Business Highlights

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Gone for good? Evidence signals many jobs aren’t coming back

WASHINGTON (AP) — Stark evidence of the damage the resurgent viral outbreak has caused the U.S. economy could come Friday when the government is expected to report that the pace of hiring has slowed significantly after a brief rebound in the spring. As the coronavirus continues to transform a vast swath of the U.S. economy, it is becoming evident that millions of Americans face the prospect of a permanent job loss that will force some to seek work with new industries or in new occupations. If so, that would lead to a slower recovery in the job market than if restaurants, hotels, bars and retail shops were able to fully reopen and recall all their laid-off employees. Few expect that to happen.

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Inside Big Tech: Pulling back the curtain with ‘hot’ email

WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. House committee has obtained more than a million internal documents from Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple in its yearlong investigation of Big Tech’s market dominance. Lawmakers played back the words from the documents to the four companies’ CEOs at a highly charged hearing. Experts say the “hot documents” don’t guarantee successful legal action by regulators who are investigating the four tech companies. But they can be very useful. The Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general are pursuing competition probes. “Thank you, Mr. Zuckerberg, you’re making my point,” a lawmaker told Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

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Survey: US companies cut back sharply on hiring in July

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. businesses sharply reduced hiring last month in a sign that the resurgent viral outbreak this summer slowed the economic recovery as many states closed parts of their economies again and consumers remained cautious about spending. U.S. firms added just 167,000 jobs in July, payroll processor ADP said Wednesday, far below June’s gain of 4.3 million and May’s increase of 3.3 million. July’s limited hiring means the economy still has 13 million fewer jobs than it did in February, according to ADP, before the viral outbreak intensified.

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US trade deficit drops in June on record rise in exports

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit fell in June for the first time since February as exports posted a record increase and rose twice as fast as imports. The Commerce Department said the gap between the value of what the United States buys and what it sells abroad fell 7.5% to $50.7 billion in June from $54.8 billion in May. Exports shot up 9.4% to $158.3 billion, and imports rose 4.7% to $208.9 billion.

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Services sector index increases to 17-month high in July

WASHINGTON (AP) — Activity in the services sector, where most Americans work, hit a 17-month high in July but economists fear that may be unsustainable because of the failure in the U.S. to contain COVID-19 infections. The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that its service sector index rose to a reading of 58.1, up from a June level of 57.1. It was the highest since the index stood at 58.5 in February 2019. Any reading above 50 means that the service sector is expanding.

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Wall Street keeps rallying; S&P 500 back within 2% of record

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks climbed again on Wall Street, giving the S&P 500 index its fourth straight gain and pulling it within 2% of the record high it set in February. The benchmark index added 0.6% Wednesday, following up on gains in European markets and across much of Asia. Negotiators on Capitol Hill reported some progress in talks for more support for the economy, and pressure is mounting on them to act quickly. Disney surged after it became the latest company to report quarterly results that weren’t as bad as Wall Street expected. Treasury yields and gold prices rose. ___

Fiat Chrysler to recall vehicles that may pollute too much

DETROIT (AP) — About 1 million Fiat Chrysler vehicles with four-cylinder engines in the U.S. may spew too much pollution, and the company is working with government officials on a recall. Fiat Chrysler says in a quarterly filing with securities regulators that it found the excess pollution during tests of vehicles with 2.4-liter “Tigershark” engines. The engines date to at least 2013 and are used in several Jeep SUVs as well as some cars. FCA said in the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it notifed the Environmental Protection Agency and it’s working on a solution. The EPA said in a statement Wednesday that the vehicles will be recalled.

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Facebook launches its new TikTok clone, Instagram Reels

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook’s Instagram is launching its answer to the hit short video app TikTok — Instagram Reels. The new feature will let users record and edit 15-second videos with audio, and will let users add visual effects. Users will be able to share “Reels” with their followers in Instagram. There will also be a new section in the search field of Instagram called “Reels in Explore.” The Reels option will be available at the bottom of Instagram camera. Facebook has created clones of popular services that rival it before. Its Instagram “Story” feature is similar to Snapchat.

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The S&P 500 climbed 21.26 points, or 0.6%, to 3,327.77. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 373.05, or 1.4%, to 27,201.52, and the Nasdaq composite added 57.23, or 0.5%, to 10,998.40. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks ended up 29.02 points, or 1.9%, 1,546.24.