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US stock indexes dip in afternoon trading; oil rises

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 19:42:27 UT

U.S. stock indexes veered slightly lower in late-afternoon trading Thursday, on course to wipe out the market's modest gains from a day earlier. Technology companies were among the biggest decliners. Supermarket operators, beverage companies and other stocks in the consumer staples sector also declined. Banks and industrials stocks led the gainers. Crude oil prices rebounded from an early slide. KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,503 as of 3:33 p.m. ET. The Dow Jones industrials fell 37 points, or 0.2 percent, to 22,375. Both indexes posted record highs on Wednesday. The Nasdaq composite lost 21 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,434.



General Mills to bring back old Trix with artificial colors

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 19:38:36 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Trix is back to its old tricks: The colorful cereal will once again be made with artificial dyes and flavors, nearly two years after they were banished from the cereal. Food maker General Mills said Thursday that Classic Trix will return to supermarket shelves in October. But it will also continue to sell the version without artificial colors and flavors. "We heard from many Trix fans that they missed the bright vibrant colors and the nostalgic taste of the classic Trix cereal," said spokesman Mike Siemienas, explaining the move, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. In early 2016, General Mills switched to using natural sources for color, such as turmeric, strawberries and radishes.



Facebook says CEO Mark Zuckerberg will provide to Congress the contents of 3,000 ads bought by a Russian agency

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 19:37:10 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook says CEO Mark Zuckerberg will provide to Congress the contents of 3,000 ads bought by a Russian agency.



Consumer packaging group to reduce confusing food labels

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 18:37:31 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — "Sell by?" ''Display Until?" ''Best Before?" These food date labels intend to help shoppers figure out what to throw away, but they're also mixed up with deadlines for retailers as well. That causes confusion among shoppers who can't figure out what they all mean on a can of beans or a bag of pasta. As a result, shoppers discard food that is either safe or usable after the date to the tune of $29 billion a year in the U.S. alone. Now, some of the biggest consumer goods companies including Walmart, Nestle, Campbell Soup Co., Kellogg Co. and Unilever, have agreed to streamline them by 2020. There are at least 10 different date labels on packages.



Mueller investigators seek documents from the White House

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:56:35 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Special counsel Robert Mueller's team of investigators is seeking information from the White House related to Michael Flynn's stint as national security adviser and about the response to a meeting with a Russian lawyer that was attended by President Donald Trump's oldest son, The Associated Press has learned. Mueller's office has requested a large batch of documents from the White House and is expected to interview at least a half-dozen current and former aides in the coming weeks. Lawyers for the White House are in the process of trying to cooperate with the document requests.



Mercedes-Benz to invest $1 billion in Alabama, add 600 jobs

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:45:10 UT

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Carmaker Mercedes-Benz announced Thursday that it will invest $1 billion to set up electric vehicle production at its Tuscaloosa, Alabama plant and to build a battery factory nearby, moves it said would create 600 new jobs. The luxury division of Germany's Daimler AG said it plans to manufacture electric SUVs under Mercedes' EQ sub-brand at the Alabama plant by the start of the next decade. Mercedes executive Markus Schaefer said in a statement that "with the addition of electric SUVs to our future fleet, we will provide discerning drivers with a new, high-quality automotive option.




An accounting for meteorological violence among insurers

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:32:44 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Allstate expects insurance losses of about $593 million in August after Hurricane Harvey left a path of destruction along the Gulf Coast. The initial accounting Thursday follows warnings from other insurers that are tallying the damages from a hurricane season that is nowhere near being over. Allstate's monthly losses, which likely have not been fully accounted for, are more than three times the $181 million recorded in July before hurricanes devastated islands in the Atlantic and began to strike the U.S. Harvey made landfall in Texas on August 25. More than half the losses from that storm are related to vehicle damage.



Surging stock market powers US wealth to $96.2 trillion

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:24:13 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — A healthy gain in the stock market and steadily increasing home prices boosted Americans' household wealth this spring, a trend that likely adds to the nation's inequality. The Federal Reserve said Thursday Americans' net worth rose 1.8 percent to $96.2 trillion in the April-June quarter. Stock portfolios and mutual funds jumped $1.1 trillion. Home values climbed $600 billion. The solid gain in wealth could make many Americans more confident and spend more, which typically fuels economic growth. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity. But the increases in wealth aren't widely shared, which many economists worry limits its economic benefit.



