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Stocks Jump as Hopes Rise for Progress on China Trade Talks

Stocks rose late in the day Friday as investors welcomed signs of progress in resolving the trade dispute between the U.S. and China. The Wall Street Journal reported that the countries hope to have a resolution by November.

Industrial, health care and basic materials companies made some of the biggest gains. The report came a day after China said it will send an envoy to Washington for the first talks between the countries since early June.

Marina Severinovsky, an investment strategist at Schroders, said stocks could jump if the U.S. and China make real progress toward a trade agreement. But stocks in emerging markets might make even bigger gains.

“The rally that could come, if there is a better outcome, would be in emerging markets,” she said. “China has suffered pretty greatly … the U.S. has held up pretty well.”

The late gains came in spite of weak results for several chipmakers. Electric car maker Tesla took its biggest drop in two years on reports of a wider government investigation into the company and concerns about CEO Elon Musk’s health.

The S&P 500 index rose 9.44 points, or 0.3 percent, at 2,850.13. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 110.59 points, or 0.4 percent, to 25,669.32. The Nasdaq composite edged up 9.81 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,816.33. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 7.19 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,692.95.

The Wall Street Journal cited officials in both the U.S. and China as it said negotiators want to end the trade war before U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet at multilateral events in November.

Industrial companies made some of the biggest gains after agricultural equipment maker Deere posted stronger than expected sales. Its stock rose 2.4 percent to $140.59.

Construction equipment maker Caterpillar rose 2.3 percent to $139.34 and engine maker Paccar added 2.3 percent to $67.16.

Chipmakers fell after two companies gave weaker forecasts for the third quarter. Nvidia said it no longer expects much revenue from products used in mining digital currencies, and its stock fell 4.9 percent to $244.82. Applied Materials slumped 7.7 percent to $43.77.

While big names like Netflix, Facebook and Amazon slipped, Apple led technology companies slightly higher overall. Apple stock rose 2 percent to $217.58.

Nordstrom jumped 13.2 percent to $59.18 after raising its annual profit and sales forecasts and posting better earnings and sales than analysts expected. It’s been a mostly difficult week for department stores as Macy’s and J.C. Penney both plunged after issuing their quarterly reports.

The S&P 500 finished this week with a solid gain of 0.6 percent, but it took a difficult path to get there. Stocks fell early this week due to worries about Turkey’s currency crisis, and later investors fretted about China’s economic growth.

The recovery started Thursday as investors hoped the upcoming talks between the U.S. and China will help end the impasse that has resulted in higher tariffs from both countries.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong has fallen 13 percent since early June as the dispute has dragged on, and other emerging market indexes have also taken a hit. The S&P 500 has risen over that time.

Tesla was hit with a series of reports that concerned shareholders. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission started investigating the electric car maker last year to determine if it made false statements about production of its Model 3 sedan.

The SEC is also reportedly looking into CEO Elon Musk’s comment on Twitter about possibly taking the company private.

Tesla stock rose from about $345 a share to about $380 following Musk’s tweet last week, which said Tesla could go private for $420 a share. On Friday it dropped 8.9 percent to $305.50.

Musk also gave an emotional interview to the New York Times, published Friday, about the stress he’s experienced as the company tries to ramp up production. He said this year has been “excruciating” and described working up 120 hours a week, raising concerns about his health.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.86 percent from 2.87 percent.

U.S. crude picked up 0.7 percent to $65.91 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, added 0.6 percent to $71.83 per barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline dipped 0.3 percent to $1.98 a gallon. Heating oil inched up 0.1 percent to $2.10 a gallon. Natural gas rose 1.3 percent to $2.95 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold was little changed at $1,184.20 an ounce. Silver fell 0.6 percent to $14.63 an ounce. Copper added 0.5 percent to $2.63 a pound.

The dollar dipped to 110.60 yen from 110.88 yen. The euro rose to $1.1443 from $1.1365.

The German DAX lost 0.2 percent and France’s CAC 40 fell 0.1 percent. The FTSE 100 in Britain was little changed.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index added 0.4 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.4 percent. In South Korea, the Kospi gained 0.3 percent.

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iDnipro

Stocks Jump as Hopes Rise for Progress on China Trade Talks

Stocks rose late in the day Friday as investors welcomed signs of progress in resolving the trade dispute between the U.S. and China. The Wall Street Journal reported that the countries hope to have a resolution by November.

Industrial, health care and basic materials companies made some of the biggest gains. The report came a day after China said it will send an envoy to Washington for the first talks between the countries since early June.

