Business Highlights

November 17, 2017


Derided by critics, trickle-down economics gets another try

WASHINGTON (AP) — Does money roll downhill? In their effort to overhaul the U.S. tax code, President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are betting it does. Behind their legislation is a theory long popular among conservatives: Slash taxes for corporations and rich people, who will then hire, invest and profit — and cause money to trickle into the pockets of ordinary Americans.


GOP closer to big win with House tax vote; Senate unclear

WASHINGTON (AP) — A debate between two senators over whether Republican tax cuts are aimed at helping the rich escalated into raised voices, interruptions and an un-senatorial cry of “bull crap.” The eruption occurred late Thursday. That’s when Republicans pushed a near $1.5 trillion, 10-year tax cut for businesses and individuals through the Senate Finance Committee. Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown said Republicans designed the bill to help the rich. Panel Chairman Orrin Hatch called that “bull crap.”


Ultra-wealthy win in Senate tax bill, other face hikes

WASHINGTON (AP) — The ultra-wealthy, especially those with dynastic businesses — like President Donald Trump and his family — do very well under a major Republican tax bill moving in the Senate, as they do under legislation passed this week by the House. On the other hand, people living in high-tax states, who deduct their local property, income and sales taxes from what they owe Uncle Sam, could lose out from the complete or partial repeal of the deductions.


VA exploring idea of merging health system with Pentagon

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Department of Veterans Affairs is exploring merging its health system with the Pentagon’s as part of its effort to expand private health care. The agency says the proposal would provide better care for veterans and save money, But veterans groups say it could threaten the viability of VA hospitals and clinics. .


Retailers rise again, but tech leads other US stocks lower

NEW YORK (AP) — Retailers and smaller U.S. companies jumped again Friday as they continued to report strong third-quarter results, but technology companies and other big U.S. corporations couldn’t add to the previous day’s gains. A slew of retailers including discount chain Ross Stores, shoe store Foot Locker and clothing companies Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch soared following strong results or forecasts.


US home construction reaches strongest pace in a year

WASHINGTON (AP) — Construction of new homes climbed 13.7 percent in October. That’s the biggest jump in a year as builders broke ground on more apartments and single-family houses. The Commerce Department says the monthly gain put U.S. housing starts at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.29 million units. Apartment construction jumped 37.4 percent in October, while the building of single-family houses increased 5.3 percent.


Tesla wants to electrify big trucks, adding to its ambitions

DETROIT (AP) — After more than a decade of making cars and SUVs — and, more recently, solar panels — Tesla Inc. wants to electrify a new type of vehicle: big trucks. The company unveiled its new electric semitractor-trailer Thursday night near its design center in Hawthorne, California. CEO Elon Musk said the semi is capable of traveling 500 miles (804 kilometers) on an electric charge — even with a full 80,000-pound (36,287-kilogram) load — and will cost less than a diesel semi considering fuel savings, lower maintenance and other factors.


Climate talks wrap up with progress on Paris rulebook

BONN, Germany (AP) — Global talks on curbing climate change have wrapped up, with delegates and observers claiming progress on several key details of the 2015 Paris accord. The two-week negotiations focused on a range of issues including transparency, financial assistance for poor nations and how to keep raising countries’ targets for cutting carbon emissions.


Report shows Takata recall still moving slowly

DETROIT (AP) — A new report issued Friday says auto companies have replaced only 57 percent of potentially deadly Takata air bag inflators, even though recalls have been underway for more than 15 years. The report by an independent monitor appointed to keep tabs on the recalls also says that auto companies are only about halfway toward a Dec. 31 goal of 100 percent replacement of older and more dangerous inflators.


EU leaders warn broadening of Brexit talks could be in doubt

GOTEBORG, Sweden (AP) — European Union leaders have warned Britain that it must do much more to convince them that Brexit talks should be broadened to cover future relations and trade from next month onward. At an EU summit in Sweden, Prime Minister Theresa May’s government was urged to clarify how much Britain will pay to settle its financial accounts with the bloc and to ensure that there is no hard border created between Ireland and Northern Ireland.


Keystone pipeline leak won’t affect Nebraska ruling

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Discovery of a 210,000-gallon oil spill from the Keystone pipeline that critics say demonstrates the risks of energy transport to the environment, will not affect Nebraska regulators’ decision next week on an expansion of the system because they are not allowed to consider pipeline safety, a state official said Friday.


The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 6.79 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,578.85. The Dow Jones industrial average gave up 100.12 points, or 0.4 percent, to 23,358.24. The Nasdaq composite dipped 10.50 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,782.79 after it closed at a record high Thursday. The Russell 2000 index of smaller and more U.S.-focused stocks climbed 5.94 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,492.82.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.41, or 2.6 percent, to $56.55 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained $1.36, or 2.2 percent, to $62.72 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 3 cents to $1.74 a gallon. Heating oil gained 4 cents to $1.95 a gallon. Natural gas climbed 4 cents to $3.10 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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