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Bitcoin futures begin trading on CME, price little changed

Sun, 17 Dec 2017 23:50:32 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Another security based on the price of bitcoin, the digital currency that has soared in value and volatility this year, began trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Sunday. The CME Group, which owns the exchange, opened up bitcoin futures for trading at 6 p.m. EST on Sunday. The futures contract that expires in January opened at $20,650, then slipped back to $19,480 at 6:45 p.m. EST, down $20. The CME futures, like the ones that CME competitor the Cboe started trading last week, do not involve actual bitcoin. The CME's futures will track an index of bitcoin prices pulled from several private exchanges. The Cboe's futures track the price of bitcoin prices on the particular private exchange known as Gemini.



Why GOP tax plan could mean cuts in state and local services

Sun, 17 Dec 2017 15:48:59 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — It's a tax provision that could prove costly for schools, police forces, drug treatment centers and other state and local public services. The sweeping tax overhaul embraced by President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers would impose a $10,000 limit on the combined sum of property and state and local income taxes that a household could deduct. The $10,000 cap will help pay for corporate and personal tax cuts totaling $1.5 trillion over the next decade. Conservatives have argued that unlimited state and local deductions amount to a federal subsidy for the wealthy in high-tax states like New York, New Jersey and California.



GOP betting that its fix for US economy will defy warnings

Sun, 17 Dec 2017 12:50:20 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The tax overhaul of 2017 amounts to a high-stakes gamble by Republicans in Congress: That slashing taxes for corporations and wealthy individuals will accelerate growth and assure greater prosperity for Americans for years to come. The risks are considerable. A wide range of economists and nonpartisan analysts have warned that the bill will likely escalate federal debt, intensify pressure to cut spending on social programs and further widen America's troubling income inequality. Congress is expected to vote this week on the bill, the most far-reaching rewrite of the U.S. tax code since 1986.



A look at some winners and losers under the GOP tax plan

Sat, 16 Dec 2017 21:37:00 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Count President Donald Trump among the personal winners in the $1.5 trillion tax package that congressional Republicans are on the verge of passing. It's not only a political score for Trump but likely a windfall for his real estate empire, too. Oil drillers would also benefit. So would multimillionaire and billionaire owners of sports teams. Companies would enjoy a bounty from permanently lower tax rates. Lawyers and accountants will profit from the advice suddenly needed to guide clients through the tax plan. The bill creates plenty of losers, too. An estimated 13 million Americans are projected to lose health insurance. Commuters will no longer receive a perk that has saved them money.



GM shows new Silverado pickup at event in Texas

Sat, 16 Dec 2017 21:00:58 UT

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors is showing of an all-new version of the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck at an event in Texas. The company released pictures of the rounded new truck with thin LED headlamps and a blacked-out front grille. GM gave few details ahead of its official debut at the Detroit auto show in January. The company says the 2019 Silverado will be lighter than the current model with a high-strength steel bed. It will have a mixed-metal body — that likely means a combination of aluminum and steel. The truck also will get new engines and transmissions, possibly including a diesel. The changes should help GM gain ground on the aluminum-clad Ford F-Series, the top-selling vehicle in the U.S.




As Bitcoin, other currencies soar, regulators urge caution

Sat, 16 Dec 2017 16:00:51 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — The public's interest in all things bitcoin and efforts by entrepreneurs to fund their businesses with digital currencies is starting to draw more attention from regulators. The head of the Securities and Exchange Commission this week warned investors on the risks of investing in largely-unregulated digital currencies. And another federal agency is now proposing to regulate bitcoin trading like other regulated commodities such as wheat, oil, gold and silver. Just this month, the SEC halted two attempts to raise money through what's known as an initial coin offering. Legal experts believe this signals that a crackdown on sketchy offerings is coming.



Disney-Fox deal may create a new nerdy nirvana

Sat, 16 Dec 2017 06:41:40 UT

MENLO PARK, California (AP) — The coming union of the Disney and Fox media empires is set to create a new nirvana for fanboys and -girls, one that reunites superheroes and sci-fi characters long separated by an energy barrier of corporate legalism. Take, for instance, the fractured world of Marvel superheroes. For years, the X-Men (Wolverine, Storm, Professor X and the crew) and the Fantastic Four (Thing, Invisible Woman, et al) have battled bad dudes from the studios of 20th Century Fox. Meanwhile Iron Man, Black Widow and other Avengers vanquished villains in another corner of the galaxy run by Disney. Almost ne'er the twain did meet — though that could soon change.



