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Stocks gain...Home sales increase...Mexico hopes for more work visas

December 19, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are climbing as a modest recovery in oil prices pulls energy companies slightly higher following huge losses a day earlier. Markets have been relatively quiet as the Federal Reserve wraps up its last meeting of the year. Investors expect the Fed to raise interest rates again, and are looking for details about its plans for 2019 amid signs the global economy is slowing down.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home sales increased in November for the second straight month, but sales plummeted 7 percent from a year ago amid growing affordability pressures. The National Association of Realtors says that sales of existing homes rose 1.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.32 million last month. But higher mortgage rates have caused sales over the past 12 months to plunge at the steepest pace since May 2011, when the real estate sector was still in the grips of the housing bust.

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York Times report says Facebook gave some companies more extensive access to users’ personal data than it has previously revealed, letting them read private messages or see the names of friends without consent. The newspaper on Wednesday detailed special arrangements between Facebook and companies like Microsoft, Netflix and Spotify, in the latest revelations on how the social network shares user data.

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he hopes to negotiate more U.S. work visas for Mexicans and Central Americans. Lopez Obrador said relations with the U.S. government are good. In his words, “This new relationship with the U.S. government is on the right track.” His comments came one day after the administration of President Donald Trump pledged $4.8 billion in development projects for southern Mexico and $5.8 for the Central American nations of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

LONDON (AP) — Lawyers say the taxi hailing app Uber has lost its appeal against a British ruling that its drivers should be classed as workers. It’s a case with broad implications for the gig economy. Law firm Leigh Day says Britain’s Court of Appeal upheld an earlier ruling that found the company’s drivers are workers, not independent contractors and therefore should receive the minimum wage and paid holidays. Uber is expected to appeal.

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