Tesla denies claims that it tried to block unionizing effort

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 16:44:41 UT

DETROIT (AP) — Tesla Inc. is denying claims that it threatened to fire pro-union workers at its Fremont, California, factory and tried to prevent them from passing out union literature. The National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against Tesla earlier this month, citing multiple incidents in which Tesla security guards allegedly refused to let off-duty employees hand out leaflets about the United Auto Workers union near the doors of the company's factory. Tesla workers further allege that they were prohibited from discussing worker safety concerns and were interrogated about union organizing efforts by Tesla human resources employees, according to the complaint.



Markets Right Now: US stocks edge lower in midday trading

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:48:04 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — The latest on developments in financial markets (All times local): 11:45 a.m. U.S. stock indexes edged lower in midday trading, wiping out modest gains from a day earlier. Technology stocks were down the most Thursday. Apple lost 1.3 percent. Supermarket operators and other consumer-focused stocks also fell. Kroger slid 2.2 percent. Industrial companies and banks led the gainers. Meal kit maker Blue Apron was up 1.8 percent after a rival company, Plated, agreed to be acquired. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 3 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,504. The Dow Jones industrials fell 19 points, or 0.1 percent, to 22,393. The Nasdaq composite lost 22 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,433. Bond prices rose.



SEC under fire for being hacked despite warnings on security

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 19:47:22 UT

The federal agency responsible for ensuring that markets function properly and for protecting investors is under fire after disclosing its computer system was hacked despite repeated warnings about deficiencies in its cybersecurity measures. The Securities and Exchange Commission said late Wednesday that it discovered a breach to its corporate filing system last year but only became aware last month that information obtained by the attackers may have been used for illegal trading gains. The agency did not explain why the initial hack was not revealed sooner, or which individuals or companies may have been impacted.



The ATM at 50: How it's changed consumer behavior

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:30:18 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — An automated teller machine. The cash machine. In Britain, a cashpoint. ATMs, known for spitting out $20 bills (and imposing fees if you pick the wrong one), turn 50 years old this year. They're ubiquitous — and possibly still a necessity, despite the big changes in how people pay for things. It was a radical move when Barclays installed cash machines in a London suburb in 1967. The utilitarian machine gave fixed amounts of money, using special vouchers — the magnetic-striped ATM card hadn't been invented yet. There was no way for a customer to transfer money between accounts, and bank employees tabulated the transactions manually at the end of each day.



Toys R Us revs up for holiday hiring

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:06:34 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Toys R Us may have filed for Chapter 11 reorganization, but the toy chain is revving up its holiday hiring. The Wayne, New Jersey-based chain said Thursday it will be accepting job applications for part-time holiday positions at stores and distribution centers in the U.S. That includes a new position called a toy demonstrator, who will help kids test out toys. Toys R Us plans to hire more than 12,500 for the top six markets, including Groveport, Ohio, where it will be looking to staff more than 2,400 for its distribution facility that handles online orders. It hired more than 10,900 workers for the top five markets a year ago.



Thirty-year fixed mortgage rate rises to 3.83 percent

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 14:57:28 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term mortgage rates rose this week, lifting the 30-year fixed mortgage from the lowest levels of 2017. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 3.83 percent, up from 3.78 percent last week and above last year's average of 3.65 percent. The 15-year fixed rate, popular with homeowners who are refinancing their mortgages, rose to 3.13 percent from 3.08 percent last week. Rates on long-term home loans typically track the yield on 10-year Treasury notes, which moved higher this week. Rates on adjustable five-year mortgages rose to 3.17 percent from 3.13 percent last week.



