Business Highlights

Markets Associated Press

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Apple unveils iPhone 7 with better camera, no headphone jack

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple's latest iPhone may be more notable for what's missing from previous models than what's being added. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus unveiled Wednesday won't have an analog headphone jack — a longtime staple in just about every consumer electronics device that can play audio.

In doing so, Apple is betting that its legions of loyal fans will embrace the shift to wireless headphones — or, if they insist on sticking with their old ways, that they won't mind using earbuds that plug into the iPhone's power port, or older headsets in conjunction with a new adapter.

The redesigned earbuds — with cord — will be included with the new iPhones. Also in the box: an adapter consisting of two plugs connected by a short length of cable, which will connect older headphones to the charging port.

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Small business look to Congress for action, may be waiting

NEW YORK (AP) — With Congress back at work, small business owners are hoping issues they care about like tax reform or health care will get some attention. They may be left waiting a while.

Most of the focus this fall will likely be on the presidential race and other elections. Both houses of Congress are in session during September, then leave for campaigning. They have four scheduled weeks of work starting Nov. 14 in what's known as a lame duck session, but how much lawmakers accomplish then may depend on the results of the presidential voting and which party controls the House and Senate.

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US growth weakened slightly this summer, Fed report shows

WASHINGTON (AP) — The economy grew at a moderate or modest pace this summer in eight of the Federal Reserve's 12 U.S. districts, a slowdown from previous reports that may make Fed policymakers more cautious about an interest rate hike.

The Fed's "Beige Book" survey of business conditions, released Wednesday, found that growth weakened in two districts — Philadelphia and Richmond. The economy was unchanged in New York and Kansas City. In its last report in July, growth was modest or moderate in 11 of 12 districts.

The report comes after Friday's jobs figures showed that hiring slowed in August to half the pace seen in June and July. And a business survey found that manufacturing activity actually shrank last month. Such readings may darken the outlook for many Fed officials.

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Britain's economy is stable — and people are surprised

LONDON (AP) — Fear of an economic meltdown was the biggest weapon in the campaign to stop Britain from leaving the European Union.

Economic and financial experts in the City of London, which has a lot to lose from an EU exit, warned that a decision to leave would hit business so hard as to put the country in or close to recession this year.

Ten weeks after the vote, though, some say the fearmongering was overdone. Though the pound has fallen to a 30-year low, as predicted, people continue to spend and activity in manufacturing and services rebounded last month from a sharp contraction in July. House prices have held up.

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US job openings jump to record high in mixed signal to Fed

WASHINGTON (AP) — American employers advertised a record number of open jobs in July, a sign hiring may stay healthy despite a slowdown last month.

Job openings jumped 4 percent to 5.87 million, the Labor Department said Wednesday, slightly above the previous peak reached in April. The data dates back to December 2000.

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Sony unveils 2 updated PlayStations: Pro and slim versions

NEW YORK (AP) — Sony is unveiling a slimmer, lighter, cheaper version of its PlayStation 4, as well as a Pro device targeted at hardcore gamers that features high-resolution images and a 1-terabyte hard drive.

The Japanese electronics company revealed the long-rumored updates to its video game console at an event in New York's Times Square Wednesday.

The slimmer, more energy-efficient PS4 effectively replaces the existing model. It will cost $300, down from $350 for the previous version, and go on sale on Sept. 15 in most markets.

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Ackman feels like Mexican, buys 10 pct of Chipotle

NEW YORK (AP) — Chipotle shares, under siege after a series of food scares erupted just over a year ago, surged at the opening bell after activist investor Bill Ackman revealed that he's become the taco chain's second largest investor.

Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management LP has amassed a 9.9 percent stake in Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Starbucks moves into "content creation" with digital series

NEW YORK (AP) — Starbucks wants to tell stories about inspiring Americans, marking the coffee chain's latest push to deepen its relationship with customers and cast itself as a positive force on social issues.

The coffee chain says it is moving into the world of "content creation" with its series of text, video and podcasts on subjects including a former NFL player who helps disabled veterans. The company says it is aiming for the quality level of The Washington Post and The New York Times.

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HP Enterprise spins off software businesses in $8.8B deal

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. will spin off software units in an $8.8 billion deal that it says will help it focus on faster-growing businesses.

The Palo Alto, California, company said Wednesday that the spun-off software businesses — they include big data, security for big companies and IT operations management units — will merge with U.K. software company Micro Focus International PLC.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise will get a $2.5 billion cash payment and a 50.1 percent stake in the combined company.

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Delta and Korean Air rekindle a partnership grown frosty

NEW YORK (AP) — Delta Air Lines and Korean Air are taking steps to mend a chilly relationship, announcing an expansion of their partnership Wednesday where each airline can sell tickets on some of each other's flights.

Delta will also launch a new non-stop flight from its hometown of Atlanta to Seoul Incheon International Airport in June.

The two carriers were founding members of the SkyTeam alliance in 2000. But that relationship started to fray after Delta reportedly pushed for — and Korean rejected — a joint venture agreement across the Pacific Ocean.

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The Dow Jones industrial dropped 11.98 points, or 0.1 percent, to 18,526.14. The S&P 500 index slipped 0.32 points, or 0.01 percent, to 2,186.16. The Nasdaq gained 8.02 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,283.93.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil futures rose 67 cents, or 1.5 percent, to close at $45.50 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, added 72 cents, or 1.5 percent, to close at $47.98 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 3 cents to $1.35 a gallon. Heating oil added 2 cents to $1.43 a gallon. Natural gas slid 4 cents to $2.68 per 1,000 cubic feet.