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World leaders push back against Trump's trade war threat

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's claim that "trade wars are good, and easy to win" is being challenged by U.S. lawmakers and world leaders. Trump has announced steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Following his comments, stocks closed sharply lower on Wall Street. Trump's plan would likely raise steel and aluminum prices, which is good for U.S. manufacturers. But U.S. companies that use the metals to produce other goods would see a steep rise in production costs. The EU has vowed to retaliate.

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US stock indexes pare losses following "trade war" talk

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks went on another dizzying ride Friday and worked their way back from an early-morning plunge to send the Standard & Poor's 500 index to its first gain in four days. It was just the latest swing in a frenetic week for markets around the world as investors recalibrated — again and again — how worried to be about a possible trade war and a more aggressive Federal Reserve. When U.S. markets opened for trading, the S&P 500 lost as much as 1.1 percent to join a worldwide sell-off after President Donald Trump doubled down on "trade war" talk.

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Tariffs would aid steelworkers at expense of far more others

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's move to impose tariffs on imported steel is meant to protect an industry that employs about 140,000 Americans. Yet by raising the price of steel, those same tariffs stand to hurt a far larger group of U.S. workers: the 6.5 million who work in industries that buy steel — from automakers to aircraft manufacturers to suppliers of building materials.

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Delta CEO insists "we are not taking sides" in US gun debate

ATLANTA (AP) — Delta Air Lines showed no signs Friday of backing away from a decision to cancel discounts for the National Rifle Association, despite a revenge move by state leaders that deprived the airline of a significant tax break. Atlanta-based Delta released an internal memo CEO Ed Bastian sent to employees that insists the airline's aim is to stay neutral in the gun debate roiling the country since last month's deadly shooting at a Florida high school.

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Trump picks Dow Chemical lawyer for key role at EPA

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has picked a chemical industry insider to run the Environmental Protection Agency office that oversees emergency response to hazardous spills and cleanups of the nation's most toxic sites. The White House announced Friday that Trump has nominated Peter C. Wright to serve as EPA's assistant administrator for Land and Emergency Management.

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SEC dropped inquiry a month after firm aided Kushner company

NEW YORK (AP) — The Securities and Exchange Commission late last year dropped its inquiry into a financial company that a month earlier had given White House adviser Jared Kushner's family real estate firm a $180 million loan. There's no evidence these events are connected. But the timing has once again raised potential conflict-of-interest questions about Kushner's family business and his role as an adviser to his father-in-law, President Donald Trump.

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Vero: Hot Instagram alternative - but will it stick around?

NEW YORK (AP) — Instagram users fed up with the service becoming more and more like Facebook are flocking to a hot new app called Vero. Though Vero has been around since 2015, it surged to popularity in recent days, thanks in part to sudden, word-of-mouth interest from online groups. But hot new apps pop up and fizzle by the dozen, so it's hard to tell if the latest fad is more than just that.

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J.C. Penney says it has cut jobs, offers muted outlook

NEW YORK (AP) — Department store chain J.C. Penney said it has cut more than 300 jobs and reported disappointing sales at established stores for the quarter that includes the holiday season. It also delivered a muted outlook, and its shares fell 6 percent. The news overshadowed strong profits as investors worried about Penney's ability to remake itself in a changing retail market — especially after the good economy contributed to stronger results at chains such as Macy's and Kohl's.

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Bank of England chief slams cryptocurrencies; urges action

LONDON (AP) — Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has launched a withering attack on cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, and urged regulators around the world to monitor them in the same way that they do all other financial assets. In a speech Friday to the Scottish Economics conference in Edinburgh, Carney laid into the "global speculative mania" that has fueled the ascent of cryptocurrencies and said they should be held to the "same standards" as the rest of the financial system.

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The Standard & Poor's 500 index ended at 2,691.25, up 13.58 points, or 0.5 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 70.92, or 0.3 percent, to 24,538.06, and the Nasdaq composite rose 77.31, or 1.1 percent, to 7,257.87. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks rose 25.78, or 1.7 percent, to 1,533.17.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 26 cents to settle at $61.25 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 54 cents to $64.37 a barrel. Natural gas was virtually flat at $2.70 per 1,000 cubic feet, heating oil slipped a cent to $1.88 per gallon and wholesale gasoline gained a penny to $1.90 per gallon.