Business Highlights

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OxyContin maker reaches tentative opioid-crisis settlement

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Nearly half the states and some 2,000 local governments have agreed to a tentative settlement with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma over the toll of the nation's opioid crisis. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said the agreement reached Wednesday included more money from the family that owns Purdue than had been offered previously. Sources say that Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue will pay up to $12 billion over time and that the Sackler family will give up control of the company.

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Spokesman: Oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens dies at age 91

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — T. Boone Pickens, who amassed a fortune as an oil tycoon and corporate raider and gave much of it away as a philanthropist, has died. He was 91. Pickens was surrounded by friends and family when he died of natural causes under hospice care at his Dallas home, spokesman Jay Rosser said. Pickens suffered a series of strokes in 2017 and was hospitalized that July after what he called a "Texas-sized fall."

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Government will propose banning flavors used in e-cigarettes

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says his administration will propose banning thousands of flavors used in e-cigarettes to curb a surge in underage vaping by US teenagers. Federal health officials say the government will develop guidelines to remove all e-cigarette flavors from the market except tobacco. A flavor ban would represent a huge blow to the vaping industry, including multibillion dollar companies like Juul, which sells fruit and dessert-flavored nicotine vapes.

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UK govt: Businesses not ready for no-deal Brexit

LONDON (AP) — The British government says U.K. citizens and businesses are not prepared for leaving the European Union without a divorce agreement, and a no-deal Brexit could see the number of trucks coming through a key Channel crossing fall by half within a day. A planning document dated Aug. 2 and published Wednesday says "public and business readiness for a no-deal will remain at a low level" ahead of Britain's scheduled Oct. 31 departure date from the EU.

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Friendly fire: In trade fights, Trump targets US allies, too

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has risked turmoil in the financial markets and damage to the U.S. economy in waging his trade war with China, America's top strategic rival. But Trump hasn't exactly gone easy on America's friends, either. From Europe to Japan, the president has stirred up under-the-radar trade disputes that potentially could erupt within weeks or months with damaging consequence.

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China keeps penalties on US pork, soy, eases some others

BEIJING (AP) — China has exempted some U.S. industrial chemicals from tariff hikes but kept penalties on soybeans, pork and other farm goods. The announcement comes ahead of October talks on a U.S.-Chinese tariff war that threatens global economic growth. The first batch of exemptions includes industrial grease and some other chemicals. But penalties of up to 25% remain in place on soybeans and hundreds of other goods.

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Hong Kong stock exchange swoops in for London rival

LONDON (AP) — The Hong Kong stock exchange wants to buy its London counterpart to create a $70 billion-company, a bold move that faces significant hurdles. There are doubts about the Chinese government's potential influence, and about a deal the London exchange is already involved in. The London Stock Exchange said Wednesday it would consider the cash-and-shares offer which values it at 29.6 billion pounds ($36.6 billion).

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UK court rules Johnson's suspension of Parliament unlawful

LONDON (AP) — A Scottish court has dealt another blow to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit plans. In a surprise judgment, Scotland's highest civil court ruled that the prime minister's decision to suspend Parliament less than two months before the U.K. is due to leave the European Union was an unlawful attempt to avoid democratic scrutiny. The government immediately said it would appeal, and the political opposition is demanding Johnson reverse the suspension and recall lawmakers to Parliament.

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Bill giving protections to Uber drivers, others moves ahead

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers have sent the governor a bill that would give new wage and benefit protections to workers at so-called gig economy companies such as Uber and Lyft. The Assembly vote Wednesday marked a victory for labor unions and a defeat for tech companies that oppose it. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has already said he supports it. If signed, the proposal could have national implications as politicians and businesses confront the changing nature of work in the so-called gig economy.

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US stocks notch solid gains as China eases trade tensions

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks notched broad gains on Wall Street Wednesday as investors drew encouragement from China's move to exempt some U.S. products from a recent round of tariffs. Technology, health care and communication services stocks powered much of the rally. Investors also continued to favor smaller-company stocks. Bond yields rose. Oil prices fell. The benchmark S&P 500 index, which had been essentially flat since Friday, is on track for its third straight weekly gain.

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The S&P 500 rose 21.54 points, or 0.7%, to 3,000.93. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 227.61 points, or 0.8%, to 27,137.04. The Nasdaq picked up 85.52 points, or 1.1%, to 8,169.68. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks climbed 32.72 points, or 2.1%, to 1,575.71.