FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian stocks tumble as comment period for US tariffs ends

SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian markets fell today on fears that the U.S. is on the verge of imposing tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese goods in an escalating trade dispute.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.4 percent and the Kospi in South Korea dropped 0.1 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng tumbled 1.2 percent. The Shanghai Composite index was 0.7 percent lower. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 1.2 percent. Shares were lower in Taiwan and most of Southeast Asia.

On Wall Street Wednesday, technology stocks fell as Facebook and Twitter executives testified before Congress, leading most U.S. indexes lower.

The S&P 500 index dropped 0.3 percent to 2,888.60. The Nasdaq composite, which has a high concentration of technology companies, gave up 1.2 percent to 7,995.17. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 0.3 percent to 1,727.65. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.1 percent to 25,974.99, as the weaker dollar saw industrial companies including 3M and Caterpillar posting gains.

ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD

Major business and economic reports scheduled for today

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Labor Department issues revised data on productivity in the second quarter today.

Also, , the Commerce Department releases its report on factory orders for July,

In other announcements today, payroll processor ADP reports on how many jobs private employers added in August, Freddie Mac reports the weekly mortgage rates and the Institute for Supply Management issues its service sector index for August

TRADE-US-CANADA

US, Canada work into night on trade deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — Trump administration officials and Canadian negotiators worked into Wednesday night, trying to strike a deal that would keep Canada in a North American trade bloc with the United States and Mexico.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters Wednesday, as she entered a meeting with U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer, that "They will report back to us in the morning."

Last week, the U.S. and Mexico reached a preliminary agreement to replace the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement. But those talks excluded Canada, the third NAFTA country.

Freeland flew to Washington last week for four days of negotiations to try to keep Canada within the regional trade bloc.

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.

Freeland expressed optimism late Wednesday.

ARGENTINA-IMF

Argentina: Only seeking financing from IMF to stem crisis

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina's economy minister says the government is not seeking other sources of financing outside the International Monetary Fund for help in curbing an economic crisis.

Argentina has asked the IMF for early disbursements in emergency funding from a $50 billion loan approved earlier this year.

The country has been hit by one of the world's highest inflation rates and a sharp fall in the value of the Argentine peso.

Economy Minister Nicolas Dujovne met with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. He said Wednesday that they have made great progress and expect to reach a deal in late September.

He denied reports that Argentina is negotiating a credit line with the U.S. Treasury or searching for other sources of financing outside the IMF.

CONGRESS-SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter CEO says 'shadow ban' not impartial

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers sparred Wednesday over whether a now-reversed change to auto-suggestions on Twitter unfairly hurt Democrats or Republicans more.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey didn't say which, but said he'll follow up.

The storm over "shadow banning " of Republicans on Twitter broke out in July after Vice News reported that some politicians didn't show up in a drop-down menu of automatically suggested searches, even when typing in the politicians' names.

Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle said at a House hearing that those claims have no merit.

Dorsey had explained the hidden drop-down searches affected 600,000 accounts based on the activity of those accounts followers. Twitter fixed the issue in late July.

Under further questioning by Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton, Dorsey said he agreed the impact along partisan lines "was not impartial."

DISNEY LABOR

Disney workers vote on new contract raising minimum wage

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Thousands of Walt Disney World workers are voting on whether to accept a new contract that would increase 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.

The vote tally today comes after months of protests, negotiations and the rejection of a previous contract offer.

A coalition of six unions, representing 38,000 of Disney World's 70,000-plus workforce, is recommending that its members vote "yes."

If the contract is ratified, each Florida worker will receive a $1,000 bonus that Disney had paid to other employees after last year's tax cut by Congress.

HOSPITALS-MAKING DRUGS

Hospital groups launch own company to make generic drugs

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Several major hospital groups are starting their own generic drug company to tackle chronic shortages and high prices.

The new company announced today, Civica Rx, plans to start with 14 widely used hospital drugs long in short supply.

Those will include a mix of generic pills, patches and injectable drugs for treating infections, pain and heart conditions.

The first medicines should hit the market by the end of 2019. The company's member hospitals could see savings of about 20 percent.

Drug shortages have been widespread for more than a decade, particularly for inexpensive generic drugs. Hospitals are particularly hard hit and frequently must scramble to find scarce medicines or come up with workarounds.

CBS-NATIONAL AMUSEMENTS

Report: CBS, National Amusements in talks to settle case

NEW YORK (AP) — The Wall Street Journal is reporting that CBS and its parent company National Amusements are in talks to settle pending litigation over who controls the broadcaster.

CBS and National Amusements, run by media mogul Shari Redstone, have been duking it out in court since May when CBS attempted to issue a special dividend that would strip National Amusements of its controlling stake in the media company.

According to the Journal, the settlement talks include CBS dropping the dividend. In exchange, National Amusements would agree not to push for a merger between CBS and Viacom, which it also controls. The trial had been set for early October.

The report cited anonymous sources familiar with the matter. National Amusements and CBS both declined to comment.