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Business Highlights

By The Associated PressJuly 17, 2019

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With Big Tech’s dominance under scrutiny, EU probes Amazon

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is investigating whether Amazon uses data from independent retailers to gain an unfair advantage, a decision that could lead to changes in how the internet’s biggest marketplace works. Wednesday’s move echoes similar antitrust actions against Google and Microsoft that have led to billions in fines. And it contrasts with U.S. lawmakers’ slower approach to the issue, as they just start discussing how to keep in check the growing power of the tech industry’s titans.

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Congress grills Big Tech over competition, money and power

WASHINGTON — Big Tech is facing tough questions as federal lawmakers focused on issues of potentially anticompetitive behavior by technology giants and expressed bipartisan skepticism over Facebook’s plan for a new digital currency. Both Democrats and Republicans had grievances to air, even if they didn’t have much of a consensus on what to do about them. Facebook returned to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to face grilling over the currency, to be called Libra.

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Netflix’s subscriber growth drops in 2Q, stock tumbles

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Netflix’s video streaming service suffered a dramatic slowdown in growth during its traditionally sluggish spring season, a drop-off coming as it girds for even stiffer competition. The service picked up 2.7 million worldwide subscribers for the April-June period. That’s far below the 5 million subscribers forecast by Netflix. The company’s stock plunged by more than 10% after the disappointing numbers were announced Wednesday.

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Data shows flood of opioids across US, many of them generics

WASHINGTON (AP) — The maker of OxyContin has been cast as the chief villain in the nation’s opioid crisis. But newly released government figures suggest Purdue Pharma had plenty of help in flooding the U.S. with billions of pills even as overdose deaths were accelerating. Records kept by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration show that 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pills — the vast majority of them generics, not brand names — were shipped to U.S. pharmacies from 2006 to 2012.

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Washington talks could soon yield spending, debt deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington negotiators are closing in on a budget and debt deal that would stave off a government shutdown this fall and speed through must-do legislation to increase the government’s borrowing cap. The emerging framework would satisfy demands from defense hawks and Washington’s pragmatic class to complete $1.3 trillion in agency operating budgets, and it puts off battles over political land mines like immigration.

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Men who lost family members in Max crash seek safety changes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two men who lost family members in the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max jet called on legislators to change Federal Aviation Administration procedures that let company employees perform safety inspections on aircraft as they’re being built. Paul Njoroge of Toronto, who lost three children, his wife and mother-in-law in the March crash, accused Boeing of wrongful conduct during a hearing held Wednesday by the Aviation Subcommittee of the U.S. House Transportation Committee.

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US home construction slips 0.9% to 1.25 million in June

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home construction slipped last month as an uptick in the building of single-family homes was offset by a big drop in apartment construction. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that construction was started at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.25 million in June, down 0.9% from 1.27 million in May.

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APNewsBreak: Nuclear commission considers fewer inspections

WASHINGTON (AP) — A proposal to cut back on federal inspections at nuclear reactors in the United States is dividing proponents and critics of the nuclear industry. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff says rolling back inspections would save money without affecting public safety, a position favored by the industry. Critics of the proposal worry that reducing oversight could lead to a disaster.

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US objections to French tech tax overshadow G-7 finance meet

CHANTILLY, France (AP) — The Trump administration is objecting to France’s plan to tax Facebook, Google and other U.S. tech giants. The rift is overshadowing talks between the Group of Seven longtime allies as their top finance officials gather near Paris Wednesday to discuss issues ranging from digital currencies to trade.

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Stocks extend losses as railroads sink industrial companies

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks extended losses into a second day on Wednesday as railroad operator CSX had its biggest drop in 11 years and pulled other industrial companies down with it. Banks also fell as investors worried that lower interest rates will hurt their profits. Utilities and health care were the only sectors to finish the day with modest gains. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.05% as investors headed for less risky holdings. Corporate earnings reports are getting into full swing this week.

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The S&P 500 fell 19.62 points, or 0.7%, to 2,984.42. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 115.78 points, or 0.4%, to 27,219.85. The Nasdaq composite fell 37.59 points, or 0.5%, to 8,185.21. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 11.22 points, or 0.7%, to 1,550.78.

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