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Business Highlights

November 15, 2018

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FDA to crack down on menthol cigarettes, flavored vapes

NEW YORK (AP) — A top U.S. health official is pledging to ban menthol from regular cigarettes, outlaw flavors in all cigars and tighten rules regarding the sale of most flavored versions of electronic cigarettes. The move represents a major step to further push down U.S. smoking rates, which have been falling for decades. The head of the Food and Drug Administration, Scott Gottlieb, disclosed the plans Thursday.

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UK’s defiant May tells critics it’s her Brexit deal or chaos

LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister Theresa May is defying mounting calls to quit or change course over Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. She warns that abandoning her plan would plunge the country into “deep and grave uncertainty.” Britain’s long-simmering divisions over Europe erupted into political turmoil just a day after the government agreed to a divorce deal with the EU.

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Walmart flexes its muscle against Amazon

NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart may be bruised by Amazon, but it’s learning how to fight back. The world’s largest retailer delivered strong third-quarter results Thursday, extending a streak of sales growth into its 11th straight quarter that showed it’s pulling shoppers online and in the store. It also raised profit expectations for the year heading into the holiday shopping season.

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Facebook says it’s getting better at removing hate speech

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook says it is making progress on deleting hate speech, graphic violence, fake accounts and rooting out other violations of its rules, including detecting them before they are seen by users. On Thursday, the company released its second report detailing how it enforces community standards. The report comes a day after The New York Times published an extensive report about the company’s strategy it described as “delay, deny and deflect” to deal with crisis after crisis over the past two years.

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China says talks with US on trade battle have resumed

BEIJING (AP) — China’s Commerce Ministry says talks between Washington and Beijing over their escalating trade battle have resumed. A ministry spokesman said the two sides are ‘maintaining close contact’ following a Nov. 1 phone call between Presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump. The two sides have raised tariffs on billions of dollars of each other’s goods in a dispute over Beijing’s technology policy. Xi and Trump are due to meet this month during a gathering of the Group of 20 major economies.

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Transit riders, drivers brace for influx of Amazon employees

NEW YORK (AP) — New York and Washington’s clogged streets and creaky subway systems are about to feel more pain as 50,000 more people descend on the two metro areas when Amazon opens its second headquarters there. Not everyone will be hurting. Amazon won the rights to a helipad at its Long Island City, Queens, location, though Amazon had to agree to limit landings to 120 per year. But even though the complaining has already begun, there is time. Amazon said it could take more than a decade to build its offices.

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Electronic driving systems don’t always work, tests show

DETROIT (AP) — Testing by AAA shows that electronic driver assist systems on the road today may not keep vehicles in their lanes or spot stationary objects in time to avoid a crash. The tests brought a warning from the auto club that drivers shouldn’t think that the systems make their vehicles self-driving, and that they should always be ready to take control. Automakers generally say they tell owners that the systems are designed to assist drivers and are not autonomous vehicles.

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Stocks have struggled in 2018. Bonds too. Oh, and gold.

NEW YORK (AP) — Even the most balanced investors have gotten knocked on their heels this year. Stocks around the world, bonds and commodities have all struggled in 2018. It’s a rude reminder that one of the bedrock tenets of investing — stay diversified and don’t keep too much of your portfolio concentrated in any one thing — doesn’t guarantee success by itself. But it’s also important to remember that this year’s struggles have been a relative anomaly.

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Technology companies, banks lead rebound for US stocks

NEW YORK (AP) — A rebound in technology companies and banks helped reverse an early slide for U.S. stocks Thursday, breaking a five-day losing streak for the market. Health care and industrial stocks also rose, offsetting losses in retailers, homebuilders, utilities and other sectors. Energy stocks also helped lift the market as the price of U.S. crude oil rose for the second straight day.

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The S&P 500 index rose 28.62 points, or 1.1 percent, to 2,730.20. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 208.77 points, or 0.8 percent, to 25,289.27. The Nasdaq composite climbed 122.64 points, or 1.7 percent, to 7,259.03. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies picked up 21.62 points, or 1.4 percent, to 1,524.12.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 0.4 percent to settle at $56.46 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 0.8 percent to close at $66.62 a barrel in London. Natural gas slumped 16.5 percent to $4.04 per 1,000 cubic feet. Heating oil fell 1 percent to $2.07 a gallon and wholesale gasoline slid 0.3 percent to $1.56 a gallon.

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