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Stocks waver...Trading blame for shutdown...Pending home sales slip

December 28, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are wavering between small gains and losses as the market continues to churn amid the volatile trading that has gripped the market throughout December. Gains in banks, retailers and health care companies are outweighing losses in energy stocks and elsewhere in the market. Wells Fargo gained 1.1 percent. Amazon added 1.4 percent. Homebuilders slumped following a report indicating that fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes last month. Beazer Homes USA dropped 1.1 percent. Even with recent gains, the Dow and S&P 500 are down around 9 percent for the month.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The partial government shutdown will almost certainly be handed off to a divided government to solve in the new year, as both parties traded blame Friday and President Donald Trump sought to raise the stakes in the weeklong impasse. Trump reissued threats to shut the U.S.-Mexico border to pressure Congress to fund the wall and to shut off aid to three Central American countries from which many migrants have fled. The president also signaled he was in no rush to seek a resolution.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Would-be home buyers continue to be squeezed by higher prices and mortgage rates. The result is that fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes in November. The National Association of Realtors said Friday that its pending home sales index dipped 0.7 percent last month to 101.4. The index based on contract signings has dropped 7.7 percent over the past year and has recorded 11 straight year-over-year decreases.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration on Friday targeted an Obama-era regulation credited with helping dramatically reduce toxic mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants, saying the benefits to human health and the environment may not be worth the cost of the regulation. The 2011 Obama administration rule led to what electric utilities say was an $18 billion clean-up of mercury and other toxins from the smokestacks of coal-fired power plants. Environmental groups say, federal and state efforts have cut mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants by 85 percent in roughly the last decade.

NEW YORK (AP) — Wells Fargo will pay $575 million in a settlement with attorneys general from all 50 states and the District of Columbia that are investigating its banking practices, which have included phony accounts and manipulative sales practices. Under the agreement announced Friday, the bank will also be required to create teams to review and respond to customer complaints about its banking and sales practices.

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