Among the stories Thursday from The Associated Press:

TOP STORIES:

OF MUTUAL INTEREST-BEST OF TIMES FOR INVESTORS — Investors have entered a golden era, where it's never been so cheap or easy to put money into the market. Perhaps the only downside in all of this is that it didn't happen sooner. Because while it may be the best time to be an investor, it's not necessarily the best time to be investing. If analysts are right and a downturn is approaching, it will be up to investors not to turn all these newfound advantages and trading tools into implements of destruction. By Stan Choe. UPCOMING: 770 words by noon.

US-CHINA TARIFFS — China tried to step up pressure on Washington in their growing tariff war by suggesting U.S. companies lobby American leaders, while a Korean union warned President Donald Trump's threat of higher auto import duties could lead to job losses in Alabama. By Joe McDonald and Youkyung Lee. SENT: 680 words, photo.

With:

— US-CHINA TARIFFS-CHICAGO MAYOR — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, on a mission to salvage business deals threatened by a tariff war, said that Chinese officials expressed confidence they can survive the spiraling dispute with Washington. By Yanan Wang. SENT: 340 words, photos.

Also:

— CHINA-TESLA-5 THINGS — Electric vehicle producer Tesla Inc. says it will build its first factory outside the United States in Shanghai. Here are five things to know about Tesla's China plans. SENT: 550 words, photos.

PAPA JOHN'S-APOLOGY — Papa John's says founder John Schnatter has resigned as chairman of the board. The company made the announcement late Wednesday, hours after Schnatter apologized for using a racial slur during a conference call in May. By Candice Choi. SENT: 380 words, photos.

PRIME DAY-SMALL BUSINESSES — As Amazon gears up for its Prime Day promotion, other big-name retailers plan to ride on its coattails. But small businesses — including those that don't sell much online — shouldn't sit on the sidelines. By Anne D'Innocenzio. UPCOMING: About 600 words by 10:30 a.m.

MARKETS & ECONOMY:

FINANCIAL MARKETS — Stocks are opening higher as technology companies rally. SENT: 150 words, photos. UPCOMING: Will be updated through 5 p.m.

CONSUMER PRICES — Consumer prices rose in June from a year earlier at the fastest pace in more than six years, lifted by more expensive gas, car insurance, and higher rent. By Christopher Rugaber. SENT: 560 words, photos.

BUDGET DEFICIT — The Treasury Department releases federal budget data for April. By Martin Crutsinger. UPCOMING: 130 words after release of report at 2 p.m. 250 words by 2:45 p.m.

MORTGAGE RATES — Freddie Mac reports on this week's average U.S. mortgage rates. By Marcy Gordon. UPCOMING: 130 words after release of report at 10 a.m. 250 words by 10:45 a.m.

INDUSTRY:

ALTERNATIVE INSURANCE — An Iowa law approved this spring in the Republican-controlled Legislature would allow the conservative and politically powerful Iowa Farm Bureau to offer health plans that skirt requirements of the Affordable Care Act. But several months after a ceremonial bill signing, few details are available about how the plans will work for people with rising health insurance costs.

DOCKLESS SCOOTER SCUFFLE — Milwaukee is suing a company whose business model of renting motorized scooters has stirred outrage from public officials in two dozen American cities, which argue the scooters are unsafe and a nuisance because they're left on sidewalks after riders are done with them.

SLEEP APNEA — It's been two decades since doctors fully recognized that breathing that stops and starts during sleep is tied to a host of health issues, but there still isn't a treatment for sleep apnea that most people find easy to use. Airway pressure masks are the most common therapy, but many people won't use them. New remedies including mouthpieces and a surgical implant are vying for a place in the bedrooms of millions of people craving a good night's sleep. By Carla K. Johnson. SENT: 1,140 words, photos.

MEDICAL CENTER NURSES — A union says 1,800 nurses at Vermont's largest medical center are on strike following unsuccessful contract negotiations. SENT: 140 words.

EARNINGS:

EARNS-DELTA AIR LINES — Delta is topping most profit expectations for the second-quarter, but it's slashing its outlook for the year, citing a $2 billion spike in fuel costs. SENT: 300 words, photos.

TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:

SKOREA-SAMSUNG BIOLOGICS — A South Korean regulator says Samsung Biologics has intentionally breached accounting rules. By Youkyung Lee. SENT: 520 words, photo.

CZECH-UBER — Uber is to give the Czech Republic's finance ministry information on its drivers' activities so the proper amount of tax is paid. SENT: 100 words, photo.

ONLINE SALES TAXES-UTAH — Utah lawmakers are starting to hammer out a way to collect sales tax on online purchases after a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling cheered by state leaders.

BRITAIN-SKY — Britain's culture secretary has cleared the way for 21st Century Fox's bid for Sky following pledges that it will safeguard the independence of Sky News. SENT: 140 words.

INTERNATIONAL:

SKOREA-ECONOMY — South Korea's central bank cuts its forecast on the country's economy, citing mounting uncertainties from the U.S.-China trade battle. By Youkyung Lee. SENT: 210 words, photos.

With:

— SINGAPORE-SOUTH KOREA — South Korea's president has pledged to increase trade with Singapore as part of a strategy to raise its economic influence in the region. SENT: 120 words, photos.

BREXIT — The British government released detailed plans Thursday for what it calls a "principled pragmatic and ambitious" Brexit — plans that have already triggered the resignation of two top ministers, and which face likely resistance from the European Union. By Jill Lawless. SENT: 790 words, photos.

EGYPT-ECONOMY — Egypt hiked the prices of cigarettes, the latest measure amid reforms designed to overhaul the country's troubled economy still reeling from a costly 2011 uprising. SENT: 300 words.

VIETNAM-PROTESTS — A court in south central Vietnam has sentenced six people to up to two-and-a-half years in prison after finding them guilty of throwing rocks, bricks and gas bombs at police in protests against a proposed law on special economic zones. SENT: 270 words. UPCOMING: Will be updated.

VIETNAM-CORRUPTION — The ruling Communist Party of Vietnam has disciplined the country's communications minister for approving a mobile phone operator's purchase of a stake in a private pay TV provider, a deal that caused serious financial losses to the state. SENT: 130 words.

CHINA COMMERCE BRIEFING — Chinese Commerce Ministry holds regular press briefing. Washington's tariffs against Beijing are likely to be a key part of the discussion. UPCOMING, timing uncertain.

EUROPE ECONOMY — Top officials at the European Central Bank expressed confidence at their last policy meeting that the eurozone economy remains "broadly on track" but expressed concern that rising trade protectionism could dampen business confidence and blunt the recovery. SENT: 520 words, photos. UPCOMING: Will be updated.

Also:

BELGIUM EU ECONOMY — Eurogroup finance ministers to meet in Brussels for regular monthly meeting and EU Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici holds news conference on the bloc's Summer Interim Forecast. UPCOMING, timing uncertain.