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Business Highlights: Hiring report strong, markets mixed

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A robust June jobs report clouds outlook for US economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — A strong hiring report for June has assuaged fears that the U.S. economy might be on the cusp of a recession — and highlighted the resilience of the nation’s job market. Yet the figures the government released Friday also spotlighted the sharp divide between the healthy labor market and the rest of the economy: Inflation has soared to 40-year highs, consumers are increasingly gloomy, home sales and manufacturing are weakening and the economy might actually have shrunk for the past six months. The contrasting picture suggests an economy at a crossroads. Strong hiring and wage growth could help stave off recession.

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EXPLAINER: 5 key takeaways from the June jobs report

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation is raging. The stock market is tumbling and interest rates rising. American consumers are depressed and angry. Economists warn of potentially dark times ahead. But employers? They just keep hiring. The Labor Department reported Friday that America’s dinged and dented economy managed to add a vigorous 372,000 jobs in June, well above the 275,000 that economists had expected. And the unemployment rate remained at 3.6%, just a tick above the 50-year low that was recorded just before the coronavirus pandemic flattened the economy in early 2020.

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Japan’s ex-leader Shinzo Abe assassinated during a speech

NARA, Japan (AP) — Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated on a street in western Japan by a gunman who opened fire on him from behind as he delivered a campaign speech. The attack stunned the nation that has some of the strictest gun control laws anywhere. The 67-year-old Abe, who was Japan’s longest-serving leader when he resigned in 2020, collapsed bleeding and was airlifted to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead from major damage to his heart and two neck wounds. Police arrested the suspected gunman at the scene and identified him as Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, a former member of Japan’s navy.

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Retailers scale back hiring as worry about a slowdown grows

NEW YORK (AP) — After going on a frenzied hiring spree for a year and a half to meet surging shopper demand, America’s retailers are starting to temper their recruiting. The changing mindset comes as companies confront a pullback in consumer spending, the prospect of an economic downturn and surging labor costs. Some analysts suggest that merchants have also learned to do more with fewer workers. The nation’s top employer, Walmart, said it recently over-hired because of a COVID-related staffing shortage and then reduced its head count through attrition. In April, Amazon said it, too, had decided that it had an excess of workers in its warehouses.

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Wall Street ends winning week with mixed close on jobs data

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street is closing out a winning week with a sputtering finish on Friday, as stocks waffled following a stronger-than-expected report on the U.S. jobs market. The S&P 500 slipped 0.1% after earlier flipping between a loss of 0.9% and a gain of 0.4%. A surprisingly strong jobs report showed that employers are continuing to hire despite worries about a possible recession. But the data also likely keeps the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates sharply. Treasury yields rose. Despite its weak finish, the S&P 500 delivered just its third winning week in the last 14.

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Yellen to push price cap on Russian oil during Asia visit

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will travel to Asia this month, her first trip to the Indo-Pacific since becoming head of the agency. Yellen will represent the U.S. at the Group of 20 finance minister meetings on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali. At the G-20 meetings and on her broader trip, Yellen will make the case for a price cap on Russian oil, to reduce revenue to the Kremlin as it continues its attack on Ukraine. Yellen will address the economic and humanitarian challenges wrought by Russia’s invasion. Unlike the Group of Seven finance leader meetings in April, the G-20 will involve participant countries that are not united in opposition to Russia’s invasion.

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Sri Lanka imposes curfew as cops fire tear gas at protesters

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Police have imposed a curfew in Sri Lanka’s capital a day before a planned protest demanding the resignations of the country’s president and prime minister over the economic crisis that has caused severe shortages of essential goods. Hours before the curfew announcement, police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse thousands of protesting students. Protest leaders have said thousands more will gather in Colombo on Saturday. But police said the curfew that started at 9 p.m. Friday is in effect until further notice in Colombo. Critics say President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is responsible for the worst economic crisis since the country’s independence in 1948.

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Inflation, expenses rise sharply as priorities: AP-NORC poll

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows an upheaval in priorities just months before critical midterm elections. Concerns about inflation and personal finances have surged while COVID has evaporated as a top issue for Americans. Many U.S. adults also prioritize other issues, including abortion, women’s rights and gun policy. In a troubling sign for both parties, the poll finds many Americans say they think neither side of the aisle is better at focusing on the issues important to them or getting things done.

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German energy giant Uniper asks for bailout amid Ukraine war

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has pledged to help troubled energy giant Uniper after it asked the government for a bailout to cope with surging prices for natural gas due to the war in Ukraine. Uniper said the “stabilization measures” it is seeking were “aimed at ceasing the current accumulation of substantial losses, covering Uniper’s liquidity needs and protecting Uniper’s investment-grade credit rating.” Scholz assured the company — Germany’s biggest importer of Russian gas — of the government’s support. Economy Minister Robert Habeck said Friday that the next steps were still being discussed. Germany activated the second phase of its three-stage emergency plan for gas supplies last month.

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Presbyterians agree to divest from fossil fuel companies

The largest Presbyterian denomination in the U.S. plans to shed its investments from five fossil-fuel corporations. The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted overwhelmingly for a resolution targeting Chevron, ExxonMobil, Marathon Petroleum, Phillips 66, and Valero Energy for divestment. Presbyterian officials have in recent years sought to persuade several fossil fuel companies to take steps to reduce greenhouse gases. The resolution said these efforts did not produce enough substantial change by the five corporations now targeted for divestment. Several other faith-based groups have divested from some or all fossil-fuel companies.

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The S&P 500 fell 3.24 points, or 0.1%, to 3,899.38. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 46.40 points, or 0.1%, to 31,388.15. The Nasdaq rose 13.96 points, or 0.1%, to 11,635.31. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 0.24 points, or less than 0.1%, to 1,769.36.

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