Marina Severinovsky, an investment strategist at Schroders, said stocks could jump if the U.S. and China make real progress toward a trade agreement. But stocks in emerging markets might make even bigger gains.

“The rally that could come, if there is a better outcome, would be in emerging markets,” she said. “China has suffered pretty greatly … the U.S. has held up pretty well.”

The late gains came in spite of weak results for several chipmakers. Electric car maker Tesla took its biggest drop in two years on reports of a wider government investigation into the company and concerns about CEO Elon Musk’s health.

The S&P 500 index rose 9.44 points, or 0.3 percent, at 2,850.13. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 110.59 points, or 0.4 percent, to 25,669.32. The Nasdaq composite edged up 9.81 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,816.33. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 7.19 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,692.95.

The Wall Street Journal cited officials in both the U.S. and China as it said negotiators want to end the trade war before U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet at multilateral events in November.

Industrial companies made some of the biggest gains after agricultural equipment maker Deere posted stronger than expected sales. Its stock rose 2.4 percent to $140.59.

Construction equipment maker Caterpillar rose 2.3 percent to $139.34 and engine maker Paccar added 2.3 percent to $67.16.

Chipmakers fell after two companies gave weaker forecasts for the third quarter. Nvidia said it no longer expects much revenue from products used in mining digital currencies, and its stock fell 4.9 percent to $244.82. Applied Materials slumped 7.7 percent to $43.77.

While big names like Netflix, Facebook and Amazon slipped, Apple led technology companies slightly higher overall. Apple stock rose 2 percent to $217.58.

Nordstrom jumped 13.2 percent to $59.18 after raising its annual profit and sales forecasts and posting better earnings and sales than analysts expected. It’s been a mostly difficult week for department stores as Macy’s and J.C. Penney both plunged after issuing their quarterly reports.

The S&P 500 finished this week with a solid gain of 0.6 percent, but it took a difficult path to get there. Stocks fell early this week due to worries about Turkey’s currency crisis, and later investors fretted about China’s economic growth.

The recovery started Thursday as investors hoped the upcoming talks between the U.S. and China will help end the impasse that has resulted in higher tariffs from both countries.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong has fallen 13 percent since early June as the dispute has dragged on, and other emerging market indexes have also taken a hit. The S&P 500 has risen over that time.

Tesla was hit with a series of reports that concerned shareholders. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission started investigating the electric car maker last year to determine if it made false statements about production of its Model 3 sedan.

The SEC is also reportedly looking into CEO Elon Musk’s comment on Twitter about possibly taking the company private.

Tesla stock rose from about $345 a share to about $380 following Musk’s tweet last week, which said Tesla could go private for $420 a share. On Friday it dropped 8.9 percent to $305.50.

Musk also gave an emotional interview to the New York Times, published Friday, about the stress he’s experienced as the company tries to ramp up production. He said this year has been “excruciating” and described working up 120 hours a week, raising concerns about his health.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.86 percent from 2.87 percent.

U.S. crude picked up 0.7 percent to $65.91 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, added 0.6 percent to $71.83 per barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline dipped 0.3 percent to $1.98 a gallon. Heating oil inched up 0.1 percent to $2.10 a gallon. Natural gas rose 1.3 percent to $2.95 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold was little changed at $1,184.20 an ounce. Silver fell 0.6 percent to $14.63 an ounce. Copper added 0.5 percent to $2.63 a pound.

The dollar dipped to 110.60 yen from 110.88 yen. The euro rose to $1.1443 from $1.1365.

The German DAX lost 0.2 percent and France’s CAC 40 fell 0.1 percent. The FTSE 100 in Britain was little changed.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index added 0.4 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.4 percent. In South Korea, the Kospi gained 0.3 percent.

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Retailers Count on Unique Back to School Supplies to Attract Kids, Parents

As summer comes to a close and kids prepare to head back to school, retailers are counting on novelty items such as scented markers and glitter glue to help win back some of the market share they’ve lost to iPads and popular electronic gadgets. VOA’s Jill Craig takes a look at retailers back to school strategy.

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Retailers Count on Unique Back to School Supplies to Attract Kids, Parents

As summer comes to a close and kids prepare to head back to school, retailers are counting on novelty items such as scented markers and glitter glue to help win back some of the market share they’ve lost to iPads and popular electronic gadgets. VOA’s Jill Craig takes a look at retailers back to school strategy.

