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Slight gains and losses...Services index rises...Hurricanes hobble hiring

October 4, 2017

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market’s rally has shifted into neutral, and U.S. indexes flipped between very slight gains and losses in early trading. If the Standard & Poor’s 500 ends the day lower, it would be the first loss for the index in seven days. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slipped by a quarter of a point to 2,534, as of 10:05 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 14 points, or 0.1 percent, to 22,655, and the Nasdaq composite slipped nearly 6 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,525.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. services companies in September expanded at the strongest rate in dozen years as a measure for new orders climbed sharply. The Institute for Supply Management says its services index rose last month to 59.8 from 55.3 in August. The September reading was the highest since August 2005. Any reading above 50 signals growth. The services sector has expanded for 93 straight months.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hobbled U.S. hiring last month, with businesses adding just 135,000 jobs, the fewest in nearly a year, according to a private survey. Payroll processor ADP says the drop-off in job gains was concentrated in smaller businesses, particularly smaller retailers, many of which were forced to close in Texas and Florida because of the hurricanes.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Most Americans believe their jobs are safe from the spread of automation and robotics, at least during their lifetimes. And only a handful says automation has cost them a job or loss of income. Still, a survey by the Pew Research Center also found widespread anxiety about the general impact of technological change. Three-quarters of Americans say it’s at least “somewhat realistic” that robots and computers will eventually perform most of the jobs currently done by people.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Wells Fargo says it will refund customers that paid mortgage rate lock extension fees that were requested from Sept. 16, 2013 through Feb. 28, 2017, as it looks to win back their trust following a scandal over its sales practices. Wells Fargo says the refunds will start to go out during the last quarter of the year.

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