Business Briefs – July 18, 2017

Wall Street’s Goldman Sachs Moves Quietly Into Main Street

NEW YORK (AP) — Goldman Sachs, the most Wall Street of Wall Street firms, really wants people to start thinking about it the next time they need to open a bank account or borrow money. It’s paying above-average rates on online savings accounts and offering that stodgiest of investments, good, old-fashioned CDs. Personal loans are available through its Marcus by Goldman Sachs brand, which is named after one of the firm’s founders.

U.S.-China Trade Rifts Resurface Even After Friendly Summit

WASHINGTON (AP) — Three months after President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, shared chocolate cake at an amiable summit in Florida, tensions between the world’s two biggest economies are flaring again. The Trump administration is considering slapping tariffs on steel imports, a step that risks igniting a trade war. For the United States, it’s a perilous option to address a problem caused largely by China’s overproduction of steel.

Ready-to-Cook Meals From Amazon In Bid to Expand Groceries

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon has begun selling ready-to-cook meal packages for busy households in a bid to expand its groceries business. Amazon-branded meal kits come with raw ingredients needed to prepare such meals as chicken tikka masala and falafel patties. They are currently sold only in selected markets, including Amazon’s headquarters of Seattle. The development comes as Amazon is also buying the organic grocer Whole Foods for $13.7 billion.

China Users Report WhatsApp Disruption Amid Censorship Fears

BEIJING (AP) — Users of WhatsApp in China are reporting widespread service disruptions amid fears that the messaging service may be blocked at least partially by Chinese authorities. WhatsApp users on the mainland reported that the messaging app was inaccessible without virtual private network software used to circumvent China’s censorship apparatus, known colloquially as The Great Firewall.

UnitedHealth 2Q Profit Surges As ACA Participation Shrinks

NEW YORK (AP) — UnitedHealth Group’s 2nd-quarter earnings soared as the nation’s largest insurer dove deeper into government-funded health coverage like Medicare and Medicaid and continued to distance itself from the turbulent Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges. The insurer also said Tuesday that it drew $1.52 billion in operating earnings from its rapidly growing Optum business, which doesn’t sell health insurance.

Daimler to Recall 3 Million Vehicles to Ease Diesel Doubts

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — German automaker Daimler says it is voluntarily recalling 3 million diesel cars in Europe to improve their emissions performance. The Stuttgart-based company, which makes Mercedes-Benz luxury cars, says it is taking the step to reassure drivers and strengthen confidence in diesel technology.

European Central Bank’s Draghi To Tiptoe to Stimulus Exit

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — European Central Bank head Mario Draghi is likely to tread softly on Thursday as the bank inches toward bringing an end to its monetary stimulus efforts. Analysts think it’s a near-certainty that the ECB, the monetary authority for the European Union’s 19-country euro currency union, will start scaling back its 60 billion euros ($69 billion) in monthly bond purchases after their earliest termination date at the end of the year.

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