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Stocks climb...Services firms show record growth...Strong holiday sales forecast

October 3, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — Encouraging signs on hiring and growth in the service sector are sending U.S. stock indexes to record highs, and bond prices sharply lower. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note spiked to its highest level in more than seven years, helping to boost bank stocks. Technology companies are also rising.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A trade group says U.S. services firms expanded at a record pace last month, stepping up production and hiring, in another sign of strength for the American economy. The Institute for Supply Management reports that its services index hit 61.6 in September, up from 58.5 in August and the highest in records going back to 2008. Anything above 50 signals growth, and services companies are on a 104-month winning streak. Seventeen services industries reported growth last month, and none declined.

NEW YORK (AP) — The nation’s largest retail trade group says it expects sales in November and December to rise between 4.3 percent and 4.8 percent. The forecast from the National Retail Federation marks a drop from last year’s 5.3 percent, which was the biggest gain since right after the end of the Great Recession. But the figure is still very healthy.

NEW YORK (AP) — Children’s advocacy groups say Facebook’s kid-centric messaging app violates federal law by collecting kids’ personal information without getting verifiable consent from their parents. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and other groups are asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Facebook’s Messenger Kids for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The complaint says the app doesn’t try to ensure that the person who sets up the kids’ account is the actual parent.

NEW YORK (AP) — Seven-year-old Ryan drew millions of views reviewing toys on YouTube. Now, he’s become a toy himself. Walmart is selling action figures in his likeness and other toys under the Ryan’s World brand. It’s a bet that kids will recognize Ryan from YouTube and want the toys he’s hawking. The new line may also help Walmart lure former Toys R Us shoppers, as many chains make a play for those customers ahead of the holiday shopping season.

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