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Business Highlights: Crude oil and natural gas prices

🕐 4 min read

The S&P 500 index lost 16.34 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,750.79. The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 89.44 points, or 0.4 percent, to 25,250.55. The Nasdaq composite skidded 66.15 points, or 0.9 percent, to 7,430.74. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 6.42 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,553.09.

U.S. crude rose 0.6 percent to $71.78 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, added 0.4 percent to $80.78 a barrel in London. Natural gas rose 2.6 percent to $3.24 per 1,000 cubic feet. Wholesale gasoline edged up 0.1 percent to $1.94 a gallon and heating oil added 0.2 percent to $2.33 a gallon.___

Girdles and socket wrenches: Sears was the Amazon of its day

Before there was Amazon, there was Sears, America’s everything-under-one-roof store and the biggest retailer in the world. But how the mighty have fallen: Plagued by falling sales and heavy debt, Sears has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It plans to close about 1 in 5 of its remaining stores in a bid to stay afloat. Analysts have their doubts it will survive.

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US budget deficit hits highest level in 6 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal budget deficit has surged to $779 billion in fiscal 2018. That is its highest level in six years. President Donald Trump’s tax cuts caused the government to borrow more heavily.

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US retail sales edged up in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer spending edged up a slight 0.1 percent in September, a disappointing performance as a rebound in auto sales was offset by weakness in a number of other areas. The Commerce Department says the scant gain in September followed an equally meager 0.1 percent increase in August.

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APNewsBreak: US eyes military bases for coal, gas exports

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Trump administration is considering using West Coast military bases or other federal properties as transit points for shipments of U.S. coal and natural gas to Asia. U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told The Associated Press it’s a matter of national security to ensure allies have access to affordable fuel supplies. It’s also tantamount to an end-run around West Coast officials who have rejected private-sector efforts to build new coal ports in their states.

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Iceland seeks financial crash closure with last prosecution

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) — Iceland has opened the last in a series of prosecutions of those deemed responsible for the financial crisis and the hope is it will give this country some closure. Icelanders have become more cynical about political and business leaders, to the point of drafting a new constitution. The top financial entrepreneurs of a generation have been thrown behind bars and the economy has had to be reinvented more profoundly than most countries.

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Irish border dispute looms large over the UK-EU Brexit talks

LUXEMBOURG (AP) — The moods in Britain and the European Union are swinging between hope and gloom over an intractable dispute about the Irish border. EU and British leaders sought to keep alive the possibility that Wednesday’s summit could see a Brexit breakthrough, despite their conflicting stances. Prime Minister Theresa May told the House of Commons in London on Monday that “I do not believe the EU and the UK are far apart.”

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Rich San Francisco businesses could face homelessness tax

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hundreds of San Francisco’s richest businesses could soon be taxed in an effort to fight homelessness in the city. The city’s voters will consider a Nov. 6 ballot for the tax that would help thousands of homeless and mentally ill. Proposition C would raise up to up to $300 million a year. It’s the latest battle between big business and social services advocates. San Francisco’s Mayor London Breed opposes it but the city’s biggest private employer Salesforce backs it.

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Bank of America 3Q profits rise 32 percent, beats forecasts

NEW YORK (AP) — Bank of America says third-quarter profits rose by 32 percent from a year ago, as the bank was able to charge more for loans and also benefited from a much lower tax rate, thanks to last year’s tax law.

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Drugmakers to disclose prices for medicines advertised on TV

TRENTON, N.J. — Dozens of drugmakers plan to start disclosing the prices for U.S. prescription drugs advertised on TV. But the Trump administration said the move announced Monday by the industry’s largest trade group doesn’t go far enough. The prices won’t be actually shown in the TV commercial. The ad will include a website where the list price will be posted.

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Stocks fade and finish lower as tech companies fall again

NEW YORK (AP) — After a wobbly day of trading, U.S. stocks fell for the seventh time in eight days Monday as technology companies continued to slide. Industrial and high-dividend companies rose, and the market’s losses were limited relative to the steep losses it suffered last week.

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