FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian stocks lower on impending trade war

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian stocks were mostly lower Friday as investors braced for the implementation of U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports and likely similar measures by Beijing on U.S. exports.

Upbeat economic data and gains on U.S. stock markets helped temper concerns but trading volume was light.

The U.S. is imposing a 25 percent tariff on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports. China is expected to strike back with tariffs on a similar amount of U.S. exports including soybeans.

The Trump administration has said it won't target an additional $16 billion worth of Chinese goods until it gathers further public comments. It's also identifying an additional $200 billion in Chinese goods for 10 percent tariffs, which could take effect if Beijing retaliates.

Wall Street finished higher on Thursday, a day after the Independence Day holiday, led by gains in tech and health care companies. Upbeat U.S. economic data helped as reports showed U.S. service firms expanding at a surprisingly strong pace in June.

The S&P 500 index rose 0.9 percent to 2,736.61. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.8 percent to 24,356.74. The Nasdaq composite added 1.1 percent to 7,586.43. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 1.1 percent to 1,679.48.

Benchmark U.S. crude fwell slightly to remain below $73 per barrel.

The dollar strengthened against the yen and the euro.

US-CHINA TARIFFS-IMPACT

Likely impact of US-China trade war: Prices up, growth down

WASHINGTON (AP) — The world's two biggest economies have fired the opening shots in a trade war that could have wide-ranging consequences for consumers, workers, companies, investors and political leaders.

With the United States slapping a 25 percent tax on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports starting Friday, China was set to hit back with taxes on an equal amount of U.S. products, including soybeans, lobsters, sport-utility vehicles and whiskey.

The United States accuses China of using predatory tactics in a push to supplant U.S. technological dominance. The tactics include forcing American companies to hand over technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market, as well as outright cyber-theft.

Though the first exchange of tariffs is unlikely to inflict much economic harm on either nation, the damage could soon escalate. President Donald Trump, who has boasted that winning a trade war will be easy, said Thursday that he's prepared to impose tariffs on up to $550 billion in Chinese imports — a figure that exceeds the $506 billion in goods that China actually shipped to the United States last year.

Escalating tariffs would likely raise prices for consumers, inflate costs for companies that rely on imported parts, rattle financial markets, cause some layoffs and slow business investment as executives wait to see whether the Trump administration can reach a truce with Beijing. The damage would threaten to undo many of the economic benefits of last year's tax cuts.

OPIOID LAWSUIT-TENNESSEE

Unsealed lawsuit: Opioid firm placed profits over people

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A newly unsealed lawsuit by Tennessee's attorney general says the maker of the world's top-selling painkiller directed its salesforce to target the highest prescribers, many with limited or no pain management background or training.

Citing the public's right to know, Attorney General Herbert Slatery said Thursday that OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma has dropped its previous efforts to shield details of the 274-page lawsuit in state court. The Tennessee Coalition for Open Government and the Knoxville News Sentinel had also requested that the lawsuit's records become public.

The lawsuit says Purdue violated a 2007 settlement with the state, placing profits over people with a deceptive narrative that claimed its opioids were safer than they actually were. The lawsuit also says the Stamford, Connecticut-based company targeted vulnerable people, including the elderly.

Purdue did so while relying on continued users and high doses. According to the lawsuit: 104.3 million OxyContin tablets were prescribed in Tennessee from 2008 to 2017, with 53.7 percent of them 40 milligrams or higher. And more than 80 percent of Purdue's business consistently came from continued users, the lawsuit says.

For example, Purdue called on two providers 48 times after law enforcement told Purdue the pair was responsible for significant interstate OxyContin diversion, the lawsuit says. The company called on another provider 31 times after the provider's license was place on restrictive probation related to high-prescribing of controlled substances, the lawsuit adds.

The state's lawsuit says Purdue kept pushing to sell its products despite a litany of red flags.

Purdue has denied claims in lawsuits nationwide over the scourge of opioid abuse, saying it will defend itself. In Tennessee, there were 1,631 overdose deaths in 2016, including 1,186 from opioids, according to the state Department of Health.

