Business Briefs – August 20, 2018

U.S. Firms to Trump: Don’t Raise Tariffs on More Chinese Goods

WASHINGTON (AP) – Fishermen off the Alaskan coast. A Florida maker of boat trailers. A building materials distributor in Tennessee. Those and hundreds of other American businesses are delivering the same plea to President Donald Trump as he considers imposing tariffs on nearly 40 percent of Chinese imports that he hasn’t already taxed: Don’t do it.

Greeks See Little Cause for Joy As 8-year Bailout Era Ends

ATHENS (AP) – For all the official pronouncements that Greece’s eight-year crisis is ending together with its bailout program Monday, few Greeks see cause for celebration. The economy is once again stirring but one in five Greeks are still unemployed, with few receiving state benefits, underpaid drudgery is the norm in new hirings, the average income has dropped by more than a third, and taxes have rocketed.

Born Out of the Financial Crisis, Bull Market Nears Record

NEW YORK (AP) – The bull market in U.S. stocks is about to become the longest in history. If stocks don’t drop significantly by the close of trading Wednesday, the bull market that began in March 2009 will have lasted nine years, five months and 13 days. It’s a record that few would have predicted when the market struggled to find its footing after a 50 percent plunge during the financial crisis.

Conoco Says Venezuela Will Pay $2 Billion Arbitration Award

CARACAS (AP) – U.S. oil giant ConocoPhillips says it has reached an agreement with Venezuela’s state-owned oil company to recover nearly $2 billion it was awarded as part of a decade-old expropriation dispute. Monday’s statement from Houston-based Conoco says that PDVSA has agreed to recognize the judgment by an international arbitration panel and will make the first $500 million payment within 90 days and the rest over a period of some four years.

A Dog’s Life: Fitness Trackers Help Put Fat Pets on a Diet

PRAGUE (AP) – Fitness trackers for pets are becoming more complex and enjoying sales as part of a boom in goods for pets. According to the American Pet Products Association, people will spend $72.1 billion dollars this year on pet products and care. That’s up 3.6 percent on the year in an industry that has grown steadily since the mid ’90s.

Online Socks Seller Bombas Mixes Commerce and Charity

NEW YORK (AP) – When David Heath co-founded online socks seller Bombas, his impetus didn’t come from trying to make a comfortable sock. It came from realizing that socks were the No. 1 clothing item requested by the homeless. The company, which donates a pair of socks for every pair it sells, just generated its first profit in 2016 and hit nearly $50 million in sales last year. Now, it’s mapping out an expansion plan beyond socks.