Business Highlights

The Associated Press

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Trump claims Germany 'controlled' by Russia, Merkel differs

BRUSSELS (AP) -- President Donald Trump has barreled into a NATO summit with claims that a pipeline deal has left Germany "totally controlled" and "captive to Russia." He's also lobbing fresh complaints against allies about "delinquent" defense spending at the opening of what was expected to be a fraught two-day meeting. Trump also suggested that NATO allies commit to spending 4 percent of their GDPs on defense — double the current goal of 2 percent by 2024.

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China vows retaliation for $200 billion US tariff threat

BEIJING (AP) -- Washington is threatening to impose 10 percent tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. The items that could be targeted include fish sticks, French doors and apples. China's government has vowed to take 'firm and forceful measures' against the U.S. threats, but isn't giving specifics. As the trade dispute has escalated, the U.S. and China have already imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion worth of each other's goods.

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Trade pain: Small companies hit by import, export tariffs

NEW YORK (AP) -- Small manufacturers are feeling the impact of tariffs the U.S. has imposed on products imported from places like China, Europe and Canada. Companies are also being hurt by retaliatory tariffs countries have placed on U.S. exports. Small businesses are vulnerable to tariffs because they lack the resources of larger companies to absorb higher costs. And if tariffs make it too costly to export to current markets, companies may not be able to afford finding new ones.

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New EPA acting chief defends past coal industry lobbying

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The new acting chief of the Environmental Protection Agency is defending his past lobbying work with the coal industry as he addresses agency employees roiled by months of ethics allegations against former Administrator Scott Pruitt. Andrew Wheeler spoke to staffers Wednesday for the first time since President Donald Trump announced Pruitt's resignation last Thursday. Wheeler said he understood the stress of top-level management changes, and he promised to defense and seek input from employees.

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BMW says no change in South Carolina expansion plans

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) -- BMW says it will continue plans to add 1,000 jobs in South Carolina, even as it starts production of a new electric vehicle in China. BMW spokesman Ken Sparks said the company is committed to spending $600 million in Spartanburg over the next three years. But steep tariffs are already raising sticker prices overseas for those cars, and South Carolina suppliers want BMW to give them some certainty. BMW has told the Trump administration that 45,000 jobs in South Carolina alone are at stake.

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A new round of proposed Trump tariffs would hit US consumers

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Now consumers are in the cross-hairs. Americans could soon find themselves paying a lot more for goods they might not have known were imported from China. It's a potential consequence of a new round of tariffs the Trump administration is proposing to slap on Chinese imports by the end of summer.

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Twitter to remove suspicious accounts from follower counts

NEW YORK (AP) -- Twitter says it will begin removing suspicious accounts it has locked — denying access to its owner — from its count of users' followers. This means Twitter users are likely to see a reduction in their follower counts. For many users, this will amount to four followers or less. But the accounts of celebrities and public figures could see a bigger drop.

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US soon to leapfrog Saudis, Russia as top oil producer

NEW YORK (AP) -- The U.S. is on pace to leapfrog both Saudi Arabia and Russia and reclaim the title of the world's biggest oil producer for the first time since the 1970s. The latest forecast from the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts that U.S. output will grow next year to 11.8 million barrels a day.

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Judge approves revised Weinstein Co. bankruptcy sale plan

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) -- A Delaware judge has approved a revised plan for the sale of the Weinstein Co., the studio forced into bankruptcy by the sexual misconduct scandal that brought down Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. The plan approved Wednesday calls for private equity firm Lantern Capital to pay $289 million for the Weinstein Co.'s assets. Lantern initially agreed to pay $310 million, but a dispute later arose over who would responsible for making payments owed on certain contracts that Lantern might assume.

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Stocks skid as trade war worsens with new tariff threats

NEW YORK (AP) -- Global stocks skid after the U.S. threatened to put taxes on an additional $200 billion in imports from China and Beijing said it will retaliate. The dollar jumps and oil prices plunge. Industrial and energy and materials companies take steep losses.

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The S&P 500 index lost 19.82 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,774.02. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 219.21 points, or 0.9 percent, to 24,700.75. The Nasdaq composite fell 42.59 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,716.61. The Russell 2000, an index of smaller and more U.S.-focused companies, gave up 11.96 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,683.66.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 5 percent to $70.38 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, plunged 6.9 percent to $73.40 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 4.6 percent to $2.06 a gallon. Heating oil sank 5.4 percent to $2.10 a gallon. Natural gas rose 1.5 percent to $2.83 per 1,000 cubic feet.