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Stocks edge lower...GDP Q4 slows...Chinese manufacturing slows

February 28, 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are slightly lower in early trading on Wall Street after the government reported that growth in the U.S. economy slowed significantly in the last three months of 2018. Technology companies and retailers fell more than the rest of the market in early trading and Hewlett-Packard plunged after reporting weak printer and computer sales.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy slowed in the final three months of 2018 to an annual growth rate of 2.6 percent, the slowest pace since the beginning of the year. Various factors including the government shutdown took a toll on growth. Economists believe that growth has slowed even more in the current quarter. Overall, GDP for all of 2018 came in at 2.9 percent, the best showing in three years since 2015.

BEIJING (AP) — An official survey shows Chinese manufacturing activity sank to a three-year low in February amid a tariff battle with Washington and weak global demand. The monthly purchasing managers’ index by the government statistics bureau and an industry group declined to 49.2 on a 100-point scale. Numbers below 50 show activity contracting.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Applications for unemployment benefits rose by 8,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 225,000. That’s still a low level by historical standards, suggesting businesses are mostly holding on to their workers in a tight labor market. The unemployment rate in January stood at 4 percent, near a half-century low.

UNDATED (AP) — Security experts say the U.S. government is likely exaggerating the threat it says the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei (WAH’-way) poses to the world’s next-generation wireless networks. Critics say the U.S. case is short on specifics and glosses over the fact that China doesn’t need secret access to Huawei routers to infiltrate global networks that already have notoriously poor security.