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Business Highlights

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Powell faces key question: What’s wrong with low inflation?

WASHINGTON (AP) — When out shopping, most Americans like lower prices. But the Federal Reserve sees things a little differently. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is struggling to get inflation closer to its 2% target, but also has to explain to the public why it wants to push inflation higher.

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Fed officials were sharply divided over September rate cut

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve officials were sharply divided last month when they decided to cut their key policy rate for a second time this year, a split that indicates the path forward for future rate cuts remains cloudy. Minutes of the discussion at the September meeting showed that the majority of Fed officials believed a second quarter-point cut was appropriate given increased economic uncertainty from trade tensions and a slowing global economy.

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Amid rift with China, will the NBA be forced to apologize?

When major corporations have done something to anger Chinese authorities in recent years, the playbook has called for one thing: an apology. Marriott issued one. So did Delta. Mercedes-Benz, too. The NBA, embroiled in a rift caused by a tweet expressing support for pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong, has avoided going that route. But with billions at stake from merchandise sales and media rights, some experts are wondering if anything other than an apology will mend this fence.

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China demands US lift tech curbs, will ‘safeguard’ interests

BEIJING (AP) — China has demanded Washington lift sanctions on Chinese tech companies and warned it will ‘resolutely safeguard’ the country’s interests. The Ministry of Commerce criticized curbs imposed on providers of technology U.S. officials say is used to repress Muslim minorities as interference in China’s affairs. The ministry said Beijing will ‘take all necessary steps’ to safeguard its interests but gave no details of possible retaliation.

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Hopes are dim as US and China resume high-stakes trade talks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The 13th round of U.S.-China trade negotiations, set to begin in Washington, is unlikely to prove any more successful than the previous 12 in resolving tensions that have rattled markets, threatened global growth and paralyzed business investment in the United States. The issues that divide the world’s two biggest economies are likely too daunting to produce the kind of “big deal” that Trump says he wants. At least anytime soon.

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US job openings slip 1.7% in August as labour market slows

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. job openings fell 1.7% in August and hires edged down, bolstering views that the labour market may lose momentum as economic uncertainty and a manufacturing recession squeeze employers. The Labor Department says employers advertised 7.1 million available jobs in August, down from 7.2 million available jobs in July.

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US stocks notch broad gains amid renewed trade deal hopes

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks notched broad gains on Wall Street Wednesday as investors regained some of their optimism about the prospects for progress in the trade war between the U.S. and China. A day after escalating trade tensions led to a sharp stock market sell-off, investors drew encouragement from reports that Beijing signalled it is open to a partial deal. Washington and Beijing are scheduled to begin new talks Thursday. Technology stocks led the rally, which snapped a two-day losing streak for the S&P 500.

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Nobel prize honours breakthroughs on lithium-ion batteries

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Anyone using a cellphone or laptop computer can thank this year’s three winners of the Nobel Prize in chemistry for their work on lithium-ion batteries — work that has also made storing energy from renewable sources more feasible. At 97, John B. Goodenough of the University of Texas is the oldest person to ever win a Nobel. The other winners are M. Stanley Whittingham of the State University of New York at Binghamton and Akira Yoshino of Asahi Kasei Corporation and Meijo University in Japan.

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Facebook CEO to appear before Congress on currency plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will appear before Congress this month as the tech giant is under pressure from lawmakers and regulators over its massive market power and record of privacy breaches. Rep. Maxine Waters, the California Democrat who heads the House Financial Services Committee, has announced that Zuckerberg will testify at a hearing by the panel on Oct. 23. The focus will be on Facebook’s plan to create a digital currency and its role in housing.

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EU sees hope in Brexit talks; Irish leader sees wide gaps

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is maintaining a semblance of hope that the acrimonious fight over Britain’s departure from the bloc could somehow still be settled amicably. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he was working together with EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier on a last-gasp solution. But Juncker says British Prime Minister Boris Johnson needs to stop pouring all the blame on the EU for the negotiating standstill over Brexit.

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The S&P 500 rose 26.34 points, or 0.9%, to 2,919.40. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 181.97 points, or 0.7%, to 26,346.01. The Nasdaq picked up 79.96 points, or 1%, to 7,903.74. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks added 6.86 points, or 0.5%, to 1,479.46.

The Associated Press