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Stocks edge lower...Oil futures remain flat... UN forecasts global economic expansion but warns of risks

May 17, 2018

UNDATED (AP) — Stock indexes have closed slightly lower after a day of mostly choppy trading, wiping out some of the market’s gains from a day earlier. The S&P 500 index slipped 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,720. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 55 points, or 0.2 percent, to 24,713 and the Nasdaq composite fell over 15 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,382. But the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up nearly 9 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,625.

UNDATED (AP) — An early rally in crude oil today faded by late afternoon. Benchmark U.S. crude oil ended flat at $71.49 a barrel in New York while Brent crude, used to price international oil, rose 2 cents to close at $79.30 a barrel in London. It had been briefly above $80 a barrel, its highest level since November 2014. In other energy futures trading, wholesale gasoline fell a penny to $2.24 a gallon and natural gas gained 4 cents to $2.89 per 1,000 cubic feet.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations is forecasting that the global economy will expand by more than 3 percent this year and next year -- but it warns that increasing risks could trigger “a shock to investment and trade” and a sharp drop to 1.8 percent growth in 2019. The U.N.’s mid-year report says growth in the world economy is surpassing expectations, reflecting further growth in developed countries and broadly favorable investment conditions.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is casting doubt on the prospect of successful trade talks with China, saying the economic powerhouse has become “very spoiled” because it usually gets its way with the U.S. Trump says the United States has been losing $500 billion a year on trade with China. Trump is meeting today with Vice Premier Liu He, the leader of China’s delegation. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (mih-NOO’-shin) is leading the talks.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s trade team is running out of time to rewrite a trade pact with Canada and Mexico this year. If negotiators can’t reach an agreement on a revamped the North American Free Trade Agreement soon -- House Speaker Paul Ryan set an informal Thursday deadline -- the talks could spill into 2019. Or Trump could carry out his threat to withdraw from the NAFTA agreement that he’s labeled a job-killing “disaster.”

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