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Stocks mixed...Open for business...Tax is back

January 2, 2018

BEIJING (AP) — Asian markets were mostly higher while European shares declined in early trading today as 2018 trading began and investors looked ahead to whether the record-setting U.S. equity run will last. Futures point to opening gains on Wall Street. Benchmark U.S. crude rose above $60.50 per barrel. The dollar declined against the yen and the euro.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — From a pot shop in Santa Cruz that hung a banner proclaiming “Prohibition is Over!” to one in San Diego handing out T-shirts showing the first moon landing and declaring a “giant leap for mankind,” the Golden State turned a shade greener with its first sales of recreational marijuana. Ceremonial ribbon cuttings marked the occasion Monday as the nation’s biggest producer of illicit marijuana moved from the shadows toward a regulated market. Freebies and food greeted those who waited in long lines to get their hands on weed with names like “Oh Geezus” and “Banana Breath.”

BOSTON (AP) — While much of corporate America will enjoy a tax cut in the new year, one industry is getting a tax increase it has fought hard but so far unsuccessfully to avoid. A 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device manufacturers went back into effect Monday after a two-year hiatus. It was originally imposed in 2013 as one of several taxes and fees in the Affordable Care Act that pay for expanded health insurance under the law. Congress voted to suspend the tax for 2016 and 2017 with the widespread expectation it would be permanently abolished before 2018 but it wasn’t.

LONDON (AP) — British commuters are facing stiff increases in rail fares on the first work day of the new year. Travelers today faced average fare hikes of 3.4 percent, prompting howls from activist groups and London’s mayor amid complaints of unreliable rail service. Anthony Smith, chief of the independent group Transport Focus, said fares are going up as workers’ wages stagnate, placing an unfair burden on commuters. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said it was wrong to burden commuters with “eye-watering fare hikes today after suffering 12 months of delays, cancellations and poor service.”

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Former Fox News Channel anchor and 1989 Miss America Gretchen Carlson was named chairwoman of the Miss America Organization’s board of directors Monday, and three other past pageant winners will join her on the board. The new leadership comes less than two weeks after leaked emails surfaced showing CEO Sam Haskell and others disparaging the appearance, intellect and sex lives of former Miss Americas. Haskell resigned Dec. 23, along with two other top leaders.

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