Business Highlights

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Trump nearing decision on tough China tariffs

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is closing in on a decision to impose tariffs on Chinese goods, a move that could put his trade policies on a collision course with his push to get rid of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula. Trump has vowed to fulfill his campaign pledge to clamp down on what he considers unfair Chinese trading practices. But his calls for about $50 billion in tariffs could complicate his efforts to keep China’s support in his negotiations with North Korea.

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Fed sets limits on biggest banks’ loans to each other

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve has set limits aimed at addressing one of the leading causes of the 2008 financial crisis — the buildup of loans extended by one bank to another among the biggest Wall Street institutions. The Fed unveiled a new rule Thursday that caps a big bank’s credit exposure to another bank. The rule is close to a proposal the central bank floated two years ago, but it makes revisions for the credit limits to be tailored to the size of the bank.

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Trump accused in lawsuit of misusing charitable foundation

NEW YORK (AP) — New York’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit accusing Donald Trump of illegally using money from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits against his business empire and burnish his image during his run for the White House. The president blasted the case as politically motivated.

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Apple closing iPhone security gap used by law enforcement

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple is closing a security gap that allowed outsiders to pry personal information from locked iPhones without a password. The change may thwart law enforcement agencies that exploited the vulnerability to collect evidence in criminal investigations. The loophole will be shut down in a forthcoming update to Apple’s iOS software, which powers iPhones. Apple says it doesn’t want to thwart authorities, but believes it must protest its customers from “intrusions into their personal data.”

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New Jersey begins taking legal sports bets

OCEANPORT, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey’s governor kicked off a new era of gambling Thursday in the state that led the charge for the entire nation to bet on sports legally. Gov. Phil Murphy placed $20 bets on Germany to win the World Cup soccer tournament, and the New Jersey Devils to win hockey’s Stanley Cup next season. Murphy plunked his money down at a counter inside Monmouth Park, a horse racing track in Oceanport, near the Jersey shore.

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Proposed US banking fix for marijuana may not open all doors

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A proposal in Congress to ease the U.S. ban on marijuana could encourage more banks to do business with cannabis companies, but it appears to fall short of a comprehensive fix. The industry often is forced to conduct business in cash in a credit card world. Companies that legally grow or sell pot are often locked out at banks because the drug is illegal under federal law. The measure aims to address the problem, but industry experts predict some banks will still stay away.

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IMF: Tax cuts boosting US now but will hurt growth later

WASHINGTON (AP) — The International Monetary Fund believes the U.S. economy will post solid growth this year and next, helped by a sizable boost from tax cuts. But then it says growth will slide as huge budget deficits constrain growth far below the Trump administration’s goals. In its annual assessment of the U.S. economy, the IMF says growth will hit 2.9 percent this year and 2.7 percent next year.

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As Fed raises rates, popular bond index funds get pinched

NEW YORK (AP) — Index funds are surging in popularity due to their low costs and relatively good performance. But many bond index funds also carry an additional risk that investors should keep in mind as more dollars flow into the field: Many of the biggest are likely to be hurt more than other bond funds when interest rates rise. It’s a reminder that nothing’s risk-free in investing.

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Stocks rise as economy strengthens, central banks step back

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks mostly rose Thursday, as markets get accustomed to the idea of investing with less of a safety net from central banks around the world. The European Central Bank laid out its plan to pull back from the stimulus it’s pumped into markets, but it also said it plans to hold off on raising interest rates for longer than some investors expected. More evidence arrived that the U.S. economy is improving, meanwhile, which helped send the S&P 500 to its fourth gain in the last five days.

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The S&P 500 index rose 6.86 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,782.49. The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 25.89, or 0.1 percent, to 25,175.31, and the Nasdaq composite rose 65.34, or 0.8 percent, to 7,761.04, a record. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 8.19 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,684.72.points.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 25 cents to settle at $66.89 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 80 cents to $75.94. Heating oil fell 3 cents to $2.16 per gallon, wholesale gasoline dropped 3 cents to $2.09 per gallon and natural gas was close to flat at $2.97 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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