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Administration official: Powell top candidate for Fed chair

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jerome "Jay" Powell, a member of the Federal Reserve's board, is President Donald Trump's leading candidate to replace Janet Yellen as the head of the nation's central bank, with an announcement planned for Thursday, according to senior administration officials. One senior official said the announcement is planned for Thursday.

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AP sources: Education Dept. could scale back help on loans

WASHINGTON (AP) — Education Department officials tell The Associated Press that a plan is being devised that would grant only partial relief from loans taken out by students defrauded by for-profit colleges. Department officials say Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is working on a plan that critics say is unfair. That could mean tens of thousands of students deceived by now-defunct for-profit schools may soon wind up having to pay back a part of their loans.

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Health law sign-ups start, and some see a 'hostile takeover'

WASHINGTON (AP) — It's sign-up season for the Affordable Care Act, but the Trump administration isn't making it easy — cutting the enrollment period in half, slashing advertising and dialing back on counselors who help consumers. Many people already faced fewer choices and higher premiums. But experts say that President Donald Trump's decision to cancel subsidies to insurers for lowering copays and deductibles compounded the problem. New government numbers show premiums up 37 percent.

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US consumer spending surged 1 percent in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumers boosted their spending by 1 percent in September, the biggest gain in eight years. The surge was fueled by robust demand across sectors, especially autos in the wake of recent hurricanes. The Commerce Department says the sharp jump in consumer spending was up from a tiny 0.1 percent gain in August and was the best showing since an increase of 1.3 percent in August 2009.

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Housing group opens new crack in support for GOP tax plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — Another deep crack has opened in support for President Donald Trump and the Republicans' tax-cutting plan, as a powerful lobbying group in the housing industry withdrew its blessing for the GOP's top legislative priority just as its details are set to be revealed. The move announced Monday by the National Association of Home Builders adds to breakaway threats against the legislation from House lawmakers from high-tax states and with strong conservative views, and defenders of 401(k) plans.

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Kushner Cos is cooperating with Maryland probe of business

NEW YORK (AP) — The Kushner Cos. says it is cooperating with a request from the Maryland attorney general for information on its operations in the state. A CNN report on Sunday says that the company once run by Jared Kushner is under investigation by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh following media reports critical of its management of garden apartments in the state and a lawsuit alleging that illegal fees were charged to two tenants. The company has said it has done nothing wrong.

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UN agency: CO2 concentrations grew at record rate in 2016

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. weather agency is warning that carbon-dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere increased at record-breaking speed last year. World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas says rapid cuts to CO2 and other greenhouse gases are needed to avoid "dangerous temperature increases" by 2100 that would far surpass targets set in the Paris climate accord.

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Why the explosive growth of e-commerce could mean more jobs

WASHINGTON (AP) — Automation has raised anxiety about people losing jobs. But evidence so far suggests that workers' fears might be misplaced. Though storefront retailers have suffered, automation has helped create jobs in e-commerce. As robotics and software speed delivery, online sales have increased, leading businesses to expand their warehouses and delivery systems and hire workers.

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Stocks around the world take a pause ahead of frenetic week

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks pulled back Monday as indexes around the world took a pause from their record-setting run ahead of a frenetic week for markets. Investors are waiting to learn who the next head of the Federal Reserve will be, what several of the world's biggest central banks will decide on interest rates, and whether Apple and other big U.S. companies can keep piling their profits higher.

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The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 8.24 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,572.83 from its record set on Friday. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 85.45, or 0.4 percent, to 23,348.74, and the Nasdaq composite dropped 2.30, or less than 0.1 percent, to 6,698.96. Smaller stocks fell more than the rest of the market, and the small-cap Russell 2000 index lost 17.42, or 1.2 percent, to 1,490.90.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 25 cents to settle at $54.15 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 46 cents to $60.90 a barrel. Natural gas was close to flat at $2.97 per 1,000 cubic feet, heating oil added a penny to $1.88 per gallon and wholesale gasoline was close to flat at $1.76 per gallon.