Business Highlights

October 18, 2017


Corporations to keep tax break lost by millions of Americans

WASHINGTON (AP) — Millions of Americans would lose a prized tax break under President Donald Trump’s sweeping revamp of the tax code, but corporations would get to keep it. The Republican proposal would eliminate the federal deduction for state and local taxes, a widely popular break used by some 44 million Americans, especially in high-tax states like New York, New Jersey, California and Illinois.


Big question for US cities: Is Amazon’s HQ2 worth the price?

WASHINGTON (AP) — Dozens of U.S. cities are battling to become the location of Amazon’s second headquarters. The Seattle company is promising $5 billion of investment and 50,000 jobs over the next decade and a half. But the winning city would have to provide Amazon with generous tax breaks and other incentives that can erode a city’s tax base. Many economists say Amazon is a rare case in which a package of at least modest enticements could repay a city over time.


Record highs for major US stock indexes; Dow passes 23,000

NEW YORK (AP) — A day of modest gains on Wall Street resulted in more milestones for U.S. stocks Wednesday as the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 23,000 points for the first time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index and Nasdaq composite also finished at record highs. Technology stocks and financial companies led the gainers as investors weighed the latest batch of company earnings. Strong quarterly results drove IBM shares to their biggest one-day gain since 2009.


American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault to retire next year

NEW YORK (AP) — Kenneth Chenault, one of the most prominent black corporate leaders and long-time chairman and CEO of American Express, is stepping down next year, the company announced Wednesday. Chenault, 66, will be replaced on Feb. 1 by Stephen Squeri, who will take over as both American Express’ CEO and chairman of the board. Squeri, 58, is currently vice chairman at American Express. Chenault took over as CEO in 2001 and guided the company through several seismic events.


Trump gives more mixed signals in bipartisan health deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is sending more perplexing signals about whether he backs a bipartisan Senate deal for steadying health insurance markets. He’s tweeted that he backs lawmakers’ efforts to strike that compromise but “can never support” federal bailouts for insurers. Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar says Trump has told him in a phone call that he’s encouraging the effort, but has left himself wiggle room.


Twitter vows new crackdown on hateful, abusive tweets

NEW YORK (AP) — Twitter is vowing to crack down further on hate speech and sexual harassment on its platform, days after CEO Jack Dorsey said in a tweetstorm that the company was “still” not doing enough to protect its users. The policy changes were specifically aimed at protecting women who unknowingly or unwillingly had nude pictures of themselves distributed online or were subject to unwanted sexual advances, as well as shield groups subject to hateful imagery, symbols and threats of violence.


30 years after Black Monday, what could slow this bull run?

NEW YORK (AP) — 30 years after the biggest one-day drop in U.S. stock market history, a crash seems a remote possibility. The Dow closed above 23,000 for the first time and other indices are at record levels. Still, market strategists see some areas of concern that could slow down one of the strongest bull runs for stocks.


Anthem will turn to CVS after troubled Express Scripts deal

Anthem has found a new partner to help run prescription drug coverage after the Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer’s rocky relationship with Express Scripts ends. The nation’s second-largest insurer says it will create a pharmacy benefits manager called IngenioRx starting in 2020 and will work with CVS Health Corp. to manage the business.


Bootleg Libyan oil, shady havens: slain reporter’s beats

ROME (AP) — On tiny Malta, a star investigative reporter had been digging into plenty of international intrigue before she was blown up by a car bomb. Malta’s reputation as a tax haven, its cozy links with nearby lawless Libya and its legal passports-for-sale program were just some of the fodder for reports by Daphne Caruana Galizia. That means investigators have many possibilities to follow as they try to discover who killed her Monday as she drove near her home.


IRS still enforcing Obama-era insurance mandate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Contrary to widespread perceptions, the IRS still appears to be enforcing the unpopular Obama-era requirement that most people carry health insurance or risk a fine. The agency says it will automatically reject electronic returns for tax year 2017 that don’t specify if the taxpayer had health insurance. Taxpayers are supposed to say if they had coverage, or they were eligible for an exemption, or if they will pay the fine. But every year several million skip over that.


All told, the Dow picked up 160.16 points, or 0.7 percent, to 23,157.60. The S&P 500 index rose 1.90 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,561.26. The Nasdaq added 0.56 of a point, or 0.01 percent, to 6,624.22. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 7.65 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,505.14.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 16 cents to settle at $52.04 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 27 cents to close at $58.15 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline rose a penny to $1.64 a gallon. Heating oil slipped a penny to $1.80 a gallon. Natural gas lost 11 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $2.85 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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