Business Highlights

Posted on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019 By The Associated Press

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Back to the same record, but it's a different stock market

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market went on a harrowing round trip the last seven months, but it may be in a healthier place after it. The S&P 500 is back to a record high for the first time since Sept. 20 after following up a nearly 20% plunge late last year with a nearly mirror-opposite rebound. But analysts say many of the market's vital signs look healthier today than in late September, headlined by an easier Federal Reserve, which give reason for optimism for potentially more gains.

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S&P 500, Nasdaq close at record highs as earnings roll in

The S&P 500 closed at an all-time high Tuesday, marking the stock market's recovery from a nosedive at the end of last year. The benchmark index's previous record was set last September, shortly before the market sank in the fourth quarter amid fears of a recession, an escalating trade war between the U.S. and China, and concern the Federal Reserve was moving too aggressively to raise interest rates. Those concerns have eased or taken a back seat to more optimism among investors this year.

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US move to end Iran exemptions sending oil prices higher

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Oil prices have struck 2019 highs in the wake of the U.S. move to impose sanctions on countries that buy Iranian oil, and analysts said Tuesday that oil could get still more expensive. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 72 cents to $66.27 per barrel while international Brent oil rose 35 cents to $74.39 per barrel.

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Twitter profit rises as Trump demands 'fairer' social media

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Twitter on Tuesday trumpeted strong quarterly growth in earnings and users while President Donald Trump tweeted criticism of the social media site for allegedly discriminating against him politically. Earnings rose on strong ad demand while user numbers posted healthy growth. The company said the number of daily users rose 11% to 134 million for the first quarter of 2019, thanks to both "organic growth as well as ongoing product improvements and marketing."

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US new-home sales climbed 4.5% in March

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of new U.S. homes increased 4.5% in March, the third straight monthly gain as the housing market appears to be cautiously recovering from a mortgage rate spike last year that caused homebuying to slump. The Commerce Department says that new homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 692,000 in March. For the first three months of 2019, new-home sales are 1.7% higher than the same period a year ago.

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US expands probe into air bag failures to 12.3M vehicles

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. auto safety regulators have expanded an investigation into malfunctioning air bag controls to include 12.3 million vehicles equipped with bags that may not inflate in a crash. As many as eight deaths are blamed on the problem. The probe covers parts made by made by ZF-TRW that were installed in Toyota, Honda, Kia, Hyundai, Mitsubishi and Fiat Chrysler vehicles from the 2010 through 2019 model years.

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Henry Bloch, co-founder of tax company H&R Block, dies at 96

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Tax preparer H&R Block says its co-founder, Henry Bloch, has died at the age of 96. He died Tuesday at St. Luke's Hospice in Kansas City. He founded H&R Block in 1955 in the city with his brother, Richard, to take advantage of the vacuum left as the Internal Revenue Service stopped providing free income tax returns service. Richard Bloch died in 2004.

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Tech firm VMware faces DACA discrimination lawsuit

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A participant in the federal program shielding young immigrants from deportation is suing a Silicon Valley company, saying she was denied a job she was qualified for despite being authorized to work in the U.S. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund sued VMware in federal court in California on Tuesday, saying the software company violated the Civil Rights Act when it denied Sandy Vasquez a job.

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Coming to store shelves: cameras that guess your age and sex

NEW YORK (AP) — Store shelf cameras may be coming to a supermarket near you. Kroger and Walgreens are testing the built-in cameras that try to guess your age, gender or mood as you walk by. The plan is to use the information to show you targeted ads in real time on in-store video screens. It also helps retailers better identify who their customers are. But the technology has also raised privacy concerns and shoppers may not realize they are being watched unless they happen to notice the penny-sized lenses.

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Walgreens to hike minimum age for store tobacco sales

Walgreens has decided to raise its minimum age for tobacco sales several weeks after a top federal official chastised the drugstore chain for violating laws restricting access to cigarettes and other tobacco products. Walgreens said Tuesday that it will require customers to be at least 21 years old to purchase tobacco in any of its more than 9,500 stores nationwide. That policy starts Sept. 1.

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The S&P 500 index gained 25.71 points, or 0.9%, to 2,933.68. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 145.34 points, or 0.5%, to 26,656.39. The Nasdaq composite index climbed 105.56 points, or 1.3%, to 8,120.82, beating the record high close of 8,109.69 it reached on Aug. 29. The Russell 2000 index picked up 25.05 points, or 1.6%, to 1,585.09.

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