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Business Highlights

May 1, 2019

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Many college grads feel their grip on middle class loosening

WASHINGTON (AP) — A college degree has long been a ticket to the U.S. middle class. It typically confers higher pay, stronger job security, greater home ownership and comparatively stable households. Yet college graduates aren’t as likely as they once were to feel they belong to the middle class, according to a collaborative analysis of the 2018 General Social Survey by The AP-NORC Center and GSS staff.

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Fed signals neither a rate hike nor a cut is likely soon

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve left its key interest rate unchanged and signaled that it’s unlikely to either raise or cut rates in coming months amid signs of renewed economic health but unusually low inflation. The Fed left its benchmark rate — which influences many consumer and business loans — in a range of 2.25% to 2.5%. Its low-rate policy has helped boost stock prices and supported a steadily growing economy.

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Stocks sink after Fed appears to dash hopes of a rate cut

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks gave up some early gains and ended broadly lower on Wall Street Wednesday after the head of the Federal Reserve appeared to play down the possibility of an interest rate cut this year, something some investors had been hoping for. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell declined to say whether some investors are misguided in expecting the U.S. central bank to trim interest rates this year.

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Trump’s GOP allies press for action on disaster aid bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is displaying new flexibility on giving disaster aid to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico as President Donald Trump’s GOP allies increasingly are losing patience with a weekslong standoff over a widely backed bill. A new Senate GOP offer is aimed at breaking the logjam and offers greater flexibility in delivering disaster funding to Puerto Rico. The bill involving Puerto Rico includes aid to the mainland U.S. as well, so Republicans from the affected states are getting anxious.

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Budget office finds caveats to government-run health system

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional budget experts say moving to a government-run health care system like “Medicare for All” would be complicated and potentially disruptive for Americans. Wednesday’s report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says among the risks are increased wait times and reduced access to care if there aren’t enough medical providers to meet increased demand for services. The CBO did not produce a cost estimate of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ plan, but instead listed pros and cons.

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Trump seeks ruling in case striking down ‘Obamacare’

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Trump administration and several Republican-led states face a midnight deadline for filing papers with a federal appeals panel that’s reviewing a lower court ruling that former President Barack Obama’s health care law is unconstitutional. The administration switched its stance in the case, recently telling the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that it believes the law should be struck down completely. Oral arguments are expected in July.

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No. 2 GOP senator: Fed pick Moore’s fate may be known soon

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate’s No. 2 Republican leader says President Donald Trump’s uphill effort to appoint conservative commentator Stephen Moore to the Federal Reserve board may be coming to a head soon. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota tells reporters there are “discussions and conversations” with the White House about Moore. But Moore says everything is fine and that he hasn’t “heard anything” from the White House about potential problems with his expected nomination.

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State of small business more mixed than administration says

NEW YORK (AP) — While Trump administration officials say the president’s policies are helping the economy and in turn small businesses, reports by economists and surveys of owners show the state of small business is more mixed. The new tax law isn’t living up to many owners’ expectations, according to a Bank of America survey. And the Federal Reserve has found the Trump trade policy, including tariffs on imports that have led to retaliation from other countries, is hurting or causing concern at companies.

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US, China hold new round of tariff war negotiations

BEIJING (AP) — American and Chinese trade negotiators have held more talks aimed at ending a tariff war after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said U.S. officials might be moving toward a decision on whether to make a deal. No details were announced after the one-day meeting at a Chinese government guesthouse. Both sides say they are making progress. Washington wants Beijing to roll back industry development plans it says are based in part on stolen technology and that violate its market-opening commitments.

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CVS beats all around and ups expectations for the year

Earnings power from a major acquisition helped CVS Health’s profit spike 42% in the first quarter, and the drugstore chain and pharmacy benefit manager raised its 2019 forecast after starting the year with a more pessimistic outlook. The recently acquired insurer Aetna helped CVS Health’s quarterly revenue jump 35%.

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The S&P 500 index fell 22.10 points, or 0.8%, to 2,923.73. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 162.77 points, or 0.6%, to 26,430.14. The Nasdaq composite dropped 45.75 points, or 0.6%, to 8,049.64. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks gave up 14.83 points, or 0.9%, to 1,576.38.