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Oct 17, 6:08 PM EDT

Business Highlights


Senators reach deal on resuming payments to health insurers

WASHINGTON (AP) - Key senators have reached a breakthrough deal on resuming federal payments to health insurers that President Donald Trump has blocked. Insurers had warned that unless the money is quickly restored, premiums will go up. At the White House, the president spoke favorably about the bipartisan compromise, which is still likely to face opposition in Congress.


Trump indicates Fed search down to 5 finalists

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he is likely to make his selection for the next Federal Reserve chairman from five candidates, a group that includes current Chair Janet Yellen. "I would say within those five, you'll probably get the answer," he said when asked by a reporter if he is considering other candidates.


Appeals court tosses $72 million award in talcum powder case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri appeals court on Tuesday that vacated a $72 million award to an Alabama woman who claimed her use of Johnson & Johnson products that contained talcum contributed to her ovarian cancer has thrown the fate of awards in similar cases into doubt.


Judge in Hawaii blocks latest version of Trump's travel ban

HONOLULU (AP) - A federal judge in Hawaii blocked the Trump administration Tuesday from enforcing its latest travel ban, just hours before it was set to take effect. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson granted Hawaii's request to temporarily block the policy that was to be implemented starting early Wednesday. He found Trump's executive order "suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor."


Self-driving cars could ease traffic, but increase sprawl

BOSTON (AP) - A new study inspired by Boston's early experiments with self-driving cars finds that the technology could ease congestion, but also lead to more cars on the road and further encourage urban sprawl. The report released Tuesday by the Boston Consulting Group and the World Economic Forum is a mostly optimistic take on how autonomous vehicles could change cities.


Harvey Weinstein leaves the board of his film company

NEW YORK (AP) - Harvey Weinstein is leaving the board of the film company he started, more than a week after he was fired following allegations of sexual harassment and rape. A person who was not authorized to speak publicly said Tuesday that Weinstein resigned.


Johnson & Johnson tops Street 3Q forecasts, hikes forecast

Higher spending across the board drove Johnson & Johnson's third-quarter profit down 12 percent, despite a big jump in sales fueled by recent acquisitions, hot new cancer drugs and strong sales of other key medicines. However, the health care giant easily topped Wall Street's expectations. Given the momentum in product sales across all three of its business segments, Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday boosted its financial forecast for the third time this year.


DA who dropped Weinstein case rethinking campaign donations

NEW YORK (AP) - The Manhattan district attorney who declined to charge Harvey Weinstein in a 2015 sexual abuse case says he has stopped taking campaign donations pending a review by an outside ethics group. Cyrus R. Vance Jr. has come under fire for accepting thousands of dollars of contributions from a lawyer who represented the Hollywood mogul. Vance says election donors have never influenced his decision-making.


US industrial production rose solid 0.3 percent in September

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. industrial production rose a solid 0.3 percent in September. But the increase was limited due to the lingering damage from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The Federal Reserve says the storms, which struck the Gulf Coast and Florida, held down industrial output by 0.25 percentage points. Still, the manufacturing of automobiles, home electronics and appliances advanced.


Grassley threatens Trump EPA nominees over biofuels mandate

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Republican senator from Iowa says he may try to block President Donald Trump's nominees for key posts at the Environmental Protection Agency. Sen. Chuck Grassley wants the administration to back off a proposed reduction in the volume of biofuels blended into gasoline and diesel. Grassley says EPA's plan would result in job losses in his home state. The EPA proposed new targets for biofuels after oil companies pushed to ease mandates for using ethanol from corn and soybeans.


UnitedHealth beats 3Q forecasts, helped by Optum growth

UnitedHealth Group says third-quarter earnings soared 26 percent and beat Wall Street expectations, as a growing Optum business segment once again helped the nation's largest health insurer.


US tech giants may find their future shaped by Europe

LONDON (AP) - The likes of Facebook, Google and Apple are increasingly facing an uncomfortable truth: Europe's culture of tough corporate oversight, not America's light-touch regulation, may soon rule their industry. As governments seek to combat fake news and prevent extremists from using the internet to fan the flames of hatred, it seems that the U.S. may have to start approaching online content in Europe's more proactive way.


US stock indexes close mostly higher; new highs for Dow, S&P

Gains by health care companies led U.S. stock indexes mostly higher Tuesday, pushing the market further into record territory. The Dow Jones industrial average briefly climbed above the 23,000 mark for the first time, and ended just below the milestone. Slight gains nudged the Dow and Standard & Poor's 500 to new highs for the second straight day this week. Banks declined the most. Trading was mostly listless as investors sized up the latest company earnings news.


The S&P 500 index added 1.72 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,559.36. The Dow picked up 40.48 points, or 0.2 percent, to 22,997.44. The Nasdaq composite slipped 0.35 points, or 0.01 percent, to 6,623.66. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 5.18 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,497.50.

Benchmark U.S. crude gained a penny to settle at $51.88 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 6 cents to close at $57.88 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline rose a penny to $1.63 a gallon. Heating oil was little changed at $1.81 a gallon. Natural gas added 2 cents to $2.96 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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