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Business Highlights

By The Associated PressJuly 31, 2019

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Fed cuts key rate for first time in more than a decade

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve cut its key interest rate Wednesday for the first time in a decade to try to counter the impact of President Donald Trump’s trade wars, stubbornly low inflation and global weakness. Yet Wall Street seemed disappointed that Chairman Jerome Powell signaled at a news conference that the Fed might not cut rates much more.

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US to set up plan allowing prescription meds from Canada

WASHINGTON (AP) — With consumers complaining over high prices for prescription drugs, the U.S. says it will create a way Americans can import cheaper medicines from Canada. The drug industry, which has blocked imports of prescription drugs, is warning that their safety can’t be guaranteed. But Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says the modern supply chain allows for safe importation. It’s unclear how soon such a system could be in place. President Donald Trump campaigned on lowering drug prices.

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US officials say key rail safety technology 90% complete

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal railway officials say the railroad industry has installed safety technology on nearly 90% of tracks where it is required, but “significant work” is needed to ensure the technology is completely installed by a December 2020 deadline. The Federal Railroad Administration chief says technology known as positive train control, or PTC, is in operation on more than 50,000 route miles of the nearly 58,000 route miles where it is required.

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US says new round of talks with China were ‘constructive’

SHANGHAI (AP) — The White House says U.S. and Chinese envoys have held “constructive” trade talks, after President Donald Trump rattled financial markets by accusing Beijing of trying to stall in hopes he will fail to win reelection in 2020. The meeting, aimed at ending a tariff war over trade and technology, ended about 40 minutes ahead of schedule. But the White House said in a statement hours later that talks are expected to resume in Washington in September.

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Stocks sink as Powell dents hopes for multiple rate cuts

Stocks fell and bond yields rose after the Federal Reserve lowered its key interest rate for the first time in a decade but left investors feeling uncertain about the likelihood of future cuts. At a news conference, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said there could be more rate cuts, but that the central bank was not intending to embark on a long cycle of lowering interest rates. That roiled markets, briefly knocking the Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 470 points.

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Billionaire, friend taking plea deal in Las Vegas drug case

LAS VEGAS (AP) — California billionaire and crime victim rights advocate Henry T. Nicholas III and a friend are taking a plea deal sparing them prison time in a Las Vegas Strip hotel room drug case. Their attorneys said Wednesday that Nicholas and co-defendant Ashley Fargo will enter a so-called “Alford plea” to felony drug possession and make a $1 million donation to a drug treatment program. Their pleas do not admit guilt. Nicholas co-founded Broadcom and Forbes estimates his net worth at more than $4 billion.

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Drug industry warns importing meds risky

WASHINGTON (AP) — The drug industry lobby says the Trump administration’s plan to let Americans import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada is “far too dangerous.” Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America says there’s “no way to guarantee the safety of drugs” coming from outside the U.S. It also says law enforcement has repeatedly warned that importation schemes could worsen the U.S. opioid crisis.

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Boris Johnson visits Belfast as Brexit woes hurt UK economy

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has met political leaders in Northern Ireland, where he faces a doubly difficult challenge: restoring the collapsed Belfast government and finding a solution for the Irish border after the UK leaves the European Union. Northern Ireland’s 1.8 million people have been without a functioning government since it collapsed in 2017. Johnson, who in the last week has been booed in Scotland and Wales, faced more protesters Wednesday in Northern Ireland.

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The S&P 500 index dropped 32.80 points, or 1.1%, to 2,980.38. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 333.75 points, or 1.2%, to 26,864.27. The Nasdaq composite fell 98.19 points, or 1.2%, to 8,175.42. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies slid 10.99 points, or 0.7%, to 1,574.61.

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