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Stocks slip...Retailers sink on weak holiday sales...Legislation targets drug costs

January 10, 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — A rally in global stock markets has faded after U.S. and Chinese officials wrapped up three days of trade talks in Beijing without a significant breakthrough. Retailers are sinking after Macy’s and Kohl’s said sales over the holidays were worse than expected, and airlines slumped after American gave a disappointing revenue forecast. The losses threaten to end a four-day winning streak for U.S. indexes. Oil prices also turned lower after an eight-day string of gains.

NEW YORK (AP) — Macy’s stock is plunging after the department store company posted disappointing holiday sales figures and cut its forecasts for full-year earnings and sales. Macy’s says sales started out strong during Black Friday and Cyber Week, but softened in mid-December before picking up steam the week of Christmas. Kohl’s also slid, and the S&P sector that tracks department stores quickly became the worst performer of the day. Target bucked the trend, posting strong online growth.

BEIJING (AP) — China’s Ministry of Commerce says talks with the United States aimed at ending a tariff war “laid the foundation” for resolving concerns on both sides. A ministry spokesman says the two sides displayed “serious, careful and frank attitudes.” Washington said the talks focused on China’s promise to buy more American exports but also emphasized U.S. pressure for action on Beijing’s technology policy, market access and cyber spying. The two sides gave no indication what their next step will be.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Leading congressional liberals are unveiling a legislative package today that aims to radically reduce what Americans pay for prescription drugs by linking prices to lower costs in other countries. One proposal would open up generic competition to patent-protected brand-name drugs that are deemed “excessively priced.” A second bill would allow Medicare to directly negotiate with drugmakers. The third bill would allow consumers to import lower-priced medications from Canada. The legislation has little chance of becoming law under a divided government.

SEATTLE (AP) — Doctors who specialize in female pelvic medicine say lawsuits by four states over products used to treat pelvic floor disorders and incontinence might scare patients away from the best treatment options. Sixty-three Washington surgeons recently signed a letter to state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, arguing his consumer-protection lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson is off-base. The doctors say that while the mesh had higher-than-expected complication rates when used to treat some pelvic floor disorders, it remains the best surgical option for stress urinary incontinence.

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