Stocks edge higher
NEW YORK (AP) — Stock indexes edged higher in midday trading on Wall Street as investors weighed new data showing U.S. employers added fewer than expected jobs in August even as the unemployment rate remained near the lowest level in five decades.The Labor Department’s report also showed more people entered the workforce last month, and wages rose more than expected. Health care and industrial sector companies led the way higher. Communication services stocks were the biggest laggards, weighed down by Facebook, which lost 1.9% after New York’s attorney general announced an antitrust investigation into the company. The market is on track to notch its second weekly gain in a row after rebounding from a wobbly start earlier in the week.
US adds just 130K jobs, boosted by Census hiring
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added a modest 130,000 jobs in August, a sign that global economic weakness and President Donald Trump’s trade war with China may have begun to slow hiring. The job gains were lifted by the temporary hiring of 25,000 government workers for the 2020 Census. Excluding all government hiring, businesses added 96,000 jobs, the fewest since May. The Labor Department says the unemployment rate remained 3.7%, near the lowest level in five decades, for the third straight month. The rate was flat for a positive reason: Americans surged into the workforce, lifting the proportion of adults working or looking for work to its highest level since February. Job gains have averaged 150,000 a month for the past six months, down from 223,000 for all of last year.
Fed Chairman Powell says he doesn’t expect recession
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powelll says the Fed is not expecting a U.S. or global recession. But it is monitoring a number of uncertainties, including trade conflicts, and will “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion.” Powell gave an upbeat view of the U.S. economy during an appearance with Swiss National Bank Chairman Thomas Jordan at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. Powell says that trade policy is causing “some uncertainty” but that the U.S. consumer is in good shape.
NY attorney general announces Facebook antitrust probe
NEW YORK (AP) — New York Attorney General Letitia James says a bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general is investigating Facebook for alleged antitrust issues. The Democrat said Friday the probe will look into whether Facebook’s actions endangered consumer data, reduced the quality of consumers’ choices or increased the price of advertising. James said she is leading a coalition that includes the attorneys general of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and the District of Columbia. Facebook says it plans to work constructively with the attorneys general. Will Castleberry, Facebook vice president of state and local policy, said in a statement Friday that the company welcomes a conversation with policymakers about the competitive environment in which it operates. The U.S. Justice Department announced in July that it was opening a sweeping antitrust investigation of Big Tech, though it did not name any specific companies. It said it was investigating whether online platforms have hurt competition, suppressed innovation or otherwise harmed consumers. The House Judiciary Committee is also conducting an antitrust probe into Facebook, Amazon and Apple.
Huawei debuts latest advanced chipset for smartphone
BERLIN (AP) — China’s Huawei has unveiled a new advanced chipset ahead of the upcoming launch of its latest flagship smartphone even as uncertainty hangs over whether the device can use Google’s Android. Huawei’s consumer business CEO, Richard Yu, showed off the Kirin 990 chipset at the IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin on Friday. Optimized for new 5G networks and packing 10 billion transistors into its fingernail size, the Kirin 990 will be the brain powering the Mate 30 phone. Huawei, the world’s No. 2 smartphone maker, plans to hold a global launch for the phone in Munich, Germany, on Sept. 19. But with the U.S.-China trade war raging, it’s unclear whether the device can use the Android operating system. Sanctions bar U.S. companies from selling technology to Huawei without government approval.
China criticizes US opposition to Chinese 5G telecom tech
BEIJING (AP) — China has criticized Washington’s opposition to Chinese-made next-generation telecoms technology after Vice President Mike Pence called on Iceland and other governments to find alternatives. A foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, accused American leaders Friday of “abusing the concept of national security” to block commercial activity by Chinese companies. China’s Huawei Technologies Ltd. is a leader in next-generation, or 5G, technology. But Washington says Huawei is a security risk, an accusation the company denies. Pence said during a meeting this week with Iceland’s prime minister, Katrin Jakobsdottir, that Washington wants to “work with Iceland and other freedom-loving nations to find alternatives to essentially China’s state-based 5G operation.”
TRUMP-CALIFORNIA EMISSIONS FIGHT
Gov’t says Calif. emissions deal may be illegal
DETROIT (AP) — Two federal agencies have told California officials that a deal with four automakers to abide by tougher emissions standards appears to violate federal law. In a letter dated Friday, the Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency said the Clean Air Act and other laws prohibit states from setting motor vehicle fuel economy standards. In July, Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW reached a deal with California to abide by standards that are tougher than those preferred by the Trump administration. Pollution standards are closely linked to fuel economy. The move bypassed the Trump administration’s plan to freeze emissions and fuel economy standards adopted under the Obama administration at 2021 levels. The automakers agreed with the California Air Resources board to reduce emissions by 3.7% per year starting with the 2022 model year, through 2026. They would have gone up by 4.7% per year through 2025 under the Obama standards, according to California.
Generic drugmaker Mallinckrodt settles 2 opioid lawsuits
CLEVELAND (AP) — One of the largest makers of generic opioids has settled a lawsuit with two Ohio counties in a move that means the company will not be a defendant in next month’s first federal trial over the toll of the opioid crisis. United Kingdom-based Mallinckrodt announced the deal with Cuyahoga and Summit counties on Friday. Under the settlement, the company would pay a total of $24 million and donate products worth another $6 million. The company’s general counsel said in a statement that resolving the first cases gives it time to work toward a “global resolution” of opioid lawsuits. Nearly every state and more than 2,000 local governments are suing drug companies over the crisis. Mallinckrodt was one of the biggest manufacturers of opioids in the country from 2006 through 2012.
US health officials report 3rd vaping death, repeat warning
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. health officials are again urging people to stop vaping until they figure out why some are coming down with serious breathing illnesses. Officials on Friday said they had identified 450 possible illnesses, including at least three deaths, in 33 states. The count includes a newly reported death in Indiana. Health officials say no single vaping device, liquid or ingredient has been tied to all the illnesses. Many of the sickened — but not all — were people who had been vaping THC, the chemical that gives marijuana its high. A week ago, U.S. officials pegged the number at 215 possible cases in 25 states. Health officials have only been counting certain lung illnesses in which the person had vaped within three months. Most are teens.
H&M stops buying leather from Brazil over Amazon fires
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Low-cost fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB says it is suspending leather purchases from Brazil in response to the Amazon fires The Stockholm-based group says “a temporary ban on leather from Brazil” was linked to “the severe fires in the Brazilian part of the Amazon rainforest and the connections to cattle production.” H&M said Friday that the ban will remain in place “until there are credible assurances … that the leather does not contribute to environmental harm in the Amazon.” The group added that “the vast majority” of its leather comes from Europe, and only a small part originates from Brazil. Last week, the owner of Timberland, Vans and several other shoe and clothing brands said it has stopped buying leather from Brazil because of the rainforest fires.