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Feb 22, 5:50 PM EST

Business Highlights


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Fed officials discussed possible rate hike 'fairly soon'

WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal Reserve officials earlier this month discussed the need to raise a key interest rate again "fairly soon" if the economy remains strong. Minutes of the discussions showed that while Fed officials decided to keep a key rate unchanged at their Jan. 31-Feb. 1 meeting, there was growing concern about what could happen to inflation pressures if the economy out-performed expectations.

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Americans buy existing homes at fastest pace in a decade

WASHINGTON (AP) - Americans shrugged off rising mortgage rates and bought existing homes in January at the fastest pace since 2007. The National Association of Realtors says sales of existing homes rose 3.3 percent last month from December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.69 million.

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Stocks slip from highs as energy companies sink; Dow gains

NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. stocks slipped Wednesday after their recent record-setting run. Energy companies stumbled, but basic materials makers rose as investors hoped two large deals will win approval from regulators. While energy stocks fell with the price of oil, most other sectors didn't make big moves.

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End of the euro? French candidate plots return of the franc

PARIS (AP) - What happens to the euro if Marine Le Pen actually gets elected president of France? The far-right National Front presidential candidate has made it clear that she wants France to control its own money, but an exit from the shared currency could spell financial disaster for both France and Europe.

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Health care's future: Turning patients into savers, shoppers

Many Americans who gained health coverage through the Affordable Care Act may soon have to save for medical bills and shop for care more than they have in the past. The fate of the health care law is up in the air, but experts say changes may include greater use of health savings accounts. While such plans may help patients save on doctor visits, they do little to lower overall health care spending.

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Tesla swings to lost in 4Q after profitable third quarter

DETROIT (AP) - Unable to string together profitable quarters, electric car and solar cell maker Tesla Inc. is reporting a loss for the last three months of 2016. Tesla reported a loss of $121.3 million, or 78 cents per share, for its fourth quarter. It was less than half the $320.4 million loss from a year earlier. Without one-time items Tesla lost 69 cents per share.

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Paramount Pictures CEO leaving after 12 years

NEW YORK (AP) - Paramount Pictures Chairman and CEO Brad Grey is leaving the movie studio after 12 years at the helm. Paramount parent Viacom said they are searching for a new CEO.

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Security breach at Kennedy Airport unnerves some travelers

BOSTON (AP) - Some air travelers are wondering how 11 people could walk through an unattended security checkpoint lane at one of the nation's busiest airports even with the enhanced security measures put in place after the 9/11 attacks. The incident Monday at New York's Kennedy Airport is being investigated by the Transportation Security Administration. The TSA said it's confident the incident presented "minimal risk to the aviation transportation system."

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Tulsa's former Black Wall Street tries to remake itself

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - A once-prosperous section of Tulsa that became the site of one of the worst race riots in American history is attempting to remake itself again after decades of neglect. Black leaders want to bring 100 new companies to the former Black Wall Street in north Tulsa by 2021, the 100th anniversary of its fall. The initiative seeks to recapture the entrepreneurial spirit that helped make it one of the country's most affluent black areas.

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Emails: EPA's Pruitt cozy with fossil fuel industry

WASHINGTON (AP) - While serving as Oklahoma's attorney general, new EPA chief Scott Pruitt was in frequent contact with fossil fuel companies and special interest groups working to undermine federal efforts to curb planet-warming carbon emissions. This was shown by emails released under court order after an Oklahoma judge ruled that Pruitt had been illegally withholding his official correspondence from the public for the last two years.

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Industry: Philadelphia soda tax killing sales, layoffs loom

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Some Philadelphia supermarkets and beverage distributors say they're gearing up for layoffs because the city's new tax on soft drinks has cut beverage sales by 30 percent to 50 percent, worse than the city predicted. Jeff Brown owns six ShopRite supermarkets. He tells The Philadelphia Inquirer he expects to cut 300 jobs.

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The Dow Jones industrial average added 32.60 points, or 0.2 percent, to 20,775.60. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.56 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,362.82. The Nasdaq composite gave up 5.32 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,860.63.

Benchmark U.S. crude lost 74 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $53.59 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for pricing international oils, fell 34 cents to $55.84 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline rose 2 cents to $1.51 a gallon. Heating oil dipped 1 cent to $1.63 a gallon. Natural gas edged up 3 cents to $2.59 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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