Business Briefs – June 27, 2019

U.S. to China: Fix Tech Policies. China’s Retort: Drop Tariffs

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Americans want to safeguard their technological riches, restore balance to their top trading relationship and force a sharp-elbowed rival to play by the rules and keep its word. The Chinese want the Trump administration to drop its tariffs so they can regain freer access to the world’s largest consumer market while pursuing their goal of becoming a global technology superpower.

U.S. Economy Grew at Solid 3.1% Rate in First Quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. economy grew at a healthy 3.1% rate in the first three months of this year, but signs are mounting that growth has slowed sharply in the current quarter, reflecting slower global growth and a confidence-shaking trade battle between the United States and China. The Commerce Department reports that the gain in the gross domestic product was unchanged from a month ago although the components of growth shifted slightly.

Banks Announce Billions in Share Buybacks After Fed Approval

NEW YORK (AP) – The nation’s largest banks are rewarding shareholders by spending tens of billions raising their dividends and buying back stock after getting the green light from the Federal Reserve. The Fed on Thursday said it approved the capital plans the nation’s 18 largest banks submitted as part of this year’s stress tests. That means it determined the banks could raise their dividends and buy back more shares and still have enough capital to survive a hypothetical deep recession in the next year.

Jony Ive, the Designer Behind The iPhone, Is Leaving Apple

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – The man behind the iconic designs of the iPhone, iMac and iPad is leaving Apple. The company said Thursday that Chief Design Officer Jony Ive is leaving, after more than two decades at Apple, to start his own design firm. But he’s not completely severing ties. Apple said it will be one of Ive’s clients at his new firm.

Facebook Enlists Plain English To Clarify How It Makes Money

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Facebook is updating its terms and services guidelines to clarify how it makes money from the personal information of its users. The changes reflect its ongoing attempts to satisfy regulators in the U.S. and Europe, which have urged the company to make sure users know what they are signing up for.

Up, Down, Back Again: Funds Deliver Returns, Vertigo

NEW YORK (AP) – If you’re brave or lazy enough to be a totally hands-off investor, congratulations, you’ve got a nice surprise coming. Most types of investments did well from April through June, with U.S. stocks setting record highs, bond funds packing a year’s worth of returns into three months and gold hitting its highest price in six years. But chronic checker-uppers, those who looked at their funds every few days or weeks, know how bumpy the ride was getting there.

Have an Old Car? You’re Not Alone. Vehicle Age Hits Record

DETROIT (AP) – People are keeping cars and trucks longer than ever. The average age of a U.S. vehicle hit a record 11.8 years, as better quality and technology allowed owners to hang onto them. The 2019 figures from data provider IHS Markit show that the rate of increase is slowing, but the average age is still expected to go over 12 early in the next decade. The average is up 0.1 years from 2018.

 

Trade Tensions, India Tariffs, Put California Almonds at Risk

MODESTO, Calif. (AP) – Along large swaths of California’s lush central valley, almonds in the fuzzy hulls of tree leaves blow in the wind on thousands of acres of orchards. Thousands of miles away in India, customers browse the nut sections of busy street markets and grocery stores in search of the best almonds to use in curry dishes, health drinks, ice cream and many other recipes.