The S&P 500 index climbed 10.55 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,584.96. The Dow Jones Industrial Average picked up 91.67 points, or 0.4 percent, to 23,879.12. The Nasdaq composite rose 60.08 points, or 0.9 percent, to 6,957.08. The Russell 2000 index of smaller and U.S.-focused stocks added 12.25 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,438.81.
U.S. crude rose 5.2 percent to $52.36 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 4.6 percent to $61.44 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 4.6 percent to $1.43 a gallon and heating oil added 2.9 percent to $1.88 a gallon. Natural gas edged up 0.6 percent to $2.98 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Fed minutes: Growing risks make rate hike path less clear
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve officials expressed increasing worries when they met last month, as they grappled with volatile stock markets, trade tensions and uncertain global growth. The threats, they said, made the future path of interest rate hikes “less clear.” According to minutes of the Fed’s December meetings, officials believed that with inflation still muted, the central bank could afford to be “patient” about future rate hikes.
Stocks post 4th straight gain as hopes build on China trade
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks rose for the fourth straight day, the longest winning streak since September, after negotiators from the U.S. and China extended their trade talks to a third day. Oil prices jumped again and stocks linked to faster economic growth, such as technology companies, kept rising. The gains were dented slightly after President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders said Trump cut short a meeting on ending the partial shutdown of the federal government.
Remember virtual reality? Its buzz has faded at CES 2019
NEW YORK (AP) — Virtual reality was poised to take over the world a few years ago, but now its buzz has faded. The culprits include overhype, clunky headsets and a lack of compelling VR software. In particular, venture-capital funding for VR software development has plummeted, falling almost 60 percent in 2018 by one estimate.
UK lawmakers rebuff May as she tries to salvage Brexit deal
LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May has brought her little-loved EU divorce agreement back to lawmakers, who appear determined to thwart her plans. A month after postponing a vote on the deal to avert near-certain defeat, May urged Parliament to support it to prevent a chaotic British exit on March 29 with no agreement. But lawmakers look set to reject the deal in a vote next week.
Elderly, conservatives shared more Facebook fakery in 2016
WASHINGTON (AP) — A new study finds that people over 65 and conservatives shared far more false information on Facebook in 2016 than others. Researchers say that for every piece of “fake news” shared by young adults, moderates or super liberals, senior citizens and far-right conservatives shared about seven false items. Experts say seniors might not discern truth from fiction as easily on social media. The sheer volume of false pro-Donald Trump information may have skewed the sharing numbers to the right.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and wife divorcing after 25 years
SEATTLE (AP) — Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie are divorcing, ending a 25-year marriage that undergirded the creation of the e-commerce company that made Bezos the world’s wealthiest person. The decision to divorce comes after a trial separation, according to a statement posted Wednesday on Bezos’ Twitter account. Left unanswered was how the divorce will affect the $137 billion fortune that has been amassed since Bezos started Amazon in the couple’s Seattle garage in 1995.
Federal shutdown delays some state road, bridge contracts
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Uncertainty over federal funding for transportation projects amid a partial government shutdown is forcing some states to delay approving contracts for new road and bridge projects. Other states are preparing for that possibility if the shutdown continues. Transportation officials in Oklahoma this week announced plans to delay bids on 45 new highway projects worth about $137 million.
S. Korea orders seizure of Japan assets over forced labor
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A South Korean court says it has ordered the seizure of local assets of a Japanese company after it refused to compensate several wartime forced laborers, in an escalation of a diplomatic brawl between the Asian neighbors. Japan called the decision “extremely regrettable” and said it will push for talks with Seoul on the issue.
At gadget show, makers of women’s ‘massager’ charge sexism
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The makers of a robotic “personal massager” for women won a prestigious CES award. Then organizers took it away. Its maker, the startup Lora DiCarlo, was also banned from exhibiting at this week’s CES tech show in Las Vegas. The show’s organizer, the Consumer Technology Association, says it reserves the right to disqualify any entry, though it didn’t say why it’s ineligible. Ose’s makers say it’s sexism, noting that a virtual-reality porn company has exhibited there for years.