US stock indexes mixed; tech recovery offsets telecom losses

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes are mixed today, as some of the year's biggest winners have picked themselves back up following recent stumbles.

Technology stocks recovered some of their sharp losses from Monday and the prior week, which helped offset drops for telecom stocks and other areas of the market.

At 12:38 p.m. Eastern Time, the S&P 500 index rose 3 points, to 2,642. It flipped between modest gains and losses through the morning.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 30 points, to 24,260. And the Nasdaq composite rose 37 points, to 6,812.

More stocks fell than rose on the New York Stock Exchange.


Report: Mueller subpoenas bank records in Russia probe

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — A German business newspaper is reporting that former FBI director Robert Mueller has subpoenaed Deutsche Bank seeking records as part of his investigation into allegations that Russia helped Donald Trump win the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The report in the Handelsblatt newspaper cites only "informed circles." Deutsche Bank says it has no comment.

Handelsblatt says it's not clear whether the records demand sought information on Trump or on other members of his circle.

Deutsche Bank has been one of the few major banks willing to regularly lend to Trump, who alienated large banks in New York with his past financial troubles. Over the years, the bank's cumulative loans to Trump added up to billions, and loans originally worth $300 million remain outstanding.


Senate panel approves Jerome Powell as Fed chairman

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate Banking Committee has given approval to President Donald Trump's selection of Jerome Powell to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Powell won the support of everyone on the committee except Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts. She cast the lone no vote saying she could not support Powell because of her concerns that he would join in efforts by the Trump administration to unravel the Dodd-Frank Act passed in 2010 to strengthen regulation of the nation's banking sector.

The nomination now goes to the full Senate where it is expected to win easy approval.

Powell, who has been a member of the Fed board since 2012, was tapped for the chairman's job after Trump decided against nominating Fed Chair Janet Yellen for a second term.


US trade deficit rises to $48.7 billion on record imports

WASHINGTON (AP) — Record imports have lifted the U.S. trade deficit to $48.7 billion in October. That's the highest since January.

The Commerce Department says the trade gap rose 8.6 percent in October from $44.9 billion in September.

Imports hit a record $244.6 billion in October, and exports were unchanged at $195.9 billion.

A trade deficit means that the U.S. is buying more goods and services from other countries than it is selling them. A rising trade gap reduces U.S. economic growth.

President Donald Trump views America's massive trade deficits as a sign of economic weakness. He blames them on bad trade deals and abusive practices by China and other trade partners.


US service sector grows at slower rate in November

UNDATED (AP) — U.S. services companies expanded at a slower pace in November, an unsurprising downshift after having grown in October at the fastest rate in a dozen years.

The Institute for Supply Management says its services index slipped last month to 57.4 from 60.1 in October. Any reading above 50 signals expansion. The services sector has reported growth for 95 consecutive months, a positive sign for the overall U.S. economy.

Measures of business activity, new orders employment fell last month, but they still remained in positive territory.

There were 16 sectors reporting growth last month, with only agriculture saying activity had declined.

More than 70 percent of U.S. jobs comes from the service sector, so the signs of continued expansion point to steady gains for the broader economy in the coming months.


YouTube says more than 10,000 workers will help curb shady videos

NEW YORK (AP) — YouTube says it's hiring more people to help curb videos that violate its policies.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki says "some bad actors are exploiting" the Google-owned service to "mislead, manipulate, harass or even harm."

She says Google will have more than 10,000 workers address the problem by next year, though her blog post Monday doesn't say how many the company already has.

Wojcicki says YouTube will also use technology to flag "problematic" videos or comments that show hate speech or harm to children. It's already used to remove violent extremist videos.

YouTube is also taking steps to try to reassure advertisers that their ads won't run next to gross videos.

There have been reports of creepy videos aimed at children and pedophiles posting comments on children's videos in recent weeks.


Ford ups electric push in China as Beijing transforms market

DETROIT (AP) — Ford Motor Co. is promising to roll out more than 50 new vehicles in China over the next eight years including 15 powered by electricity as it restructures its business and responds to a government push for cleaner air by making all new vehicles electric.

The automaker, currently a small player in the world's largest auto market, announced the ambitious plan today in Shanghai.

In addition to the Ford and Lincoln brand electric vehicles, the company says a new Zotye (ZOH'-ty)-Ford joint venture will sell a new line of affordable vehicles that run on batteries.

The move comes as Ford tries to become more competitive globally under new CEO Jim Hackett. In October, the company announced plans to cut $14 billion in costs, drop some car models and focus resources on trucks, SUVs and electric vehicles.


