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Business Highlights

January 4, 2019

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Stocks swing to huge gains after jobs report, trade talks

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks soar on Wall Street, erasing the plunge they took a day earlier, as a string of encouraging developments relieve investors who have been worried about the U.S. economy. The U.S. and China plan to hold more trade talks and the U.S. government said hiring jumped in December, a sign that trade tensions with China and other issues like rising interest rates aren’t hurting the economy. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell also emphasized that the Fed will be flexible with interest rates.

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US employers went on a surprising hiring spree in December

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers went on a hiring spree in December, adding a surprisingly strong 312,000 jobs and providing a dose of reassurance for the economy after a turbulent few months on Wall Street. The job gains were reported Friday by the Labor Department. They came despite a trade war with China, a broader global slowdown and the partial government shutdown now entering its third week.

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Powell says he would reject any Trump request to resign

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says he will not resign if asked to do so by President Donald Trump. He also says the central bank intends to be flexible going forward in determining when to hike its key policy rate. Both messages cheered investors on Wall Street.

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Democrats, Trump set weekend shutdown talks — among aides

WASHINGTON (AP) — With no shutdown resolution in sight, President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders agreed Friday to additional staff-level talks over the weekend during a White House meeting at which Trump indicated he could keep parts of the government closed for “months or even years.” Trump met with the congressional leaders for the second time in three days amid an impasse over Trump’s funding demands for his proposed wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

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LA sues Weather Channel, alleging it sold app users’ data

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles prosecutors say they’re suing The Weather Channel to stop it from tracking the whereabouts of app users and selling the data to third parties. City Attorney Michael Feuer said Friday that users of the popular app are misled to think their location data will only be used for personalized forecasts and alerts. A company representative says it’s “always been transparent with use of location data” and will vigorously defend the “fully appropriate” disclosures.

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With Brexit 12 weeks away, uncertainty squeezing UK economy

LONDON (AP) — With Britain just 12 weeks away from leaving the European Union, one thing is becoming clear — uncertainty over what Brexit will mean is hurting the economy. A raft of economic figures released Friday show the British economy weakening at the turn of the year. House prices are down and business optimism in the key services sector is at its second-weakest level since the global financial crisis a decade ago.

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Fewer affected in Marriott hack, but passports a red flag

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — Marriott says fewer guest records were compromised than feared in a previously announced data breach. But the largest hotel chain in the world confirmed Friday that approximately 5.25 million unencrypted passport numbers were accessed. The compromise of those numbers has raised alarms among security experts because they may have been targeted by foreign operators. The FBI is leading the investigation of the hack and investigators suspect the hackers were working on behalf of China.

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Watchdog group urges probe of Ivanka Trump tax break role

WASHINGTON (AP) — An ethics watchdog group is asking the Justice Department to investigate whether President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka violated federal conflict-of-interest law by pushing for an Opportunity Zone tax break program from which she could potentially benefit. The complaint from the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington follows an Associated Press report last month that found Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner promoted the program and have holdings that could benefit.

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Dem-led House moves to join health care law case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The new Democratic-controlled House has moved toward defending President Barack Obama’s health care law against a federal court ruling that’s found the statute unconstitutional. The House has filed papers seeking to intervene in the case, which by itself is unlikely to have substantial impact on the lawsuit.

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The S&P 500 index climbed 84.05 points, or 3.4 percent, to 2,531.94. The Dow rose 746.94 points, or 3.3 percent, to 23,433.16. The Nasdaq composite jumped 275.35 points, or 4.3 percent, to 6,738.86. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks surged 49.92 points, or 3.8 percent, to 1,380.75.

U.S. crude oil added 1.8 percent to $47.96 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was up 2 percent to $57.06 per barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline dipped 0.1 percent to $1.35 a gallon and heating oil added 1.6 percent to $1.77 a gallon. Natural gas rose 3.4 percent to $3.04 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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