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Stocks end mixed...Oil futures drop... Number of farms and ranches in US falls

April 11, 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks struggled to a mixed finish on Wall Street today after an early rally sputtered. Health care companies fell broadly, mostly offsetting gains in other parts of the market. The S&P 500 index edged up less than 1 point to 2,888. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 14 points, or 0.1%, to 26,143. And the Nasdaq fell 16 points, or 0.2%, to 7,947. The Russell 2000 gave up 2 points, or 0.2%, to close at 1,579.

UNDATED (AP) —Energy futures have ended broadly lower. Benchmark U.S. crude fell 1.6% to settle at $63.58 a barrel in New York today. At the same time, Brent crude lost 1.3% to close at $70.83 a barrel in London. In other futures, wholesale gasoline slid 1.9% to $2.03 a gallon, heating oil gave up 1% to $2.07 a gallon and natural gas dropped 1.3% to $2.66 per 1,000 cubic feet.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) —The latest Census of Agriculture shows the number of U.S. farms and ranches has fallen but the remaining operations are larger and are responsible for a higher percentage of agricultural sales. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2017 Census of Agriculture shows there were 2.04 million farms and ranches in 2017, down 3.2 percent from 2012. The average size of those operations was 441 acres, an increase of 1.6 percent.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The fewest people in nearly 50 years sought unemployment benefits last week, a sign of a strong job market and an unusually low level of layoffs. Yet the decline in applications isn’t due solely to a tight employment picture. Many states have imposed stricter rules on their unemployment insurance programs. The government says weekly applications for jobless benefits dropped 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 196,000 last week.

DALLAS (AP) — Boeing’s CEO says the company has made nearly 100 flights to test a software update to its troubled 737 Max jet. The plane has been grounded after two deadly crashes. Boeing is also meeting with airline officials and pilots in the U.S., U.K., Singapore and China as it seeks to rebuild confidence in its best-selling plane. CEO Dennis Muilenburg spoke during a leadership forum at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas,