Business Briefs – June 25, 2018

Mnuchin Dismisses Reports of Tech Restrictions on China

WASHINGTON (AP) – Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is dismissing as “fake news” media reports that the Trump administration is readying restrictions this week on Chinese investment in American technology companies and high-tech exports to China. Mnuchin said on Twitter Monday that reports by the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg news are “false, fake news.

China, Eu to Form Group to Modernize Global Trade Rules

BEIJING (AP) – China and Europe have agreed to launch a group that will work to update global trade rules to address technology policy, subsidies and other emerging irritants and preserve support for international trade amid U.S. threats of import controls. A European Union vice president said actions such as U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariff hikes in a dispute with Beijing over technology highlight the need for World Trade Organization rules to keep pace with global economic changes.

Big Spenders: S&P 500 Stock Buybacks Set Record in 1Q

NEW YORK (AP) – Flush with cash from lower tax bills and profits from a growing economy, big U.S. companies spent a record amount buying back shares of their own stock at the start of this year. Companies in the S&P 500 index bought back a record $189.1 billion in the first quarter, according to preliminary results from S&P Dow Jones Indices. Buybacks plus dividends topped $1 trillion for the first time in the twelve-month period ended in March.

After Ban Ends, Saudi Women See New Job in Becoming Drivers

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) – Ride-hailing companies Uber and local competitor Careem are hiring female drivers after Saudi Arabia lifted a longstanding ban on women driving. It’s the latest job opening for Saudi women that had been reserved for men only and one that sharply challenges traditional norms.

U.S. Imported More Seafood In 2017 Than Any Prior Year

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – Federal data show the United States imported more seafood last year than at any point in history, and the nation’s trade deficit in the sector is growing. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data show the U.S. imported more than 6 billion pounds of seafood valued at more than $21.5 billion in 2017. The country exported nearly 3.7 billion pounds valued at about $6 billion.