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Stocks rally...Oil futures close higher... US official says progress is being made with neighbors over lifting of steel tariffs

May 15, 2019

UNDATED (AP) _ Stocks have closed solidly higher on Wall Street. Traders are more hopeful that some of the U.S.’s frictions with its trading partners will ease based on comments from the treasury secretary. The S&P 500 index rose 16 points, or 0.6%, to 2,850. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 115 points, or 0.5%, to 25,648. And the Nasdaq closed 87 points, or 1.1% higher at 7,822. The Russell 2000 rose 5 points, or 0.3%, to end the day at 1,548.

UNDATED (AP) _ Energy futures finished mostly higher today. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 0.4% to settle at $62.02 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Meanwhile, Brent crude, the international standard, closed 0.7% higher at $71.77 per barrel in London. In other commodity futures trading, wholesale gasoline climbed 1.8% to $2.01 per gallon. Heating oil gained 1.3% to $2.09 per gallon and natural gas fell 2.2% to $2.60 per 1,000 cubic feet.

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The U.S. is making progress in talks with Canada and Mexico over the lifting of steel tariffs, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (mih-NOO’-shin) also says he expects to soon travel to Beijing with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to resume negotiations on the trade dispute between the U.S. and China. The optimistic comments contributed to gains in the stock market.

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Donald Trump is issuing an executive order to protect the United States against foreign adversaries that are taking advantage of technological vulnerabilities to threaten U.S. communications systems. The does not name specific countries or companies, but the U.S. has been trying to prevent the use of equipment from the Chinese tech company Huawei (WAH’-way). Trump has barred the government from using equipment from Huawei and China’s ZTE Corp.

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The acting head of the Federal Aviation Administration says Boeing should have done more to explain an automated flight-control system on its 737 Max before two deadly crashes, but he defended his agency’s safety certification of the plane and its decision not to ground the jet until other regulators around the world had already done so. Daniel Elwell says he expects Boeing to submit a fix to the plane’s flight-control software soon