Stocks flat…Putin orders import limits over sanctions…Italy slips back into recession

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are little changed in early afternoon trading on Wall Street, a day after falling to their lowest level since May. Sprint plunged more than 18 percent after the company said that it was abandoning its pursuit of T-Mobile US. Energy stocks are among the biggest gainers in the S&P 500, climbing 0.9 percent. Molson Coors stock jumped after the beer maker reported strong earnings.

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered government agencies to restrict imports of food and agricultural products from the countries that have imposed sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine. The decree released by the Kremlin d doesn’t name any specific countries or products. The move follows the latest round of sanctions against Russia imposed by the European Union last week, which for the first time targeted entire sectors of the Russian economy.

MILAN (AP) — Official figures show that Italy has slipped back into recession. Italy’s national statistics agency estimated today that the Italian economy contracted by a quarterly rate of 0.2 percent in the second quarter. That was the second straight decline, the traditional measure for recession. The decline was a surprise. Analyst surveys had forecast slight growth.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — The nation’s largest public utility says it is eliminating more than 2,000 jobs as part of a $500 million cost-cutting campaign. The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports the Tennessee Valley Authority is making the cuts this year to pare expenses and make electric rates in the Tennessee Valley more competitive with neighboring utilities. Most of the staff reductions are being made by not filling vacant jobs and through retirements and resignations by the end of next month.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new poll finds people aren’t sure what to expect from a future of robots and artificial intelligence. In the survey released by Pew Research Center’s Internet Project and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center, respondents were divided when asked how they see jobs being affected by artificial intelligence by the year 2025. Forty-eight percent said robots would kill more jobs than they create, while 52 percent said technology will create more jobs than it destroys.

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