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Stocks lower...Productivity up...Facebook privacy

March 7, 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are lower in early morning trading on Wall Street, putting the market on track for its fourth loss in a row and its first losing week since January. Banks and technology companies had some of the biggest losses in early trading. Kroger slumped 12 percent after the supermarket operator reported earnings that fell short of Wall Street’s forecasts.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. productivity grew at a rate of 1.9 percent in the fourth quarter, a slight improvement over the third quarter. Labor costs rose 2 percent, the strongest gain since the beginning of 2018. Productivity in the current recovery has been extremely weak overall. Economists consider boosting productivity growth as the key challenge facing the U.S. economy

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants to shift the company’s focus away from a service that connects everyone to one that favors encrypted conversations Facebook can’t read. It’s a major bet for a social network that turned into a surveillance system. Facebook also plans to let messages automatically disappear, a feature pioneered by its rival Snapchat that could limit the risks posed by a trail of social media posts that follow people throughout their lives.

SHENZHEN, China (AP) — Chinese tech giant Huawei (WAH’-way) is challenging a U.S. law that would limit its American sales of telecom equipment on security grounds as the company steps up efforts to preserve its access to global markets for next-generation communications. Huawei lawsuit asks a federal court to reject, as unconstitutional, a portion of this year’s U.S. military appropriations act that bars the government and its contractors from using Huawei equipment.

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) —The European Central Bank is acting to support a slowing economy. In doing so, it joins the U.S Federal Reserve and Chinese leadership in trying to counter worries about global growth. The European Central Bank on Thursday pushed back the earliest date by which it could raise interest rates. It also offered a series of ultra-cheap loans to banks to help them lend to businesses.