Business Highlights

AP News
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Posted: Feb 01, 2018 5:45 PM

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Strong January, strong year? A market maxim's record falters

NEW YORK (AP) — An old stock market maxim, "as January goes, so goes the year," hasn't been as reliable in recent years as it used to be. The January indicator has been "wrong" eight times since 2001; between 1950 and 2000, January was only "incorrect" seven times.

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Tax bill beginning to deliver bigger paychecks to workers

NEW YORK (AP) — The contentious tax bill is beginning to deliver a change that many will welcome — bigger paychecks. Workers are beginning to see some extra take-home pay as employers implement new IRS withholding guidelines, which dictate how much employers withhold from pay for federal taxes.

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Apple dealing with iPhone jitters, coming off big quarter

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple is making more money than ever, but it doesn't seem to be enough as conspiracy theories swirl around the company's secret slowdown of older iPhones and a cloud of uncertainty looms over its high-priced iPhone X. Those issues represent a reality check for a company accustomed to an unflinchingly loyal customer base that was expected to embrace the iPhone X as a revolutionary device worth its unprecedented $1,000 price.

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What Yellen's Fed tenure will be remembered for

WASHINGTON (AP) — When Janet Yellen leaves the Federal Reserve this weekend after four years as chair, her legacy will include being the first woman to have led the world's most powerful central bank. She will be remembered, too, for her achievements in deftly steering the Fed's role in the U.S. economy's rebound from a crushing financial crisis and recession.

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Google's AI push comes with plenty of people problems

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently declared that artificial intelligence fueled by powerful computers was more important to humanity than fire or electricity. And yet the search giant increasingly has to deal with messy people problems. It has vowed to employ thousands of human checkers just to catch rogue YouTube posters, Russian bots and other unsavory purveyors of content. It's also on a buying spree to find office space for its burgeoning workforce in pricey Silicon Valley.

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US factories grew again in January but a bit more slowly

WASHINGTON (AP) — American manufacturers expanded again last month but more slowly than in December. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, reports that its manufacturing index dipped to 59.1 in January from a revised 59.3 in December. But any reading above 50 signals growth, and U.S. factories have been expanding for 17 straight months.

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January US auto sales expected to rise only a little

DETROIT (AP) — January U.S. auto sales are expected to grow just a little as rebates and other deals wane after a December buying spree. Cox Automotive and J.D. Power are predicting that sales will rise around 1 percent to roughly 1.15 million vehicles.

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Another round: American whiskey makers toast strong sales

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — American whiskey makers toasted another round of robust sales in 2017, stirred increasingly by consumers' thirst for the priciest spirits — mixed in cocktails or sipped straight up. Demand grew in the U.S. and overseas as the distilled spirits industry gained market share in the crowded adult beverage sector, the Distilled Spirits Council said Thursday.

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United joins Delta in tightening rules for comfort animals

DALLAS (AP) — United Airlines wants to see more paperwork before passengers fly with emotional-support animals — and don't even try to bring a peacock on board. The airline announced Thursday that it will tighten rules starting March 1. The changes are similar to those coming at Delta Air Lines. United said owners will have to confirm that their animal is trained to behave in public, and they will need a vaccination form signed by a veterinarian. The vet will have to vouch that the animal isn't a health or safety threat to other people.

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US stocks close mostly lower as early gains fade

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes are mostly down in late-afternoon trading, on course to close lower after shedding modest gains from earlier in the day. Losses in technology stocks, as well as retailers, restaurant chains and other consumer-focused companies, account for much of the decline. Banks are up, getting a boost from rising bond yields, which set the stage for higher interest rates. Energy stocks are also up along with crude oil prices.

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The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 1.83 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,821.98. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 37.32 points, or 0.1 percent, to 26,186.71. The Nasdaq composite lost 25.62 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,385.86. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 4.88 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,579.87.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.07, or 1.7 percent, to settle at $65.80 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 76 cents, or 1.1 percent, to close at $69.65 per barrel in London. Natural gas slumped 14 cents, or 4.6 percent, to $2.86 per 1,000 cubic feet. Wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.90 a gallon and heating oil rose 2 cents to $2.09 a gallon.