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Business Highlights: Crude oil drops 3 percent

🕐 4 min read

Business Highlights

By The Associated Press

The S&P 500 index fell 0.71 points to 2,809.21. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 91.74 points, or 0.4 percent, to 25,706.68. The Nasdaq composite slid 2.79 points to 7,642.70. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks skidded 7.23 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,589.60.

The price of U.S. crude oil dropped 3 percent to $69.75 a barrel in New York, its first close below $70 a barrel in a month. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 1.7 percent to $80.05 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline lost 3 percent to $1.92 a gallon and heating oil fell 1.2 percent to $2.31 a gallon. Natural gas jumped 2.5 percent to $3.32 per 1,000 cubic feet.


Tesla secures land in Shanghai for first factory outside US

BEIJING (AP) — Electric auto brand Tesla Inc. says it has secured land in Shanghai for its first factory outside the United States, pushing ahead despite mounting U.S.-Chinese trade tensions. The California-based company announced plans for the factory in July after Beijing said it would lift restrictions on full foreign ownership of electric vehicle manufacturers.


Email: Housing official to lead Interior watchdog agency

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is apparently reassigning a political appointee at the Department of Housing and Urban Development to lead an internal watchdog agency at the Interior Department. An email sent by HUD Secretary Ben Carson to staff says assistant HUD secretary Suzanne Israel Tufts will take over as acting inspector general at Interior. Tufts would replace Mary Kendall, who has served as acting inspector general since 2009.


Fed officials discussed hiking rates to ‘restrictive’ level

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve officials last month debated how high they would need to raise interest rates to meet their economic goals, with some arguing that they may need to lift rates to a level that would modestly restrain growth. In the end, the Fed modestly raised its key short-term rate and predicted that it would continue to gradually tighten credit to manage growth and inflation amid a steadily healthy job market and economy.


Rising drug prices widen gap between have, have-not patients

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — High-priced drugs and insurer efforts to hold down costs are keeping some patients from getting the drugs they need. Insurers are making patients pay more for drugs, putting some new, expensive drugs out of reach. Or they are making patients try cheaper drugs first, and only approving newer drugs if patients fail to improve. Medicare Advantage plans can adopt this provision starting next year.


Trump starts leaving postal union in latest anti-China move

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is initiating the process of leaving the Universal Post Union Wednesday, which sets flat rates for international postage. Trump argues that the global shipping treaty benefits China and other countries at the expense of U.S. businesses.


US housing starts sank 5.3 percent in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — US home construction fell 5.3 percent in September. That’s a sign that rising mortgage rates may be weighing on the real estate market. The Commerce Department says that housing starts slipped last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.2 million, down from 1.27 million in August. The pace of homebuilding has downshifted since May, despite posting gains year to date.


Stocks erase most of early losses after huge gain; IBM sinks

NEW YORK (AP) — After an early slide, U.S. stocks clawed back much of the ground they lost and ended slightly lower Wednesday. Banks climbed but retailers, homebuilders and smaller companies fell. Stocks slumped in morning trading as homebuilders and retailers took sharp losses after the Commerce Department said construction of new homes dropped in September. Technology companies fell as IBM suffered its biggest loss in five and a half years after it reported weak sales. Stocks were coming off their biggest gain in more than six months.


Jubilant customers light up as pot sales begin in Canada

MONTREAL (AP) — Jubilant customers stood in long lines for hours then lit up and celebrated on sidewalks as Canada became the world’s largest legal marijuana marketplace. In Toronto, people smoked joints when they rolled out of bed in a “wake and bake” celebration. In Alberta, a government website that sells pot crashed when too many people tried to place orders. At least 111 pot shops were expected to open Wednesday across the nation of 37 million people


US criticizes EU for moving too slowly in trade talks

BRUSSELS (AP) — U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross is criticizing the EU for moving too slowly in trade talks and is warning that President Donald Trump’s patience with the Europeans might soon run out. Ross said “we really need tangible progress. The president’s patience is not unlimited.” Trump and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed in July to start talks intended to achieve “zero tariffs” and “zero subsidies” on non-automotive industrial goods, to avert a possible trade war.


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