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Stocks extend gains...Brexit negotiator wants explanation...French forecast is reduced

March 19, 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are higher in afternoon trading as the market extends a winning streak well into a second week. Consumer product makers, health care and technology companies notched some of the biggest gains. Several chipmakers rose sharply. Advanced Micro Devices jumped 6.8 percent, and Nvidia climbed 4.4 percent.

NEW YORK (AP) — Investors seem reassured that the Fed will continue to hold off on raising rates when it wraps up its meeting tomorrow, giving them more confidence push the market higher. Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones, says signs of a modest economic slowdown may help keep the Fed patient and on hold for a longer amount of time.

UNDATED (AP) — The European Union’s Brexit negotiator says Prime Minister Theresa May must explain to EU leaders this week exactly why she wants an extension to the Brexit deadline beyond March 29. Michel Barnier said that “the question is: what is the point? What is the objective of that extension?” After talks with EU ministers to prepare Thursday’s Brexit summit, Barnier said that any U.K. demand for a long extension “must be linked to something new, a new event, or a new political process.”

PARIS (AP) — France’s finance minister has revised the country’s growth forecast this year to 1.4 percent, down from the previous 1.7 percent, partly attributing the new estimate to the yellow vest protests. He says the overall cost of damage linked to the four-month anti-government movement is estimated at $227 million. The yellow vest movement started in November to protest against French President Emmanuel Macron’s economic policies, seen as favoring the rich.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. has added a Venezuelan state-owned mining company and its president to a growing sanctions list as it seeks to increase pressure on President Nicolas Maduro. The Treasury Department says the gold mining company known as Minerven and Adrian Antonio Perdomo Mata are helping to prop up Maduro while encroaching on the land of indigenous people and contributing to deforestation and other environmental problems in Venezuela.