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Ag Minister: Ban on Glyphosate Would Be ‘Disaster’ for Brazil Agriculture

A potential ban on the popular herbicide glyphosate in Brazil over concerns it may cause cancer in humans would be a “disaster” for the country’s agricultural industry, Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi said on Thursday.

A Brazilian court ruled on Aug. 3 that new products containing the chemical could not be registered in the country and existing registrations would be suspended starting from September, until health authority Anvisa issues a decision on its re-evaluation of glyphosate’s safety.

Maggi said that glyphosate is used on around 95 percent of soy, corn and cotton harvested in the country and that there is no readily available substitute. Brazil is the world’s top exporter of soy and a major producer and exporter of corn.

“Glyphosate makes it viable for us to plant and grow crops.

What is the alternative?” Maggi said at an event in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil’s Solicitor General’s office has said it is preparing an appeal to the court decision with the Agriculture Ministry’s backing. Maggi said he is confident the ruling will be overturned on appeal.

The Brazilian court case is part of a global pushback against the chemical. A U.S. judge ruled last week that Monsanto must pay $289 million in damages to a man who alleged its glyphosate-based products like Roundup caused his cancer.

Monsanto, taken over earlier this year by Bayer AG , said in a statement that more than 800 reviews, including those by the U.S. environmental and health authorities, support that glyphosate does not cause cancer. The company is appealing the U.S. court ruling.

Brazil federal prosecutors brought the case to force Anvisa to make a decision in its re-evaluation of glyphosate, which it started in 2008, said Marco Antonio Delfino de Almeida, a member of a prosecutors’ working group on pesticides.

A 2015 assessment by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer determined glyphosate probably causes cancer in humans, which provides a basis for reconsidering its safety, Almeida said.

If the Brazil ban on existing product registrations goes into effect, it could disrupt farmers who are set to begin planting soy in September.

The sale of glyphosate products would be halted and farmers who use products with suspended registrations could face legal risks, said Brazil-based agribusiness lawyer Frederico Favacho.

Anvisa told Reuters it is prioritizing its re-evaluation of glyphosate but did not give a timeframe for announcing its findings.

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iDnipro

Ag Minister: Ban on Glyphosate Would Be ‘Disaster’ for Brazil Agriculture

A potential ban on the popular herbicide glyphosate in Brazil over concerns it may cause cancer in humans would be a “disaster” for the country’s agricultural industry, Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi said on Thursday.

A Brazilian court ruled on Aug. 3 that new products containing the chemical could not be registered in the country and existing registrations would be suspended starting from September, until health authority Anvisa issues a decision on its re-evaluation of glyphosate’s safety.

Maggi said that glyphosate is used on around 95 percent of soy, corn and cotton harvested in the country and that there is no readily available substitute. Brazil is the world’s top exporter of soy and a major producer and exporter of corn.

“Glyphosate makes it viable for us to plant and grow crops.

What is the alternative?” Maggi said at an event in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil’s Solicitor General’s office has said it is preparing an appeal to the court decision with the Agriculture Ministry’s backing. Maggi said he is confident the ruling will be overturned on appeal.

The Brazilian court case is part of a global pushback against the chemical. A U.S. judge ruled last week that Monsanto must pay $289 million in damages to a man who alleged its glyphosate-based products like Roundup caused his cancer.

Monsanto, taken over earlier this year by Bayer AG , said in a statement that more than 800 reviews, including those by the U.S. environmental and health authorities, support that glyphosate does not cause cancer. The company is appealing the U.S. court ruling.

Brazil federal prosecutors brought the case to force Anvisa to make a decision in its re-evaluation of glyphosate, which it started in 2008, said Marco Antonio Delfino de Almeida, a member of a prosecutors’ working group on pesticides.

A 2015 assessment by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer determined glyphosate probably causes cancer in humans, which provides a basis for reconsidering its safety, Almeida said.

If the Brazil ban on existing product registrations goes into effect, it could disrupt farmers who are set to begin planting soy in September.

The sale of glyphosate products would be halted and farmers who use products with suspended registrations could face legal risks, said Brazil-based agribusiness lawyer Frederico Favacho.

Anvisa told Reuters it is prioritizing its re-evaluation of glyphosate but did not give a timeframe for announcing its findings.

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iDnipro

Finance Minister: Turkey Will Emerge Stronger from Lira Crisis Despite Row with US

Finance Minister Berat Albayrak assured international investors on Thursday that Turkey would emerge stronger from its currency crisis, insisting its banks were healthy and signalling it could ride out a dispute with the United States.

