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Energy stocks bring market higher...Homebuilders more optimistic...Trading blame for ‘ransomware’ attack

May 15, 2017

NEW YORK (AP) — A spurt in oil prices is reviving energy stocks, which have been among the year’s worst performers. And that’s helped push the S&P 500 to a record high in today’s trading. The pace for markets around the world, though, remained sluggish. For weeks, markets have made only modest moves as investors shrugged off a long series of potential concerns.

UNDATED (AP) — U.S. homebuilders are feeling more optimistic about their business prospects. It reflects a recent surge in sales of newly built homes and a lingering shortage of previously occupied homes on the market. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released today rose to 70 this month. That’s up two points from 68 in April. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good rather than poor. The index has been above 60 since September.

BERLIN (AP) — In the aftermath of a worldwide “ransomware” attack, Germany’s interior ministry says software companies need to do their own homework, rather than blame governments for security breaches. Microsoft’s top lawyer, Brad Smith, had criticized governments yesterday for “hoarding” vulnerabilities and urged authorities to report security problems to IT firms “rather than stockpile, sell, or exploit them.” German rail company Deutsche (DOY’-chuh) Bahn’s platform displays were hit by the attack.

DALLAS (AP) — United Airlines says it is changing the keypad codes used to open cockpit doors after the previous codes were accidentally posted on a public website. An airline spokeswoman says United sent a memo to pilots over the weekend telling them to use alternative security measures. United said the breach in security measures was not the result of hacking and did not cause any flights to be delayed or canceled.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists say pollution from diesel trucks, buses and cars is 50 percent higher than levels shown in government lab tests. And they say that in 2015 that extra pollution translated to another 38,000 deaths worldwide from soot and smog. The researchers, writing in the journal Nature, had been following up on the Volkswagen scandal. They compared the amount of key pollutants coming out of diesel tailpipes in 10 countries and the European Union to the results of government lab tests. The researchers don’t accuse car and truck makers of cheating, but say worldwide testing is not simulating real-world conditions.

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