Justices take up dispute over wedding cake for gay couple

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is taking up the highly anticipated case of the Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

Today's high court clash pits baker Jack Phillips' First Amendment claims of artistic freedom against the anti-discrimination arguments of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, and two men Phillips turned away in 2012.

The commission ruled that Phillips violated the state's anti-discrimination law when he refused to make a wedding cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins.

The argument is the first involving gay rights since the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that states could not prevent same-sex couples from marrying.


UPS trucks, center, packages damaged in Maryland fire

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — An overnight fire at a UPS center in Maryland has sent a yet undetermined number of packages up in smoke during this holiday season.

A spokesman for Frederick County Fire Department tells WUSA-TV that 10 trucks and a package loading structure caught fire, and it took about 45 minutes to bring the blaze under control.

A UPS representative says the company is trying to identify and notify shippers of the damaged packages.


Ireland to start collecting $15 billion in tax from Apple

LONDON (AP) — Ireland has struck a deal with Apple to collect up to $15 billion (13 billion euros) in back taxes and hold it in an escrow account pending an appeal before the Court of Justice of the European Union.

The government said Monday that an agreement had been reached "in relation to the framework of the principles that will govern the escrow arrangements."

The European Commission had ordered Ireland to collect the money after concluding that two Irish tax rulings allowed Apple to pay less tax than other businesses — thus giving them an unfair advantage. The Commission ordered Ireland to collect back taxes for the years 2003-2014, which it estimated to be as much 13 billion euros plus interest.


UK scrambles to salvage Brexit deal after Irish border hitch

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May's government is holding talks today with the Northern Irish party that props it up, in a bid to salvage a crumbling Brexit deal ahead of a deadline next week.

Britain and the European Union came close Monday to agreeing on key divorce terms, including how to maintain an open Irish border after the U.K. — including Northern Ireland — leaves the EU. But a deal was scuttled at the last minute when the Democratic Unionist Party, which keeps May's government in power, warned it would not give its backing.

May characterized the issue as a minor hiccup.


EU puts 17 nations on tax avoidance blacklist

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union has put 17 countries on a blacklist of those it deems guilty of unfairly offering tax avoidance schemes.

EU Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said after today's meeting of the bloc's finance ministers that beyond the 17, some 40 more were put on a "grey-list" to be kept a close eye on.

The EU says those blacklisted have refused to cooperate and change their way after almost one year of dialogue.

The full list was not immediately published.


Indian tycoon's lawyer rebuts government extradition case

LONDON (AP) — Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya is refuting the Indian government's charge that he obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in bank loans that he knew he wouldn't be able to repay.

Lawyer Clare Montgomery said today that there's no evidence to support the government's claim that Mallya misused loans he obtained to support ailing Kingfisher Airlines in 2009. Prosecutors say he used the money to support his Formula One racing team and other endeavors.

She told Westminster Magistrates Court the government's claim is "nonsense" and said the prosecution had been subjected to improper political interference.

The 61-year-old Mallya is fighting extradition to India on money laundering charges related to the failure of his airline and other businesses. He denies wrongdoing.


Cineworld buying Regal movie chain in global expansion

NEW YORK (AP) — Cineworld Group PLC is buying Regal Entertainment Group for $3.61 billion in a deal that gives the movie theater operator a larger global footprint.

Cineworld, based in the United Kingdom, is paying $23 cash per Regal share, marking an 11 percent premium over its closing price on Monday. The deal is valued at $5.9 billion including debt.

Regal, based in Knoxville, Tennessee, operates 7,315 screens in 561 theaters in the U.S. under brands including Regal Cinemas and United Artists. Cineworld operates 2,227 screens in nations including the U.K., Ireland, Poland, and Slovakia.

The deal is expected to close during the first quarter of 2018.

In morning trading, Regal shares rose 9.4 percent to $22.67. The stock is up 10 percent in the year to date.


Retail store in downtown Albany celebrates 150 anniversary

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A retail business that opened in downtown Albany two years after the Civil War ended is marking its 150th anniversary.

B. Lodge & Co. was established in 1867 by Barrington Lodge and his two sons, Charges and William. According to the store's website, the Lodge family operated the store until 1960, when it was sold to Eve and Sid Ginsburg.

Their son Barry ran the store until 1995, when the business was sold to Jack and Elaine Yonally. The couple's son Mark and daughter Sharon Freddoso took over the business in 2011.

The store located on Pearl Street is at its fourth location since 1867. Lodge's is known for offering clothing and other merchandise at discounted prices, along with supplying uniforms for more than two dozen Albany-area schools.