Need a new appliance? Learn, compare - then ask for a deal

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 14:51:09 UT

Unless you're an expert in spin cycles, buying an appliance could leave you dizzy. To make the process easier, here are answers to the appliance-buying questions you'll probably ponder, from "When should I buy?" to "Do I really need a warranty?" REPAIR OR REPLACE? People with existing appliances have two options: repair or replace. You can count on major appliances to last about a year for every $100 spent, says Doug Rogers, president of Mr. Appliance, a national appliance-repair company. "If I bought a $100 microwave, I'm probably not going to call anyone to fix it if it's over a year old," Rogers says. "I'm probably just going to go buy a new one. But if I buy a $1,000 refrigerator, it's probably worth fixing up to 10 years.



StoryCorps' Thanksgiving Listen asks kids to record elders

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 14:40:19 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — StoryCorps is hoping people give their social media apps a break for a few minutes this Thanksgiving and instead use one designed for listening. The nonprofit oral history project on Thursday announced the 2017 edition of its Great Thanksgiving Listen, which calls for high school students to record a conversation with an elder over the holiday weekend using the StoryCorps app. Students can also add photos and videos to their stories and upload them to an online StoryCorps archive. They'll also be included in a StoryCorps collection at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.



Leaders to tech firms at UN: Remove terror posts in 2 hours

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 13:46:03 UT

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The leaders of Britain, France and Italy are setting an ambitious goal for tech companies to tackle online posts that promote terrorism: Take them down within an hour or two. Convening world and tech leaders Wednesday at the United Nations, British Prime Minister Theresa May said internet companies are making progress but need to go "further and faster" to keep violent extremist material from spreading online. The average lifetime of Islamic State extremists' online propaganda shrank from six days to 36 hours in the first six months of this year, May said. "That is still 36 hours too long," she said.



Dutch appeals court upholds ban on former Dutch Uber service

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 12:56:56 UT

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — An appeals court has upheld the Dutch government's ban on a former Uber ride-hailing service in the Netherlands. The College of Appeal for Businesses ruled Thursday that the government was justified in imposing penalty payments linked to its ban on UberPop. The service was banned in 2014 because it enabled drivers without a taxi license to pick up passengers. Uber halted the service in 2015 in the Netherlands. It operates other services in Dutch cities using licensed drivers. Other countries, including France and Germany, also have banned UberPop. In the same ruling, the court upheld Uber's appeal against a penalty payment of 650,000 euros ($775,000) linked to another of the company's services, UberX.



Claims for US jobless aid fall as hurricane impact recedes

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 12:51:50 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped by 23,000 last week to 259,000 as the economic impact of Hurricane Harvey began to fade. THE NUMBERS: The Labor Department said Thursday that the less-volatile four-week average rose by 6,000 to 268,750. Overall, nearly 2 million Americans are collecting jobless aid, down almost 6 percent from a year ago. THE TAKEAWAY: In early September, jobless claims shot up by the most in five years as Harvey battered Texas. But last week claims in Texas fell 45 percent as more people returned to work. Hurricane Irma continued to have an impact on the job market in Florida, where claims more than doubled from the previous week.



Amazon reviewing its site after bomb-making materials report

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 12:49:47 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon says it is reviewing its website after a British TV report said that the online retailer recommended purchasing ingredients together that could make a bomb. Channel 4 News in London said that when it tried to buy certain chemicals on Amazon, the website's "frequently bought together" section suggested products that could help build a bomb. Amazon.com Inc., based in Seattle, says it only sells products that comply with U.K. laws. The company also says that it will continue to work closely with police and law enforcement agencies if needed to assist their investigations.



US jobless claims slide by 23,000 to 259,000 as impact of Hurricane Harvey fades

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 12:31:49 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — US jobless claims slide by 23,000 to 259,000 as impact of Hurricane Harvey fades.



The Latest: Pence says Russia probes are not a distraction

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 11:38:08 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and Russia probes (all times local): 7:25 a.m. Vice President Mike Pence says the Trump administration is focused on issues "the American people are focused on" and isn't getting distracted by investigations into Russian interference in last year's U.S. election. "We have cooperated with the special counsel's investigation and we will continue to do that," Pence tells "CBS This Morning" Thursday. Asked if he thought special counsel Robert Mueller was moving beyond his investigative authority, Pence replied, "Well, I think that's for others to say." Asked about reports that Paul Manafort, then the Trump campaign manager, offered to brief a Russian billionaire, he demurred.