Business Highlights

By The Associated Press Markets Associated Press

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Amazon isn't technically dominant, but it pervades our lives

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon will bind its customers even more closely once it completes its $13.7 billion bid for the organic grocer Whole Foods. Still, antitrust lawyers believe the deal will get approved, as it doesn't create anything resembling a traditional monopoly. Rather, Amazon's dominance is in the form of reaching into all aspects of people's lives. It gets goodwill from consumers, even as suppliers and rivals worry.

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Made-in-USA goods can be pricey and elusive. Just ask Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's push this week to get Americans to buy goods "made in America" is harder than it might seem. In a 21st century global economy, few products are exclusively American-made. U.S. manufacturers rely on global supply chains and many people buy foreign goods for the simple reason that they value lower prices. Even for people who prefer to buy America-only, it is difficult to identify which products qualify as such.

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Will a sugar deal with Mexico affect U.S. treat prices?

NEW YORK (AP) — President Trump recently praised a new sugar deal with Mexico. But U.S. food makers say it will result in Americans paying even more for sugar than they already are. The issue highlights U.S. policies that have long rankled the makers of candy, cakes and other foods containing sugar. The sugar industry says food makers are just trying to sweeten their profits, not pass on savings from lower sugar prices to consumers.

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Companies offer quirky perks like guitar lessons, tattoos

NEW YORK (AP) — Small businesses are offering quirky and enviable perks — sabbaticals, massages, home maid service, bike maintenance, guitar lessons and even tattoos — so they can attract and keep the best workers. Some owners also provide the extras because they want staffers who are working a lot have a more rewarding environment.

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Cigarette consolidation: British American wins Reynolds

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The consolidation of Big Tobacco companies looking as much to nicotine replacements and e-cigarettes for revenues as traditional smokes continued with what will be the world's largest publicly traded tobacco company. Shareholders approved British American Tobacco taking over Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based Reynolds American Inc. to form the world's largest publicly traded tobacco company.

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Trump exhorts Senate anew to rid US of Obamacare

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says the Senate should send him a health care bill to sign before leaving town for Congress' August recess. Trump's comments came as he sat down for lunch with most of the Republicans in the Senate, a day after GOP divisions tanked their latest attempt to come up with a bill to repeal "Obamacare." The effort appears all but dead in the Senate but Trump appears intent on reviving it — just a day after saying it was time to let "Obamacare" collapse.

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Q&A: How Trump could help sink Obama health law

Health insurance markets created by the Affordable Care Act may not be on the verge of collapse, but President Donald Trump could nudge them in that direction by following through on his plan to let the Obama-era law fail. Simply raising the threat of failure makes already-skittish insurers more nervous, and could lead them to stop selling coverage in some areas. And there are a few moves the administration could make that would further destabilize markets. That includes withholding subsidy payments to insurers or declining to enforce a mandate requiring people to buy coverage.

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Technology and health care lift stocks to record highs

NEW YORK (AP) — US stock indexes set more record highs as technology, health care and media companies make strong gains. Vertex Pharmaceuticals soars on results for potential cystic fibrosis treatments and cable companies Discovery Communications and Scripps jump on reports they may combine. Technology companies break a 17-year old record.

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World's plastic waste could bury Manhattan 2 miles deep

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new study finds that production of plastic is soaring. The study says since 1950, industry has made more than 9 billion tons of plastics. And three-quarters of that ends up as waste in landfills or the ocean. The study's lead author says Earth is on its way to becoming a plastic planet. The research was published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

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Spice maker McCormick buys Reckitt unit for $4.2 billion

LONDON (AP) — U.S. spice maker McCormick & Company has bought Reckitt Benckiser's food business for $4.2 billion, in a deal it regards as a "perfect match" but that some investors think may be a bit too pricey. The Sparks, Maryland-based company fought off rival bidders to purchase the business that makes French's mustard and Frank's RedHot brands.

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Amazon's social network seems a lot like Pinterest

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is launching a new social network aimed at getting its hardcore users to spend even more money with the e-commerce giant. The new service, called Spark, essentially takes Amazon Prime, mixes it with Pinterest and adds a dash of Instagram. It lets users share photo-heavy posts about their interests, particularly those that involve shopping.

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The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 13.22 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,473.83. Despite a sharp drop from IBM, the Dow Jones industrial average added 66.02 points, or 0.3 percent, to 21,640.75. The Nasdaq composite gained 40.74 points, or 0.6 percent, to 6,385.04.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 72 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $47.12 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, gained 86 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $49.70 per barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline rose 4 cents to $1.62 a gallon. Heating oil gained 4 cents to $1.55 a gallon. Natural gas lost 2 cents to $3.07 per 1,000 cubic feet.