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Stocks rise...Auto reliability up...Democrats question T-Mobile-Sprint merger deal

February 13, 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock indexes are showing modest gains in afternoon trading on Wall Street, as investors remained optimistic that the U.S. and China will make more progress in resolving their costly trade dispute. Banks and technology and energy companies account for much of the market’s rise, a sign that traders expect the economy to remain healthy.

DETROIT (AP) — Automobiles are getting more reliable, but J.D. Power’s annual survey finds problems with battery failures, transmission shifting and voice recognition systems. The survey found that Lexus was the most dependable brand for the eighth straight year, but some mass-market brands cracked the top five. Porsche and Toyota tied for second, followed by Chevrolet and Buick. The worst performers were Fiat, Land Rover, Volvo, Dodge and a tie between Ram and Acura.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic lawmakers are challenging a pledge by T-Mobile and Sprint not to raise prices or hurt competition if their $26.5 billion merger goes through. The deal would combine the nation’s third- and fourth-largest wireless companies and create a behemoth roughly the size of industry giants Verizon and AT&T. T-Mobile says it won’t raise prices for three years, but the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Frank Pallone of New Jersey, says he’s not sure that Trump administration regulators are willing to hold T-Mobile to that promise.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Well-known jeans company Levi Strauss & Co. says it plans to raise about $100 million through an initial public offering. The number of shares to be offered and the price range has yet to be determined. The San Francisco company says it plans to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, including working capital, operating expenses and capital expenditures. It may also use funds for acquisitions or other strategic investments.

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican says it is teaming up with Microsoft on an academic prize to promote ethics in artificial intelligence. Pope Francis met privately on Wednesday with Microsoft President Brad Smith and the head of a Vatican scientific office that promotes Catholic Church positions on human life. The Vatican says Smith discussed artificial intelligence “at the service of the common good” during the papal meeting.

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