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Stock market plunges again...Oil prices fall... China’s economy slows

December 15, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — Weak economic data from China and Europe is causing more uncertainty about the global economy. Also, mounting tensions in Europe over Britain’s impending departure from the European Union is darkening traders’ moods. As a result, stocks staggered to eight-month lows on Friday. The S&P 500 lost 1.9 percent. The Dow retreated 2 percent, The Nasdaq slid 2.3 percent and the Russell 2000 fell 1.5 percent.

NEW YORK (AP) — Fears that a slower global economy could weaken demand for oil and other fuels, prices again dropped on the commodity futures markets Friday. Benchmark U.S. crude fell 2.6 percent to $51.20 a barrel in New York while, Brent crude, used to price international oils, dropped 1.9 percent to settle at $60.28 a barrel in London.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says China’s economy is feeling the pressure of his tariffs, and he thinks a “big and very comprehensive deal” could happen. China on Friday reported underwhelming gains in monthly retail sales and industrial production,. Also Friday, China announced a 90-day suspension of tariff increases on $126 billion of U.S. cars, trucks and auto parts following its trade truce with Washington.

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A federal judge in Texas has ruled the Affordable Care Act “invalid” on the eve of the sign-up deadline for coverage next year. U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled Friday that last year’s tax cut bill knocked the constitutional foundation from under “Obamacare” by eliminating a penalty for not having coverage. Supporters of the law say they will appeal. The White House says the law remains in place while appeals proceed.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California regulators are accusing one of the state’s largest utilities of falsifying safety documents on natural gas pipelines over a five-year period. An Investigation found Pacific Gas & Electric Co. lacked enough employees to fulfill requests to find and mark natural gas pipelines. As a result of the shortage, regulators say PG&E pressured supervisors and locators to complete the work, leading staff to falsify data from 2012 to 2017.

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