Business Highlights

AP News
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Posted: Feb 14, 2018 5:22 PM

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US inflation pressures raising expectations for rate hikes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation pressures appear to be building in the U.S. economy, a prospect that is heightening anxiety about potentially higher borrowing rates that could slow economic growth. The latest source of concern was a report that showed a key measure of inflation rising in January by the sharpest rate in a year. Some economists cautioned, though, that some of those price increases are tied to temporary factors and might not signify sustained inflation.

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Critics wary as Google's Chrome begins an ad crackdown

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Starting Thursday, Google will start using its Chrome browser to reshape the web in its image. It will flag sites that use annoying ad formats, such as auto-playing video ads with sound, and will shut off all ads to the offending sites if they don't reform themselves. While the move could clean up an increasingly cluttered web, critics say it leaves untouched similar ad formats that Google profits from and is a sign of its overwhelming power over the internet.

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Trump shows willingness to raise fuel taxes

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is signaling his openness to a 25-cent fuel tax increase to help pay for his infrastructure proposal in a meeting with members of Congress. Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware says in a statement that Trump said he'd be willing to provide leadership on a 25-cent increase in the federal gas and diesel tax, which hasn't been increased since 1993. Trump made the comments in a meeting with lawmakers on Wednesday to discuss his infrastructure plan.

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Uber's net loss widens to $4.5 billion for tumultuous 2017

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Ride-hailing giant Uber's full-year net loss widened to $4.5 billion in 2017 as the company endured a tumultuous year that included multiple scandals and the replacement of its CEO. The results also showed that Uber cut its fourth-quarter net loss by 25 percent from the third quarter as its new CEO moves to make the company profitable before a planned public stock sale sometime next year.

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China appeals to Trump to avoid disrupting trade

BEIJING (AP) — China has appealed to President Donald Trump to settle trade disputes over steel and aluminum through negotiation after Trump said he would soon decide whether to impose tariffs or quotas. The Chinese foreign ministry asked Trump to avoid possible disruption to trade and the global economic recovery.

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Sam's Club to offer free shipping for premium members

NEW YORK (AP) — Sam's Club is offering free shipping for premium members and simplifying its membership tiers. The Walmart-owned warehouse club will give free shipping on online orders for Plus members on 95 percent of the items it sells. Free shipping and faster delivery have been key areas as retailers try to adapt to shoppers' shift online. The company is also converting its three membership plans into two types.

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Producer Ryan Murphy signs exclusive Netflix deal

LOS ANGELES (AP) — TV and movie producer Ryan Murphy is expanding his empire to Netflix. The streaming service says Murphy signed a deal to produce new series and films exclusively for it starting in July. Details of the multiyear deal were not disclosed.

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Phillips 66 repurchases $3.3B in stock from Buffett's firm

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Warren Buffett's company is selling 35 million shares of its Phillips 66 stock back to the oil refiner for $3.3 billion. Berkshire Hathaway and Phillips 66 said this repurchase will let Buffett's company to reduce its investment below the 10 percent level that triggers additional regulations. The transaction is expected to close Wednesday.

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Fannie Mae loses $6.5 billion in 4Q on tax change

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sweeping changes to U.S. tax law led to a $6.5 billion loss at Fannie Mae last quarter, putting the government-controlled mortgage company in the position of seeking cash assistance from taxpayers for the first time since it emerged from the housing crisis six years ago. Fannie Mae says its net worth sank to a negative $3.7 billion after it had to "remeasure" its deferred tax assets to the tune of $9.9 billion as required by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

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The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 35.69 points, or 1.3 percent, to 2,698.63. The Dow Jones industrial average added 253.04 points, or 1 percent, to 24,893.49. The Nasdaq composite climbed 130.10 points, or 1.9 percent, to 7,143.62. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 27.15 points, or 1.8 percent, to 1,522.10.

U.S. crude rose $1.41, or 2.4 percent, to $60.60 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained $1.64, or 2.6 percent, to $64.36 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline added 3 cents to $1.71 a gallon. Heating oil rose 5 cents to $1.88 a gallon. Natural gas lost 1 cent to $2.59 per 1,000 cubic feet.