Business Highlights

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US hiring slows amid signs of longer-lasting economic damage

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. hiring slowed last month as the coronavirus outbreak worsened. That’s according to the government’s latest jobs report. The same report offered signs Friday that the economic damage from the pandemic could last far longer than many observers originally envisioned. The United States added 1.8 million jobs in July, a pullback from the previous two months. At any other time, hiring at that level would be seen as a blowout gain. But after employers shed a staggering 22 million jobs in March and April, much larger increases are needed to heal the job market.

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S&P 500 ekes out 6th straight gain following jobs report

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street’s big rally let off the accelerator on Friday, despite a better-than-expected report on the U.S. job market, amid worries about worsening U.S.-China tensions and whether Washington can deliver more aid for the economy. The S&P 500 inched up 0.1% to eke out a sixth straight gain, after being down most of the day. It’s back within 1% of its record for the first time since February. Smaller stocks, Treasury yields and financial stocks all rallied. Technology stocks took losses, though, on worries that China could retaliate for President Donald Trump’s latest escalation against Chinese tech companies.

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Loan program ends, hard-hit businesses hope for 2nd chance

NEW YORK (AP) — Small businesses are in limbo again as the coronavirus outbreak rages and the government’s $659 billion relief program draws to a close. Companies still struggling with sharply reduced revenue are wondering if Congress will give them a second chance at the Paycheck Protection Program, which ends Saturday after giving out 5.1 million loans worth $523 billion. While the program that began April 3 has gotten mixed reviews, business owners still need help as the virus continues to spread across the country. Lawmakers are negotiating on new coronavirus relief legislation that would allow the hardest hit businesses to receive a second PPP loan.

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Fed official defends slow start to Main Street loan program

WASHINGTON (AP) — A top Federal Reserve official on Friday defended the central bank’s efforts to launch a Main Street lending program and said the small number of loans approved so far would likely expand by a significant amount in coming months, especially if the pandemic worsens. While the Fed reported this week that the program has only made eight loans so far totaling $76.9 million, Eric Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve’s regional bank in Boston, told a congressional oversight panel on Friday that more up-to-date information showed that 54 loans were being considered worth a potential $530 million were under consideration. Still, even the larger figures fall far short of the up to $600 billion the Fed has said it is prepared to make available to cash-strapped companies.

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Canada says it will impose retaliatory tariffs on US imports

TORONTO (AP) — Canada’s deputy prime minister says the country plans to impose $3.6 billion Canadian (US$2.69 billion) tariffs on U.S. imports in response to President Donald Trump saying the U.S. is reinstating a 10% import tax on Canadian aluminum. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said Friday that the tariffs will match the U.S. ones dollar-for-dollar. Canada is considering imposing a tariff on dozens of products, including golf clubs, bicycles, refrigerators, washing machines, tripods, sports equipment like bats and hockey sticks and embossed aluminum cans for beverages. Trump originally imposed the tariff on aluminum imports in 2018 but lifted it on Canadian and Mexican metals to smooth the way for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade pact.

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US consumer borrowing up in June after 3 months of declines

WASHINGTON (AP) — The pandemic still has Americans easing off the plastic. U.S. consumer borrowing rose in June after three months of declines but the key category of credit card debt extended its decline. The Federal Reserve reported Friday that overall consumer borrowing rose by 2.6%, or $8.95 billion, in June after big declines in March, April and May as the country went into lockdown to combat the coronavirus. In June, the category of borrowing that covers credit cards fell for a fourth month, dropping by $2.3 billion or 2.8%. However, this was offset by an increase in the category that covers auto loans and student loans which increased by $11.3 billion or 4.3%.

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Postal Service loses $2.2B in 3 months as virus woes persist

WASHINGTON (AP) — Financial losses are mounting at the U.S. Postal Service during the coronavirus pandemic. The agency said Friday it lost $2.2 billion in the three months ending in June. Officials warn the losses could top $20 billion over two years. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy calls the agency’s financial position “dire.″ But he disputes reports his agency is slowing down mail and says it has “ample capacity to deliver all election mail securely and on time.” The Postal Service is seeking at least $10 billion to cover operating losses as well as changes to how it funds retiree health benefits. Lawmakers want the Postal Service to reverse operational changes that are causing delivery delays.

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The S&P 500 inched up 2.12 points, or 0.1%, to 3,351.28. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 46.50, or 0.2%, to 27,433.48. The Nasdaq composite dropped 97.09, or 0.9%, to 11,010.98. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks jumped 24.56, or 1.6%, to 1,569.18