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Stocks higher....UnitedHealthcare drug rebates...Honda recall

March 12, 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are mostly higher on Wall Street, led by gains in technology companies and banks. Google’s parent company Alphabet and Fifth Third Bancorp rose in the first few minutes of trading while another slide in Boeing weighed on the Dow. Boeing fell as more of its 737 Max 8 jets are idled following the second crash involving the jet model in less than five months. Bond prices rose, sending yields lower.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer prices rose 0.2 percent in February, pushed up slightly by higher gasoline and housing costs even as the prices for autos and clothing slumped. The Labor Department said the consumer price index rose a modest 1.5 percent last month from a year ago. Inflation has been muted despite the solid job market, which has caused average hourly earnings — after being adjusted for consumer prices — to climb 1.9 percent in the past year

MINNETONKA, Minn. (AP) — The nation’s largest health insurer is expanding a program that passes rebates from drugmakers directly to the people that use their medications. Beginning next year, all of the employer-sponsored health care plans that use UnitedHealthcare must give point-of-sale discounts to consumers when they pick up medications. UnitedHealthcare says that its initial direct-rebate program has lowered prescription drug costs by an average of $130 per prescription.

DETROIT (AP) — Honda is recalling about 1.2 million vehicles in North and Central America because their Takata air bag inflators can explode and send shrapnel into the vehicle interiors. The recall covers many of Honda’s most popular models from 2001 through 2010. The inflators covered by the recall were used as replacement parts in recalls that began in 2014. They contained a moisture-absorbing chemical and previously were believed to be safe.

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May has implored lawmakers to back her EU divorce agreement, telling them that “if this deal is not passed then Brexit could be lost.” May — her voice reduced to a raw whisper after days of frantic Brexit diplomacy — spoke as the House of Commons began debating the deal before a vote later in the day. If Parliament throws out May’s deal again today, lawmakers will vote over the following two days on whether to leave the EU without an agreement — an idea likely to be rejected — or to ask the EU to delay Brexit beyond the scheduled March 29 departure date.