BOEING-EMBRAER

Boeing and Embraer attempt a joint venture

UNDATED (AP) — Boeing and Brazilian jet maker Embraer have agreed to form a joint venture that would push the U.S. aerospace giant into the market for smaller passenger planes.

The new company is being valued at $4.75 billion. Boeing Co. said Thursday that it will own 80 percent while Embraer SA takes the remaining 20 percent.

The venture will be controlled by Boeing — managers in Brazil will report to Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg.

The preliminary agreement follows long negotiations that have been scrutinized closely in Brazil, where lawmakers fear losing control of a major industrial and defense asset. President Michel Temer rejected the sale of a controlling stake in Embraer to Boeing.

The government has veto power over any change in Embraer's controlling interest, an indication of how highly the company is prized in Brazil.

In a statement, Boeing and Embraer said financial and operational details still need to be worked out and they expect negotiations over transaction terms "to continue in the coming months." Any partnership would need the approval of shareholders and Brazil's government. The whole process could take until the end of 2019, they said.

The Chicago plane maker said the venture would add to its earnings per share beginning in 2020.

ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD

Major business and economic reports scheduled for release today

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government issues the June jobs report today.

Analysts forecast that American employers added 195,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate held steady at 3.8 percent.

Also today, the Commerce Department reports on the U.S. trade gap for May.

PRUITT

EPA chief Pruitt resigns amid ethics scandals

WASHINGTON (AP) — Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has resigned amid ethics investigations of outsized security spending, first-class flights and a sweetheart condo lease.

President Donald Trump is continuing to praise Pruitt, saying there was "no final straw" and he had not asked for Pruitt's resignation. Trump says Pruitt is "a terrific guy."

In his resignation letter, obtained by The Associated Press, Pruitt is expressing no regrets. He says -- quote --"unrelenting attacks on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us."

WIND FARMS-AGREEMENT

Xcel Energy buys Hale Wind Project in Texas Panhandle

PLAINVIEW, Texas (AP) — The Texas Panhandle is getting another wind farm to generate electricity for the state and for New Mexico.

Xcel Energy spokesman Wes Reeves said Thursday that the 478-megawatt Hale Wind Project will cost about $735 million build. The company on Tuesday announced the completed purchase from Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources. Terms weren't released.

New Mexico regulators in March approved the overall $1.6 billion plan that calls for building two massive wind farms along the Texas-New Mexico border. The Public Utility Commission of Texas on May 25 also approved the deal.

An Xcel statement says construction should begin this month. Turbines are expected to be delivered in October, with commercial operations by June 2019.

Minneapolis-based Xcel also plans to add a 522-megawatt wind farm complex near Portales, New Mexico.

NET NEUTRALITY-CALIFORNIA

California senators reach agreement on net neutrality bill

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Key California lawmakers say they've reached an agreement on legislation to enshrine net neutrality provisions in state law after the Federal Communications Commission dumped rules requiring an equal playing field on the internet.

The FCC last year repealed Obama-era regulations that prevented internet companies from speeding up or slowing down the delivery of certain content.

California's bill is one of the nation's most aggressive efforts to continue net neutrality, and the deal comes after a bitter fight among Democrats over how far the state should go.

Internet companies say it's not practical for them to comply with state-by-state internet regulations and warn that the bill would discourage the rollout of new technology in California.

SKOREA-EARNS-SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS

Samsung forecasts smaller than expected profit gains in 2Q

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Samsung Electronics says its second-quarter operating profit rose 5 percent over a year earlier.

In its earnings preview Friday, the South Korean company estimated its April-to-June operating profit at 14.8 trillion won ($13.2 billion), missing expectations.

That represents a 5 percent fall from the previous quarter when its operating profit was at an all-time high. It means an end to Samsung's streak of record-breaking earnings fueled by the lucrative memory chip business.

Sales fell 5 percent over a year earlier to 58 trillion won ($51.7 billion).

Analysts have lowered their views on Samsung, the world's largest smartphone maker, citing weak smartphone sales. They say Samsung sold fewer-than-expected Galaxy S9 flagship smartphones.

The company is due to give its net profit and breakdown figures among its business divisions later this month.