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Business Highlights

November 16, 2018

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Brexit, Italy, trade: Risks piling up for Europe’s economy

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Europe’s long-running economic rebound is facing a mid-life crisis as it copes with worries including a potential debt explosion in Italy, an escalating US-China trade war and a potentially disruptive British exit from the European Union. How those risks play out will decide whether the expansion — now completing its fifth year, ages gracefully for several more — or meets an early demise.

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US industrial production ticks up 0.1 percent in October

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. industry expanded for a fifth straight month in October, as manufacturing growth offset declines in mining and utility production. The Federal Reserve says that industrial production rose a modest 0.1 percent last month following a 0.2 percent advance in September. The economy has been growing at a solid rate this year. But there are concerns that the strong dollar and rising trade tensions could hurt future growth.

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Beloved toy store FAO Schwarz makes its comeback

NEW YORK (AP) — FAO Schwarz is returning to New York three years after it closed its beloved toy store on Fifth Avenue. A new FAO opens Friday in Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center, about 10 blocks from its former home near the southeast corner of Central Park. Although smaller, the new version will have familiar attractions including a musical clock tower and the giant piano keyboard mat on which Tom Hanks danced in the film “Big.”

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CNN’s Acosta back at White House after judge’s ruling

WASHINGTON (AP) — CNN’s Jim Acosta is back at the White House after a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to immediately return his press credentials, though a lawsuit over the revocation is continuing. The White House revoked Acosta’s credentials last week after he and Trump tangled verbally during a press conference following the midterm elections. CNN sued and asked the judge to issue a temporary restraining order.

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VW wants to storm car market with cheaper electric model

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Automaker Volkswagen says it will invest 44 billion euros ($50 billion) in developing autonomous and electric cars. It’s also moving to expand the appeal of battery-powered cars by selling its upcoming ID compact for about what a diesel-powered Golf costs. Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch told a news conference Friday that the company’s plans for the next five years aim to make Volkswagen “a worldwide supplier of sustainable mobility.”

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California utility shares rise as regulator calms investors

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Shares of Pacific Gas & Electric Co. soared Friday after California’s top utility regulator said his agency will help the company deal with potentially crippling liability costs from wildfires. Stock prices soared 36 percent in midday trading after plunging 60 percent and losing $15 billion in valuation in the week following the Northern California wildfire that is the nation’s deadliest in a century. No cause has been determined, but speculation has centered on PG&E.

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Hong Kong economy cools as trade tension mounts

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s economic growth slowed in the latest quarter and the government warned it will face headwinds from U.S.-Chinese trade tension and higher interest rates. The Chinese territory’s economy expanded by 2.9 percent over a year earlier, down from the previous quarter’s 3.5 percent. The government said the impact of U.S.-Chinese trade tension has ‘begun to surface’ and is ‘likely to become more apparent in the near term.’

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Trump says will name EPA’s acting chief to post permanently

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says EPA agency’s acting head, Andrew Wheeler, will become permanent at the agency. Trump made the announcement almost in passing Friday at a White House ceremony for President Medal of Freedom honorees. The nomination would require Senate confirmation. Senators approved Wheeler as the agency’s deputy administrator in a 53-45 vote last April.

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Health care, energy companies power US stock market higher

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street capped a day of volatile trading with a late-afternoon buying spree that sent U.S. stock indexes to a mostly higher finish Friday. Despite the 11th-hour rally, the benchmark S&P 500 index ended with its second weekly loss in four weeks. Gains in health care and energy companies powered the market higher. Energy companies rose. The market got a brief boost after President Donald Trump expressed optimism that the U.S. and China will reach a deal to resolve their costly trade dispute.

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The S&P 500 index rose 6.07 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,736.27. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 123.95 points, or 0.5 percent, to 25,413.22. The Nasdaq composite slid 11.16 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,247.87. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies picked up 3.41 points, or 0.2 percent, to $1,527.53.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil was unchanged at $56.46 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 0.2 percent to $66.76 a barrel in London. Natural gas added 5.8 percent to $4.27 per 1,000 cubic feet, heating oil held steady to $2.07 a gallon and wholesale gasoline jumped 1.3 percent to $1.58 a gallon.

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