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Wall Street comeback...Oil prices edge higher... Former Venezuelan oil czar sued

February 16, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks have closed out their strongest week in five years and have now recovered more than half of the losses they suffered in a plunge at the beginning of the month. Investors got back to buying stocks almost as quickly as they started dumping them. The gain today was the sixth in a row for the S&P 500 index. It gained 1 point, closing at 2,732. The Dow industrials rose 19 points to 25,219. But the Nasdaq fell 17 points to 7,239.

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil futures are up a bit today. Benchmark U.S. crude picked up 34 cents to close at $61.68 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 51 cents to $64.84 a barrel in London. Meanwhile, natural gas rose 2 cents to $1.75 a gallon. Heating oil added 2 cents to $1.91 a gallon. Natural gas slipped 2 cents to $2.56 per 1,000 cubic feet.

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Venezuela’s former oil czar Rafael Ramirez is being sued by a Houston company that alleges he was behind alleged demands for at least $10 million in bribes to sign off on deals to sell its energy assets in the country. The lawsuit by Harvest Natural Resources comes just days after a U.S. official said Ramirez is suspected by prosecutors of having received bribes in connection to a major graft scheme at Venezuela’s state-run oil company.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Commerce Department is saying that imported aluminum and steel threaten U.S. national security and is urging President Donald Trump to impose tariffs or quotas to boost American production. The recommendations unveiled by Secretary Wilbur Ross are likely to escalate tensions with China and other U.S. trading partners. Stepped-up production of steel and aluminum, especially by China, has driven down prices and hurt U.S. producers.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A judge says the ex-president of the Pilot Flying J truck stop chain must wear an electronic monitoring device and be placed on house arrest while he awaits sentencing on his conspiracy and fraud conviction. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports the judge has declined to jail Mark Hazelwood pending sentencing. Pilot Flying J is controlled by the family of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who haven’t been charged with any wrongdoing

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