FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks mostly lower

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are mostly lower in midday trading on Wall Street as technology companies take a second day of losses. Consumer-focused companies are also declining.

Social media companies slipped as executives from Facebook and Twitter will testified before Congress about their efforts to prevent disinformation and election meddling.

US ECONOMY-TRADE GAP

US trade deficit widened to $50.1 billion in July

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit widened for the second straight month in July, reaching the highest level since February, as imports hit an all-time high. The deficit in goods with China set a record.

The Commerce Department says the deficit in goods and services — the difference between what America sells and what it buys from other countries — rose to $50.1 billion in July from $45.7 billion in June. Exports slipped 1 percent to $211.1 billion. Imports increased 0.9 percent to a record $261.2 billion.

The deficit rose despite efforts by President Donald Trump to bring it down by re-negotiating trade agreements and imposing taxes on imports.

The goods deficit with China rose 10 percent to a record $36.8 billion. The gap with Mexico plunged 25 percent to $5.5 billion.

TRADE-US-CANADA

Trump team and Canada officials resume talks to revamp NAFTA

WASHINGTON (AP) — Trump administration officials and Canadian negotiators are resuming talks to try to keep Canada in a North American trade bloc with the United States and Mexico.

"We are looking forward to constructive conversations today," Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters as she entered a meeting with U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer.

Last week, the United States 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.

CONGRESS-SOCIAL MEDIA

Senator scolds Google for skipping hearing

WASHINGTON (AP) — Google has skipped a Senate intelligence hearing on social media companies, and a lawmaker says it's "maybe because they're arrogant."

Sen. Marco Rubio is also citing questions raised in a new report by a watchdog group that had success buying ads while posing as Russia's Internet Research Agency. That's the propaganda machine accused of interfering in the 2016 U.S. election.

The watchdog group used the Russia's agency tax ID, bought ads in rubles and pointed to IRA-affiliated websites, and the report said Google approved the ads as soon as within 24 hours.

Rubio says he's sure that Google executives "don't want to be here to answer these questions."

Google offered to send its chief legal officer, but the committee issued specific invitations to Larry Page, CEO of Google parent Alphabet, and to Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

TRUMP-NIKE

Trump says Nike getting 'killed' over Colin Kaepernick deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says Nike is getting "killed" over an endorsement deal with Colin Kaepernick (KAP'-ur-nihk).

Trump said on Twitter on Wednesday, "Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way?"

Nike this week unveiled the deal with the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who's known for starting protests among NFL players over police brutality and racial inequality. The deal spurred debate among fans, with some urging a boycott of the Beaverton, Oregon-based company.

Some other players say they're proud of Nike.

Trump has repeatedly slammed NFL players for kneeling in protest during the national anthem. He says he'll find it difficult to watch the NFL "until they stand for the FLAG!"

WATCHING FOOTBALL ONLINE

Fans rejoice: Subscription-free streaming for NFL games

NEW YORK (AP) — Good news for football fans: It's going to be much easier to watch NFL games online this year.

The league is finally dropping a requirement that viewers sign in with a cable or satellite subscription. It's seeking to expand its online audience at a time when TV ratings are declining.

The regular season starts Thursday.

There are some restrictions. Streamed games are typically only accessible via phones and tablets. To watch on a big TV, you'll still need a cable or satellite subscription, or one through a cable-like online package such as PlayStation Vue.

Other major professional leagues still require TV subscriptions for hometown teams. A key element to getting TV networks on board: They'll get to sell the majority of ads on the subscription-free football streams.

CHARTER-SPECTRUM WIRELESS SERVICE

Charter launches wireless plan as cable companies diversify

NEW YORK (AP) — Cable company Charter is launching its own wireless service as cable companies try to diversify to offset slowing traditional cable TV revenue.

Charter and Comcast agreed last year to cooperate on back-end operations for mobile networks, including leasing Verizon's cellular network, but they're offering their services separately. Comcast launched its mobile plan called Xfinity Mobile in 2017; it costs $45 a month for unlimited data.

Charter's Spectrum Mobile will also cost $45 a month for unlimited data. Charter is also offering a plan that charges $14 per gigabyte of data; that's enough for roughly one hour of video. Service is available only to those who have Charter's internet service.

Bigger rivals are Verizon and AT&T, which are able to offer TV, internet and home phone services, along with wireless.

AMAZON-DELIVERY

Amazon orders 20,000 vans to build delivery fleet

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon says it has ordered 20,000 vans for its new delivery program in which contractors around the country can launch businesses that deliver packages for the online retailer.

The company says "tens of thousands" of people have applied for the program it announced in June, and it had to increase its van order from 4,500. The vans, which feature a blue smile logo, can be used by contractors to deliver packages.

The delivery program is part of Amazon's plan to gain more control over how its packages are delivered. With it, Amazon.com Inc. can rely less on other delivery services, such as UPS, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service.

Amazon.com Inc. says the vans will be built at a new Mercedes-Benz plant in South Carolina.

