AP NEWS

Business Highlights

May 15, 2018

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US firms seek tariff relief as US and China try to mend rift

WASHINGTON (AP) — Corporate America is seeking relief from President Donald Trump’s proposed tariffs on at least $50 billion in Chinese goods as U.S. and Chinese negotiators seek to prevent a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies. Best Buy wants televisions to be spared from the tariffs. Sanden International (USA) of Wylie, Texas, warns it will have to lay off 39 of its 431 workers if 25 percent tariffs take effect on the components it uses to make car air-conditioning compressors. SABIC, a petrochemical manufacturer, wants some building materials struck from the tariff list.

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US retail sales up solid 0.3 pct. in April in hopeful sign

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. retail sales rose at a solid pace in April, a sign that consumers may be rebounding from weak spending earlier this year and driving stronger economic growth. Retail sales increased 0.3 percent in April, the Commerce Department said Tuesday, after a revised 0.8 percent gain in March. Last month’s spending gains were spread across most retail categories, with especially big gains at furniture and clothing stores.

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Uber shifts policy for alleged sexual misconduct on service

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Uber’s ride-hailing service will give its U.S. passengers and drivers more leeway to pursue claims of sexual misconduct, its latest attempt to reverse its reputation for brushing aside bad behavior. The shift announced Tuesday will allow riders and drivers to file allegations of rape, sexual assault and harassment in courts and mediation instead of being locked into an arbitration hearing. The company also will no longer require all settlements of sexual misconduct cases to be confidential.

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US hits head of Iran’s central bank with terror sanctions

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is designating the head of Iran’s central bank as a terrorist. The Treasury Department accuses Valiollah Seif of helping transfer millions of dollars to Hezbollah, the Iran-backed militant group. The new rules bar anyone around the world from doing business with him, escalating financial pressure on Iran in the wake of President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

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Trump to sign order to reform US infrastructure technology

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is signing an executive order to try to reform the federal government’s confounding information technology structure. The White House says Trump will order agencies to strengthen the roles of their chief information officers, requiring that they report directly to the agency heads. The order was developed by the Office of American Innovation, which is led by Jared Kushner. It is being cast as an effort to bring private-sector management principles to government.

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Trump pick for vice chair pledges support for key Fed goals

WASHINGTON (AP) — Richard Clarida, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the No. 2 post at the Federal Reserve, is pledging support for the Fed’s twin goals of stabilizing inflation and maximizing employment while also declaring the importance of the central bank’s independence.

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Audit: EPA could do more to catch VW-type emissions fraud

WASHINGTON (AP) — Auditors say federal regulators have stepped up the kind of testing that could have caught years of emissions-rigging by Volkswagen. The review by the Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector-general says the agency still needs to do more to keep automakers from duping it again on pollution tests.

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Facebook: We’re better at policing nudity than hate speech

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook says getting rid of racist, sexist and other hateful remarks is more challenging because computer programs have difficulties understanding the nuances of human language. In a self-assessment, Facebook said its policing system is better at scrubbing graphic violence, gratuitous nudity and terrorist propaganda. Tuesday’s report was Facebook’s first breakdown of how much material it removes.

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Trade body: EU still providing illegal subsidies to Airbus

GENEVA (AP) — The World Trade Organization has ruled that the European Union continues to provide illegal subsidies to plane-maker Airbus. The decision is the latest in a string of tussles between the European manufacturer and U.S. rival Boeing. It also comes as the Trump administration has exerted intense pressure on the Geneva-based organization over what the president alleges is its “unfair” treatment of the United States.

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Tech and health care lead US stocks lower; bond yields rise

NEW YORK (AP) — Losses in technology and health care companies helped pull U.S. stocks lower, snapping an eight-day winning streak by the Dow Jones industrial average. The broad sell-off followed a slide in bond prices, which sent the 10-year Treasury yield to its highest in almost seven years. That paves the way for higher borrowing costs on mortgages and other loans. The prospect of higher mortgage interest rates weighed on homebuilders. The rise in bond yields pulled down high-dividend paying stocks.

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The S&P 500 index fell 18.68 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,711.45. The Dow lost 193 points, or 0.8 percent, to 24,706.41. The Nasdaq composite dropped 59.69 points, or 0.8 percent, to 7,351.63. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks finished flat at 1,600.34.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 35 cents to settle at $71.31 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oil, added 20 cents to close at $78.43 a barrel in London. Heating oil was little changed at $2.25 a gallon. Wholesale gasoline added a penny to $2.21 a gallon. Natural gas dipped a penny to $2.84 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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