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Stocks stay lower...Fed minutes don’t rule out rate hikes...Southwest mechanics approve contract

May 22, 2019

NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks are lower in afternoon trading on Wall Street as investors eye developments in the U.S.-China trade dispute. Efforts by the Trump administration to restrict technology sales to Chinese companies have caused volatility in tech stocks this week, particularly chipmakers. Qualcomm fell after a federal judge ruled the company unlawfully stifled competition in the market for cellphone chips.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve officials at their recent meeting said the central bank could remain “patient” in deciding when to adjust interest rates, though some officials thought future rate hikes might still be needed. In minutes of the April 30-May 1 discussions, Fed officials noted that prospects for the U.S. and global economy had been improving, while inflation had fallen farther below the Fed’s 2% target. Some participants said more rate increases might be needed to keep low unemployment from triggering unwanted inflation.

DALLAS (AP) _ Southwest Airlines mechanics have approved a five-year contract that adds up to a 20% raise. Dallas-based Southwest announced the tentative agreement with about 2,400 workers represented by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association. Both sides in March announced they’d reached a tentative deal. The agreement, which also calls for $160 million in bonuses, comes after six years of negotiations. Union officials say 94% of workers voted in favor of the proposal.

UNDATED (AP) _ Saudi Aramco will begin buying liquid natural gas from a U.S. company under a 20-year agreement. Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company said it would buy 5 million tons of liquid natural gas per year from Sempra Energy, based in San Diego. Aramco will make a 25% equity investment in an LNG export facility under development in Port Arthur, Texas, as part of the deal.

MILAN (AP) — The Prada Group has become the latest luxury fashion house to go fur-free. Prada joins Versace (vur-SAH’-chee), Gucci and Burberry in giving up fur in quick succession since the beginning of 2017. The move was in collaboration with the Fur Free Alliance of animal protection groups in more than 40 countries.

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