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Stocks lower ... GOP begins pushing tax cut bill through Congress ... Consumer chief to resign

November 15, 2017

NEW YORK (AP) — Technology companies are leading a broad slide for U.S. stocks in afternoon trading. Consumer-focused companies also account for a big slice of the losses, while energy stocks are down as the price of crude oil heads lower again. The Dow was down about 135 points.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the Senate’s tax-writing committee is defending the decision to include in the tax bill a repeal of the Obamacare requirement for Americans to get health insurance. Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, says the requirement that nearly everyone has insurance coverage or face a fine is a tax. Democrats angrily protested the move. Repealing the mandate would raise an estimated $338 billion that could help pay for deep tax cuts, especially for corporations.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and an appointee of former President Barack Obama, says he’s resigning. Cordray plans to leave office by the end of this month, and the Democrat is expected to return to his home state of Ohio to run for governor. Cordray has been a leading critic of President Donald Trump within the government.

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is giving Prime members their first taste of special discounts at its recently acquired Whole Foods stores. Amazon says it will email Prime members a coupon starting today to buy organic or antibiotic-free turkeys for about 50 cents a pound cheaper than other customers. Amazon says the turkey discount is a “sneak peak” of the special savings it plans to give its $99-a-year Prime members as it works to make Prime the official Whole Foods reward program.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. businesses kept their stockpiles unchanged in September, while their sales rose at a healthy clip, a sign that companies may need to order more goods in the coming months. Business inventories were flat after an increase of 0.6 percent in August, the Commerce Department said. Sales rose 1.4 percent. The report suggests companies are prudently managing their supply chains. When sales rise faster than stockpiles, that typically means businesses will soon need to restock. That boosts demand for goods and lifts factory production.

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