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Business Highlights

November 8, 2018

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Fed leaves key rate unchanged but sees further hikes ahead

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve has left its key policy rate unchanged but signaled that it plans to keep responding to the strong U.S. economy with more interest rate hikes. The next rate hike is expected in December. The Fed left its benchmark rate in a range of 2 percent to 2.25 percent. A statement it issued after its latest policy meeting portrayed the economy as robust, with healthy job growth, low unemployment, solid consumer spending and inflation near the Fed’s 2 percent target.

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With split Congress, prospect for economic deals looks dim

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has floated the idea of partnering with the newly Democratic-led House on two ideas that could prove popular with voters: increasing spending on America’s infrastructure and limiting drug prices. Yet the poisonous atmosphere in Washington, mandated federal spending limits and a potential duel over the government’s borrowing authority make it difficult to achieve any deals that would boost economic growth.

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Newly empowered Dems take aim at Trump business conflicts

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats blocked by the White House and the Trump Organization for two years are hoping their new power can help them take aim at President Donald Trump’s business dealings. House Democrats are prepared to use their new majority and subpoena power to go after financial records that could back up their claims Trump is using his presidency to enrich himself and his family. Trump says his taxes are “extremely complex” and he doesn’t want to release them because they’re under a “continuous audit.”

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Google reforms sexual misconduct rules

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google is promising to be more forceful and open about its handling of sexual misconduct cases. Its statement follows a mass uprising of high-paid engineers and other against a male-dominated culture they contend mistreats women. CEO Sundar Pichai spelled out the concessions in an email sent Thursday to Google employees. Thousands of the tech giant’s workers abandoned their cubicles to protest past cases of alleged sexual harassment and other misconduct involving men.

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Obama’s health insurance overhaul a winner in midterms

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama’s health insurance overhaul has emerged as a winner in midterms eight years after opposition to it helped the GOP take over the House. A Democratic majority in the House could block efforts to dismantle the program. Meanwhile, voters in three predominantly Republican states agreed to expand Medicaid, which also was a major issue in races for governor.

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Disney results jump on strong movie slate

NEW YORK (AP) — Walt Disney Co.’s earnings for the latest quarter sailed passed expectations, boosted by a strong slate of movies such as “Incredibles 2” as the company moves toward closing its $71.3 billion deal to buy 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets. Disney and other media companies are facing a shifting landscape as more TV watchers switch to streaming rather than traditional cable bundles.

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Pressures rise for homebuilders as rates hit 7-year high

WASHINGTON (AP) — The beating for homebuilders is continuing as rising interest rates and home prices keep potential buyers on the sidelines. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rates on 30-year, fixed rate mortgages hit a 7-year high. Also Thursday, D.R. Horton said home deliveries in the first quarter will come in below what Wall Street was expecting. It’s citing home prices and rising mortgage rates.

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FDA approves return of popular Primatene Mist asthma inhaler

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Primatene Mist asthma inhalers will soon return to stores after U.S. regulators approved a new version. The original Primatene Mist was discontinued seven years ago because the chemical used as a propellant was banned. The new product developed by Amphastar Pharmaceuticals and approved by the Food and Drug Administration uses a safer propellant.

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Ford buys electric scooter sharing company Spin

NEW YORK (AP) — Ford Motor buys an electric scooter sharing company, expanding its presence in alternative modes of transportation. The century-old automobile company announced its acquisition of Spin, a San Francisco-based dockless scooter sharing company. Ford says the number of mobility options available to people has risen dramatically in recent years, and in some situations people use multiple forms of transportation during a single trip.

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Oil prices sink again as post-election stock surge fades

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks fall as the market’s big rally from a day earlier fades, while oil prices fall for the ninth day in a row. Energy companies skid and internet companies are also down. The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged, as expected. US stocks soared on Wednesday after the US midterm elections turned out the way investors expected they would.

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The S&P 500 index shed 7.06 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,806.83. The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 10.92 points to 26,191.22. The Nasdaq composite dipped 39.87 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,530.88. The Russell 200 index of smaller-company stocks fell 3.95 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,578.21.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 1.6 percent to $60.67 a barrel in New York. Brent crude lost 2 percent to $70.65 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.64 a gallon. Heating oil dropped 3.1 percent to $2.17 a gallon. Natural gas edged down to $3.54 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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