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Business Highlights

August 7, 2018

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Tesla CEO drops latest bombshell with $72B buyout proposal

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Tesla CEO Elon Musk is considering leading a buyout of the electric car maker in a stunning move that would end the maverick company’s eight-year history trading on the stock market. In his typically unorthodox fashion, the eccentric Musk dropped his bombshell on his Twitter account, which he has used as a platform for pranks, vitriol and now for a proposal to pull off one of the biggest buyouts in U.S. history. It could cost as much as $72 billion to finance.

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Papa John’s sales drop amid founder controversy

NEW YORK (AP) — Papa John’s says a key sales figure dropped for the third straight quarter and it slashed its forecast for the full year. The steeper-than-expected decline in North America shows the chain was struggling even before its founder apologized for using a racial slur and stepped down as chairman. John Schnatter said his comment was taken out of context, and has since criticized the company’s handling of the matter.

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Small businesses find tight job market makes it hard to hire

WASHINGTON (AP) — Even with the job market strong, hiring has slowed among one category of employers: Small businesses. Yet it isn’t because these companies are hurting. Small businesses are generally optimistic, and most say they’re enjoying healthy sales. Rather, these companies are being hamstrung by the economy’s very strength: Low unemployment has shrunk the pool of job seekers and intensified competition for workers. And in many cases, small employers are losing out to larger ones.

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New US slap against China: Tighter curbs on tech investment

WASHINGTON (AP) — Already threatened by escalating U.S. taxes on its goods, China is about to find it much harder to invest in U.S. companies or to buy American technology in such cutting-edge areas as robotics, artificial intelligence and virtual reality. President Donald Trump is expected as early as this week to sign legislation to tighten the government’s scrutiny of foreign investments and exports of sensitive technology.

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Trump’s China trade war pulls consumer tech into crossfire

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of headphones, speakers, high-tech lighting and smartwatches could all go up if the Trump administration’s trade war with China continues. It remains unclear exactly how much prices might go up, as some of the duties on Chinese products are still pending. Some large technology companies might also absorb the extra costs to avoid price hikes.

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Testing finds flaws with car electronic car safety systems

DETROIT (AP) — Cars and trucks with electronic driver assist systems may not see stopped vehicles and could even steer you into a crash if you’re not paying attention, an insurance industry group warns. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in a paper titled “Reality Check,” issued the warning Tuesday after testing five of the systems from Tesla, Mercedes, BMW and Volvo on a track and public roads.

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US consumer borrowing rose $10.2 billion in June

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans increased their borrowing in June at the slowest annual pace in three months as the level of credit card debt fell slightly. The Federal Reserve says consumer debt rose a seasonally adjusted $10.2 billion in June from the prior month to a total of $3.91 trillion. Consumer borrowing increased at an annual rate of 3.1 percent in June, the slowest annual gain since March.

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Disney results fall short of expectations, as Fox bid nears

NEW YORK (AP) — Disney’s earnings grew in the latest quarter, but results missed expectations, as the company paid more for NBA sports rights at ESPN and saw lower licensing revenue from “Spider-Man” and “Cars.” The fiscal third-quarter results come as Disney plans to move forward with its $71.3 billion purchase of Fox’s entertainment assets, in part to boost a Disney-branded streaming service set to launch in 2019.

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Banks and technology lead stocks higher for 4th day in a row

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks climbed for the fourth straight day Tuesday as strong earnings continued to pull the market closer to the all-time high it set in late January. Industrial companies rose Tuesday and banks moved higher as interest rates increased. Gains for Microsoft and Google’s parent company Alphabet helped technology companies. Companies including Hertz, Etsy and Mosaic climbed after their results surpassed investors’ forecasts. Tesla surged after CEO Elon Musk later said he might take the company private.

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The S&P 500 index rose 8.05 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,858.45. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 126.73 points, or 0.5 percent, to 25,628.91. The Nasdaq composite gained 23.99 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,883.66. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks edged up 3.99 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,688.30.

U.S. crude oil picked up 0.2 percent to $69.17 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, rose 1.2 percent to $74.65 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline added 1.9 percent to $2.10 a gallon. Heating oil rose 1.4 percent to $2.17 a gallon. Natural gas gained 1.3 percent to $2.90 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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