Business Highlights

AP News
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Posted: Dec 30, 2016 6:57 PM

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US stocks notched big gains in 2016 despite an early stumble

In a year with no shortage of surprises and stomach-churning turns in the market, stock investors can feel pretty good about 2016.

Wall Street repeatedly bounced back from steep slumps, including the worst start to any year for stocks, the second correction for the market in five months and investor fears of a global slowdown. It also weathered plummeting oil prices and the surprising outcomes of Britain's vote to leave the European Union and Donald Trump's U.S. presidential election win.

A turnaround in company earnings growth, more stable oil prices, a steadily improving U.S. economy and job market all helped keep the market on an upward trajectory. More recently, investor optimism that the Republican election sweep will usher in a bevy of business-friendly policies spurred the market to new heights.

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Globalization took hits in 2016; Will 2017 lead to more?

LONDON (AP) — Globalization, the path that the world economy has largely followed for decades, took some hefty blows in 2016.

The election of Donald Trump as U.S. president and Britain's decision to leave the European Union have raised questions over the future of tariff-free trade and companies' freedom to move production to lower-cost countries.

Borders are back in vogue. Economic nationalism is paying political dividends.

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Another safer year in coal mining with record low 9 deaths

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The nation's coal mines are nearing a new low mark for on-the-job deaths for the third year in a row and have a chance to keep the number of fatal accidents in single digits for the first time.

With just a day left in 2016, U.S. coal mines have recorded nine deaths. West Virginia had four. Kentucky had two deaths and there was one each in Alabama, Illinois and Pennsylvania.

The low numbers are attributed to far fewer coal mining jobs and tougher enforcement of mining safety rules.

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Benefits of Indian cash overhaul elusive as deadline passes

NEW DELHI (AP) — Fifty days ago, India yanked most of its currency from circulation without warning, jolting the economy and leaving most citizens scrambling for cash. As the deadline for exchanging the devalued 500- and 1,000-rupee notes for new ones hit on Friday, many Indians were still stuck waiting in long bank lines.

Empty ATMs and ever-changing rules prevented people from withdrawing money, and many small, cash-reliant businesses from cinemas to neighborhood grocery stores suffered huge losses or went under.

Despite those problems, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his Nov. 8 demonetization decree succeeded in uncovering tax evasion and cracking down on graft. The Indian government is urging patience, insisting it's playing a long game that will eventually modernize Indian society and benefit the poor.

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New wood technology may offer hope for struggling timber

RIDDLE, Ore. (AP) — D.R. Johnson Lumber Co. is one of two U.S. timber mills making a new wood product that's the buzz of the construction industry. It's called cross-laminated timber, or CLT, and it's made like it sounds: rafts of 2-by-4 beams aligned in perpendicular layers, then glued — or laminated — together like a giant sandwich.

The resulting panels are lighter and less energy-intensive than concrete and steel, much faster to assemble on-site than regular timber and strong enough to build even the tallest skyscrapers, proponents say.

From Maine to Arkansas to the Pacific Northwest, the material is sparking interest among architects, engineers and researchers. Many say it could infuse struggling forest communities like Riddle with new economic growth while reducing the carbon footprint of urban construction with a renewable building material.

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Thanks for the calories: NYC's Carnegie Deli says goodbye

NEW YORK (AP) — After 79 years of serving up heaps of cured meat to tourists, theater patrons and workaday New Yorkers, the Carnegie Delicatessen will slice its last ridiculously oversized sandwich on Friday.

Fans lined up all week for a last bite at the restaurant, which got a star turn in Woody Allen's 1984 film "Broadway Danny Rose" and remained a stop until the end for out-of-towners looking for the classic New York deli experience.

Craig DeGregorio, 38, of Long Island, said he waited for nearly 90 minutes to chow down on its signature dish, a mountainous, $20 pastrami sandwich.

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Publisher to put out Yiannopoulos book despite backlash

NEW YORK (AP) — In the face of heavy criticism, Simon & Schuster is moving forward with plans to publish a book by the conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.

Yiannopoulos writes for Breitbart News, considered by many a platform for the so-called "alt-right" movement, an offshoot of conservatism that mixes racism, white nationalism and populism. Yiannopoulos' Twitter account was suspended earlier this year after a series of racially insensitive tweets aimed at "Ghostbusters" actress Leslie Jones, who is black. Yiannopoulos has denied he is a white nationalist.

While many in and outside of the publishing industry criticized Simon & Schuster, the book, which is available for preorder, was at the top of Amazon.com's best seller list Friday.

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China to ease curbs on foreign investment after complaints

BEIJING (AP) — The Chinese government said Friday it will ease restrictions on foreign investment in sectors ranging from banking and internet services to rail equipment and motorcycles, in response to mounting complaints from foreign business groups and governments.

An official with China's National Development and Reform Commission, the economic planning agency, said service sectors such as accounting and auditing, architectural design and ratings services will be open to foreign investment.

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Cabela's says Bass Pro deal faces new regulatory hurdles

SIDNEY, Neb. (AP) — Cabela's say Bass Pro Shops' $4.5 billion deal to buy the Nebraska-based outfitter faces new hurdles.

Cabela's said in a securities filing Thursday that the Federal Trade Commission wants more information about the merger. Cabela's said that it still expects the FTC to clear the Bass Pro purchase in the first half of 2017.

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The Dow Jones industrial average fell 57.18 points, or 0.3 percent, to 19,762.60. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 10.43 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,238.83. The Nasdaq composite gave up 48.97 points, or 0.9 percent, to 5,383.12.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 5 cents to close at $53.72 a barrel in New York. That translates into a 45 percent gain for the year. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slipped 3 cents to close at $56.82 a barrel in London.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline dropped 2 cents to $1.67 a gallon and heating oil held steady at $1.70 a gallon. Natural gas futures fell 7.8 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $3.72 per 1,000 cubic feet.