news 5 days ago

Business Highlights

The Associated Press — By The Associated Press

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Mnuchin optimistic on trade battles; Wall Street approves

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is making progress in talks with Canada and Mexico over the lifting of steel tariffs, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday. Mnuchin also said he expects to soon travel to Beijing with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to resume negotiations on the trade dispute between the U.S. and China. The optimistic comments contributed to gains in the stock market.

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China voices strength, pushes nationalism around trade war

BEIJING (AP) — China's ruling Communist Party is taking a newly aggressive approach to controlling the narrative in its trade dispute with the U.S. The harder line comes after days of muted official responses to President Donald Trump's decision to hike tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. Escalating the antagonism, China retaliated Monday with higher tariffs on $60 billion worth of American goods, raising duties of 5% to 25%.

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Trump issues order that appears to target China's Huawei

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is issuing an executive order to protect the United States against foreign adversaries that are taking advantage of technological vulnerabilities to threaten U.S. communications systems. The order announced Wednesday by the White House does not name specific countries or companies, but the U.S. has been trying to prevent the use of equipment from the Chinese tech company Huawei. Trump has barred the government from using equipment from Huawei and China's ZTE Corp.

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World leaders, tech execs pledge to curb online violence

PARIS (AP) — Facebook, Google, Twitter and other tech companies have joined a dozen countries in a global pledge to step up efforts to keep internet platforms from being used to spread hate, organize extremist groups and broadcast attacks. World leaders led by French President Emmanuel Macron and tech executives have gathered in Paris to compile a set of guidelines dubbed the "Christchurch Call," named after the New Zealand city where 51 people were killed in a March attack on mosques.

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Officials: PG&E equipment sparked deadly California wildfire

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California fire authorities say Pacific Gas & Electric Co. power lines sparked the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history. Cal Fire said Wednesday the lines in the Pulga area ignited the Nov. 8 fire that killed 85 people in Paradise. The investigation also identified a second nearby ignition site involving vegetation and electrical distribution lines, also owned and operated by the San Francisco-based utility.

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FAA chief defends handling of Boeing Max safety approval

WASHINGTON (AP) — The acting head of the Federal Aviation Administration says that Boeing should have done more to explain an automated flight-control system on its 737 Max aircraft before two deadly crashes, but he defended his agency's safety certification of the plane and its decision not to ground the jet until other regulators around the world had already done so. The FAA official, Daniel Elwell, says he expects Boeing to submit a fix to the plane's flight-control software "in the next week or so."

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Help coming on blocking scam calls for robocall-plagued US

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. regulators will vote next month on rules meant to thwart robocalls. The Federal Communications Commission is considering allowing wireless carriers to block spam calls by default. Right now, customers have to request tools or download apps to help them weed out unwanted calls. Many robocalls are not scam calls, though, but calls from debt collectors and telemarketers selling insurance, cruises and the like. It's not clear if carriers would automatically block those calls.

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Retail sales in 2019 are a wild ride, slip 0.2% in April

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. retail sales slipped last month, as Americans cut back their spending on clothes, appliances, and building materials. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that sales dropped 0.2% in April. Economists are having a difficult time gauging the mood of consumers this year. Retail sales have been on a seesaw pattern, rising at a healthy pace in January, then falling in February, followed by the big jump in March and now a drop in April.

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US stocks extend gains after recovering from early slide

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks reversed an early slide on Wall Street and finished broadly higher Wednesday, giving the market its second straight gain. Big technology and communications companies, including Microsoft, Apple and Google parent Alphabet, led the rally. Banks took heavy losses following a sharp drop in bond yields. Markets got a boost from reports that the White House plans to delay new tariffs on car and auto parts imports from Europe by up to six months.

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The S&P 500 index gained 16.55 points, or 0.6%, to 2,850.96. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 115.97 points, or 0.5%, to 25,648.02. The Nasdaq added 87.65 points, or 1.1%, to 7,822.15. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 5.21 points, or 0.3%, to 1,548.27.