In a conference call with thousands of investors and economists, Albayrak — who is President Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law — said Turkey fully understood and recognised all its domestic challenges but was dealing with what he described as a market anomaly.

With Ankara locked in a complex rift with Washington, he also played down a decision by President Donald Trump to double tariffs on imports of Turkish metals. Washington later said it was ready to impose further economic sanctions on Turkey.

Many countries had been the target of similar U.S. trade measures, Albayrak said, and Turkey would navigate this period with other parties such as Germany, Russia and China.

Turkey, he said, has no plans to seek help from the International Monetary Fund or impose capital controls to stop money flowing abroad in response to the recent collapse of its lira currency.  Before he spoke, the lira strengthened more than 3 percent, despite signs that the dispute with the United States is as wide as ever.

The lira held steady during Albayrak’s conference call but later weakened when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the United States was prepared to levy more sanctions on Turkey if detained American pastor Andrew Brunson was not freed.

The Turkish currency was trading at 5.85 at 1740 GMT, more than 1 percent stronger on the day. Turkey’s sovereign dollar bonds extended their gains.

The lira hit a record low of 7.24 to the dollar earlier this week, down 40 percent this year, as investors fretted over Erdogan’s influence over monetary policy and the row with the United States.

Turkey’s foreign minister said Ankara did not want any problems with Washington.

“We can solve issues with the United States very easily, but not with the current approach,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told a news conference in Ankara late on Thursday.

Facing Turkey’s gravest currency crisis since 2001 in his first month in the job, Albayrak has the daunting task of persuading investors that the economy is not hostage to political interference.

Albayrak, a 40-year-old former company executive with a doctorate in finance, said Turkey would not hesitate to provide support to the banking sector. The banks were capable of managing the volatility, and there had been no major flow of cash out of deposits lately, he added.

Qatari pledge

Economists gave Albayrak’s comments a qualified welcome, and praised his ambition to get inflation down into single figures next year from above 15 percent now. But his father-in-law’s opposition to higher interest rates may complicate that quest.

“He said all the right things, but it’s one thing saying them and another thing doing them,” said Sailesh Lad at AXA Investment Managers. “He said capital controls weren’t part of the agenda, and never will be. I think a lot of the market liked hearing that.”

The lira gained some support from the announcement late on Wednesday of a Qatari pledge to invest $15 billion in Turkey. Trump has used trade tariffs in a series of disputes ranging from with Turkey and China to the European Union.

In a sign that Turkey may hope to make common cause with other affected countries, Erdogan and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by phone on Thursday, discussing developing economic and trade ties and boosting bilateral investment, a Turkish presidential source said.

Albayrak will also meet his German counterpart Olaf Scholz in Berlin on Sept. 21.

However, in a potential complication, a foreign ministry source in Berlin said Turkish police had arrested a German citizen. ARD TV reported the man was accused of “terrorist propaganda” after criticising the government on social media.

In another element of the row with Washington, a U.S. court sentenced a senior executive of state-owned Turkish lender Halkbank to 32 months in prison in May for taking part in a scheme to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions. That case has increased speculation that the bank itself could be fined for sanctions-busting.

Halkbank has said all of its transactions were lawful and Albayrak played down the risk. “We are not expecting any fines on Halkbank for sure,” he said. “But hypothetically speaking, …if one of our public banks need help, the government will stand strong by it for sure.”

The White House said on Wednesday that it would not remove steel tariffs on Turkey, appearing to give Ankara little incentive to work for the release of Brunson, a pastor on trial in Turkey on terrorism charges.

Washington wants the evangelical Christian freed but Turkish officials say the case is a matter for the courts.

The pastor row is one of several between the NATO allies, including diverging interests in Syria and U.S. objections to Ankara’s ambition to buy Russian defence systems, that have contributed to instability in Turkish financial markets.

Economic war

Erdogan has repeatedly told Turks to exchange gold and hard currency into lira, saying the country was involved in an economic war with enemies.

However, Turks appeared not to be heeding his appeal. Central bank data showed foreign currency deposits held by local investors rose to $159.9 billion in the week to Aug. 10, from $158.6 billion a week earlier.

Erdogan has called for a boycott of U.S. electronic goods and Turkish media have given extensive coverage to anti-U.S. protests, including videos on social media showing Turks apparently burning dollar bills and destroying iPhones.

