla alleging scheme to ‘burn’ short sellers

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Tesla has been sued again by an investor who alleges that CEO Elon Musk artificially manipulated the stock price to damage investors who bet against his company.

Short-seller Andrew Left alleges that Tesla and Musk damaged all shareholders when Musk tweeted Aug. 7 that he had secured funding to take the company private at $420 per share. The tweet pushed the electric vehicle maker’s stock price up 11 percent that day. But it subsequently fell when Musk revealed that funding wasn’t locked down.

On Aug. 24 Musk put out a statement saying the go-private deal was off.

Left alleges that Musk tried to “burn” short-sellers who borrow Tesla stock with hopes that the price will fall and they can replace the shares at a lower cost.


Walmart Canada orders 30 more Tesla electric semis

DETROIT (AP) — Walmart says it will buy 30 more electric semis from Tesla for use in its Canadian operations.

The retailer’s order is in addition to 10 semis ordered from Tesla in November.

Walmart says it plans to convert 20 percent of its Canadian fleet to electricity by 2022. The company says it will take delivery of the vehicles over the next five years.

The first 20 semis will go to work in Ontario, with the remaining 20 going to British Columbia.

Other companies like UPS have also placed orders but Tesla wouldn’t say how many in total.

Tesla says the semis can go 500 miles (804 kilometers) on an electric charge, even with a full 80,000-pound load. Production is expected to start next year.


Ex-Browns LB Kendricks pleads guilty to insider trading

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Former Cleveland Browns linebacker Mychal Kendricks has pleaded guilty to insider trading charges in a Philadelphia courtroom.

The 27-year-old told the judge on Thursday he knows he was wrong and entered the guilty plea because “it’s the right thing to do.”

He faces up to 25 years in prison when he’s sentenced in December.

Prosecutors say analyst Damilare Sonoiki fed Kendricks confidential information on four companies about deals that sent their stock prices soaring.

They say at the end of the two-year scheme, Kendricks made about $1.2 million.

Sonoiki’s lawyer tells the Philadelphia Inquirer that his client also would plead guilty, but no date is set.

Kendricks, who signed a one-year contract with the Browns in June after winning a Super Bowl title last season with the Eagles, was released from the Browns last week after the charges were filed.


Report: CBS CEO Moonves negotiating exit with board

NEW YORK (AP) — The Wall Street Journal is reporting that CBS chief Les Moonves is negotiating with independent directors of CBS’ board for a possible exit.

CBS has appointed two law firms to investigate Moonves for sexual harassment allegations stemming from a July New Yorker article. CBS didn’t return a request for comment. The report cites unnamed people familiar with the talks.

The Journal and CNBC both say Chief Operating Officer Joe Ianniello would be CBS’ interim CEO if Moonves leaves.

The Journal also reports that the independent directors are seeking an assurance that CBS parent National Amusements won’t seek to combine CBS with sibling company Viacom, something Moonves has long resisted. CBS and National Amusements, run by media mogul Shari Redstone, are reportedly in talks to settle a court battle over control.


Twitter permanently bans Alex Jones, Infowars citing abuse

NEW YORK (AP) — Twitter is permanently banning right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his “Infowars” show for abusive behavior.

Twitter says Jones won’t be able to create new accounts on Twitter or take over any existing ones. Twitter says Jones posted a video on Wednesday that is in violation of the company’s policy against “abusive behavior.” The video in question shows Jones shouting at and berating CNN journalist Oliver Darcy for some 10 minutes during congressional hearings about social media.

Jones had about 900,000 followers on Twitter. “Infowars” had about 430,000.

Twitter had previously suspended Jones for a week. But until now it had resisted muzzling Jones further. Other tech companies have limited Jones by suspending him for longer periods, as Facebook did, and by taking down his pages and radio stations.


New sugar label rules about maple syrup, honey coming soon

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says new guidance about added sugars that will provide an alternate labeling option for pure maple syrup and honey will be released next year.

The agency announced months ago that it was considering requiring pure maple syrup and honey to be labeled as containing “added sugars.” Members of the industries that produce those products protested the labels, saying they would be misleading and unfair.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Thursday that the new guidelines will provide “a path forward for pure, single-ingredient” maple syrup and honey products, and the agency is considering an option that is not the standard “added sugar” declaration that will appear on other types of products.


4 roll out new sports betting products in New Jersey

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The Caesars and Tropicana casinos are joining New Jersey’s growing sports betting market, and FanDuel’s mobile betting app has gone live.

And William Hill US is expected to do so on Friday with its casino and racetrack partners.

The Tropicana announced Thursday it has reached a deal with William Hill Race & Sports Book to offer sports betting in the near future.

Hours later, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement said Caesars began online and mobile sports betting, a surprising move for a casino that had not said anything about sports betting plans.

The FanDuel sports betting app also went live Thursday.

New Jersey gambling outlets took in $40.6 million in sports wagers in July, the first full month it was legal.


Alaska’s Iditarod race gains new sponsor after others leave

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Organizers of Alaska’s 1,000-mile Iditarod say an Anchorage business has become a sponsor of the famed sled dog race.

The addition of Anchorage Distillery follows a challenging time for race officials who have faced the loss of major sponsors, financial hardships and the first-ever dog doping scandal.

In June, the maker of Jack Daniel’s whiskey said it was dropping its long-running sponsorship. The race lost Wells Fargo bank as a major sponsor last year.

Race organizers have blamed pressure from animal rights activists, who have long criticized the Iditarod as running the dogs to death.

Anchorage Distillery CEO Bob Klein said the loss of sponsors gave his company the opportunity to join the race. He says the company is proud to be part of an “incredibly Alaskan” event.

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