Business Briefs – August 4, 2019

Trump’s latest China Tariffs Could Squeeze U.S. Consumers

WASHINGTON (AP) – The latest batch of tariffs that President Donald Trump plans to impose on Chinese goods would likely cost U.S. households an average of $200 a year, some economists have estimated. That would come on top of the roughly $831 imposed per household from Trump’s existing tariffs, according to a New York Federal Reserve analysis.

July U.S. Jobs Report Shows Solid Gains Amid Trade Frictions

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. employers slowed their hiring in July, adding a still-healthy 164,000 jobs to an economy that appears poised to extend its decade-plus expansion. The unemployment rate remained at 3.7% for a second straight month. The pace of hiring has slowed this year as a growing share of Americans already have jobs. The three-month average for job gains was 140,000, down from 237,000 a year ago.

Trump Says New Agreement With EU Will Boost Beef Exports

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump is celebrating a new agreement to increase beef exports to the European Union, saying sales should increase by 46 percent in the first year. Mr. Trump portrayed the agreement as standing up for farmers and ranchers. Producers have been hurt by retaliatory tariffs that China imposed after Trump imposed 25% tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese products.

U.S. Government Delays Puerto Rico Disaster Mitigation Funds

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Trump administration is delaying the release of more than $8 billion in funds designed to help Puerto Rico prepare for the next natural disaster, citing political unrest and financial irregularities in the U.S. territory. The funds are part of the $16 billion approved by Congress for mitigation projects, such as hardening electrical grids, in states and territories receiving presidential disaster declarations from 2015 to 2017.

Minivan Sales Keep Falling, But Experts Say They’ll Live On

DETROIT (AP) – Ever since they peaked nearly two decades ago, minivan sales have been tumbling, so much that critics have often proclaimed it was only a matter of time before the boxy people-haulers would be extinct. Sales last year sank to the lowest level in more than 30 years. But the vans have survived, and some in the business see a bit of a resurgence on the horizon.

Stolen Goods on Amazon? Shoppers Won’t Care, Experts Say

NEW YORK (AP) – News of an alleged Amazon theft ring involving contract delivery drivers is unlikely to make a dent in the online shopping giant’s massive business. But it may make people more wary of letting deliveries into their house when they aren’t there — a nascent project from both Amazon and Walmart.

Protesters Rally Outside Court During Purdue Pharma Hearing

BOSTON (AP) – Parents who lost children to fatal overdoses and other activists rallied outside a Boston courthouse as a judge heard arguments in Massachusetts’ lawsuit against Purdue Pharma over the national drug epidemic. Purdue Pharma argued Friday in Suffolk Superior Court that state Attorney General Maura Healey’s lawsuit should be dismissed because it distorts facts and makes oversimplified claims. Healey accuses the Connecticut company of falsely claiming OxyContin had low risk for addiction.

Profit at Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Rises 17%

NEW YORK (AP) – Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate controlled by billionaire Warren Buffett, said Saturday that its second-quarter profit rose 17% as its gains from its investments rose.

Berkshire owns several companies, including battery maker Duracell and underwear seller Fruit of the Loom. It also has major investments in well-known corporations, including soda company Coca-Cola Co. and iPhone maker Apple Inc.

Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire said it had net income of $14 billion, or $8,608 per Class A share, in the April to June quarter. That’s up from $12 billion, or $7,301 per Class A share, in the same quarter a year ago.

Buffett has said Berkshire’s operating earnings offer a better view of quarterly performance because they exclude investments and derivatives, which can vary widely. By that measure, its earnings fell 11% to $6.1 billion.

Total revenue rose 2% to $63.6 billion.