FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks move higher on Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes are higher in midday trading today.

Investors bid up shares in big department store chains and industrial companies, adding to the market's gains from last week. Macy's jumped 4.2 percent and Boeing rose 1.5 percent.

Energy stocks climbed along with the price of U.S. crude oil. Technology stocks lagged the market. Intel fell 1.7 percent.

At 12:56 p.m. Eastern Time, the S&P 500 index rose 7 points, to 2,857.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 102 points, to 25,771. And the Nasdaq composite gained 2 points, to 7,818.

ISRAEL-SODASTREAM

PepsiCo buys Israel's SodaStream for $3.2 billion

JERUSALEM (AP) — Beverage giant PepsiCo has purchased Israel's fizzy drink maker SodaStream for $3.2 billion, a boon for a company that has enjoyed a resurgence after being targeted by anti-Israel boycotters in the past.

PepsiCo says it's acquiring all SodaStream's outstanding shares at $144 per share, a 32 percent premium to the 30-day volume weighted average price.

Earlier this month, SodaStream reported its strongest results in company history, a 31 percent year-over-year jump in revenues to $172 million, an 89 percent leap in operating profit to $32 million and an 82 percent climb by net profit to $26 million.

SodaStream produces machines that allow people to make fizzy drinks in their own homes and has positioned itself as a provider of a healthy product in contrast to traditional sugary, carbonated drinks.

WOMEN IN WORKPLACE-CATALYST CEO

Silicon Valley vet to head women's advocacy group Catalyst

NEW YORK (AP) — A former Silicon Valley CEO will lead one of the oldest organizations dedicated to promoting women in the workplace.

Lorraine Hariton becomes CEO at Catalyst in an era when the #MeToo movement has ensnared major corporations and, with exit of PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi serving as a reminder, the top jobs at the nation's largest companies remain elusive for women.

She says the "timing is fantastic." She said #MeToo has created a level of awareness of gender equality that she's not seen since she began her business career at IBM in the 1970s.

Hariton has been the CEO at two tech startups, Beatnik and Apptera. She served in the State Department under President Barack Obama and most recently was a senior vice president at the New York Academy of Sciences.

VENEZUELA-ECONOMIC CRISIS

Venezuelans nervously await dramatic economic reforms

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela has begun to launch dramatic reforms announced by President Nicolas Maduro to rescue a downward-spiraling economy, including a new currency and a more-than-3,000 percent hike in the minimum wage.

The changes start with the introduction of a currency that lops five zeros off the country's fast-depreciating bills. Maduro says he'll also raise gasoline prices to international levels — a combination of measures critics say will only make things worse.

Opposition leaders seized on tension among residents, calling for a nationwide strike and protest Tuesday. They hope to draw masses into the streets against Maduro's socialist ruling party — something they've failed to do in over a year.

Banks remained closed today as they prepare to release the "sovereign bolivar," the new currency printed with five fewer zeroes in a bid to tame soaring inflation.

VENEZUELA-CONOCO SETTLEMENT

Conoco says Venezuela will pay $2 billion arbitration award

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — U.S. oil giant ConocoPhillips says it has reached an agreement with Venezuela's state-owned oil company to recover nearly $2 billion it was awarded as part of a decade-old expropriation dispute.

Today's statement from Houston-based Conoco says Venezuela's oil company, PDVSA, has agreed to recognize the judgment by an international arbitration panel and will make the first $500 million payment within 90 days and the rest over a period of some four years.

In exchange, Conoco will suspend legal actions to seize PDVSA's facilities in the Dutch Antilles that had threatened to disrupt Venezuela(asterisk)s already-depressed oil exports at a time of widespread shortages and hyperinflation.

THE LONGEST BULL MARKET

Born out of the financial crisis, bull market nears record

NEW YORK (AP) — The bull market in U.S. stocks is about to become the longest in history.

If stocks don't drop significantly by the close of trading Wednesday, the bull market that began in March 2009 will have lasted nine years, five months and 13 days, a record that few would have predicted when the market struggled to find its footing after a 50 percent plunge during the financial crisis.

The long rally has added trillions of dollars to household wealth, helping the economy, and stands as a testament to the ability of large U.S. companies to squeeze out profits in tough times and confidence among investors as they shrugged off repeated crises and kept buying.

GREECE-BAILOUT-WHAT'S LEFT

EU recognizes Greeks may not see benefits yet

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Even though the European Union welcomes today's end of the Greece bailout program as the beginning of a new era, it does recognize many Greeks will not see it as an immediate improvement.

EU Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici says he's "conscious that all those people may not feel that their situation has yet improved much — if at all."

He painted a bleak picture of "retirees who saw their pensions slashed. The workers who lost their jobs. The families who lost their homes. Parents who saw their children leave the country for a better future elsewhere."

Moscovici told the Greeks that his message is "simple: Europe will continue to work with you and for you." He said that even though errors were made during the bailout programs, the situation would have been even worse for Athens had there been no intervention from the European partners.

IRAN-FRANCE'S TOTAL

Iran oil minister: French oil giant Total pulls out of Iran

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's oil minister says that France's oil giant Total SA has officially pulled out of Iran after cancelling its $5 billion, 20-year agreement to develop the country's massive South Pars offshore natural gas field over renewed U.S. sanctions.

The parliament's website ICANA.ir quotes the oil minister as saying that since Total first announced its decision a while ago, Iran has been in the process of "looking for an alternative" to Total. He didn't elaborate.

There was no immediate comment from TotaI.

Earlier this month, Iran said China's state-owned petroleum corporation took a majority 80 percent share of the project. CNPC originally had some 30 percent of shares in the project.

The renewed U.S. sanctions took effect in August, after America's pullout from the nuclear deal in May.

LEMONADE STAND FLAP

7-year-old boy reopens lemonade stand shuttered by inspector

BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. (AP) — A 7-year-old New York boy is back selling lemonade and raising money for a friend in need after a state health inspector put the squeeze on him last month.

Brendan Mulvaney raised more than $900 on Saturday for the family of a 12-year-old girl who's facing surgery this week to fix a bowleg deformity from a rare bone disease.

An inspector shut down Brendan's stand in Ballston Spa on July 27 because he didn't have a permit to sell 75-cent lemonade. State officials say vendors from a nearby county fair had complained.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (KWOH'-moh) quickly intervened. The Democrat directed health officials to work with Brendan's family to ensure he could reopen.

The health department apologized. It said permits are required but children usually get a pass.

OKLAHOMA-TRANSGENDER STUDENT

Pilot suspended over threat to Oklahoma transgender student

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Frontier Airlines says it has suspended a pilot accused of threatening on Facebook to harm a 12-year-old transgender girl for using the girls' bathroom at her Oklahoma school.

Frontier spokesman Jonathan Freed says in a statement that the pilot was suspended Aug. 13 pending an investigation into the alleged threats against the student in Achille (ATCH'-ih-lee), a community about 160 miles southeast of Oklahoma City.

He says the Denver-based airline doesn't condone discrimination but he declined to release further details, including the pilot's name.

Achille schools closed for two days last week after adults made threatening comments on Facebook about the student's use of a girls' bathroom.

Officials say no arrests have been made, but the child's mother sought a protective order after a man confronted the mother in person.