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Business Highlights

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In a slow-growth world, technology stocks are trending again

NEW YORK (AP) -- Technology stocks are trending big-time as investors latch on to innovative companies racing ahead in a slow-growth world.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq is the best performing major U.S. stock index this year, gaining 6 percent as the Standard & Poor's 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial averages have wavered between small gains and losses.

The industry has re-established itself as the dominant sector in the U.S. stock market and currently accounts for 20 percent of the value of the S&P 500 index.

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Greece's euro partners approve billions in new loans

BRUSSELS (AP) -- Finance ministers of the 19-nation euro single currency group on Friday approved the first 26 billion euros ($29 billion) of a vast new bailout package to help rebuild Greece's shattered economy.

Ten billion euros will be available to recapitalize Greece banks, while a second slice of 16 billion euros will be paid in installments, starting with 13 billion euros by Aug. 20 when Greece must make a new debt payment to the European Central Bank.

The final rescue package would eventually give Greece up to 86 billion euros ($93 billion) in loans over three years in exchange for harsh spending cuts and tax hikes.

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Drug execs behind female libido pill have run afoul of FDA

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A small drugmaker from North Carolina may succeed next week where many of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies have failed: in winning approval for the first drug to boost women's sexual desire.

The husband-and-wife team that founded Sprout Pharmaceuticals is not new to the pharmaceutical business or even to marketing drugs to people frustrated with their sex lives. The couple's previous company, Slate Pharmaceuticals, sold an implantable testosterone pellet to men with low levels of the hormone.

But Slate's marketing push ran afoul of federal rules, making misleading, unsupported statements about the benefits of testosterone therapy while downplaying risks. In fact, when the Food and Drug Administration held a meeting examining the overprescribing of testosterone last year, it played Slate's commercial as an example of inappropriate marketing.

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J.C. Penney's 2Q results show turnaround gaining traction

PLANO, Texas (AP) -- J.C. Penney's turnaround is gaining traction.

The department store chain said Friday that its losses narrowed in the second quarter on better-expected sales, fueled by men's clothing, fine jewelry and the beauty brand Sephora. And a key revenue measure rose for the third straight quarter.

The results offer encouraging signs for the Plano, Texas-based retailer, which is more than two years into an effort to recover from a disastrous attempt to reinvent itself under former Apple executive Ron Johnson.

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Apple said to show interest in automotive testing facility

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Adding fuel to rumors that Apple is working on designs for a car, local officials say engineers for the giant tech company recently made inquiries about a former navy base that's been converted into a testing ground for self-driving cars and other cutting-edge vehicles.

An official with the Contra Costa Transportation Authority says the giant tech company hasn't said what kind of testing it hopes to conduct at the decommissioned base in Concord, east of San Francisco. The agency is promoting the base and its 20 miles of closed roads as an ideal test facility for new automotive technology.

Apple declined comment Friday.

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US eases crude oil export ban; allows trading with Mexico

EDGARTOWN, Mass. (AP) -- The Obama administration approved limited crude oil trading with Mexico on Friday, further easing the longstanding U.S. ban on crude exports that has drawn consternation from Republicans and energy producers.

Mexico's state-run oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, had sought to import about 100,000 barrels of light crude a day and proposed a deal last year in which Mexico would trade its own heavier crude for lighter U.S. crude.

A major crude exporter for decades, Mexico has seen its oil production fall in recent years.

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US factory output climbed in July, lifted by auto production

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Auto plants, clothing makers and plastics factories drove a sharp rebound in U.S. manufacturing in July.

U.S. factory production climbed a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent last month after a revised estimate showed that output had dipped 0.3 percent in June, the Federal Reserve said Friday.

The gains suggested that manufacturers are adjusting to the obstacles of a stronger dollar, tepid economic growth abroad and lower oil prices, which have led energy companies to slash their orders for equipment and pipelines.

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US producer prices up just 0.2 percent in July

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Prices charged by producers rose more slowly in July, reflecting declines in both food and energy.

The Labor Department said Friday its Producer Price Index, which measures inflation pressures before they reach the consumer, increased 0.2 percent in July compared to June when prices had risen 0.4 percent.

The Federal Reserve has said that it needs to feel "reasonably confident" that inflation will move back to its 2 percent goal before beginning to raise interest rates from a record low near zero, where a key Fed rate has been since late 2008.

But inflation is running well below the Fed's target.

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Volkswagen recalls 420,000 vehicles for air bag issue

NEW YORK (AP) -- Volkswagen is recalling 420,000 vehicles in the U.S. because of a problem that can prevent front air bags from deploying in a crash.

The recall is for eight models, including the Jetta, Passat and Tiguan, with model years between 2010 and 2014.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Friday that debris can rip a cable that keeps the front air bag powered, which could lead to a failure to deploy. There were nine complaints from customers, the NHTSA said. No accidents or injuries have been reported

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Eurozone growth slows in Q2 as France falters

LONDON (AP) -- The 19-country eurozone economy weathered the second quarter's troubles -- notably the escalating crisis in Greece -- with only a small drop in growth, but disparities between nations remain that could cause problems.

Economic growth was 0.3 percent in the March-June period on a quarterly basis, down slightly from 0.4 percent in the first three months of the year and just half the rate recorded in the United States, the European Union's statistics agency said Friday.

As has been the case for much of the past few years during the eurozone's crisis over high government debt, growth remains heavily reliant on the region's powerhouse economy, Germany.

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By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 69.15 points, or 0.4 percent, to 17,477.40. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 8.15 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,091.54. The Nasdaq composite climbed 14.68 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,048.24.

U.S. crude rose 27 cents Friday to close at $42.50. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell 19 cents to close at $49.03 in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 2.7 cents to close at $1.687 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1.1 cents to close at $1.558 a gallon. Natural gas rose 1.4 cents to close at $2.801 per 1,000 cubic feet.


Updated : 2021-09-18 18:08 GMT+08:00