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Finance Minister: Turkey Will Emerge Stronger from Lira Crisis Despite Row with US

Finance Minister Berat Albayrak assured international investors on Thursday that Turkey would emerge stronger from its currency crisis, insisting its banks were healthy and signalling it could ride out a dispute with the United States.

In a conference call with thousands of investors and economists, Albayrak — who is President Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law — said Turkey fully understood and recognised all its domestic challenges but was dealing with what he described as a market anomaly.

With Ankara locked in a complex rift with Washington, he also played down a decision by President Donald Trump to double tariffs on imports of Turkish metals. Washington later said it was ready to impose further economic sanctions on Turkey.

Many countries had been the target of similar U.S. trade measures, Albayrak said, and Turkey would navigate this period with other parties such as Germany, Russia and China.

Turkey, he said, has no plans to seek help from the International Monetary Fund or impose capital controls to stop money flowing abroad in response to the recent collapse of its lira currency.  Before he spoke, the lira strengthened more than 3 percent, despite signs that the dispute with the United States is as wide as ever.

The lira held steady during Albayrak’s conference call but later weakened when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the United States was prepared to levy more sanctions on Turkey if detained American pastor Andrew Brunson was not freed.

The Turkish currency was trading at 5.85 at 1740 GMT, more than 1 percent stronger on the day. Turkey’s sovereign dollar bonds extended their gains.

The lira hit a record low of 7.24 to the dollar earlier this week, down 40 percent this year, as investors fretted over Erdogan’s influence over monetary policy and the row with the United States.

Turkey’s foreign minister said Ankara did not want any problems with Washington.

“We can solve issues with the United States very easily, but not with the current approach,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told a news conference in Ankara late on Thursday.

Facing Turkey’s gravest currency crisis since 2001 in his first month in the job, Albayrak has the daunting task of persuading investors that the economy is not hostage to political interference.

Albayrak, a 40-year-old former company executive with a doctorate in finance, said Turkey would not hesitate to provide support to the banking sector. The banks were capable of managing the volatility, and there had been no major flow of cash out of deposits lately, he added.

Qatari pledge

Economists gave Albayrak’s comments a qualified welcome, and praised his ambition to get inflation down into single figures next year from above 15 percent now. But his father-in-law’s opposition to higher interest rates may complicate that quest.

“He said all the right things, but it’s one thing saying them and another thing doing them,” said Sailesh Lad at AXA Investment Managers. “He said capital controls weren’t part of the agenda, and never will be. I think a lot of the market liked hearing that.”

The lira gained some support from the announcement late on Wednesday of a Qatari pledge to invest $15 billion in Turkey. Trump has used trade tariffs in a series of disputes ranging from with Turkey and China to the European Union.

In a sign that Turkey may hope to make common cause with other affected countries, Erdogan and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by phone on Thursday, discussing developing economic and trade ties and boosting bilateral investment, a Turkish presidential source said.

Albayrak will also meet his German counterpart Olaf Scholz in Berlin on Sept. 21.

However, in a potential complication, a foreign ministry source in Berlin said Turkish police had arrested a German citizen. ARD TV reported the man was accused of “terrorist propaganda” after criticising the government on social media.

In another element of the row with Washington, a U.S. court sentenced a senior executive of state-owned Turkish lender Halkbank to 32 months in prison in May for taking part in a scheme to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions. That case has increased speculation that the bank itself could be fined for sanctions-busting.

Halkbank has said all of its transactions were lawful and Albayrak played down the risk. “We are not expecting any fines on Halkbank for sure,” he said. “But hypothetically speaking, …if one of our public banks need help, the government will stand strong by it for sure.”

The White House said on Wednesday that it would not remove steel tariffs on Turkey, appearing to give Ankara little incentive to work for the release of Brunson, a pastor on trial in Turkey on terrorism charges.

Washington wants the evangelical Christian freed but Turkish officials say the case is a matter for the courts.

The pastor row is one of several between the NATO allies, including diverging interests in Syria and U.S. objections to Ankara’s ambition to buy Russian defence systems, that have contributed to instability in Turkish financial markets.

Economic war

Erdogan has repeatedly told Turks to exchange gold and hard currency into lira, saying the country was involved in an economic war with enemies.

However, Turks appeared not to be heeding his appeal. Central bank data showed foreign currency deposits held by local investors rose to $159.9 billion in the week to Aug. 10, from $158.6 billion a week earlier.

Erdogan has called for a boycott of U.S. electronic goods and Turkish media have given extensive coverage to anti-U.S. protests, including videos on social media showing Turks apparently burning dollar bills and destroying iPhones.

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