Inflammatory letter sheds light on Uber's alleged misconduct

Sat, 16 Dec 2017 06:34:41 UT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A former Uber security specialist accused the company of dispatching a team of spies to steal its rivals' trade secrets and using shady tactics to thwart its competition in the ride-hailing market, according an inflammatory letter unsealed Friday by a federal judge. Those tactics allegedly included impersonating other people, illegally recording conversations and hacking into computers. Former Uber manager Richard Jacobs, who was fired earlier this year, made the explosive claims in a 37-page letter that sought a big payoff for being forced out of the company.



NASA drops replica Orion spacecraft to test parachutes

Sat, 16 Dec 2017 01:18:51 UT

YUMA, Ariz. (AP) — NASA on Friday successfully dropped a replica Orion spacecraft from an Air Force transport aircraft to a southwestern Arizona desert site to test the craft's ability to cope with a partial parachute failure. The test used two of Orion's three main parachutes to simulate the failure of the third and still sufficiently slowed the spacecraft for a landing. Previous attempts were thwarted by a failure of the C-17 plane's cargo doors to open at the drop altitude of 35,000 feet (10,668 meters) on Wednesday and by high winds on Thursday. Jim McMichael, a NASA systems engineer, said the 10-ton (10.



Procter & Gamble agrees to add activist investor to board

Sat, 16 Dec 2017 00:23:36 UT

CINCINNATI (AP) — Procter & Gamble is adding Nelson Peltz to its board of directors, ending a proxy battle with the activist investor who has been seeking to shake up the consumer products giant. The announcement came after Peltz last month claimed to have won a shareholder vote to add him to the board, beating out incumbent director former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo by a fraction of a percent. The company claimed, however, that the vote was too close to call. On Friday, Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble Co. said Zedillo and 10 others were re-elected. But it said that because Peltz had garnered so much shareholder support, he will be given a seat on the board starting March 1.



Facebook: Social media scrolling can make you feel bad

Sat, 16 Dec 2017 00:15:47 UT

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — It's not quite like tobacco companies warning about the dangers of smoking, but Facebook is acknowledging something many already know: Using social media can be bad for your health. The social media giant whose platform has become a daily addiction for hundreds of millions of people sheds light in a blog post Friday on what it says are two sides of the issue. It notes research showing an increase in teen depression with technology use. It also points to its own research that shows improvements in well-being from interacting with close friends online. Facebook, of course, thrives when people engage with its platform.



Amazon making nice, prepares sales of Apple TV, Chromecast

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 23:24:44 UT

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — Amazon is angling for a truce in its two-year battle with Apple and Google over streaming gadgets: It says it is preparing to put Apple TV and Chromecast back on sale. A spokeswoman for Amazon confirmed Friday it is preparing to sell the devices. However, fresh links for the products that went live on Thursday indicate they are still unavailable. Amazon stopped selling Apple TV streaming devices in late 2015 in retaliation for Apple not making Amazon's Prime Video app available on Apple TVs. It said at the time the move was to reduce possible confusion caused by items sold on its store not playing videos bundled with its Prime shipping plan.



Business Highlights

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 22:53:45 UT

___ With Rubio, Corker onboard, GOP finalizes huge tax package WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans are solidifying support for a major overhaul of the nation's tax laws, securing endorsements from wavering senators as they push to muscle the bill through Congress next week and give President Donald Trump his first major legislative victory. Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Bob Corker of Tennessee announced Friday that they would back the bill, the most sweeping re-write of the tax code in more than three decades. ___ Calendar quirk, Amazon, put pressure on retailers to deliver NEW YORK (AP) — With Christmas on a Monday, most retailers have one less day to get packages delivered on time.



Costco Wholesale and Hess rise; Oracle and CSX tumble

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 22:41:29 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily on Friday: Oracle Corp., down $1.89 to $48.30 Analysts were disappointed with results from the software maker's cloud business and its forecasts. Adobe Systems Inc., up $2.51 to $177.51 The software company surpassed Wall Street's forecasts in its latest quarter. Costco Wholesale Corp., up $6.20 to $192.73 The wholesale club company had a better quarter than analysts expected. CSX Corp., down $4.38 to $52.93 The railroad operator said CEO Hunter Harrison is on leave because of health problems. Hess Corp., up 98 cents to $43.40 Reuters said activist investment firm Elliott Management plans to push for changes at the oil and gas company. Discovery Communications Inc.



