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Business Highlights

October 10, 2018

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Dow industrials sink 831 points as tech companies plunge

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks plunged to their worst loss in eight months on Wednesday as technology companies continued to drop. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 831 points. The losses were widespread, and stocks that have been the biggest winners on the market the last few years, including technology companies and retailers, suffered steep declines. Apple and Amazon both had their worst day in two and a half years.

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Scramble for holiday season workers already near fever pitch

WASHINGTON (AP) — Companies that depend on holiday season sales need more workers at a time when the ranks of the unemployed have dwindled to their lowest level since the recession. The U.S. job market is the tightest it’s been in five decades, consumer confidence is near an 18-year high and online shopping is surging. Envisioning an even tougher struggle than in recent years, many companies are taking steps they’ve not tried before in trying to recruit seasonal workers.

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Trump signs bills to help patients stop overpaying for drugs

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has signed into law two bills that would allow pharmacists to tell consumers when paying cash would be cheaper than using insurance for their prescriptions. Under bipartisan legislation he signed Wednesday, health plans or middlemen can no longer prohibit pharmacists from telling customers when they would be better off not using their insurance plans. Trump complained that drug prices are “way out of whack” and “way too high.”

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Spark it up, eh! Canada prepares for legalized marijuana

DELTA, British Columbia (AP) — An Associated Press survey shows that at least 109 licensed pot shops are expected to open next week when Canada becomes the second and largest nation to legalize the adult use of marijuana. None of those stores will be in the nation’s most populous province, Ontario, where stores won’t open until April. Customers also will be able to order online and have cannabis delivered. Uruguay is the only other country with legal recreational marijuana sales.

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Google’s Waze expands carpooling service throughout US

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google will begin offering its pay-to-carpool service throughout the U.S. in an effort to reduce the commute-time congestion that its popular Waze navigation service is designed to avoid. The expansion announced Wednesday builds upon a carpooling system that Waze began testing two years ago in northern California and Israel before gradually extending it into Brazil and parts of 12 other states. Waze says about 1.3 million drivers and passengers have signed up for the service so far.

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Senate Dems lose health care vote, hope it’s campaign fodder

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats have briefly turned the subject back to health care. On a 50-50 vote, Democrats failed to gain a majority needed to scuttle President Donald Trump’s push for short-term health insurance plans, which are less expensive but provide skimpier coverage. Even though they lost the vote, Democrats say the effort will help them in November because health care remains a top concern among voters.

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AT&T’s WarnerMedia to offer their own streaming service

NEW YORK (AP) — AT&T’s WarnerMedia are joining the ever-expanding list of companies offering a streaming video service. They say the service due to launch in late 2019 will include films, TV shows, documentaries, animation and other offerings. No pricing was announced. It’s the second streaming product AT&T has unveiled since it acquired Time Warner for $81 billion in June. It also offers WatchTV, a cable-like package of streaming TV channels.

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Brazil: Mexico dragging feet on Odebrecht corruption scandal

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian prosecutors say evidence that could shed light on bribes paid in Mexico by construction giant Odebrecht has been held up because Mexican prosecutors have refused to sign off on terms for exchanging information. The company has admitted paying $800 million in bribes across Latin America, leading to politicians being prosecuted in about a dozen nations. In Mexico, no one has been charged three years after video testimony emerged implicating the former head of the state oil company.

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AmEx Gold Card gets bigger perks, higher fee

NEW YORK (AP) — The middle child of American Express’ suite of charge cards, the Gold Card, is getting a major upgrade this fall, but its bigger perks are going to come with a higher fee. AmEx Gold Card users will now get four points per dollar spent on dining and supermarkets, as well as a $10 per month credit when they eat at select restaurants or use Seamless or GrubHub. The higher perks will come with a higher fee, though, of $250 a year. That’s up from $195 a year.

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The S&P 500 index sank 94.66 points, or 3.3 percent, to 2,785.68. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up 831.83 points, or 3.1 percent, to 25,598.74. The Nasdaq composite tumbled 315.97 points, or 4.1 percent, to 7,422.05. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks shed 46.45 points, or 2.9 percent, to 1,575.41.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 2.4 percent to $73.17 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 2.2 percent to $83.09 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline shed 2.7 percent to $2.02 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1.2 percent to $2.39 a gallon. Natural gas rose 0.6 percent to $3.28 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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