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Business Highlights

February 27, 2019

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Powell says Fed likely to end bond trimming by end of 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says that the Federal Reserve is close to announcing a plan to bring to an end the reduction of the size of its massive bond portfolio. He says the expectation is that the bond trimming will draw to a close by the end of this year.

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Walmart is getting rid of greeters, worrying the disabled

As Walmart moves to phase out its familiar “greeters” at some 1,000 stores nationwide, disabled workers who fill many of those jobs say they’re being unfairly targeted. Walmart told greeters around the country last week their positions would be eliminated on April 26 in favor of an expanded, more physically demanding “customer host” role. That came as a heavy blow to greeters with cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other disabilities. Now Walmart is facing a backlash from customers and employees.

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On summit sidelines, North Koreans study Vietnam’s economy

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — As Kim Jong Un prepared for his second summit with President Donald Trump, top members of his delegation made a whirlwind tour of one of Vietnam’s most successful conglomerates. Kim came to Vietnam with several senior foreign and economic advisers and gleaning insights into ways to improve the North’s economy appears to be a high priority.

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Broadcasters aren’t succumbing to Netflix era

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Top television executives say they’re not giving up in the face of what has become the Netflix era. ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox chiefs know they’re in a fight for their life and are making changes to compete, but say they have some advantages that should be emphasized.

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US official: Much work remains to reach US-China trade deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S.-China trade agreement is far from being completed and will require much more work, particularly on enforcement, the U.S. official negotiating the pact told a House panel. “Much still needs to be done before an agreement can be reached,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Wednesday.

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A very merry Christmas at Best Buy with sales booming

NEW YORK (AP) — Best Buy is reporting big holiday sales numbers, more evidence that Americans are willing and able to spend. A dire report from the U.S. Commerce Department this month on retail sales cast a pall over the sector, raising concerns that an extended period of elevated consumer confidence had ended abruptly. But other notable retailers, like Walmart, also had big holiday quarters.

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May says Brexit still on course as chances of delay rise

LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister Theresa May insists Britain will leave the European Union on schedule next month, amid signs that her promise to give Parliament a vote on delaying Brexit was boosting support for her unpopular EU divorce deal. May has bowed to pressure from within her own Conservative government and given Parliament the chance to delay Britain’s scheduled March 29 departure if lawmakers fail to approve her divorce agreement with the bloc.

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Britain reaches WTO deal on govt contracts post-Brexit

GENEVA (AP) — Britain has struck a trade deal for a post-Brexit world, obtaining approval from other World Trade Organization members to stay part of a competitive market for lucrative government contracts after the country leaves the European Union. The agreement allows Britain to retain its place among the 47 WTO countries that are involved in the Government Procurement Agreement.

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US still sends lots of lobster to China, but tariff a worry

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Preliminary data from the federal government say U.S. lobster exports to China held steady this year despite tariffs imposed during trade hostilities between the two countries. China is one of the biggest buyers of American lobster, which is hauled to the shore mostly in New England and Canada.

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Worries that China trade talks are stalling weigh on stocks

NEW YORK (AP) — Major U.S. stock indexes closed mostly lower Wednesday after wavering for much of the day between small gains and losses. Even so, the benchmark S&P 500 index is on track to end the month with a gain of more than 3 percent. Health care, communications and technology companies took the heaviest losses. Comments from a key U.S. trade negotiator stoked doubt early in the day over how much progress was being made on resolving the trade war between the U.S. and China.

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The S&P 500 index dropped 1.52 points, or 0.1 percent, to $2,792.38. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up 72.82 points, or 0.3 percent, to 25,985.16. The Nasdaq composite gained 5.21 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,554.51. Smaller companies fared better than the broader market. The Russell 2000 index picked up 3.57 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,581.05.