Business Highlights

By The Associated PressMarketsAssociated Press

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Fed rate policy unintentionally pressures emerging economies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — By ratcheting up U.S. interest rates, the Federal Reserve has — unintentionally — led investors to pull money out of emerging markets like Turkey, strengthened the dollar's value and made it harder for foreign companies to repay their dollar-denominated debts.

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Turkey increases tariffs on some US goods, escalating feud

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey is increasing tariffs on imports of certain U.S. products, escalating a feud with the United States that has helped trigger a currency crisis. Turkey said it was imposing extra tariffs on imports of products including rice, vehicles, alcohol, coal and cosmetics. Turkey's vice president says the tariffs on certain products were increased on the principle of reciprocity in retaliation for economic attacks by the United States.

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A rising concern? After straws, balloons get more scrutiny

NEW YORK (AP) — After bans on plastic straws, are balloons a rising concern? The straw bans have raised awareness about the environmental effect of various habits. Now, there are signs that balloons are getting more scrutiny for being a hazard to marine life. Clemson University is ending its balloon releases, and a Rhode Island town has outright banned the sale of balloons.

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Uber narrows 2Q loss as company polishes tarnished image

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Uber is still struggling to make money while the ride-hailing service's CEO deals with the headaches left behind by his predecessor. The second-quarter results released Wednesday show Uber continues to reel in more passengers, despite a variety of debacles that tarnished its reputation and further complicated its efforts to prove it can mature into a profitable business. The company lost $891 million from April through June, narrowing from a loss of $1.06 billion a year ago.

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Macy's rebound continues into 2Q, but shares tumble

NEW YORK (AP) — Macy's raised its annual profit forecast as the department store reported an unexpected increase in a key sales measure. The Cincinnati department store chain has now reported its third straight quarter of higher sales at existing stores after a three-year slump. But shares on Wednesday tumbled in their biggest one-day drop in over a year, perplexing analysts who offered varying reasons that included investors locking in profit gains after the stock's sharp run-up over the past year.

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US retail sales rose at robust 0.5 pct. annual rate in July

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans shopped at a healthy pace in July, buying more cars, clothes and appliances, evidence that consumers are optimistic despite higher prices. The Commerce Department says retail sales rose at a 0.5 percent annual rate in July, after a 0.2 percent increase in June.

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Twitter muzzles conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for a week

NEW YORK (AP) — Twitter is joining other prominent tech companies in muzzling Alex Jones, the right-wing conspiracy theorist who's used their services to spread false information. Twitter had been resisting the move despite public pressure, including some from its own employees. But the holdout lasted less than two weeks. Twitter said it suspended Jones' personal account for seven days because he violated the company's rules against inciting violence. It later put the account of Jones' "Infowars" show on the same seven-day timeout.

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Best Buy to buy a provider of health devices for the aging

NEW YORK (AP) — Consumer electronics retailer Best Buy is pushing more into the health field, acquiring a company that provides emergency response devices for the aging. Best Buy said Wednesday it's paying $800 million for GreatCall. The San Diego, California-based company, which has more than 900,000 paying subscribers, offers services like an easy connection to operators who can connect users to caregivers, answer questions, and more.

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Shopify bans merchants from selling certain firearms

NEW YORK (AP) — Shopify, a platform used by more than 600,000 businesses to sell their goods, says it will no longer allow them to sell some firearms and parts. The company said the policy change affects "a small number of merchants" but would not give a specific number.

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Stocks tumble as investors fret about China's growth

NEW YORK (AP) — Global stock indexes fell sharply as investors worried about economic growth, especially in China. Technology stocks and oil and metals prices skidded. Chinese gaming and messaging company Tencent reports a rare drop in profit. US retailers are falling after Macy's said its sales decreased.

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The S&P 500 slid 21.59 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,818.37. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 137.51 points, or 0.5 percent, to 25,162.41. The Nasdaq composite dropped 96.78 points, or 1.2 percent, to 7,774.12. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks sank 21.91 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,670.67.

U.S. crude sagged 3 percent to $65.01 a barrel in New York and Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, lost 2.3 percent to $70.76 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 1.8 percent to $2 a gallon and heating oil lost 1.8 percent to $2.09 a gallon. Natural gas dipped 0.6 percent to $2.94 per 1,000 cubic feet.