UBER-SAFETY

Uber rolls out safety features for drivers, passengers

NEW YORK (AP) — Uber is aiming to boost driver and passenger safety in an effort to rebuild trust in the brand.

The ride-hailing company has created a feature on its app to reach out to passengers and drivers if it detects an accident or unplanned stop. Drivers will also have access to a hands-free feature to pick up passengers without touching their phones, and will no longer see data detailing where they retrieved passengers in the past.

CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has been overseeing Uber for a year and says safety is a priority. In April, Uber started doing annual criminal background checks on U.S. drivers and hired a company to constantly monitor criminal arrests.

Last year London revoked Uber's license, saying the company endangered public safety. It was later reinstated.

THERANOS-CLOSING

Blood-testing startup Theranos said to be closing

NEW YORK (AP) — The once-heralded blood-testing startup Theranos is shutting down, according to a media report.

Theranos was unable to sell itself and is now looking to pay unsecured creditors its remaining cash of about $5 million in the upcoming months, according to an email The Wall Street Journal obtained that CEO David Taylor sent to shareholders.

The announcement comes nearly three months after Theranos founder and former CEO Elizabeth Holmes and Chief Operating Officer Ramesh Balwani were charged with criminal fraud. Holmes, once considered a wunderkind in Silicon Valley, had pitched Theranos' technology as a cheaper way to run dozens of blood tests. Prosecutors allege Holmes and Balwani deliberately misled investors, policymakers and the public about the accuracy of Theranos' blood-testing technologies going back to at least 2013.

Theranos laid off most of its staff earlier this year.

OPIOIDS-ANTIDOTE

Major opioid maker to pay for overdose-antidote development

UNDATED (AP) — A company whose prescription opioid marketing practices are being blamed for sparking a nationwide overdose and addiction crisis says it's helping fund an effort to make a lower-cost overdose antidote.

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma announced on Wednesday that it's making a $3.4 million grant to Harm Reduction Therapeutics, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit, to help develop a low-cost naloxone (nuh-LAHKS'-ohn) nasal spray.

First responders, drug users and others have taken to carrying naloxone to reverse overdoses. But the price of the drug has been a problem for state and local governments.

Harm Reduction Therapeutics says it is trying to get its version to the market within two years.

The announcement from Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue days after the number of lawsuits against the drug industry under one federal judge's watch topped 1,000.

PRINCE ESTATE-PIRACY LAWSUIT

Prince's estate sues alleged European piracy network

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Prince's estate is suing what it says it a European piracy network that is selling his music around the world, including his final concert.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Minnesota last week alleges that defendants in France, Belgium and the Netherlands are selling unreleased studio recordings and bootlegged recordings of his live performances without permission.

The Star Tribune reports that the music includes the concert Prince gave in Atlanta a week before he died in 2016 of an accidental fentanyl overdose. The defendants didn't immediately reply to the newspaper's messages seeking comment. Court records don't list attorneys for them.

The lawsuit seeks $2 million for each trademark violation.

Mike Sherrill, a Minneapolis copyright attorney not involved in the case, says chances of collecting are slim.

GENETIC FRONTIERS-GENE EDITING

Early results boost hopes for historic gene editing attempt

PHOENIX (AP) — Early results from a historic gene editing study give encouraging signs that the treatment may be safe and having at least some of its hoped-for effect, but it's too soon to know whether it ultimately will succeed.

The results announced Wednesday are from the first human tests of gene editing in the body, an attempt to permanently change someone's DNA to cure a disease. Doctors treated four people with a genetic disorder called Hunter syndrome.

Two patients had a drop in troubling sugar compounds, a possible sign that the treatment helped. Two other patients who were given a much lower dose have not seemed to benefit so far.

Results were given at a conference in Greece and announced by the treatment's maker, California-based Sangamo (SANG'-uh-moh) Therapeutics.

OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY

New Jersey utility officials to review offshore wind project

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey utility officials will soon start reviewing plans for a 25-megawatt offshore wind project off Atlantic City.

The state Board of Public Utilities on Wednesday formally accepted the application filed by EDF Renewables and Fishermen's Energy LLC. The two firms plan to erect three wind turbines about 2.8 miles east of Atlantic City.

The BPU is expected to review the proposal over the next few months and then decide whether to approve the project for immediate construction. But it's not clear when that decision could be made.

If the project gets clearance, the two firms say it could be completed as soon as 2020 and begin generating power as early as 2021.

TROPICAL WEATHER-CASINOS

Mississippi casinos can reopen after storm

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — A dozen Mississippi Gulf Coast casinos have been given permission to re-open a day after the threat of severe tropical weather forced them to close.

Wednesday's announcement from gambling regulators was the latest sign of things getting back to normal on Mississippi's coast. Tropical Storm Gordon came ashore just west of the Alabama line, then weakened to a tropical depression Wednesday as it moves north. The remnants are expected to pose a heavy rain and flood threat as it moves toward Arkansas and the Great Lakes region.

The storm has been blamed for the death of a baby who was killed when a tree limb fell on a mobile home in the Florida panhandle.