Business Highlights

AP News
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Posted: Feb 08, 2017 5:47 PM

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Trump criticism of Nordstrom raises conflict concern

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump's criticism that Nordstrom treated his daughter "so unfairly" has raised concerns. The chain announced last week that it would stop selling Ivanka Trump's clothing and accessory line, based on the sales performance of the brand. Though he has tweeted in the past about companies such as Boeing and Carrier, ethics experts saw the fact that this was about a business run by his daughter raising conflict-of-interest concerns and even carrying an implicit threat.

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Carbon tax push from former GOP officials faces uphill slog

WASHINGTON (AP) — A push by a group of Republican statesmen for a tax on carbon to help combat the effects of climate change is already meeting entrenched opposition from their own party. Former Secretary of State Jim Baker went to the White House on Wednesday in an effort to gain Trump administration support for the plan, which would place a new tax on oil, natural gas and coal and then use the proceeds to provide quarterly dividends to American taxpayers.

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Retail group: Sales to grow 3.7 percent to 4.2 percent

NEW YORK (AP) — The nation's largest retail trade group is predicting that annual retail sales will increase between 3.7 percent and 4.2 percent this year. The National Retail Federation, the nation's largest retail trade group, released it outlook Wednesday, which compares to last year's figure of 3.75 percent. The figure excludes sales from automobiles, gasoline and restaurants.

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Puzder says he'd quit CEO if confirmed as labor secretary

WASHINGTON (AP) — Andrew Puzder says he would avoid conflicts of interest as President Donald Trump's secretary of labor by resigning as executive of a fast food empire, selling off his holdings and recusing himself from government decisions in which he knows he has a financial interest. A copy of Puzder's government ethics filings were obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.

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Whole Foods' sales decline again, grocer cuts forecast

NEW YORK (AP) — Whole Foods is cutting its sales forecast after another quarter of declining sales at established locations. The company has been working on trimming costs and launching an offshoot chain focused on lower costs and convenience.

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New Nasdaq record on mixed day for US stocks as oil rebounds

NEW YORK (AP) — Utilities, real estate and other high-dividend-paying companies lead U.S. stocks mostly higher, pushing the Nasdaq composite to an all-time high for the second day in a row. The gains in stocks that pay big dividends came as bond yields fell, making those traditional safe-haven companies more attractive to investors seeking income. Banks and other financial stocks were the market's biggest laggards.

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Trump is 2nd president to tout unfinished Intel factory

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is pointing to Intel's plan to invest $7 billion in an Arizona factory as a win for his economic agenda. It's also a reminder that not all corporate commitments come to fruition. Trump was the second president to celebrate the computer chip maker's attempts to expand its domestic production at the unfinished facility.

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Tourism industry debating impact of Trump travel ban

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump's travel ban is not only being debated in the courts, it's also being debated by the travel industry. Many experts remain bullish about prospects for international tourism in the U.S., despite a strong dollar that makes the U.S. expensive for some visitors. But others worry that Trump's order banning travelers from seven countries may scare off tourists from elsewhere around the world. An op-ed piece in the Toronto Star even encouraged Canadians to boycott U.S. vacations.

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Trump administration weighs health insurance 'stabilization'

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration and congressional Republicans are looking at how to stabilize wobbly health insurance markets for nearly 20 million people buying their own policies. Government and industry officials say the goal is to soothe jittery insurance companies that could bolt next year and reassure consumers. That would buy time for more ambitious GOP attempts to reshape health care.

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The Dow Jones industrial average fell 35.95 points, or 0.2 percent, to 20,054.34. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1.59 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,294.67. The Nasdaq composite added 8.24 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,682.45.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 17 cents, or 0.3 percent, to close at $52.34 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, climbed 7 cents, or 0.1 percent, to close at $55.12 a barrel in London. In other energy futures trading, wholesale gasoline rose 7 cents, or 4.4 percent, to $1.55 a gallon, while heating oil added 1 cent to $1.64 a gallon. Natural gas futures were little changed at $3.13 per 1,000 cubic feet.