Campbell Soup, Snyder's-Lance shares rise on deal report

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 22:27:11 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Campbell Soup and Snyder's-Lance have risen after a report that the soup company is in advanced talks to buy the pretzel maker. CNBC, citing sources familiar with the situation, said a deal could be announced next week. Both companies said Friday they don't comment on rumors. Camden, New Jersey-based Campbell has reported falling sales as more people avoid processed foods. Besides its canned soups, it makes Goldfish crackers, V8 juices and Prego pasta sauces. It bought organic broth maker Pacific Foods this year to shift its product lineup toward foods seen as healthier. Snyder's-Lance's brands include Pop-Secret popcorn, Stella D'oro cookies and Snyder's of Hanover pretzels. Campbell Soup Co.



Report: Rich will get still richer unless policies change

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 22:17:03 UT

TOKYO (AP) — Global income inequality has worsened over the past four decades, a report finds, with the wealthiest 1 percent of the world's population capturing twice as much income growth as the bottom half. The world's middle class, made up mostly of people in North America and Europe, has by some measures fared the worst. Globalization has boosted incomes for hundreds of millions of people in developing countries, particularly China and India. And it has lowered pay for manufacturing workers and other middle-income employees in the developed world.



Tech companies lead US stocks higher as tax plan advances

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 22:10:38 UT

Wall Street capped the week with broad gains, propelling the major stock indexes to a new set of milestones Friday. Investors welcomed signs that Congressional Republicans were solidifying support for a major overhaul of the nation's tax laws ahead of an expected vote next week. Technology stocks led the gains, which more than wiped out the market's losses from the day before. Health care companies and banks also posted solid gains. Energy stocks were the only laggard. Small-company stocks, which stand to benefit most from lower corporate tax rates, rose more than the rest of the market. "The tax bill seems to be the driver right now," said Erik Davidson, chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank.



Historic Capitol Hill home awaits its fate

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 21:28:00 UT

The P.J. Sullivan house on Capitol Hill is facing an uncertain future. It's on the city's list to be considered for landmark status, but if a current pending sale goes through, it's too early to say what the buyers have planned for the historic property.




A health setback for Hunter Harrison punishes CSX stock

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 21:23:29 UT

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Shares of CSX slid Friday after the railroad said CEO Hunter Harrison will take a medical leave "due to unexpected complications from a recent illness." Chief Operating Officer James Foote will serve as acting CEO of the Jacksonville, Florida, company. Harrison, who has engineered turnarounds at three different railroads, was hired in March after activist investors pressured CSX for changes. But questions have emerged about his health. In May The Wall Street Journal reported that Harrison often works from home and occasionally uses oxygen because of an undisclosed health issue. Harrison then told the newspaper that doctors had cleared him to work. Shares of CSX Corp. fell $4.38, or7.6 percent, to close at $52.



Quarles recuses himself from Wells Fargo matters

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 21:17:12 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Randal Quarles, who is vice chairman for supervision at the Federal Reserve, says he will recuse himself from participating in matters specific to Wells Fargo & Co. The Fed announced the decision on Friday, saying Quarles wanted to "avoid even the potential appearance of a conflict of interest." Quarles noted that he had severed all financial ties he and his immediate family had with the bank, including selling off his stock in the banking giant. He said he was taking the step in light of the history his extended family members had with San Francisco-based Wells Fargo which involved the sale of their interest in a bank.



Markets Right Now: Stock indexes gain as tax plan advances

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 21:11:31 UT

The latest on developments in financial markets (All times local): 4 p.m. Stocks are closing higher on Wall Street as Congressional Republicans put the final touches on a tax overhaul plan. The gains Friday more than wiped out the market's losses from the day before and drove indexes to their latest all-time highs. Small-company stocks, which stand to benefit most from lower corporate tax rates, rose more than the rest of the market. Costco Wholesale jumped 3.4 percent after reporting a strong quarter. Hess rose 2.3 percent after Reuters said an activist investor plans to push for changes at the energy company. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 23 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,675. The Dow Jones industrials rose 143 points, or 0.



Italy says Amazon will pay $118 million to end tax dispute

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 20:04:18 UT

MILAN (AP) — Italian tax authorities say Amazon will pay 100 million euros ($118 million) to end a dispute over its tax payments from 2011-2015. The agreement announced Friday comes as many European countries seek to close loopholes in tax payments by major multinationals. Amazon confirmed the agreement in a statement, without disclosing the amount it would pay. The internet retailer headquartered in the U.S. state of Washington said it set up an Italian branch in May 2015 "with all retail revenues, expenses, profits and taxes due now accounted for in Italy." It further said it had invested more than 800 million euros in Italy and created 3,000 jobs since 2010. Italian tax authorities have reached similar deals with Google and Apple.