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Business Highlights

November 20, 2018

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Tech giants plunge again, pushing market into red for year

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks skidded again Tuesday as weak results from retailers and mounting losses for big technology companies pushed the market back into the red for the year. Energy companies slumped following a 6.6 percent plunge in the price of oil. Industrial companies and banks also fell. The S&P 500 index has fallen 9.9 percent from the record high it set exactly two months ago. The selling was widespread. Five stocks fell for every one that rose no the New York Stock Exchange.

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AP Exclusive: Gov’t questions unfair student loan practices

NEW YORK (AP) — Navient, one of the nation’s largest student loan servicing companies, may have driven tens of thousands of borrowers struggling with their debts into high-cost repayment plans. That’s the finding of a Department of Education audit that has until now been kept from the public. The report, obtained by The Associated Press, appears to support federal and state lawsuits that accuse Navient of boosting profits by steering borrowers into the high-cost plans without discussing less costly options.

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Darkening clouds start to overhang global economic expansion

WASHINGTON (AP) — After galloping along for the past two years, the global economy is showing signs of weakening, with the United States, China and Europe all facing the rising threat of a slowdown. Few economists foresee an outright global recession within the next year. But the synchronized growth that powered most major economies since 2017 appears to be fading.

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Renault board: Ghosn to remain CEO while detained in Japan

PARIS (AP) — Carlos Ghosn will remain chairman and CEO of Renault even though he is detained in Japan on allegations he misused assets of partner Nissan Motor Co. and under-reported millions of dollars in income. Renault’s the board of directors decided also appointed Chief Operating Officer Thierry Bollore, the carmaker’s No. 2, as deputy chief executive officer “on a temporary basis.”

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Thanksgiving air-travel rush gets off to a good start

Fair skies over much of the country are helping get the Thanksgiving air-travel rush off to a good start. Relatively few flights were canceled Tuesday. Roads in New England were a problem, however. Auto club AAA predicts that 54.3 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home over the holiday, with most of them driving. That’s about a 5 percent increase over last year.

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Amazon HQ expansion means tough fight for talent

NEW YORK (AP) — Companies fret about losing clients when Amazon launches a new business venture. When the online retail behemoth moves into a new neighborhood, businesses worry about hanging on to their employees. Some of the industries that have defined New York City and the Washington, D.C., area will face increased competition for talent when Amazon sets up shop in their territory, with plans to hire 50,000 new workers amid the tightest job market in decades.

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US home construction rose 1.5 percent in October

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home construction improved a slight 1.5 percent in October, but, in a troubling sign, ground breakings for single-family houses fell. The Commerce Department says housing starts rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.23 million, up from 1.21 million in September. The gains came entirely from apartments as starts for single-family houses slipped 1.8 percent last month.

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As Facebook faces fire, heat turns up on No. 2 Sandberg

NEW YORK (AP) — For the past decade, Sheryl Sandberg has been the poised, reliable second-in-command to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. She’s built up Facebook’s business while also cultivating her own brand as an eloquent feminist leader that hints at aspirations beyond her role at the social network. But with growing criticism over the how the company has handled a series of crises around privacy and elections interference, her carefully cultivated brand is showing some cracks.

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Former Toys R Us workers to get $20M in hardship fund

NEW YORK (AP) — Two private equity owners of the iconic Toys R Us toy chain will be handing over a $20 million hardship fund to the thousands of former workers left jobless and without severance after the chain was liquidated in June. The move by KKR and Bain Capital is aimed at helping the 30,000 workers affected by the store closures. Workers are pushing to get an additional $55 million they believe they’re owed and are looking to other firms that had a stake in Toys R Us.

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The S&P 500 index lost 48.84 points, or 1.8 percent, to 2,641.89. The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 551.80 points, or 2.2 percent, to 24,465.64. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite lost 119.65 points, or 1.7 percent, to 6,908.82. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks shed 27.53 points, or 1.8 percent, to 1,469.01.

Benchmark U.S. crude closed at $53.43 a barrel in New York, its lowest price in a little more than a year. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 6.4 percent to $62.53 per barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 5.5 percent to $1.50 a gallon and heating oil skidded 4.6 percent to $1.99 a gallon. Natural gas dipped 3.8 percent to $4.52 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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