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Business Highlights

May 8, 2019

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Trump’s tariff hike menaces strong economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — For months, the U.S. economy has shrugged and chugged along as America and China slapped tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of each other’s goods in the fiercest trade fight since the 1930s. President Donald Trump’s decision to hike tariffs Friday could change all that. Analysts warn the move could sharply reduce U.S. economic growth a year from now. Higher import taxes mean some companies will have to take on more debt. Others are resorting to layoffs and product delays.

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US files plans to raise tariffs on Chinese imports

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government has filed plans to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10% to 25% Friday. The filing by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative appeared Wednesday in the official Federal Register. The tariff hike, to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Eastern time Friday, will escalate a yearlong trade dispute with China. A Chinese delegation is coming to Washington Thursday and Friday to salvage negotiations.

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US imposes new sanctions on Iran as tensions escalate

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is announcing new sanctions on Iran as tensions escalate between Washington and Tehran. President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Wednesday announced new sanctions targeting Iran’s steel, aluminum, copper and iron sectors, which provide foreign currency earnings for Iran’s crippled economy. Earlier Wednesday, Iran threatened to enrich its uranium stockpile closer to weapons-grade levels in 60 days if world powers fail to negotiate new terms of the 2015 nuclear deal.

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TV pitches for prescription drugs will have to include price

WASHINGTON (AP) — TV pitches for prescription drugs will soon include the price. That will give consumers more information upfront as they make medication choices in a time when new drugs can carry anxiety-inducing prices. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Wednesday the Trump administration has finalized regulations requiring drug companies to disclose list prices of medications costing more than $35 for a month’s supply.

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US regulators get sympathy from Congress on powers, fines

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal privacy regulators are getting a sympathetic hearing from Congress for their request for greater powers and funding to police privacy, with lawmakers of both parties warning that fines against big companies may be inadequate to change their conduct. The Federal Trade Commission is negotiating a record fine with Facebook to punish the company for alleged violations of its users’ privacy.

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Walmart raises minimum age to buy tobacco to 21

NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart said Wednesday that it will raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products and e-cigarettes at its U.S. stores to 21, amid growing pressure from regulators to cut tobacco use among minors. The world’s largest retailer also said it will also stop selling fruit and dessert flavored e-cigarettes, which critics say can hook teenagers on vaping. The new rules will take effect in July at all its 5,300 U.S. stores, including its Sam’s Club warehouse locations.

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GM in talks to sell shuttered factory in Lordstown, Ohio

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors is negotiating the sale of its shuttered factory in Lordstown, Ohio, to a company that builds electric trucks. The company confirmed Wednesday that it’s in talks with Cincinnati-based Workhorse Group to sell the huge facility, and also announced plans to invest $700 million in three Ohio factories to create 450 additional jobs.

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Disney’s 2Q beats estimates despite soft theatrical revenue

NEW YORK (AP) — Disney’s adjusted second-quarter net income declined as higher revenue from its parks was not enough to offset lower theatrical revenue. However, the entertainment giant’s results still beat Wall Street expectations. The lower theater revenue in the quarter that ended March 31 was due to tough comparisons from a year ago, when the company released “Black Panther” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” During the same period this year Disney released “Captain Marvel.”

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Ride-hailing drivers expose financial unrest before Uber IPO

NEW YORK (AP) — As Uber prepares for its stock market debut Friday, its long-term success or failure will largely depend on the nearly 4 million drivers who serve as the backbone of the company’s network. The ride-hailing company will need to convince drivers to stick with it as it grapples with complaints over wages and the way it classifies drivers as contractors instead of employees.

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US stocks slide as modest rally fades ahead of trade talks

NEW YORK (AP) — A modest rally faded in the last few minutes of trading on Wall Street, leaving stocks slightly lower Wednesday ahead of the latest round of trade talks between the U.S. and China. Financial markets turned volatile this week after President Donald Trump threatened to impose more tariffs on Chinese goods, a threat that is set to become reality early Friday. Negotiations between the U.S. and China are scheduled to continue in Washington on Thursday, and will include China’s top trade official.

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The S&P 500 index fell 4.63 points, or 0.2%, to 2,879.42. The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 2.24 points, or less than 0.1%, to 25,967.33. The Nasdaq composite dropped 20.44 points, or 0.3%, to 7,943.32. The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks slid 7.34 points, or 0.5%, to 1,574.97.