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Business Highlights

September 19, 2018


No way out? US, China tariffs may become the ‘new normal’

WASHINGTON (AP) — The path to peace in a trade war between the United States and China is getting harder to find as the world’s two biggest economies pile ever more taxes on each other’s products. The United States is scheduled to slap tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports Monday, adding to the more than $50 billion worth that already face U.S. import taxes. China has vowed to counterpunch with tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods. The tariffs may become the ‘new normal.’


Trump’s tariffs could sow trouble for GOP in farm districts

SPANGLE, Wash. (AP) — Some Democratic candidates are determined not to let Republican members of Congress distance themselves from the president’s trade policies. Their efforts play into voter concerns that Congress should be more of a check on President Donald Trump. Republicans hope that a strong economy carries them to victory in the November midterm elections.


Port wine? Feta? Brexit may spell trouble for famed EU names

PINHAO, Portugal (AP) — Britain’s impending exit from the European Union is throwing up a host of difficulties. One relates to what happens with the EU’s name-protection laws in Britain. These have helped to ensure the livelihood of many workers across Europe by shielding them from industrial-scale, lower-cost copycats. Portugal’s port wine producers are one group that’s concerned as Brexit threatens their 50 million-euro ($58 million) annual business into Britain.


China’s premier appeals for free trade amid tariff battle

BEIJING (AP) — China’s No. 2 leader has appealed for global support for free trade following tit-for-tat U.S. and Chinese tariff hikes in an escalating battle over Beijing’s technology policy. Also Wednesday, a foreign ministry spokesman accused Washington of lacking sincerity after it proposed negotiations and then raised tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods. China announced a tariff hike on $60 billion of American imports on Tuesday in response.


US, Canada pulling all-nighters in talks to revamp NAFTA

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. and Canadian negotiators — facing a deadline at the end of the month — are working long hours to keep Canada in a North American trade bloc. Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland resumed talks Wednesday with U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer. The U.S. and Mexico reached a preliminary deal last month designed in part to shift more auto production to the United States. But Canada wasn’t part of that agreement.


Danish bank CEO quits amid money laundering scandal

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The chief executive of Denmark’s largest bank resigned Wednesday after an internal report into allegations of massive money laundering via an Estonian subsidiary showed that “the vast majority” of transactions were deemed to be “suspicious.” Danske Bank commissioned the probe last year following reports that dirty money was flowing through the Baltic subsidiary including from family members of Russian President Vladimir Putin.


August housing construction up 9.2 pct., but permits slide

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home construction rebounded in August at the fastest pace in seven months but applications for new building permits plunged, sending mixed signals for an industry that has been struggling with rising lumber costs. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that housing starts increased 9.2 percent in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.28 million units.


Democrats in key House races push against tax deduction cap

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (AP) — Democratic candidates in some key U.S. House races are attacking Republicans over a wrinkle in the GOP tax law that affects mostly higher-income people in high-tax areas. Candidates pushing against a new $10,000 cap on federal deductions for state and local taxes are going after even Republicans who didn’t back the bill. It’s a prime issue in battleground races in California, New Jersey and New York.


Report: One-third of households struggle to pay energy bills

NEW YORK (AP) — One in five U.S. households went without food, medicine or other necessities to pay their electricity or gas bills. The Energy Information Administration says nearly a third of households had trouble paying their energy bills in 2015. The group says the problem is mainly impacting racial minorities and low-income households with children. At the same time that people were reporting these problems, overall energy-related spending was at its lowest point in more than a decade.


US stock indexes post mixed finish as bond yields surge

NEW YORK (AP) — Major U.S. stock indexes finished unevenly Wednesday as gains in banks and other financial companies outweighed losses elsewhere in the market. Bond yields surged to the highest level in four months. That drove demand for bank stocks and triggered a sell-off in utilities, real estate companies and other high-dividend payers. Energy stocks rose along with crude oil prices. Homebuilders declined following a mixed batch of housing data.


The S&P 500 index rose 3.64 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,907.95. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 158.80 points, or 0.6 percent, to 26,405.76. The Nasdaq composite lost 6.07 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,950.04. The Russell 2000 index gave up 8.04 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,702.93.

Benchmark U.S. crude climbed 1.8 percent to settle at $71.12 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 0.5 percent to close at $79.40 a barrel in London. Heating oil rose 0.5 percent to $2.25 a gallon, wholesale gasoline picked up 0.8 percent to $2.02 a gallon and natural gas fell 0.9 percent to $2.91 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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