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Business Highlights

February 6, 2019

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No plans yet for US, China presidents to meet on trade

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday there are no plans yet for President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to meet soon in hope of finalizing a trade deal. Mnuchin plans to travel to China’s capital next week to continue the negotiations. The U.S. and China are in the midst of talks aimed at resolving a costly trade war. Trump has said a comprehensive agreement is unlikely to be inked until he meets with his Chinese counterpart.

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Some workers still unpaid after shutdown, dread what’s next

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly two weeks after the end of the longest government shutdown in U.S history, many federal workers are still reeling financially and waiting to be made whole by government agencies that have struggled with payroll glitches and delays in ensuring everyone is paid. Many have not received back pay while scrambling to catch up on unpaid bills and pay back unemployment benefits — all while another government shutdown looms next week.

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Mnuchin says Powell and Trump had ‘productive’ meeting

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says that President Donald Trump had a “quite productive” dinner with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. He says they discussed a wide range of subjects, from the state of the economy to the Super Bowl and Tiger Woods’ golf game. The dinner marks the first time Powell and Trump have met since Powell took office as Fed chairman a year ago.

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Financial watchdog to gut most of its payday lending rules

NEW YORK (AP) — The nation’s federal financial watchdog agency plans to abolish most of its critical consumer protections governing the payday lending industry. Of note, payday lenders would not be required to make sure borrowers could afford to repay a payday loan without being stuck in a cycle of debt.

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United courts the well-heeled with more premium seats

CHICAGO (AP) — United Airlines plans to retrofit many planes and add premium seats in a bid to win over high-fare passengers. It’s part of an industry trend to give more space and better service to high-customers who drive revenue. United’s chief commercial officer says the airline decided it didn’t have enough business-class seats on the most lucrative routes, “and this fixed that problem.”

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Trump has solid US economy for SOTU, but threats remain

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump will enjoy the backdrop of a mostly solid economy as he delivers his second State of the Union address Tuesday night, though questions about its sustainability linger. Trump will likely tout the latest signs of strength: Friday’s jobs report showed that employers added the most jobs in January in nearly a year.

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Discounts to insurance: Many ways seniors can save on travel

DALLAS (AP) — Seniors often have more time for travel, but fixed incomes make saving money crucial. From discounts to travel insurance, experts say there are steps retirees can take to get the most bang for their travel buck. Some advice is equally good for other age groups too, including being flexible about travel dates and grabbing ‘flash’ bargains if you’re not tied down by schedule restrictions. They also have safety suggestions.

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Spotify takes a big jump into the podcasting game

NEW YORK (AP) — Spotify is making a bigger bet on podcasts as it looks to bring a Netflix-like model of original programs to the audio world. The music-streaming pioneer gobbled up two podcasting companies, Gimlet and Anchor, on Wednesday. The acquisitions are a move by Spotify to expand into the small but burgeoning podcast industry. Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.

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US trade deficit narrows in November

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in November as imports fell faster than exports. The Commerce Department says the gap between what the United States sells and what it buys from other countries dropped to $49.3 billion November from a revised $55.7 billion in October.

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Trump bump? NYT adds subscribers, grows digital revenue

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Times is adding large numbers of digital subscribers and growing its digital revenue. With the media industry suffering through grueling jobs cuts, the Times said Wednesday its newsroom staff had grown to 1,600 people, the largest number in its 167-year history.

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Video game companies lead modest slide in US stocks

NEW YORK (AP) — A mixed bag of corporate earnings nudged U.S. stocks slightly lower Wednesday, snapping the market’s five-day winning streak. Communications stocks, led by steep declines in video game companies, accounted for most of the market’s slide. Take-Two Interactive and Electronic Arts plunged after reporting earnings that fell far short of what Wall Street analysts were expecting. Gains in technology stocks offset some of those losses, with Skyworks Solutions leading a rally in semiconductor companies.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 21.22 points, or 0.1 percent, to 25,390.30. The S&P 500 index dropped 6.09 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,731.61. The Nasdaq composite slid 26.80 points, or 0.4 percent, to 7,375.28. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gave up 2.20 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,518.02.

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